Did you know your school or library may be eligible to purchase network equipment under Category One?

Deidra Peterson Specialist, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 22 Jul 2020

If you’re involved with information technology in a K-12 institution or library, you’re probably familiar with the E-Rate program and supported services. But did you know that you may be eligible to purchase network equipment under Category One?

As a quick refresher, Category One includes the products and services needed to support broadband connectivity to schools and libraries, including data transmission and internet access. Maintenance and technical support are eligible when provided as a component of these services.

The second category of equipment and services eligible for E-Rate support, Category Two, includes the internal connections needed for Internet connectivity within schools and libraries, such as switches and access points, for example.

If a district has leased dark fiber, or self-provisioned fiber, then the network equipment necessary to light that fiber (such as our top-of-rack fabric switches) could be eligible to be purchased under Category One. (Note: If the district has leased lit fiber, they would not qualify in this category).

More specifically, Category One eligible services include:

  • Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
  • Broadband over Power Lines
  • Cable Modem
  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
  • DS-1 (T-1), DS-3 (T-3), and Fractional T-1 or T-3
  • Ethernet
  • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

Note: Dedicated voice channels on an ISDN circuit are no longer eligible.

  • Leased Lit Fiber
  • Leased Dark Fiber (including dark fiber indefeasible rights of use (IRUs) for a set term)
  • Self-Provisioned Broadband Networks (applicant owned and operated networks)
  • Frame Relay
  • Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS
  • C-1, OC-3, OC-12, OC-n
  • Satellite
  • Switched Multimegabit Data Service
  • Telephone dial-up
  • Wireless (e.g., microwave)

There are three major benefits to purchasing network equipment under Category One.

  1. The discount percentage is higher than Category Two (if you have an 85% C2 discount, you’re your C1 Discount is 90%), which means less out of pocket cost to the district.
  1. There’s no budget cap. Remember, under Category 2, districts have a 5-year budget “cap” that determines how much e-rate funding they can receive for C2 over the 5-year cycle. Under Category 1, there is no “cap.”
  1.  Purchasing equipment under Category One doesn’t count toward Category Two funding limits.

Obtaining Extreme Networks technology under Category One: Choosing Extreme Fabric Connect

If you have questions about purchasing network equipment under Category One, Extreme Networks can help your district navigate the E-Rate process. We offer multiple robust network technology solutions specially designed for K-12 districts and campuses and a full team dedicated exclusively to helping our customers with E-rate questions, considerations, and procedures.

Extreme Fabric Connect is a disruptive technology that provides maximum network security and flexibility while dramatically reducing complexity. For many years, IT professionals have been designing networks using the same method: by adding protocols on top of protocols. Unfortunately, in the modern networking age, this is a band-aid approach that can’t keep pace with today’s needs in K-12. The good news is that Extreme Networks eliminates the limitations of legacy networks simply and elegantly by providing the following unique advantages for K-12 Category One projects:

  • End to end control: Extreme Fabric Connect eliminates the need to call your service provider to add VLANs or multicast on your wide-area connections. This technology puts schools in complete control of the network, end to end, regardless of what’s in the middle.
  • Lightning-fast convergence: Extreme Fabric Connect dramatically simplifies the network and provides deterministic traffic flows. Every Fabric Connect switch has network-wide intelligence, which results in sub 200 ms failover and recovery times for both unicast and multicast traffic – an unrivaled differentiator.
  • Fabric Connect Multicast: PIM multicast routing protocol is a most complex protocol, so many schools opt to run inefficient networks and forgo multicast routing support to avoid this complexity. However, as more 4K High Definition Video is added to the network, there are considerably negative impacts. Fabric Connect Multicast eliminates the need for PIM or DVMRP, simplifies configuration, doesn’t impact CPU performance, provides infinite scalability, and lightning-fast recovery times. A single Extreme Networks VSP switch can be inserted in non-Extreme network to solve a district’s multicast issues.
  • Maximum network security: Extreme Fabric Connect provides maximum network security and makes the network invisible to hackers, accomplished using hypersegmentation that groups devices into secure communities of interest. If a hacker compromises a device, they’ll be unable to “hop” to other communities of interest – also referred to as a stealth network. Additionally, networks are automatically extended to where they’re needed, then automatically retracted when they’re not. This enhances security, eliminates human error, and eliminates box by box configuration.

Finally, every network engineer has been bitten by a spanning tree issue at some point in their career.  Extreme Fabric Connect technology uses a technology that makes it impossible to create loops within the Fabric Connect domain so there’s no need to fear extending layer 2 networks where they are needed.

As you can see, there are many advantages to Extreme Fabric Connect in education.  This technology complements the existing Extreme Network advantages to simplify, secure, and automate the underlying network campus-wide. 

Please visit our Fabric Solution page and our E-Rate Resource Center to learn more.

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