Refurbished network hardware is the latest thing for hip IT managers who consider themselves "in the know". The used equipment is often renovated by various resellers and integrators, reset and error free. They are then sold in the secondary market at up to 90% off of list price. Products are available even in the most sophisticated and obscure models, and often come with a warranty that supersedes even that of the original manufacturer.
How is the hardware refurbished?
Networking products usually pass a grueling inspection, upgrade and update checklist. This includes testing under a variety of conditions to ensure that electronics, connectivity ports, memory configuration, firmware/software and electrical components perform to standards.
What about the warranty of a refurbished hardware appliance?
Most resellers offer a minimum warranty of three months. It varies with the policy of the supplier. Extended warranty up to two years can be availed from some retailers.
What to look out for when buying refurbished?
There is a growing concern in the industry surrounding fake equipment. Anyone who has taken a stroll down Manhattan's Canal Street lately has no doubt become aware of the thriving market for fake Rolexes, Luis Vuitton hand bags and the like. This phenomenon has recently infiltrated the network hardware market. These fakes, often referred to in the industry as, "Chisco" (fake Cisco products originating in China), are popping up more and more. Cisco Systems is the largest provider of Internet telephony equipment in the world, and account for some 80% of all used equipment sales worldwide. This enormous popularity has made them the obvious target for such fake product reproduction.
It helps to have a few tools to protect yourself from fraud. Rule 1 when shopping for used equipment is to be wary of suppliers from China. Historically, most of these fakes have originated somewhere in China. So be careful when dealing with a Chinese supplier. Try to deal with a reputable supplier and develop a relationship. It helps to look for quality business certifications such as "ISO 9001" and others when choosing a reseller.
When using online auctions, feedback is king! Make sure you deal exclusively with resellers who have significant positive feedback from multiple people. Take a quick peek at the actual responses and confirm that they in-fact come from unique sources and not all the same person. People have been known online, to buy large inexpensive quantities from one another to essentially stuff the ballot box and artificially flood the others feedback score.
Who are some of the leading companies in the refurbished hardware market?
I will breakdown this answer into 2 individual categories. The outlet seller and the full service provider.
Full service provider:
These organizations offer a full suite of services for the IT customer. In this model, relationships are formed between the salesperson and customer. The sales cycle can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 year. The customer will usually disclose all relevant information regarding their project or current network configuration. Educated sales people here will assist the customer to make decision about what product or products might best solve their particular business needs. These providers will often offer integration services as well, helping the customer to install the new equipment into their existing set-up. A prime example of this type of sale would be Digital warehouse. DW is a certified NY based full service supplier of refurbished network hardware. Their mission is "reducing the cost of network infrastructure", and that's exactly what they do. With a rigorous reconditioning and testing process coupled with a warranty program that rivals anyone else's in the industry, they allow you to feel safe and secure that you are getting quality second hand hardware at a great price.
Online outlet sales have recently emerged as a new trend in the used hardware industry. Direct selling online has become the latest luxury for IT professionals who know what they want or need. Usedcisco's. website is the ideal address for such transactions. They borrowed Michael Dell's direct approach to selling online and moved away from the traditional consultative sales approach. Basically, assuming that many of these products have become commoditized and listed products and pricing directly on their site. For the first time, an end user could go online quickly and source product at a reasonable price, place the order and be finished in record time. Never once having to deal with a salesperson along the way.
What is the difference between refurbished hardware and used hardware?
Refurbished hardware are renovated, reset and fully tested. The term "used hardware" is often used synonymously with refurbished hardwarein this industry. However; on occasion, particularly in online auctions, the term "used", may also mean that it has not been tested or reconditioned in any way. Under such circumstances it is preferential to inquire about the specifics before purchasing under the title "used".
Are there any other price advantages associated with refurbished hardware?
Absolutely! You can expect to save anywhere form 30 - 90% off list price when buying used. Traditionally people would shy away from used equipment because of the inherent risk that it presented. However, with current competition in the secondary market resellers have raised their quality standards. They now provide guarantee's that outlast the original warranty given when the unit was new.
What does all this mean to you?
This means that most of the risk formerly associated with buying hardware used has been eliminated. With a little bit of knowledge and a touch of common sense you can now enjoy massive discounts on IT equipment, stress free! Making "reconditioned", the new way to go for hip IT professionals everywhere.