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New vs. Used IT Networking Hardware: Who Comes Out On Top?

by John Ciarlone on February 4, 2014

Do you always need the latest and greatest?used network equipment

One of the trickiest questions you can face when looking at a network IT purchase is whether to buy new hardware, or certified refurbished equipment. It makes a huge difference to your initial expenditures, as well as radically changing how the hardware is deployed going forward.

It's not a straightforward problem, and there are ultimately arguments that can be made in favor of both. It's really a question of which solution fits your needs at the moment.

Short on Time? Download our Free Guide: Refurbished Vs. Used Equipment

So, let's go head-to-head! Here's our breakdown of the advantages of both new and pre-owned, as well as which situations each is best suited for.

Cisco Refresh

New vs Used Network Equipment: The Showdown

  1. Buying New

The argument for buying new boils down to two primary factors: Features and long-term reliability.

Buying new means you're going to get the latest technologies, and this is important in a fast-changing industry like IT. When your average hardware investment is likely to be antiquated within 4-5 years, buying the best today means that you'll be able to keep it in use for years longer.

Accordingly, new hardware virtually always comes with better warranty and support options as well, except from the Cisco Refresh program which offers the same warranty as new. While many reputable vendors will now refurbish older hardware and offer their own warranties, you won't be able to get the manufacturer's assistance when buying used. This can especially be an issue when dealing with new technology, as there may be a learning curve involved.

It's also worth mentioning that new hardware will hold its value for longer, increasing your returns if you decide to later trade it in towards your next upgrade.

Basically, a company that buys new hardware is making an investment in its future. While the up-front costs are significantly higher, the improved reliability and longer lifespan can often add up to a better ROI over time.

II. Buying Used

The obvious argument for buying used network equipment comes from the capital expenditure, since pre-owned hardware can cost half as much -or even less- than a new hardware investment. However, there are actually several other factors in favor of used purchases that are often overlooked:

  • Faster implementation: New hardware is usually built to spec, or at least pre-configured by your vendor. This generally adds a lead time of 2-6 weeks for delivery, whereas used hardware is usually available for same-day installation. If you need network hardware ASAP, buy certified refurbished.

  • Lower learning curve: Known hardware and technologies require less training to use, and reduce the chances of your IT department making a mistake in implementation.

  • Existing systems compatibility: Quite often, buying one piece of new network hardware will necessitate buying more hardware that's compatible with it. Used hardware or even better, certified refurbished, makes it easier to swap out a single piece of equipment without setting off a chain reaction of upgrades.network-equipment

  • Easy parts replacement: Just like with older cars, older network hardware is much easier to have serviced. Parts are easier to obtain, and require less expertise to install.

Basically, if the present day is more important than your upcoming projections, certified refurbished hardware is probably the better option. That's not to depreciate future planning, but sometimes you just don't have the luxury of dealing with problems that are still years away.

Besides, even the biggest telecoms don't use entirely new hardware. If Verizon and AT&T are happy using certified refurbished hardware in their backbone, it's probably good enough for your business too!

Take a Look at Leasing

If you have your hear set on new equipment but don't have the capital to lay out upfront then leasing will be your best bet. IT leasing programs allow you to acquire the networking equipment you need with little to no upfront costs and relatively fair monthly payments. Another benefit with leasing is that you turn in the equipment after a few years once the newest version is released guaranteeing your network always has the latest products in its infrastructure. 

New or Used, We've Got You Covered

Hummingbird Networks is one of the top suppliers of networking equipment and expertise to companies in Southern California, as well as across the nation. We have a full catalog of the latest hardware, as well as a hand-picked selection of refurbished equipment that's as good as new.

Whether you need a replacement router immediately, or you need custom-tailored hardware, just tell us what you're looking for and we'll make it happen


Topics: Used Network Equipment, Vendors / Brands