Monday, July 31, 2006

How to Find Network Equipment Deals

Are you looking to buy or sell networking or PBX phone equipment? How about finding a network engineer or phone system installer? There's a new service online that specializes in making this fast and easy.

What I'm talking about is the T1 VAR Network. In case you aren't familiar with the term VAR, it means Value Added Reseller. People who sell business phone systems are VARs. Their value added comes from evaluating a company's needs, ordering the appropriate equipment from the manufacturer, installing everything including running all the wires, and getting the system to work properly.

Other VARs specialize in computer networks. They'll provide the routers, switches, copper and fiber cabling, and the programming needed to make the network operational. Some VARs will also include the WAN or Wide Area Network connections that interconnect business locations, or provide broadband connections to the Internet.

These are all tasks you could take on yourself as a business owner. But unless you have substantial experience in-house, it can make more sense to outsource telephone or networking support to specialized professionals.

The T1 VAR Network serves both buyers and sellers, but it's not an auction-based site like Ebay. It's more of a meeting place specializing in telecommunications products and services. Say you are looking to buy a gateway router. You go to the network equipment quotes section and click on the "begin request" link. Then you can select or or more brands that interest you, including big names like Foundry, Juniper, Cisco, Motorola or others from the current list of 13 suppliers. You then have the option to have up to 5 VARs in your area contact you by telephone or email. Or not at all if you simply want to window shop.

You use a similar process to shop for IP PBX telephone equipment quotes, although there are over 50 manufacturers listed in this category. That should give you plenty of food for thought.

Not exactly sure what you need? No problem. That's what free consulting services are all about. The VARs and dedicated telecommunications consultants can help you evaluate network equipment, high speed Internet service, phone system hardware, standard telephone service, VoIP equipment and VoIP services.

So what if you happen to be in the telephone or networking business? This VAR Network works for both buyers and sellers. If you are a certified equipment dealer or systems integrator, you join the program for free. You'll create a profile that describes what lines of equipment you offer, what services provide, and what geographical area you cover. After passing a short interview, you are entered into the database and you'll start getting leads from those buyers who are looking for just what you have to offer. What's all this going to cost you? You'll pay the VARNetwork a small commission based on business you actually sell to the leads you get from the system. If you don't make a sale, you pay nothing for the lead. Seems hard to beat.

Here's another aspect of the T1 VAR Network that can enhance your business. Many business phone system and networking consultants do not provide the external telephone lines or WAN connections, such as T1 lines. Instead, they leave this to the customer or refer business to the local phone company. Since the T1 VAR Network also represents over a dozen competitive line service carriers, VARs can submit their customer's line service needs to the network and get competitive quotes. The end customer usually gets a better rate on their T1 or DS3 lines and the VAR gets a cut of the ongoing monthly service fee as a residual commission.

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