When new clients come to us asking about new networking equipment, they come in with a
variety of requirements. From simply needing a new switch, to wanting a complete unified communications setup, requests vary wildly from company to company.
Yet, one of the things we hear most often is, “...but not from Cisco.”
Despite -or perhaps because of- their long dominance in business networking, Cisco equipment can turn some small businesses away, mostly in fear of the complexity and price tag. Here are a few reason we hear as to why our customers don't want to consider Cisco:
They no longer offer the same competitive advantage.
They're too focused on their high-end customers.
Often poor customer service, especially for small- and midsized firms.
Their lower-end equipment is seen as cheap and poorly-produced.
And, of course, the biggest is price. Despite all this, and despite a boom in the middle range of networking products, Cisco still has price points that are far higher than those of their competition.
On Beyond Cisco – Why Cheaper Solutions Make Sense For Your Business
Now, to be clear, when we're talking about “cheap” solutions here, we're not talking about buying equipment off-the-shelf at Best Buy or Staples.We are talking about business class products.
There's still no comparison between a $100 residential router, and the sort of robust equipment made to withstand current business capacity demands. Such consumer-grade equipment is still really only practical for home use, or perhaps for the smallest of offices.
If you have more than a couple people in your office, or you're expecting expansion in the next few years, you would still want to partner with a hardware vendor. However, today you have far more viable options on the market than existed ten years ago, or even five.
Buying Cisco equipment is no longer a prerequisite for a business looking to upgrade. In fact, companies like Polycom, Juniper, and especially ADTRAN have begun releasing equipment that delivers just as much value as Cisco's products, but usually for much lower prices.
Equipment Designed For The Needs Of Growing Businesses
While we agree that Cisco is typically targeted for larger enterprises there are different ways of integrating Cisco into your small business network. Cisco Meraki is ideal for small companies with limited IT resources.
There is also Cisco Refresh which provides the same quality of Cisco equipment but at a fraction of the price. Cisco Refresh is certified remnaufactured equipment that has the same warranty and accessories as a brand new piece of equipment would.
ADTRAN's products are especially known for their focus on smaller businesses. Their AOS operating system powers all of their products, eliminating Cisco's “guess which firmware to use” game. Every device operates using the same software, so once AOS is installed, every ADTRAN component is ready to make use of it.
Some ADTRAN equipment, such as their BlueSocket WiFi access points, can even self-configure simply by being brought into a building with an existing vmWare setup. Aside from having to register each access point at the zero dollar controller, absolutely no other configuration is needed to get started.
By the same token, ADTRAN's customer support earns high praise across the industry, and they've won multiple “best in class” awards for their post-sale support. While it's not definitive, it's worth noting that a quick Google search for “bad” or “poor” ADTRAN customer service brings up no relevant hits.
So, when you're shopping for your next telecommunications upgrades, remember that using Cisco is no longer “mandatory” in the world of business communications.
Drop us a line, and we'll tell you all about how ADTRAN or any of our other fine brands can meet your needs, while providing superior prices and experiences when compared to Cisco equipment.