• Our Proven Process

    View this quick video by Summit president Dick Noble as he explains Summit's Proven Process and what we do to build lasting relationships with our customers.

    If you haven't experienced the Summit difference, contact us today!

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  • Summit Reviews: Cisco ISR Routers

    Cisco is a respected name in the technology device space, creating products that fill server rooms and data centers across the globe. Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) allow Cisco to serve the small business market, which has increasingly begun relying on cloud services for their application and file storage needs. With its ISRs, Cisco helps network administrators efficiently manage the activities that are so prevalent in business environments today, including videoconferencing and other high-bandwidth activities.

    For the past 25 years, Cisco has served as an innovator in network technology. As the market has changed, Cisco has evolved with it, striving to meet the demands of businesses of all sizes. For every large corporation in search of a router to support its global enterprise, theres at least one small business in need of a solution to power its own daily operations.

    Cisco offers several models of ISRs, each varying slightly in its features. Whether you choose a new or refurbished model for your business needs, its important to learn as much as possible about the features of each model to choose the right one to match your own unique environment. Here are a few specifics of the different types of ISRs offered through Summit Information Resources.

    Cisco 1900 Series

    This line of routers is designed to meet the needs of an SMB business. Within the 1900 series, there are two popular models:

    1921—This router has two slots for Enhanced High-Speed WAN Interface Cards (EHWIC) and one compact flash slot.

    1941—This router has three EHWIC slots and two compact flash slots. A single Internal Service Module (ISM) slot is available on this model. This model also comes with a wireless option for server rooms that take advantage of wireless technology to reduce cables.

    Cisco 2900 Series

    Cisco gears this series to its medium- to large-size businesses. This series has four EHWIC slots. Routers in this series numbered 2911 and greater add a Service Module (SM) slot. The 2900 series also comes with two compact flash slots and either two or three Packet Voice Digital Signal Processor Module (PVDM) slots.

    In addition to an SM card, the model with an SM slot will also take a network module (NM). That model also has the option of an Internal Services Module. With the 2911 series or higher, administrators can also choose to use a Redundant Power Series (RPS) with an RPS adaptor.

    Cisco 3900 Series

    Like the 2900 series, the 3900 series is for large-size businesses, but it also is ideal for enterprise locations. The 2900 series comes with three EHWIC ports, two Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) ports, and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. This series also comes with three PVDM slots, two compact flash slots, and an optional dual power supply for protection against power outages.

    Ciscos line of Integrated Services Routers provides the latest connectivity technology for businesses of all sizes. Network administrators can optimize their environment at minimal expense by choosing the router that has exactly the slots they need for each rack.

  • 25 Years of Helping Customers Succeed

    playground

    Since 1992, Summit Information Resources has provided networking hardware to businesses across the country. Summit specializes in Dell, Hewlett Packard, and Cisco products, selling new, used, and refurbished parts to businesses. What sets us apart from other technology resellers is the level of commitment to our customers. Our service is personalized, so each business has the luxury of knowing its IT hardware needs are in good hands.

    In 2002, we moved to our current location in Eagan, Minnesota, remodeling and expanding the space in 2014 to accommodate the company's extreme growth. The remodel enabled us to increase our space by 50 percent.

    Summit Cares

    During an ice storm in Atlanta, businesses found that many of their regular vendors couldn't get much-needed products to them. We stepped up, making sure each business had the equipment it needed to do business. Even when other companies had shut down service to that area of the country, Summit dedicated itself to coming through. This type of service is an example of how we are always there for our customers.

    We work directly with each client to devise a plan that works best. One major metropolitan firm learned this when it contacted Summit with a particularly challenging obstacle. The client needed multiple Cisco switches, but it was working within a strict budget. Using a combination of refurbished and new equipment, we were able to create the solution the client needed, leading to an $864,000 overall cost savings.

    Customers Come First

    Internally, we constantly emphasize the fact that we are customer centric. When someone calls, a friendly employee answers, which is a welcome alternative to the phone trees many businesses force callers to navigate.

    This attention to customer service extends to all of our offerings. Each refurbished product is thoroughly tested and reset to default factory settings before being shipped to customers. We also carefully package each item before shipment to ensure it arrives without damage.

    Summit Information Resources has a long history of building strong relationships with customers. By putting our customers first and providing high-quality equipment at affordable prices, we continue to remain at the top of our clients vendor lists.

  • We Ask Customers, "Why Do You Keep Coming Back to Summit?"

    Summit has been blessed with a growing family of great customers that keep coming back year after year. At last years open house we caught up with a long time Summit customer to ask him, "why do you keep coming back to Summit?"

    Like many of our customers, Dave first came to Summit for our great prices, but he returns because he appreciates our excellent service, unbeatable warranty, and everything else Summit provides that makes his job easier.

    Get a Quote Now

  • Cisco Level: Expert - Getting Your CCIE

    study

    Cisco says less than 3 percent of Cisco professionals hold CCIE certification and those folks represent only about 1 percent of all networking professionals worldwide.

    Sounds like a pretty elite group, right?

    Well, it is. That's because the CCIE is the mother of all Cisco certifications. Pairing both a day long lab with an intense written examination, those who have taken it will tell you its difficulty is not for the faint of heart, with the majority of CCIE takers typically prepping from six to 12 months in advance.

    The CCIE elite—What does it mean?

    
Widely recognized as the premiere level of Cisco education, CCIE Certification is both the most distinguished and most difficult to obtain IT certification there is. Those with this designation have historically been viewed as experts in their field as well as being among the highest paid IT professionals.

    It should be noted though, the prestige of CCIE certification has begun to shift in recent years as more early career IT professionals have begun obtaining advanced credentials.

    Does CCIE matter anymore?

    Originally intended to demonstrate a serious level of skill and expertise in the industry, CCIE certification was something only attempted once you had spent many years, working hands-on, in networking. It was that level of experience, paired with the ability to pass such a rigid exam that earned CCIE holders their well-deserved reputation.

    Nowadays though, despite the difficulty of the CCIE exam, many unqualified or early career applicants are taking the exam as a point of entry to network engineering, with little to no hands-on experience. Still, they have managed to pass the exam, understanding or putting to memory theoretical concepts, without any real working knowledge of those concepts.

    This disconnection of the certification from the real life skill level and experience that once existed in tandem with CCIE credentials has begun to erode or devalue the certification itself, acting more as proof of understanding of Cisco command syntax, than true expertise in the arena.

    This means, if you want to truly be apart of that elite club, you need to have both the practical experience and the CCIE certification to back it up.

    Currently, Cisco offers seven different expert level certificates:

    • CCIE Collaboration
    • CCIE Data Center
    • CCIE Routing & Switching
    • CCIE Security
    • CCIE Service Provider
    • CCIE Wireless
    • CCDE

    Should you get CCIE certified?

    So, is obtaining your CCIE still worth it or not? Well, the truth is, it all depends on you. Maybe a better question is the one posed last year by Certification Magazine, Is CCIE the Right Certification for Your IT Networking Career? Ask yourself, "How does CCIE certification work for me?"

    Because in today's market whether or not it will be of worth to you (money and effort wise) depends on your serious evaluation of a number of factors, including your current career status and future goals, your experience level in the industry, the status of the IT market you're working in, and what's happening in the industry and in the technology's evolution at the time you're deciding to take the test. Does having CCIE certification align with your current goals, skill set, and availability at this point in your career?

    How to get your CCIE

    In I-Medita Learning Solutions October 2016 post, How to Pass CCIE: 10 Tips to Pass CCIE in First Attempt, tips were given by CCIE Certified professionals for passing your CCIE the first time around, we've included 5 of the best tips below.

    1. Learning from experienced CCIE Trainers

    Those who have gone before, are an invaluable resource. They know the experience of both taking AND giving the CCIE and they have likely picked up a few "Dos and Donts" over the years that could really assist you along the way. Pay attention to what subjects they call out as most important, as well as what they counsel not to waste your time on.

    2. Get in the lab

    Rigorous lab training is a must when it comes to attempting the CCIE—especially since you'll need "the least of 500 hours of regular lab training to clear the CCIE Lab Examination." Lab practice will give you hands-on practical experience that can help you really internalize these concepts and develop a true understanding of them. I-Medita recommends at least 5 to 6 hours of lab practice every day (with proper training).

    3. Keep current

    You work in technology—there is no sitting on your laurels and getting comfortable. You need to keep your mind and your skillset nimble by staying up-to-date with the latest information. Remember the CCIE is updated regularly and the exam version is changed to coincide with current technology and best practices. Make sure you know which exam you are preparing for and that you are practicing on the same lab equipment and software used in during lab examinations. You can check these details when you schedule your CCIE lab exam.

    4. Plan—don't cram

    Not enough can be said for a solid plan of attack and good time management when it comes to preparing for your CCIE. This is not your college finals—pulling an all-nighter fueled by loads of coffee and armed with good note taking just isn't going to cut it. Networking is one field where a memorized and regurgitated answer just won't cut it. You must really understand these concepts in order to ensure you don't get tripped up. One small tweak in a concept-based question can change everything, if you're not interested in getting intimately acquainted with these concepts, then you should skip the CCIE altogether.

    5. Practice exams

    Done all of the above and still concerned about whether or not you'll make the cut? Check out one of the websites offering virtual exams before you hit the real one. Pre-testing your concept knowledge and test readiness can help you tighten up times, expose weak areas, and even send you into the test feeling more relaxed, as you'll have simulated the experience before.

    Keep it in perspective

    It's important for you to know that even if you've decided the CCIE is good fit for your career trajectory and you feel ready to pursue this certification, it's only one notch in your professional portfolio. To be the best, you need to continue to pursue and advance your technical knowledge in the field each and every day, even after obtaining your CCIE.

    Don't view your CCIE as THE highest level of accomplishment you can reach in your career and fall into the trap of thinking there is no more for you to learn. Working in networking and technology means the learning never ends. Keeping current is at the very heart of being and holding onto that elite status of being the best of the best.

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  • IT in the United States: IT Managers [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Below is an infographic that will be a part of a series concerning the state of IT in the United States. If you want to be alerted about more infographics and blogs from this series be sure to click the "Sign Me Up" button at the bottom of the page.

    it manager

    This information was obtained with permission from Payscale.com and The Council for Community and Economic Research.

    Missed a part of this series? Check them out here: Part IPart IIPart III (1)Part III (2)Part IV

    Sign Me Up!

  • The Summit Refurbishing Process - In Action

    It can be frustrating when it feels like everything a company does is behind closed doors. You want to know where your money is going and what this process looks like to ensure you chose the right company. In the video below, we walk you through our step-by-step refurbishing process. It becomes quite evident how thorough we really are and truly care about our products.

    Summit's Refurbishing Process:

    1) The product is delivered to Summit and sent to our "Tech Playground".

    2) We take the equipment and put it through our rigorous external inspection process.

    3) Next, the product goes through a rigorous internal inspection, checking for any inconsistencies or damage to the ports, motherboard and any other associated component.

    4) If any hardware upgrades are requested we integrate them into the equipment.

    5) Then we test the functionality of the product, connecting it to power and running it with our testing software.

    6) We restore the factory defaults, so the product is back to its original settings.

    7) Next, it's off to the refurbishing center. where we look for cosmetic damage to the outside of the equipment. If found we repair, clean and paint it.

    8) Then the equipment is securely packaged and placed in our warehouse to await shipment.

    If you have any questions about our refurbished process, feel free to contact your account manager.

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  • More Than Hardware - What Summit Customers Appreciate Most About Buying From Summit

    We realize Summit isn’t exactly selling a niche product, so over the last 25 years we’ve developed a customer experience that includes a whole lot more than just great hardware at a good price. We recently sat down with Steven, a long time Summit customer, to ask him what he likes most about working with Summit.

    Buying from Summit means more than just getting an excellent product at a great price. It means you’re getting partnered with an IT expert to offer you advice, an industry leading warranty, and great service that will make your job easier.

    Get a Quote Now

  • Tools of the Trade – Useful Hardware and Software Tools for Network Managers

    toolbox

    As the IT professional charged with managing your company's network, there's a lot you're responsible for—from securing your network, to troubleshooting DNS queries, downs, and slow network apps, to monitoring your perimeter and tracking users and devices, managing compliance and renewals, organizing configurations and passwords, and optimizing your system to maximize bandwidth. It's no surprise that overseeing your network can feel like a non-stop juggling act.

    But with the right hardware and software tools in place, you can at least simplify your network management responsibilities, helping you to keep your network running tip-top and your sanity in check.

    What kinds of tools do I need?

    Every network administrator or manager worth his or her salt knows that it takes a combination of proactive preparation and diligent, knowledgeable response to keep your system running smoothly. When it comes to managing your network, you need the kinds of tools that will allow you to:

    • Monitor
    • Track
    • Alert
    • Troubleshoot
    • Modify and correct

    In order to effectively do all of these things, you will need both hardware and software tools that are proven reliable and picked with your network's specific design requirements in mind.

    What features should those tools have?

    Your system needs to monitor bandwidth and usage trends, set up alerts for faults and capacity, track the IPs of connected devices and monitor user traffic—and ALL of these features should be transparent and traceable using a variety of custom reporting tools including those that make it easier to convey information to your less technical minded departments and decision makers.

    Hardware Tools:

    The following are the tangible, hands-on tools you should have available for your use when managing and maintaining your network. While virtually monitoring your system is made easier with the right software, the network itself still lives and breathes through the technological foundation you've built here in the real world.

    Butt Set
    Used in telephony, a butt set allows you to test your network's phone lines using alligator clips and a handheld set.

    Cable Certifier
    Want to verify your cable's bandwidth and frequency? A cable certifier can help you confirm that your CAT 5e cable meets proper specifications, supporting speeds of 1000 Mbps.

    Cable Tester
    A cable tester can help you verify that your cable is wired correctly or to troubleshoot suspected faulty cables, allowing you to identify short or open cables. Fluke Networks is a great resource for high quality cable testing and diagnostic hardware.

    Crimper
    You'll need a crimper to attach cables and connectors.

    Toner Probe
    Need to find the other end of a cable? Then a toner probe's your new best friend, allowing you to place a tone on one end of the wire to find the corresponding tone on the other end with a speaker and contact probe. This excellent troubleshooting tool can also be used to identify cable continuity because a short or open cable will not complete the circuit and produce the tone.

    Environmental monitor
    Your environmental monitor will log the conditions (temp and humidity) of the room in which your sensitive network equipment resides. An excellent tool for monitoring the conditions in your data center(s) and/or server rooms, an environmental monitor can help you identify those issues that could potentially cause problems for your equipment helping you to sidestep a down. Tracking these logs can also assist you in ferreting out potential environmental causes of problems like random reboots or overheated systems. AVTECH makes a wide range of tools to monitor your environmental and power status in server rooms.

    Loop back plug
    Want to test your data ports and NIC jacks? A loop back plug can help you verify that data is flowing properly on that port, both sending and receiving.

    Multimeter
    Your multimeter can help you with continuity checks, measuring voltages, amperage, and resistance. Touch the probes to two ends of a wire and listen for the multimeter's characteristic beep. No beep? Your cable has a break in continuity—it's that simple.

    OTDR & TDR
    The optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) and time domain reflectometer (TDR) work similarly, allowing you to isolate the locations of breaks, measuring the distance between cable ends by sending a signal down the cable and measuring how long it takes to return or reflect the signal back from a break. Both are invaluable in troubleshooting breaks and even more minor disruptions in the electrical flow of your cables. OTDR works on fiber optic cables.

    Punch Down Tool
    Allowing you to "punch down" connecting cables to wiring blocks or terminate cables to jacks with a small amount of pressure, the punch down tool is spring loaded and a must have for all those maintaining a network.

    Hardware or Software

    Some tools offer an opportunity for choice between hardware or software to do the same job, which you choose will depend on your network's needs, budget, and priorities.

    Protocol Analyzer aka "Packet Sniffer"
    Want to hunt down an unauthorized application or suspected attack on your network? Send in the sniffer. Protect your network by analyzing traffic, troubleshooting problems or suspicious activity using a protocol analyzer. While many folks view a hardware-based protocol analyzer solution as superior to software solutions, the cost difference and network priorities of your organization may make a software solution a better choice for you. 



    Regardless of which you choose, this hardware device or software program is used to sniff out issues and allows you to see a snapshot of wireless traffic on your network, capturing packets traveling over the network for analysis. Packets are then saved in a capture file and can be inspected for information like the source and destination IP addresses, service set identifier (SSID), source and destination media access control (MAC) addresses, source and destination ports, and payload data, allowing admins to verify they've been compromised and to identify the location of the computer involved. Wireshark provides both free and commercial resources for deep inspection of network activity.

    Software Tools
    While there are many all-in-one solutions available to help you monitor, analyze, and maintain your network – we'll leave the choice of which to use up to you. Here is a list of the most common tools your network management software should contain and how they can assist you in doing what you do.

    Bandwidth Monitor
    Monitor the average BPS and utilization percentage of interfaces, identifying traffic bottlenecks in a switch or router in real-time with this vital bandwidth tool. Presented in an easy-to-understand graphical format.

    Network Monitor
    Continuously monitoring device response time, your network monitor alerts you via email, reporting node status and prioritizing severity. Ipswitch creates industry leading tools to visualize and monitor your network.

    Port Scanner
    Track down unknown or unwanted services running on your system using a port scanner to scan for port status, associating ports with known services.

    Switch Port Mapper
    Manual cable tracing is both time consuming and a total drag, save yourself from tedium and identify each switch port a device is connected to within a switch using a switch port mapper. Useful in helping you quickly assess port availability and gain real-time operational status and speeds of each port.

    System Details Update
    Streamline your system details update process using this handy tool that lets you to view, scan, modify, and update the details on a range of devices all at once.

    TCP Reset
    Providing a list of all established TCP connections in a device, the TCP reset lets you verify legitimate connections and reset those that are unwanted or unauthorized.

    Wake-On-LAN
    Wake it up when you're on the go-go. Wake-on LAN allows you to remotely "wake" or boot up a machine in low power mode on the network with the use of a remote command. Solarwinds provides free tools to manage your network power consumption and use wake-on-lan technology to save energy and remotely control system power.

    Before you choose a management system

    Word to the wise—while all-in-one network management systems can certainly benefit network managers, streamlining your daily monitoring and duties, it's best to remember that the basics of solid network strategy should be in place before considering any management system purchase.

    This includes:

    • Critical infrastructure inventories of hardware, software and change processes on your network
    • An accounting of current compliance standards
    • A listing of which system dependencies exist and their location
    • Standards, protocol, and security guidelines for network information access
    • Network maps and a status icon key
    • Guidelines for network perimeter monitoring and tracking for all users and devices
    • Network alert protocols based on IT team schedules and positions

    The basic infrastructure you employ, as well as the management system you choose will vary based on your company's size, the complexity of your network, and your company's individual needs and priorities. Having the right tools in place for those realities and priorities is one of the most crucial aspects of a network administrator's job, making your day-today operations easier or harder depending on the choices you make.

    Remember, when it comes to managing your network, the best IT systems alert you to potentialities before they occur, allowing you to avert problems and making you the hero of your company's network.

    Get a Quote Now

  • What Does "Enterprise" Mean, Anyway?

    enterprise

    Enterprise, enterprise IT, or enterprise–class IT are modern terms we hear bandied about nearly everywhere in business today but knowing exactly what marketers mean when they use these terms can be somewhat confusing, especially when the word enterprise appears to refer to a myriad of computer related technology solutions. Even more confusing is what exactly you should be looking for when it comes to enterprise solutions.

    So, what is enterprise?

    Enterprise generally refers to solutions designed to meet the complex needs of larger organizations. This can mean everything from software and hardware to cloud services and more.

    What makes enterprise solutions different?

    Bigger organizations have bigger requirements for compatibility, performance, reliability, security, and scalability than many of their small and mid-sized counterparts. These solutions are not just about solving an issue within your organization on a one-to-one level but more about an overarching strategy that allows you to meet the greater needs of a larger and more demanding company.

    Enterprise solutions are designed to provide a scalable and easier-to-manage, company-wide solution for information and access, whether onsite or off at a remote location. For example, with regards to software, this means an enterprise license covers all locations (where a site license would cover only one location). This enterprise license would also include features that you might typically need for a multi-site, multi-server solution.

    While enterprise software is typically internal facing (or mission critical for widespread users across the company) and integrated with other internal and/or external facing systems, it should be noted that there are certain circumstances in which a smaller organization could benefit from an enterprise solution, like those scenarios where the nature of their business requires or benefits from integrating with a larger organization regularly and in a significant way. A good example might be a physician's office that shares their medical records with a local hospital for labs, referrals and insurance claims.

    Enterprise considerations

    Before deciding on any enterprise solution, you must first consider your organization's needs and list all your requirements, desired features, and their order of priority so that you can make an informed choice for your company, balancing those needs against your available budget. Here are some things you should look out for:

    Security: This is the #1 priority of any network but enterprise security solutions should provide an even more rigorous standard. This is because the risks and stakes are higher. What will it take to be secure and make sure your data remains uncompromised? This must be a "big picture" view across applications, processes, and even mobile devices, allowing you lifetime control of your content.

    Reliability: According to Western Digital Corporation's 2nd annual global survey of CIOs and IT decision makers, reliability outranks cost as the most important strategic consideration for the storage of network data. It's pretty simple really, if your enterprise solutions aren't reliable and your data is not securely accessible, then the network isn't working.

    Scalability: Will your new solution be able to grow with you to accommodate the needs and changes in your business easily? The ability to adapt to new or changing demands within your organization is crucial to the speed with which your enterprise can expand.

    Management: Does the solution provide a full-featured platform with the ability to manage your implementation as well as support the entire lifecycle and all roles? Does it offer enterprise-wide reporting, management of policies, and administration for sync, share and control at the user level? How about in a mobile environment? Can you provision and onboard users, managing their individual and group needs and policies?

    Productivity: Regardless of the other criteria, if your end-users can't accomplish their goals with the use of the solution—then it's no solution at all. This means your solution not only has to support day-to-day work and ensure file-sharing is easy to use and adopt, but it should integrate with existing technology in use, and be well supported and managed.

    Portability: Can your solution weather technological changes? Will it transfer easily from one system to another?

    Cost: Should fit the bill to get started, providing all that is crucial with the ability for expansion as needed.

    Support: Looking to maximize your IT resources? Keep and eye out for end-to-end solutions that help you manage IT operations and provide 24/7 troubleshooting, support and service.

    Bottom line is, if your business is robust enough in traffic, sales, or sheer logistics, you may be in need of a solution that's not only large enough to seamlessly handle your company's demands but also strategic enough to help you make that leap to the next level.

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