Used network equipment is a great way to fully leverage your IT hardware budget--but there are pitfalls to avoid in the process. In order to make your used network equipment buying experience as positive as possible, be sure to ask lots of questions of your reseller, including the nine questions that follow below:
- Where does your used networking gear come from? For many networking professsionals, this is the $64,000 question. Quite often, when a networking pro has hesitations about purchasing refurbished networking equipment, it's because he or she is unsure about where the gear came from, how it was treated, and whether its condition upon resale will meet their business requirements. Rather than ask the reseller, many pros simply walk away from used gear based on what they think they know and lose an opportunity for significant cost savings. Provided that they were dealing with a reputable networking equipment reseller in the first place, if the IT professional had asked about the source of the reseller's networking equipment they would have most likely heard one of two answers: 1) The used networking equipment was acquired when a company decided to upgrade to the latest and greatest network system; or 2) The used networking equipment was purchased from a leasing company when it was time to upgrade.
- What diagnostic tests do you run on incoming networking equipment? Reputable resellers will be able to tell you exactly what diagnostic testing is performed on any networking equipment they bring into their inventory. These tests ensure that the used equipment is functional and should also identify any updates or fixes that are required to bring the gear back to like new condition. On the other hand, if you're talking to a reseller that dodges the question or gives unclear answers about diagnostic testing be sure to investigate further before making any equipment purchase.
- What is your refurbishment process for used routers, switches, and firewalls? Resellers of quality used networking equipment will have a clear refurbishment process in place to get used gear up to speed before resale. Asking your reseller for the details of their refurbishment process as well as for their refurbishment standards will help you decide if the reseller's gear will meet your quality requirements. For example, if your reseller resets all network equipment to the original equipment manufacturer's (OEM's) factory settings, you can be confident that you are getting like new equipment for a fraction of the cost of new gear.
- What certifications do your network technicians hold? You might think that all resellers use OEM certified technicians to do their refurbishment work, but you'd be wrong. Be sure to ask who the reseller uses to test, repair and configure their network equipment and whether or not they are certified to work on the gear in question.
- Does your company conduct on-site repairs? It might not seem super important at first, but knowing whether your reseller partner can handle on-site repairs--preferably at the board level--will make a difference in the quality of the equipment you receive. It will also help to keep the price down. Resellers with internal repair departments are more likely to be concerned about the quality of each repair since any repair failures will point back directly to them. Without a third party repair company to blame, internal repair departments are committed to getting the repair right the first time. Additionally, not having to farm out the repair to a third party eliminates the cost of outsourced repair services--keeping your final cost down.