Should You Buy Used Network Equipment?


Networking hardware is also known as network equipment, and these are key electronic components in an office because they mediate communication and interactions between the devices on your computer network. Specifically, network hardware handles data transmission. 

There are a wide variety of different types of networking devices, including data center equipment. Data center equipment includes file servers and storage areas. There are also routers, modems, wireless access points, and hybrid network devices. 

If you’re operating a business, one question you may have is whether or not it’s a good idea to go about saving money on quality network equipment by purchasing used components. 

The following explores the pros and cons of purchasing used equipment and other things you need to know to make the right decision for your business. 

Network Basics

If you’re a startup, you probably want to spend the least amount possible on your networking equipment, and that’s likely not a preference but a necessity. You simply don’t have the budget for massive network investments, but you need the equipment.

The foundational elements of networking include switches, routers, and wireless access points. 

  • Switches are like a controller, and they connect things like your computers or servers to the network in your building. You can choose from on-premise or cloud-managed switches, and this decision really comes down to the needs of your team. If you have a small team and you don’t need extremely tight control of traffic, cloud-managed may be sufficient. 
  • Routers serve as a connection between multiple networks, and they connect computers on a network to the Internet. When you have routers, all of the computers are your network share one connection. 
  • Access points are what lets devices connect to a wireless network without the use of cables, and they provide a fair amount of flexibility in terms of bringing devices online.

Again, these aren’t all of the components of a network but are the foundational elements. 

There are varying scenarios where you might be in the market to buy new network equipment. You may be buying it for the first time if you’re a new business. You don’t necessarily want to make massive investments into the infrastructure of a new business if you don’t know how well it’s going to perform.

You may also be planning to scale your network up for an expansion, such as the addition of new devices, or you may have equipment that’s malfunctioning, and you need to replace it. 

So, to save money, should you buy new or used?

The Pros of Buying Used

When you buy used network hardware, particularly an expensive brand such as Cisco hardware solutions, there are going to be quite a few benefits. 

Benefits of buying used network equipment include:

  • It’s less expensive. This is a big advantage over all, and buying used is one of the best ways to save cash on hardware expenditures. If you buy new equipment, you’re going to be paying the highest price, and you’re also going to be paying for those hidden costs companies add in such as the costs of research and development. With used equipment, not only is the price going to be lower, but you may also be able to negotiate. 
  • If you buy from a seller who has an agreement with the original equipment manufacturer, you may get the benefit of the full warranty. 
  • Before you buy used equipment, as long as you’re doing so from a reputable company, you are going to have the peace of mind of knowing that technicians tested all the components carefully and, when necessary, replaced defective parts. 
  • When you buy from a seller that offers a warranty, you actually can get better protection than if you were to buy new. There’s a reason for this—during the inspection process, there may be issues that are fixed that an original seller might not identify. 
  • Buying equipment that has a long, proven history is good in that if something breaks and needs repairs, it’s going to be easier to find the parts you might need, and the repair process is likely to be simpler. 
  • If you want to reduce your environmental impact as part of your business objectives, buying used equipment is helpful in this area also. 

Are There Any Disadvantages?

The only real disadvantages to buying used network equipment tend to come from the fact that maybe you don’t buy from a reputable dealer. The primary issues that could occur might include that it’s overwhelming to check every detail and make sure it’s in good working condition before you buy something, but the dealer should take care of that for you. 

There’s also the consideration that you don’t know the lifespan of the equipment and how long it’s really going to last, but with warranties and easily sourced labor and parts, again, this is a fairly easy downside to overcome. 

What Else Should You Know?

Before you purchase used network equipment, where you really want to put your focus is on researching the vendor. 

You want a reseller that stocks their own inventory because they’re going to have the most knowledge about the products available. If you already know exactly what you need, you can just let the vendor know, and they’ll handle it for you. 

When choosing a vendor, ask about their quality control and testing process. For example, how do they go through each element of hardware and look for damage as well as checking to ensure it’s working as it should?

Finally, it’s usually best to go with a company that specifically focuses its sale on a few products. There are general electronics companies that sell network components, but then they’re not going to be able to offer a high level of expertise in any one thing. 

This can be especially important if you’re buying network equipment for the first time and aren’t really sure where to start. Look for a vendor with an in-house warranty on all of their products, too, for additional protection.