Network Refresh RFQ – Questions and Answers


Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) will be refreshing our Local Area Network (LAN) switches and routers. Currently, RCTC is using Extreme Networks switches/routers and Aruba Networks switches.

RCTC is looking for the latest Generation of Router/Switching hardware and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) management solution to meet the RCTC’s requirements.

For any questions related to this RFQ please submit through the webform to the right. The questions and answers will be updated on this page throughout the RFQ process.

  • The deadline for RFQ submissions is September 23, 2019 at 4:00 PM Central Time.
  • The deadline for submitting questions is 10 calendar days prior to the RFP submission deadline.

See the Questions and Answers below for more clarification on the project requirements.

Submit Your Questions

Questions and Answers:

Q1: Are any product training Services required?

A1: Not currently. If RCTC desires these services in the future, pricing will be requested outside of this RFP.


Q2: Beyond warranty requirements, are any product Support Services required?

A2: Yes, please provide 5 years of product support as part of the proposal


Q3: Are any deployment Services required?

A3: Not currently. If RCTC desires these services in the future, pricing will be requested outside of this RFP.


Q4: Can you provide additional information on why industrial-grade switches are required in a campus environment?

A4: RCTC has multiple locations throughout the network where switches are required that are not environmentally controlled. These switches are fed via fiber optics and then provide PoE services to outdoor wireless access points.


Q5: On page 22 – Datacenter Switches.
Statement – Each of the two (2) data centers should contain a minimum of four (6) switches.

Assume four should read six as 6 switches outlined in the section below but can you verify?

A5: The statement should read as follows.

Each of the two (2) data centers should contain a minimum of six (6) switches.


Q6: Section 7.3 on page 18 and 19 – Port Requirements
Under the notes section:
2 Due to the construction, a total of four (3) switches will be required in closet eh1

Chart – Industrial Grade Switches has “eh1” with # of switches as 1 and # of 1G ports as 12.

Should this read 3 switches and 36 ports for Industrial Grade Switches?

A6: The note should read as follows:

2 Due to the construction, a total of four (4) switches will be required in closet eh1

If you look in the South Aggregation Zone table, you will see that three (3) non-industrial grade switches are required in closet eh1 in addition to the one (1) industrial-grade switch.


Q7: Section 7.5 – Interoperability – Page 24
The SELLER shall define any unsupported features that the new system has when compared to the existing
system defined in Section 7.1.

Should this really read…. existing system defined in Section 8.1 (page 25)?

A7: Section 7.5 reads correctly. Section 7.5 is asking for a listing of any features/functions described in section 7.1 which are not supported by the new system being proposed in the RFP.


Q8: Is the deadline for submitting questions 10 business days (9/9) or 10 calendar days (9/13) prior to the RFP submission deadline?

A8: The deadline for submitting questions is 10 calendar days prior to the RFP submission deadline.


Q9: Will RCTC consider a split award contract?

A9: RCTC will not split the award of this contract


Q10: Will RCTC evaluate responses for only the hardware/SDN solution (without the services)?

A10: RCTC will evaluate the RFP as a whole. This includes all hardware, software and services as defined in the RFP.


Q11: Will RCTC extend the deadline for submissions by 2 weeks for all vendors to have adequate time to provide a complete and accurate solution and response?

A11: No, RCTC will not extend the deadline.


Q12: For Insurance Requirements (page 8), could vendor propose other coverage amounts than what are currently listed?

A12: The insurance coverage is created by Risk Management and approved by the Office of General Council.  This is standard coverage for our contracts.


Q13: What is the type of fiber optic cable and number of strands between the data center (core) and each of the buildings?

A13: There are various types of fiber optic cable between buildings. Pages 20 – 22 of Appendix 1, specify the types and quantities of optics required for each wiring closet.


Q14: What is the type of fiber optic cable and number of strands to each closet location within each building?

A14: See Question 13 on the web site (


Q15: Can we use PoE injectors as part of the Industrial Switch solution?

A15: While technically, PoE injectors are an option for the Industrial Grade Switches, it is preferred that PoE functionality is integrated into the switch. Please note that these switches are extremely space confined and have up to eight (8) wireless access points being fed from each switch. If the proposed PoE injectors will not fit in the space provided, the proposal may be rejected.


Q16: In regards to Section 8.1.4, item 6 (Per User / Device Visibility and Control) – Are you referring to terminal services and virtual app and desktop?

A16: This does not refer to end user device management, but network visibility and control. Such as, but not limited to, visibility of the end users devices which are registered with the network and the ability disable, block or unregister these devices.


Q17: In section 8.2 – User/Device Policy Management & Enforcement: What is the requirement for number of devices that need to be profiled and controlled?

A17: The system could have as many as 10,000 simultaneous active wired and wireless users on the network but could have as many as 25,000 registered users. It is expected that each user will average 2 devices per user on the network. This means there could be between 20,000 and 50,000 devices active and/or registered with the proposed system.


Q18: How do they plan to integrate with social media is it via Saml or authentication protocol?

A18: This has not been decided and will be determined by the capabilities of the awarded vendor equipment.


Q19: Is this project for internal network security (NAC) or for external users as well (VPN)
Get a user and device count. For example:
Internal security who many devices on the network and of those how many are authenticating users
How many users if VPN is in scope

A19: This is for internal authentication. Currently RCTC utilizes VMware Horizon for user remote access. Although, there may be some requirements for Point-to-Point and Remote Access VPNs for staff. Please see Question 17 on the web site ( for user counts. Please note that the system is expected to authenticate internal users as well as guest users.


Q20: Are they looking for redundancy. If so is it active/active or active / passive. How many sites
Do they want physical or virtual appliances

A20: While active/active resiliency is preferred, which mode is selected will depend on the capabilities of the awarded vendors system. RCTC would prefer to deploy virtual appliance(s) located in each of their two (2) data centers.


Q21: As two responses to vendor questions state that services will be requested outside of this RFP, why is there a Commissioner’s Plan EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT included under Section VI, RFP Response Submission? Is this something bidders are supposed to complete and submit with our response?

A21: Being that RCTC is a Dept. of the State of MN, we are only able to reimburse travel expenses that are within the Commissioner’s Plan”  amounts. A bidder may include, as part of their bid,  a line item for travel reimbursement.   If a bid does not include travel expenses, and the awarded business has an invoice with a separate line item for travel,  then we are not able to reimburse them.


Q22: It is our understanding that no professional services are being requested in the RFP, that it is for equipment and warranty only. Is that correct?

A22: Please see Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the web site (


Q23: A section says the switches “shall” support things like IS-IS, PIM, and other advanced L3 features. If L3 is terminated at the aggregation layer, do we really need to support these features at the edge?

A23: IN some instances, RCTC may require the ability to push L3 services to the edge switch. That being said, if the proposed equipment does not support these services the vendor is allowed to respond as non-compliant.


Q24: Which routing protocol are you going to use.

A24: This has not been determined and will depend on the capabilities of the awarded vendors system.


Q25: Any interest in MGIG?

A25: RCTC is interested in the ability to provide M-Gig to existing and future Wireless Access Points as well as other M-Gig capable devices.


Q26: Will IPsec be used on external access (internet) to intern resources or across the Local Area Network?

A26: Please see Question 19 on the web site (


Q27: In Option3, 40 GB Aggregation and Core, what type of fiber would be used between Core and Aggregation Layer for 40 GB?

A27: Please see Question 13 on the web site (


Q28: Is the desired section a separate build or a must-have in the Bill of Materials?

A28: The desired section are features RCTC “desires” to have in the proposed equipment, but are not required. They are not a separate build.


Q29: Is 10 GB required on the Industrial Ethernet Switches or will 1 GB be sufficient?

A29: All optics required for the industrial-grade switches are specified under on page 22 of Appendix 1.


Q30: Would the University consider an extension to the due date?

A30: Please see Question 11 on the web site (


Q31: Please confirm the required format for RFP narrative responses. To answers point by point questions from section 1 to section 8 should respondents be using Excel document entitled Appendix 2 or should respondents use format provided by Farr Technologies?

A31: All responses should be entered and submitted via the Excel spreadsheet provided by FARR Technologies titled Appendix 2 – Proposal Submission Form.xlsx


Q32: How many end users and end-user devices will need to be controlled and supported by (NAC) network access control?

A32: Please see Question 17 on the web site (


Q33: Please clarify if you require POE+ (30watts) per port across all ports or just that all 48 ports are POE+ capable. What is the required POE budget per switch?

A33: RCTC desires PoE+ across all ports on vendors the proposed edge switches.