Buying anything used or remnaufatured has as many benefits as it does risks, and when it comes to used networking equipment, this is no especially true. However, you can minimize the risks you take by choosing the company carefully with whom you want to work. Their knowledge of the industry, the products and licensing issues will help you make a choice with limited risks.
Choosing the used network equipment vendor
Begin screening the suppliers by asking for references. You may find that top-notch vendors give you the names and contact information of previous customers willingly. If there is hesitation or the company representative says that it's against company policy to do so, you may want to look elsewhere.
Look for their status with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Not all businesses that apply to the BBB for accreditation receive it. It's the first step you can take to evaluate the integrity of the company. You can also search the prospective supplier using the company name to see what their status is with this prestigious organization.
Questions to ask
Once you've found a potential vendor for used networking equipment, focus on these issues regarding their inspection and performance process:
How do they evaluate the products? Many suppliers grade the incoming equipment in terms of quality. Some assign grades, from A to F that serves as a starting point to help you make a selection. If your business depends in large part on the functionality of the equipment, it helps to know what you're getting.
How do they test the incoming products? A quality provider will bench test the equipment and let it run over time to verify its operation. They will clean and test it, remove old asset tags, markings and stickers. Once it's been bench tested, they'll give it a final inspection before packaging it for safe shipment.
Are their technicians factory-certified? Selecting a vendor whose staff has qualified for factory-certification increases the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with the used networking equipment.
What is the warranty? The minimum warranty period that's reasonable for used equipment is 90 days. Longer is always better. Ask the vendor what their customer support services include and what their turn-around is on replacement parts.
Can they send you more information about the product? Being able to see photos of
the product and its configuration helps you make an educated decision about what you're buying.
Do they routinely have spare parts? Minimize the risks associated with buying used equipment that you depend to conduct your business by learning the availability of the system's components. You may find that it makes financial sense to order one or more spare parts in the event of an unlikely breakdown. It may even be better than signing up for a maintenance contract, even if it promises same-day service.
Do they accept systems that are under a licensing agreement with Cisco? Cisco has been cracking down lately on the used market and not allowing used equipment access to SMARTnet or have warranties transferred. Your safest bet is to explore Cisco Refresh which is Cisco certified remanufactured equipment. With Cisco Refresh you get Cisco equipment at a fraction of the cost and peace of mind with SMARTnet eligible products, a lifetime warranty, and Cisco support.
By employing these tips, it's likely you'll have a successful experience when purchasing used networking equipment. In short, it starts and ends with the vendor or supplier. Looking for certifications, reputation and performance will steer you in the direction of a supplier whose products and services you can count on.