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Why buy used network equipment?

Buying used network equipment makes more sense today than it ever has as the equipment is available now and at a low price. You save thousands on equipment and avoid large depreciation, which happens with new equipment.

Most network equipment while designed in the USA is built outside of the country. With supply chains shot, possession is critical and the used or seller refurbished (used, grade A, tested, defaulted) suppliers are the ones with the supply. This event shines the spotlight on what has become a growing and ascending market in the USA and the world.

Available now, low price

But more than just availability, the price is right. Working equipment at 1/10th of the cost of new makes the equipment that much more attractive. Depreciation on a used network equipment buy is much less than buying new equipment which loses over half its value once taken out of the box.

“We want it now and we want more tomorrow”

The market for both new and used network equipment is growing exponentially. From 2020 to 2026, the Global Networking Equipment market is expected to have a 7.85% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), moving from an industry valued at 9.83 billion USD to one valued at around 15.48 billion. The increased demand for wireless infrastructure from the pandemic is big. Also, is the rise of the Asia-Pacific market, increased threats to cyber security, and the need to modernize internal corporate networks. 

Consider this when buying used network equipment

Prices are rising and demand in demand is soaring in this market of inflation and disrupted supply chains. Other factors influencing the market are:

  1. Internet infrastructure is improving – worldwide. Higher speed access to the Internet will be available over the coming years from both local improvement projects and the 2021 Infrastructure Bill. This government initiative earmarks $550 billion in federal funds for improving America’s infrastructure, with a $65 billion investment in improving broadband access. For example, in the UK, Parliament is pushing for 85% of the UK to be gigabit broadband by 2025. This will increase demand for network products worldwide in a world already constrained by supply chain disruptions
  1. Internet download speeds are increasing. Internet download speeds will likely go from 15-100MB per second to 1 Gigabit In city centers or near communication nexus, this is likely to much more.  Current company, hospitals, and government networks built for lower speed internet access will become the choke point with the increased demand to use the faster speed. Upgrading internal network infrastructure will not only be demanded, companies will be requiring it to remain competitive.
  1. Upgrading, especially investing in all-new equipment, will not be possible. Current wait times for new network equipment is between four and ten months. After waiting for the new equipment to arrive, you will have to pay five to twenty times as much as used equipment that is available the next day. Reliable seller refurbished equipment is “the here and the now” and in the realm of “the possible and the why not“. The coming market demand squeeze will only be exacerbated by the supply chain issues. 
  1. Investing in all-new equipment is likely an environmental and ethical concern. Refurbished gear sidesteps the looming question of e-waste, a major question for both businesses and their consumers. Two-thirds of North Americans surveyed said that they prefer brands they see as eco-conscious. While IT has a great capacity to streamline data processing and lessen waste, creating, shipping, and installing all-new equipment regularly is now a major environmental problem. 
  1. Fundamental changes in the way the world works during the pandemic has forever placed an increased demand on corporate network infrastructure. Remoting employees, guaranteeing secure and powerful access, improving WiFi, and keeping speed high has put many of us in the tech world on permanent twelve hour work days. This, complicated by the supply chain issues, has made the price of highly demanded equipment skyrocket. Purchasing new equipment to replace aged or outdated network equipment can be prohibitive in a time of chip shortage and upheaval. 

Price your network infrastructure upgrades as you would an investment

The first question to ask in any investment: where are you getting your value from? Let’s compare New to Seller Refurbished.

New equipment offers:  

  1. Clean, defaulted equipment with all the parts needed to use the equipment,  
  2. A working router, switch, firewall or other piece of network equipment,
  3. A new box with the OEM logo,
  4. Hardware support from the manufacturer for a fixed period-of-time,
  5. Firmware upgrades for a limited period-of-time,
  6. Available in 4 to 10 months due to supply chain disruptions, and
  7. Higher price.

Seller Refurbished (quality, grade A used) equipment offers:

  1. Clean, defaulted equipment with all the parts needed to use the equipment,
  2. A working router, switch, firewall or other piece of network equipment 
  3. A new brown cardboard box without a logo, 
  4. Hardware support from the supplier for a simliar period-of-time,
  5. Available now, and
  6. Lower price.

Besides price, there are two notable differences: one box has an OEM logo and new may offer firmware updates. Many firms have one product on support from the OEM (“original equipment manufacturer”) and get their firmware updates for all their products. What is left for differences is the price of the box. After all else is removed as options, end-users realize that they are paying a tidy sum of money for what amounts to a “box opening ceremony“. From this perspective, one is paying potentially thousands of dollars just for the right to open the box with the OEM label first.

Used network equipment and your business

Used network equipment, when purchased from reputable retailers, is a lower-cost, high-reward solution to an increasing network hardware shortfall. As Internet access speeds increase, Internet infrastructure modernizes, environmental concerns loom, supply chains are disrupted, and demand for better equipment rises, used network equipment is the simple, quick, and elegant solution to a complex and multifaceted problem.

Gabrielle West
Gabrielle West
Gabrielle West is an experienced tech and travel writer currently based in New York City. Her work has appeared on Ladders, Ultrahuman, and more.

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