Cisco SMARTnet is really a maintenance contract to cover Cisco hardware and software. It's supplied by Cisco, but usually sold by an authorised Cisco Reseller. Usually the contract period lasts for 1 year but Cisco will give discounts for longer contracts.

Do you'll 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 would be to buy it each and every time it changes, the second would be to take out a SMARTnet contract for your item and download all of the updates for it as they're released.

Cover Particulars for Cisco Hardware


Presently each item of Cisco hardware is assigned a category number from 1 through to 18, the greater the category the higher the price of the cover. So an 800 series router would be category 1, along with a 3620 would be category 7. Sadly this pricing structure was invented prior to 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 program Only or Hardware and Software program Support

SMARTnet is sold in two forms, "software only" and "hardware and software", both provide software program cover; ie both entitle you to download software program 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 regular couriers and you need to install it your self, with SMARTnet Onsite, an Engineer will probably be despatched to install the hardware. The Engineer may bring the hardware or it might arrive having a courier.

Advance Replacement

Advance Replacement is the Cisco term for replacement of failed hardware, it's called advance replacement simply because the new hardware is shipped prior to the failed hardware is returned.

Daily Cover

SMARTnet hardware support is sold for two daily cover periods, this is the permitted time which 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 8x5. If this is insufficient for your needs, the next available cover period is 24 hours each 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 precise or much better configuration which you have covered, inside an agreed time frame. The SMARTnet contract provides 3 levels of hardware response times; NBD or Next Business Day, which can occasionally be referred to as SDS or Same Day Ship, means which you can anticipate your replacement hardware to arrive by the next working day. Should that be too lengthy, two more choices are available, four or 2 hours. Cisco will endeavour to provide the replacement hardware inside two or four hours based on your contract. Clearly, you will find certain requirements that need to be met before Cisco will provide 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 nearby shipping point.

Access to TAC

The Cisco TAC (Technical Assistance Centre) will be the award winning technical support solution supplied by Cisco. TAC centres are strategically located about the globe so as to offer a "follow the sun" support solution. This means that whatever time of day or night it is, you'll 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 help to resolve your crucial networking issues.