Cisco Phone Upgrade

Q

The following appeared in Today@UCAR's daily announcements on
Friday, October 24:

"NETS is beginning the process of replacing all of the UCAR
telephone desk sets to a newer version to take advantage of
several technology advances. The new phones will be rolled out in
phases over the next few months. A detailed announcement will be
sent to your group a week ahead of the actual change."

How much does this phone replacement cost? I haven't heard any
significant complaints about the current phones. Given the tight
budgets NCAR is experiencing, I'm surprised UCAR is spending
money on non-essential purchases.

Answered on October 30, 2008

A

I understand your concerns about the costs of the phone upgrade.
The Network Engineering and Telecommunications Section (NETS) is
very conservative about replacing hardware and waits until it is
absolutely necessary, and more often than not gets far more than
the estimated life out of hardware it manages.

The phones are at or beyond their estimated 5-year life. We have
been having ongoing and increasing problems with hook-switch
failures on the phones. It turned out that more than 400 phones
could be replaced on a recall by Cisco due to a mechanical switch
failure Cisco acknowledged.

In discussing replacing 400 out of 2000 phones, NETS decided to
consider upgrading all the phones to a phone model that does not
have this problem and supports GigE network port connections to
the desktop (also part of the NETS strategic plan to provide GigE
to the desktop). Along with replacing the 400 defective phones
now, Cisco offered a larger-than-normal discount to replace all
the phones for under $400,000⎯a savings of more than $750,000
over list price.

We presented this plan to the Network Coordination and Advisory
Board (NCAB) and the Information Technology Council (ITC), and
they agreed with the reprioritization of the NETS Materials and
Supplies budget given this excellent financial and technical
opportunity.

While this represents a large expenditure, through careful
planning, NETS has delayed other network upgrades until 2010 with
minimal impact to users.

Marla Meehl
NETS Section Manager