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Manchester School District Managed WiFi Round 2 RFP

RFP Description - Here is a link to the full WiFi RFP


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Questions and Responses
The following list includes questions that were brought forward from Round 1 of our Wifi Bid.
Please enter your questions using this form.  
We will try to post the question along with the response within 24hrs.

Question 1:
There are many variations of POE switches available. Do you need gigabit ports, 12, 24 or 48 port models (or a mix of all three), or stacking capabilities within the switches?
Answer:
We are looking for recommendations from the responding vendors.  All hardware will be part of the vendor solution.

Question 2:
What type of connectivity exists between the schools?  Example: Fiber, MPLS, T1, VPN, etc.  Do you have a network diagram that could be provided?
Answer:
All of our schools are connected via a GB fiber MAN.   We would like to utilize this as an internal management network.   We are currently in the process of installing dedicated internet access via high speed broadband in each individual school for internet access.  We do not have a network diagram of our network at this time, but will try to get one posted prior to bid close.

Question 3:
You have 592 Access Points on the RFP; has a wireless survey been completed or was this an estimate?
Answer:
This is just an estimate based on our per school student population.

Question 4:
Do you have a data center for the district in one or multiple schools?  Do you have a Virtualized (VM) server environment?
Answer:
We have a centralized computer room located in the Administration building at 195 McGregor street.   However, most of our production data systems are currently cloud based, and our goal is to outsource all production servers.

Question 5:
Does the school have a Microsoft Active Directory server 2003 or 2008 for employees?
Answer:
Yes we currently maintain a 2003 Microsoft Active Directory domain and have plans to upgrade to 2008.

Question 6:
Seeing the number of Access Points  592 is a guestimate based on the % of students, Do you have the number of AP's per school listed, or is this information detailed on your floor plans ?
Answer:
Here is the estimated breakdown per school

Question 7:
Are you looking for FULL A/BG N coverage through out the district ?
Answer:
We will be effectively building our wireless network from the ground up.  That being said with wireless N being the best and newest, G being todays standard.  A/B being the older standard, having all three would be good, however if it is better to limit coverage, then we would definitely want to focus on N and G with A/B being lowest priority. 

Question 8:
Is Manchester looking to support Vo-WIFI ? Voice over WIFI or  Video over WIFI 
Answer:
We do not have plans at this time, but may consider at some point in the future.

Question 9:
How many networking closets currently exist?  Can you tell us where to find them on the building plans (room number)?
Answer:
We have 76 IDF's throughout the district.  Please refer to Question 6 for a breakdown per school.  Many of the floor plans above indicate location within the school (listed as MDF or IDF), however, we encourage you to gather that information during the scheduled walk-through visits to acquire a more accurate assessment.

Question 10:
What is the estimated project start date once the RFP is awarded? When does the project need to be completed by?
Answer:
We would anticipate a start date when funding is awarded,  July of 2013, and would hope for a completion date within 1 yr of start.

Question 11:
Once the AP locations have been determined; who do you anticipate pulling the CAT 5/6?
Answer:
We are looking for vendors to provide this service or team with a company that can provide this service, however we believe that most of the school wiring is CAT5E..

Question 12:
Does the Manchester School District currently have any existing wireless in schools throughout the district?  If so; what type and how many access points? 
Answer:
Our current  wireless infrastructure consist of an unknown number of retail wireless devices manufactured by various vendors including Apple airports, Linksys/Cisco ect.   This is a totally un-managed environment and in most cases we cannot control the inclusion of these devices due to lack of visibililty that a fully managed system affords. 

Question 13:
My understanding of the Manchester School District WiFi RFP were that the daily Walk Throughs were a mandatory part of the bid. Not all of the Vendor Candidates have made it a practice to attend all of the walk throughs. Can you advise if vendors will be disqualified for not attending every walk through?
Answer:
The Walk Throughs are not mandatory but were provided during round 1 to enable each vendor the opportunity to become familiar with as many school buildings as they see fit.

Question 14:
Is it the intention of the Manchester School District to replace all cabling, switching, routing, firewall equipment, and if not, can you advise which items you intend keeping. If your intention is a full and complete upgrade; switches, routers, cabling, firewalls, please confirm.
Answer
It is the intention of the Manchester School district to replace cabling, switching, routing, firewalls as needed, and we will consider the recommendation of each vendor in determining the extent of those replacements.

Question 15:
In order to effectively design and price a wireless network for the Manchester School district it is critical to have accurate and updated floor plans for ALL schools.  During our recent site walks, we have noticed that some of the plans posted were outdated and did not show any recent building addition floor plans.  Also we noticed on some that some of the classroom floor plans were missing.  Some examples to date include:

a. Central HS – new addition floor plans missing and missing and/or duplicate plans of floors
b.  West HS – Missing new addition floor plans
c.  McLaughlin Middle School – No plans

Our technical host on these walks was extremely helpful and eluded to the fact that it might be difficult(length of time) to obtain accurate plans from the City. If that is the case and as an alternate solution, might it be possible to obtain building fire escape floor plans (in electronic format) that are posted in some cases behind glass. 
Answer
Unfortunately we can only provide information that is readily at hand.   DVD copies are available to be picked up on request at the MSD admin office, 195 McGregor Street, Manchester NH  after signing a non-disclosure agreement.

Question 16:
General discussions among the vendors on the site walks have eluded to the possibility that the Manchester School District might be considering putting select schools out to bid individually as opposed to all schools collectively as being requested s current RFP. Would you be able to clarify your current RFP intentions relative to this?
Answer
The Manchester School District receives funding from a number of sources, including general fund, federal and state grants.  It is possible that the wireless infrastructure project funding could be supported by several different funding sources.  In this situation a proposal would need to be prepared that conformed to the guidelines of the specific grant which may or may not dictate specific schools.

Question 17:
Going over the cable drops per school it shows 688 cables total; to 592 wireless access points.  Which number should the RFP show; 688 or 592?  What are the additional for if 688?
Answer
The extra cables are feeds from each switch in separate IDF closets. 1 cable per AP plus 1 per switch.  Here is the estimated breakdown per school.

Question 18:
Under “Content of Proposals”
1)        Item 2 lists a requirement for a fully managed Wifi network. Can you provide an define fully managed service? Is this hardware warranty? Remote monitoring? Logging and security management?

2)        E-Rate does not cover managed services. Will managed services be covered directly by Manchester public schools?

3)        Item 3 “The proposed Wifi Access service must have the best possible response time for a technician to get service back up and running in the event of an incident outlined on  the proposal.” We cannot find an event of an incident outlined on the proposal. Can you provide a list of expected events a vendor would be accountable for?
Answer
1. For our requirement "fully managed" means the ability for the IT department to control, configure and troubleshoot controllers and APs from a central location.  
2.  We understand that managed services are not covered under ERate, and would expect to cover the cost of such services if we feel they would be necessary to the operation of the network.   
3.  Item 3 is asking for your service repair policy and response times.

Question 19:
1)        Is Riser rated or Plenum rated cabling required?

2)        While surveying the sites, the following items should be taken into consideration and noted for each Cat5e cable run:

a.        Length of each Cat5e cable run from the AP installation location to its   
 corresponding switch location should not exceed 300 feet.

b.        For each Cat5e cable run identify if a building wall penetration(s) are required, the type of wall structure (drywall, cinderblock (hollow or filled), concrete, etc.) and wall thickness.

c.        Is a modular outlet “biscuit” jack required for each AP installation location or can the Cat5e cabling be directly connect to the AP via an RJ-45 modular connector?

d.        Is cabling raceway conduit required only in “exposed” areas? If yes, the type of conduit required. (i.e., metallic EMT, IMC or Rigid, PVC Panduit, metallic Panduit)

e.        Ceilings: Note type of Ceiling structure that Cat5e run will transverse (hard drywall/plaster, suspended tile with grid structure, concrete, etc)

f.        Is there “attic” area above the suspended or hard ceiling in which the Cat5e cabling pathway can be ran?

1.        What is the working area height of the ceiling attic area?

2.  If/when running Cat5e cabling above a suspended or hard ceiling can it run “free” with the use of “J” hooks to secure it to a supporting roof above or floor structure?  

3)        Is there any “backbone” cabling (i.e. fiber) that needs to be installed between the AP data switches and the wireless platform controller? (i.e. from IDFs closet switch(s) to the wireless controller(s) MDF closet)

4)        Identify the existing available wall and or rack space in the IDF and MDF closets to support the installation of the switches and controllers required.

5)        Are the AP Cat5e runs to be connected directly to the IDF switches or terminated to a patch panel and then patched to the switch?

6)        Are any new AC circuits and or outlets required to support the switches and controllers?

7)        Is equipment and or new AC circuits connection to back-up AC Power required?  

8)        Is there any prevailing wage requirement such as Davis-Bacon?

9)        Can the cabling work be performed during normal school/business hours or does it have to be performed after school hours?

10) Any known or suspected asbestos presence in any of the schools?

Answer
1. Vendor must work within municipal codes, these may vary per building.   
2a. consideration duly noted  
2b. consideration duly noted  
2c. best option as recommended by vendor 
2d. Vendor must work within municipal codes, these may vary per building.  
2e consideration duly noted  
2f.  Vendor must work within municipal codes, these may vary per building.  
1.  Vendor must work within municipal codes, these may vary per building. 
2.  Vendor must work within municipal codes, these may vary per building.  
3.  best option as recommended by vendor  
4.  best option as recommended by vendor  
5.  best option as recommended by vendor  
6.  best option as recommended by vendor  
7.  best option as recommended by vendor  
8. Vendor must work within municipal codes, these may vary per building.  
9.  Typically this can be done during school hours.


Question 20:
1.)        We have received the new Manchester School District Drawings; is it possible to have them updated with the Schools’ current MDF and IDF Locations
2.)        With regard to Q. 17; please indicate MDF and IDF locations which were originally missing from the initial set of plans; Central HS new addition and missing floor plans, West HS new addition and McLaughlin which had no plans; please indicate MDF and IDF locations.
3.)        With regard to Q. 16; please indicate if the Manchester SAU#37 would be open to a network assessment, or network readiness testing to complete the necessary requirements for replacement of network upgrade, network switches, routing and firewalls. Does Manchester SAU#37 have the network tools to perform this testing, or would you prefer that the vendor performs this function.
4.)        Please confirm the number of Access Points required.
Answer
1.  It is not possible to update the drawings as these have been provided by the City of Manchester Facilities department. 
2. We do not have that information and the vendor must calculate as close as possible based on information obtained during walk through of the schools.  
3. We would expect that network assessment and network readiness testing would be part of the overall implementation plan and priced as part of the proposal.  MSD does not have the tools to perform this testing and would expect the vendor to provide this.  
4. The number of Access points required will be determined by the vendor.

Question 21:
Does the district want pricing for installation in the proposal, or does the district intend to do the installation itself?
Answer
We would like the vendor to perform installation

Question 22:
With regard to the new MSD#37 drawings; please advise if the IT Dept. can transfer the MDF and IDF locations onto the new drawings.
Answer:
We do not have the ability to transfer MDF and IDF locations on to the drawings.

Question 23:
Regarding material storage, can we ship the required materials to each of the schools individually, and is storage available on-site, or will we ship everything to one central location (SAU)?
Answer:
Materials may be shipped to each school.

Question 24:
Does each school currently have it's own network?  Meaning the entire school district is connected over the WAN/MAN backbone fiber.  Does each school have it's own VLANs and subnets?  Does each school have L3 devices currently on site; routing gateways?
Answer:
Yes each school is divided via VLANS in one or more subnets, a L3 device and gateway.

Question 25:
Upon examination of the Manchester School District e-rate funding application and the Manchester School District’s fiscal years 2012 and 2013 budgets (all public knowledge), it is apparent that the MSD will be required to self-fund approximately anywhere from 10% to 30% of this project IF e-rate level 2 funding is approved. This expenditure is not readily identified in the MSD FY 2012 or 2013 budgets. How does the Manchester School District plan on fully funding this project if e-rate funding is approved?
Answer:
The project is contingent upon the Board of School Committee approving the required district funding.  Once we know the full cost a decision will be made whether or not this project will be feasible based on the 2014 budget numbers.

Question 26:
1.        Will there be copper Ethernet drops into the classrooms that will be run off of the same switches powering the Wi-Fi Access Points?  If so how many and will these cooper ports need to be PoE/PoE+ also?
2.        Will the school continue to use the existing Ethernet Switch and Route infrastructure in the core of each school or does the school district need to replace the core for each school?
Answer:
We will utilize existing infrastructure where possible and upgrade where necessary based on vendor recommendations.

Question 27:
1.)        Would Manchester SAU#37 provide updated maps for the identification of the IDFs and MDFs on the new D drawings; schematics of the schools?
2.)        Does Manchester SAU#37 want us to provide our proposal with exact # of AP Wireless end points and switches as indicated on the RFP, or, should we provide what we believe would be the “working solution” for the RFP?
3.)        Regarding the installation/deployment contract, does the contract take place 7/2013 and continue until 7/2014?
Answer:
1.  We do not have the ability to update the maps as the floor plans are provided by the Manchester City Facilities department.  2. The number of AP end points are provides for reference only, please provide your recommended working solution.

Question 28:
. IDF connections within schools: 1.What medium is used to interconnect IDFs within the schools? (examples include copper, fiber (SM or MM) 2.Please confirm the number of fiber 
Answer:
We believe most IDF connections are made via Multimode fiber runs.

Question 29:
Broadband Internet connections in schools: 

1. Please describe the preferred method to support broadband Internet services at each school. If access routers are envisioned, please indicate the maximum Service Level Agreement, describe key features and indicate the type & number of ports.
Answer:
We are utilizing a dedicated comcast 20mb internet connection in each school. Currently we are using a combination of Meraki MX80 and SonicWall NSA 240's with TotalSecure. We are anticipating requiring higher level firewalls and potentially more bandwidth to accommodate higher user density.

Question 30:
1.) What will the selection criteria be for vendor selection on the WiFi RFP? 2.) Please also list the selection criteria and the weight associated with each of the selection criteria in bid responses. 3.) Please also indicate the process of selection once a short list of vendors are identified.
Answer:
1. Cost of Eligible Goods and Services 21%, Financial Stability 20%, Prior Experience with district 20%, Cost Erate Ineligible services 20%, In-state vendor/Reseller Association 19%. Once a short list of vendors is selected we will contact each vendor for a more detailed explanation of their proposal to ensure all information is clearly understood.

Question 31:
• Can you please confirm if the current planned implementation timeline remains from 7/13 through 7/14 per the "Term of Contract" as outlined in the RFP assuming funding is obtained? • The quantity of actual schools to be included based on funding, and whether implementation can be scheduled without break in sequence, will have an impact on the duration and quantity of deployments associated with completing this work, and thus, the cost. For example, if all 22 schools are awarded and they can be scheduled in sequence without substantial break in the work schedule between them, then a single initial deployment could be the only deployment through to completion with 12 months of deployment. If all 22 schools are awarded but they CANNOT be scheduled in sequence and teams must be individually deployed by school, then re-deployed again when the next school can start based on scheduling, that could be up to 22 deployments vs. 1 in the prior example. Can you provide direction on how you would like to see the pricing as it relates to the duration of deployment and the number of individual deployments to be included?
Answer:
Yes we hope to deploy within the same year that funding is secured. We do not anticipate any problem with scheduling deployments based on the best case scenario from the vendor perspective. 1 deployment or 22 separate deployments make no difference to the MSD.

Question 32:
1. For the IDF closets that exceed distance limitations from MDF, we have factored in copper for all cable runs. They would most likely require fiber runs but what type of fiber would be specified and would we be able to use existing innerduct as pathways from MDF to IDF’s. 2.. Some of the modular buildings at the schools that were unoccupied, will they be wired? 3. At the walk throughs we where shown all the wiring closets which I noted; when I compare my notes to the list provided by MSD the number of wiring closets don’t mach up on 14 of the 22 schools on the list. We can provide our list from the walk through which would show the discrepancies compared to list provided in the RFP. 4. We also walked through the MSD administration building that didn’t make the list or we didn’t receive any floor plans for that location. Are there any floor plans available?
Answer:
1. Any runs that exceed the distance limitation is normally covered with multi-mode fiber runs and would utilize existing interduct pathways.  
2. Most modular buildings at the schools are minimally wired with a few CAT5 cable connectioins.  
3. The original documentation regarding number of wiring closets may not be accurate as this information is cited from old documentation. Information gained from the walk through is most accurate.  
4. Floor plans for the administration building are not available at this time.

Question 33:
For the Round 2 RFP - Can you please provide clarification of the District's definition of fully managed Wifi network? Specifically regarding the statement “We are looking to install a fully managed Wifi network that will facilitate a public and private wireless network. This network must have the capability of supporting a 1 to 1 student to device environment.”

1) Is this end user support? E.g. students in the school system.
2) Is this simply the technology’s ability to manage wired devices and endpoints?
3) Is this a remote monitoring/management solution for the network hardware and software eliminating the need for local IT support at the school locations?
Answer:
1. This is to support students and staff bringing their own devices to school, as well as support for school provided devices. 2. Fully managed means the ability to monitor and control both wired and wireless end user devices as well as access points. The specific management critera can be found in the bid section labeled "selection criteria". 3. This does not eliminate the need for support at the schools, it does however provide a platform and toolset for support personell to utilize.

Question 34:
Can we get an Interested Bidder's List for the Wifi/Network Management Access Schools-Round 2?
Answer:
No Bidders have not responded yet as the bid deadline is 3/18/2013.

Question 35:
Can we get a list of bidders who responded to the following RFPs:
Wifi Access Schools, dated July 13, 2012?
Wifi Access Schools, dated January 9, 2012?
Answer:
July 13, 2012 - Boston Systems & Solutions, Whalley Computers, RJL Technologies Integration, Red River, Insight Public Sector, TNT, Fusion Connex LLC, Ronco Communication.    
January 9, 2012 - Advizex, CBE Technologies, Whally Computers, Carosel, Amer Networks, TNT, Boston Systems & Solutions, Fusion Connex LLC, Green Mountain Communications, Pittsburgh Networks

Question 36:
For the Round 2 RFP – Which part of the existing hardware and software infrastructure need to be preserved?
Answer:
We do not necessarily need to preserve any of our existing hardware and software infrastructure, we are looking for recommendations from the solution vendors.