How to Improve Your Next Network Discovery

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Jul 26, 2016

Network Discovery Quick Tips to Setup for Long-Term Success and Avoid Future Headaches

When investigating a prospect’s network, many MSPs overlook the importance of the lower layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model in favor of looking at servers and PCs. It is critical for Service Providers to not forget about the switches, Wireless Access Points (WAP’s), and other network equipment that play a very important role in a successful network discovery.

For your next discovery, here are three quick tips to avoid long-term pain:

  1. Plug in whenever possible: WiFi is fantastic, but run wired Ethernet whenever possible to protect your customers! Ethernet is faster, more secure, and much more reliable than WiFi.
  2. Minimize the number of switches: Many of today’s office environments need more than one network connection per office. The fastest and easiest solution might be to drop in a small Ethernet switch, but you have to ask yourself, “Is that the best long term solution for the customer?” These small, inexpensive switches are typically unmanaged, have a high-failure rate, often get kicked or unplugged, and are difficult to troubleshoot. The best long-term solution would be to pull more cabling, and plug all the devices directly into the customers core switch(es) that are managed, much more reliable, and on UPS power.
  3. Document the Infrastructure: Your entire support team needs to know and understand the environment to deliver an exceptional service experience. This includes documenting the make and model of each switch. If the switch is manageable, the team also needs to know the IP address, username and password to each device, and where everyone and everything is plugged in. Share the information with your team so everyone can be an expert on your customer’s network.

There is a lot to remember when doing a network discovery. As the Service Provider, it’s your responsibility to effectively manage your customers’ network, and properly set them up for long-term success. Understanding the infrastructure is critical to uncovering issues your prospects are having today, what you need to address, and determining the best overall solution to make your customers happy for years to come!

Category: Technology

About The Author

Brian Wells

Brian Wells, Director of Product Development, is responsible for the product and service offerings, and helping partners, team members, suppliers and stakeholders understand the program. Prior to joining Collabrance in 2015, Brian was the Director of Information Technology for two other Eastern Iowa organizations. In 1996, Brian started his own VAR and MSP business, and sold it in 2006. He has 30+ years of experience in the IT space. Brian joined Collabrance as a Tier 3 Engineer before being promoted to his current role on the Leadership Team.

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