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Cisco SMARTnet FAQ's

At first SMARTnet can appear very complex to understand, but with the right know how and a bit of guidance you'll soon be in a position to decide if it is the right support solution for you and also be able to make an informed decision about selecting the right level of support. There are of course viable alternatives to SMARTnet which are detailed here. However these FAQ's are solely intended to help anyone considering buying SMARTnet for the first time or those who already have an active SMARTnet contract and need help using it.

If you have any other questions that have not been covered in the FAQ's below then please contact us here. We are always looking to add further helpful information to this page so please feel free to ask us to include any new FAQ that you think others may find useful.

What is SMARTnet?

SMARTnet is a hardware and software maintenance contract for Cisco equipment which is supplied directly from Cisco. The contract may be sold only by authorised Cisco Partners and is normally an annual contract although longer term contracts are available (please contact us for more details). Quite simply, it is a maintenance contract for Cisco equipment, so if your hardware breaks, Cisco replace it. Along with this comes technical support for your equipment as you get the right to call the Cisco Technical Assistance Centre. Finally you also get the right to download and install software updates for your Cisco equipment (primarily IOS). Please note that every aspect of the contract is exclusively delivered by Cisco and as such it is with Cisco that all SMARTnet contracts are held directly.

Why would I need this?

If Cisco products are important to your business then you should seriously consider SMARTnet. If your Cisco product is Internet facing, it is vital that you update the software when new versions are released, this protects you from software bugs and security holes. If you are using Cisco products to connect remote sites over a VPN, then ask yourself what would be the cost to your business should one of the boxes fail? With SMARTnet, your downtime can be limited to 4 hours or even 2 hours. A SMARTnet contract entitles you to telephone support from Cisco`s experts at the Technical Assistance Centre (TAC). According to Cisco, over 95% of all calls received by the TAC help customers handle complex network operation and management issues such as: Advanced software configuration, Interoperability and upgrade questions, Hardware and software information.

What does SMARTnet provide over the standard Cisco Warranties?

SMARTnet provides the following features over the standard Cisco Warranties :

  • Minor and major releases for operating system software upon request.
  • password access (where available) for Tech Tips and configuration information.
  • TAC Support with higher priority; warranty customers are limited to Priority 4 (P4); no TAC support on 1-year warranty.
  • 24 x 7 access to TAC engineers.
  • Advance replacement of parts by the next business day or earlier depending on SMARTnet plan. Warranty parts replacement can take from 5-10 business days.
  • Optional on-site field engineer for parts replacement and installation.

What length is the service contract?

The contracts are usually for a period of twelve (12) months, however multiple year contracts are also available.

Can I buy SMARTnet on a product that is older than 12 months?

Cisco Terms and conditions state that cover should be purchased within the first 90 days from product purchase; however any product that is still under warranty can usually be covered, please ask Cisco may require proof that the product is in fact in working order at the time of contract purchase. We may request a signed letter stating that the equipment is in full working order, Cisco will reserve the right to perform an inspection of the equipment, which may incur a charge. Cisco cannot support products that have reached end of life more than two years ago.

Are the WIC cards and modules etc installed in the product covered by the maintenance contract?

Yes. They are all covered by a single contact, in fact Cisco need to know exactly which cards are installed so that they can send out the correct hardware when an advance replacement is affected.

How does Advance Replacement work?

Should you experience a fault with contracted hardware, your first point of contact will the Cisco TAC (Technical Assistance Centre) who will decide if the problem is Hardware, Configuration or IOS software issue. If the hardware is at fault, a replacement will be sent within the contractual period, this is termed an advance replacement. The faulty hardware must then be returned to Cisco.

How is SMARTnet sold?

When you purchase a SMARTnet contract from Trinito, we will request various details from you regarding the equipment to be covered. These are:

  • Site Details - Where the covered equipment resides
  • Contact Name and Telephone Number
  • Cisco Product and Serial Number of item to cover
  • Any Modules or cards that are installed.

We will then verify the contract with Cisco, to ensure that you have the correct product and that cover is available at your location, then the contract will go live within two weeks.

What is SMB Support Assistant?

SMB Support assistant can be described as SMARTnet lite, it provides assistance and support targeted at the needs of Small and Medium business:

  • Online Network Management Tools designed specifically for SMB`s.
  • Provides support for Routing, Switching, Wireless, Security, Voice and VPN.
  • Provides minor software updates as necessary.
  • 24 x 7 Fault Reporting, SMB TAC Engineers will respond within one business day.
  • Next Business Day Hardware Replacement where available, otherwise Same Day Ship.

SMB Support Assistant provides an easy, affordable way to help businesses quickly resolve routine problems that can arise when using Cisco SMB class products.

What is SMARTnet Software Only?

With SMARTnet Software only (CON-SW part numbers) you get: 24 hour x 7 days a week x 365 days a year access to Cisco Technical Assistance Centre (TAC), Major and maintenance releases of Cisco IOS software, 24 hour x 7 days a week x 365 days a year access to The minimum SMARTnet contract entitles you to obtain and legally install the latest software upgrades for your covered device. This is essential if your Cisco hardware is important to your business or is connected in any way to the Internet, as the software upgrades will fix bugs and security holes. We are aware that IOS upgrades can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet, but doubt if they will be the latest version, and could possibly have been modified. Also included is telephone support from the Cisco Technical Assistance Centre and increased access to, this provides you with wealth of expertise, both online and via the telephone.

What is SMARTnet Onsite?

SMARTnet Onsite provides all of the above, but additionally an Engineer will be dispatched to install the replacement equipment. With SMARTnet Onsite you get: 24 hour x 7 days a week x 365 days a year access to Cisco Technical Assistance Centre (TAC), Major and maintenance releases of Cisco IOS software, 24 hour x 7 days a week x 365 days a year access to, Onsite Maintenance Engineer with Replacement of Hardware within an agreed time period.

Who do I call when I need support?

All of the SMARTnet Support contracts that we sell are delivered by Cisco themselves. When you need support you simply call the Cisco Technical Assistance Centre (TAC) which is a 24 hour support service available free of charge to SMARTnet Contract owners. The contract is not with us, we sell on behalf of Cisco.

How can I contact the Cisco TAC?

The Cisco TAC can be contacted 24 hours a day 365. For details of your local contact telephone number to the TAC please visit the Cisco website here.

How do I get SIP software for my Cisco IP Phone?

You can download SIP software from, but to gain access you need a SMARTnet contract. The Software Only (Softnet) contracts will entitle you to this access, but for a little more money you can obtain hardware replacement cover (SMARTnet) for your phone - should it break Cisco will send you a new one.

Can I buy a SMARTnet contract for any Country?

Yes. Cisco are a global company and SMARTNET is a global service. There are very few countries in the world that Cisco do not provide SMARTnet cover for.

How long will it take for me to get a SMARTnet maintenance contract once I purchase it online?

How long will it take for me to get a SMARTnet maintenance contract once I purchase it online? In 90% of cases, we can supply contracts in 24 hours. We need the following information to register contracts: Company or individual that the contract is to be registered to. This must match the Company or individual name on your CCO login for Cisco to approve the association. We will register the equipment at the Installation address, and Cisco will require the full address details, like this: Street, Town, County/State, Post or Zip Code, Country. Cisco have a number of address checking systems, and if the installation address that you provide is not known to Cisco, they will not permit the contract to be created. For example, in the UK, the address must be the same as will be found on the Royal Mail address check web site. Finally Cisco will not permit contracts to be registered to PO Box addresses.

What if I change my mind after I've ordered?

Our returns policy is this: Customers have the right to cancel their purchase at any point up to 14 days after the date of the purchase.

Trinito will contact Cisco (the issuer of the SMARTnet contract) and obtain a usage report detailing the records of any TAC support, software downloads or replacement hardware issued under the individual SMARTnet contract that the customer has requested to cancel.

Where the Cisco usage report states that no SMARTnet services have been used the contract will be cancelled and the customer subsequently refunded without delay. Trinito reserve the right to issue a cancellation charge or to cover the cost of administration.

Should the Cisco usage report provide evidence of 'used services' (e.g. either software downloads, replacement hardware or TAC services etc) during the period elapsed since the SMARTnet contract was issued the customer will be liable for the individual costs of each non returnable item that they have used.

As such a charge will be made for each individual item used in line with Cisco's published list pricing on the date the customer requested cancellation of the contract. All applicable charges will be itemised and deduced from any amount being refunded to the customer in settlement of their contract cancellation.

Where applicable costs from Cisco's list prices for 'used services' exceed the value of the cancellation refund we will invoice the customer for the difference or give the customer the option to continue the contract without cancellation.

For a more detailed understanding of all the service levels available under Cisco SMARTnet please use this link. We have also provided a comparison chart of all the SMARTnet service levels together allowing you to better understand the options side by side.

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