With Technology Coordinators being so busy already, it is important that you seriously consider having the wireless vendor provide management of your wireless network. This gives you the best of both worlds – you own the equipment, but, while E-Rate funding lasts, you can have your network managed for a fraction of the cost of a technical resource.
This is allowable by E-Rate, as described on page 19 of the Eligible Services List, and it is easy to request from the vendor, separately priced from the turn-key purchase.
Eligible Managed Internal Broadband Services
- Services provided by a third party for the operation, management, and monitoring of eligible broadband internal connections components are eligible managed internal broadband services (e.g., managed Wi-Fi).
Here are some of the things that could be covered in such a support contract:
- Single point of Escalation for Support (AP is not working properly, Can’t get access with any of the wireless devices on a certain AP, Controller is down, etc.)
- Quarterly Business Reviews (Review Open and Closed Tickets, Review Coverage Issues, etc.)
- 8×5 Technical Support
- Remote Diagnosis which can been Escalated to On-Site Services
- Phone/Email/Web Support
- Trend Analysis and Recommendations
- Software Updates and Enhancements
- Configuration Audits
- Vlan, SSID, and Security Assistance (add/re-config/delete) for AP’s & Controllers
Even if E-Rate funding runs out, as least for a period of time you have the benefit of learning from others as they support your network, and getting the network stabilized over the first couple of years. Per your bid, you could specify a five year contract to be paid annually, but it would not obligate the district unless E-Rate funding is approved each year. You will be surprised how affordable this solution can be as a per student, per year cost in addition to the purchase of your network.