Cisco SMARTnet Hardware and Software Maintenance

Cisco SMARTnet Introduction

Cisco SMARTnet is a maintenance contract to cover Cisco hardware and software. It is provided by Cisco, but usually sold by an authorised Cisco Reseller. Normally the contract period lasts for one year but Cisco will give discounts for longer contracts.

Do you need it?

Most Cisco devices run the Cisco IOS operating system, which is constantly being updated and upgraded, there are only two (legal) ways of obtaining the updates to the IOS software, one is to purchase it every time it changes, the second is to take out a SMARTnet contract for your product and download all of the updates for it as they are released.

Cover Details for Cisco Hardware


Currently each item of Cisco hardware is assigned a category number from 1 through to 18, the higher the category the higher the cost of the cover. So an 800 series router would be category 1, and a 3620 would be category 7. Unfortunately this pricing structure was invented before the arrival of Cisco ‘phones and although these should be category 0.2 there is no such category so they fall in to category 1 router price range.

Software Only or Hardware and Software Support

SMARTnet is sold in two forms, “software only” and “hardware and software”, both provide software cover; ie both entitle you to download software updates from Cisco, additionally the “hardware and software” version provides hardware replacement should Cisco agree that your hardware is broken.

SMARTnet Base and SMARTnet Onsite

Hardware and Software SMARTnet is also sold in two forms, SMARTnet Base and SMARTnet Onsite – both include Advance Replacement of failed hardware, but with SMARTnet Base the replacement hardware is shipped via normal couriers and you must install it yourself, with SMARTnet Onsite, an Engineer will be dispatched to install the hardware. The Engineer may bring the hardware or it may arrive with a courier.

Advance Replacement

Advance Replacement is the Cisco term for replacement of failed hardware, it’s called advance replacement because the new hardware is shipped before the failed hardware is returned.

Daily Cover

SMARTnet hardware support is sold for two daily cover periods, this is the permitted time that you are entitled to report faults to Cisco, for the lowest level of cover this is defined as 8 hours a day, and 5 days a week, or 8×5. If this is insufficient for your needs, the next available cover period is 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

Response Time

The Cisco SMARTnet Hardware contract defines the period of time by which Cisco will have shipped replacement hardware. Once the requirement for a replacement has been agreed Cisco will ship new hardware, of the exact or better configuration that you have covered, within an agreed time frame. The SMARTnet contract offers three levels of hardware response times; NBD or Next Business Day, which can sometimes be referred to as SDS or Same Day Ship, means that you can expect your replacement hardware to arrive by the next working day. Should that be too long, two more options are available, 4 or 2 hours. Cisco will endeavour to provide the replacement hardware within 2 or 4 hours depending on your contract. Obviously, there are certain requirements that need to be met before Cisco will offer these levels of support, as not all geographic locations are eligible. This is simply down to the logistics of having an identical configuration of your hardware ready to go at a local shipping point.

Access to TAC

The Cisco TAC (Technical Assistance Centre) is the award winning technical support solution provided by Cisco. TAC centres are strategically located around the globe so as to provide a “follow the sun” support solution. This means that whatever time of day or night it is, you will be able to talk to a knowledgeable engineer at the Cisco TAC. Also, as this makes Cisco Support a 24 hour operation, Cisco will provide constant assistance to resolve your critical networking problems.

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