Sunday 2 September 2012

Selecting a Router for an SMB need


If you are an IT administrator or network administrator for your small and medium business, you will soon discover that the title above is very attractive. This is especially useful when considering the fact that your job performance is hinged on this. Also, if you are the owner of an SMB that needs to pay for a router or any other networking device, you will find the information I am  about to share with  you very useful.

Oftentimes, I have received calls from my clients requesting for a Cisco product and all they have in their minds is the Cisco generic series number. For instance, someone calls in and asks whether I can supply her/him "any good router" or "any good 2900 series router...". Some other more clever customer simply asks "please recommend for me any good router that can offer X number of FE ports and Y number of GE ports...".

In my own view, to ask "any good router" question is a problem because it simply puts you as a client at the mercy of me the vendor. Why? If you simply ask me to sell to you "any good router..." I will quickly remember those SKU's where I can get more profit from and then sell those to you since my Cisco router are all ISO 9001 and TL 9000 certified and hence I am sure not to lose any money due to warranty issues. At least my product would serve you well. This kind of question would not do you
any good in the Router market.

Secondly, to ask "any good 2900 series router..." could also present some problems. This is because under the 2900 series integrated services router category there are different versions/models with varying specifications and this could also put you at a disadvantage since I could simply sell to you one that covers your maximum  expectations but does not justify your costs. For all you care you could save yourself from a few hundreds to 1000s of US dollars selecting the right model of router
for your SMB or other enterprise needs.

It is also important that as a wise client or buyer you understand the meaning of the following words "EOS" or "EOL" products. Both simply mean "end-of-sale" and "end-of-life" respectively. These are Cisco  products that are no longer being sold and might not be supported. If you like to know more about these, please find more information here.
A more intelligent question to ask is to kuku feign ignorance and task your vendor in order to get consultancy for free(though not all vendors are like us). So if you ask a question like ""please recommend for me any good router that can offer X number of FE ports and Y number of GE ports...". You can achieve two benefits, namely, one, you have pushed the selection process or task to your vendor and two, since he would like to make a good first impression, it becomes unlikely that he would recommend an overkill for your router need. I am not telling you to do this as a repeat buy strategy unless you have a good rapport with your vendor, meaning you must
have bought at least products well over $1000 USD at

Hence, you have gotten consultancy for free and are more likely to get an optimum configuration for your SMB business need or requirement.
Having said all that, I will like to show us a few steps that could help our decision-making when thinking of what model of router to select for small business need.
For instance, you have decided to purchase an Cisco XYZ Series Integrated Services Router for your Small Business need but you really need to know what model within
this portfolio would justify your cost of purchase. I bet you, routers aren't cheap products!

1. Your first intelligent question should be, if for ISR series, does it require Basic Security or Advanced Security?

2. Does it require wireless capability? Both Basic and Advanced should have wireless capability for ISR

3. Let's assume you want a router that requires Advanced security configurations
You keep drilling down...

4. Next, you should ask what services and slot density your unique business need requires

5. When you have determined the number of internal network ports LAN(local area network) and external network or WAN(wide area network) ports you need

6. Then you are still unsure of what type or model to choose, you can simply hit Cisco website and enter the following keywords "Router XYZ Datasheets" and you should have more than enough pdf documents that would assist you in making your decision.
7. It seems you are the lazy type and would like us to help you make this decision, then visit us or  enter your quote request or send us an email.

I hope this information helps solve your headache about routers, otherwise let me get your comments or feedback.
Have a great week ahead!