What's the Difference Between Refurbished and Used Equipment?
Everyone is planning on buying some piece of networking or telecom equipment in 2017. Why not make your budget go further and look at refurbished equipment. Buying refurbished network or telecom gear can offer significant savings over buying new 99% of the time. When searching you're likely to see two types of pre-owned networking hardware offered on the market today; used and refurbished. But what's the difference? And more importantly, is there a notable difference besides price? (Ex. Warranty? Advanced Replacement? Manufacturer support eligible?)
I'm going to break down the difference between used equipment and refurbished equipment, giving you more knowledge and a better understanding as you decide what to buy.
The first thing you should keep in mind as you decide whether to buy used equipment or refurbished is this all important truth:
While all refurbished networking hardware is assumed pre-owned (aka: used), not all used networking hardware is refurbished. Let's break that down another way. Refurbished hardware has been subjected to testing, cleaning, replacement of some components and repairs that used gear has not. What does this all mean to me? Top take away: Refurbished gear is better than "used" gear as it goes through a rigorous process of testing and restoration which brings the equipment back to a "like new" condition. What does that mean?
- Equipment is in "like new" physical condition. Physical condition is one of the most obvious difference when comparing refurbished equipment to used. When you purchase refurbished networking or telecom hardware, you're likely to receive a piece of equipment that is indistinguishable from brand new gear. (The outer shell has been replaced/ repainted to look just like the item did from the manufacturer.) In short, it looks brand new without the brand new cost. Most cases at least half of what new would cost or better! Don't spend money on gear that looks like it has been abused before you bought it.
- Equipment is returned to original factory settings. Reputable re-sellers return networking hardware to the original factory settings during the refurbishment process. You shouldn't buy a refurbished piece of gear with someone else's information/ programming still on it. If you do, it's likely that you are not purchasing from a very reputable source.
- Equipment has been tested multiple times to ensure performance and reliability. Refurbished networking equipment has been rigorously tested to ensure that it is reliable and works as promised. In most cases the item is tested multiple times. For example: it's tested when it arrives at the refurbishment company, during the refurbishment process, before it’s put into inventory for sale, and again before it ships to the customer. Reputable vendors will stand behind this process with a lifetime warranty with advanced replacement warranty. This should be standard. You want to buy from a company that stands behind their product and process. Most often a piece of used equipment is tested to by the process of if the equipment actually lights up when it is plugged in and is not warrantied or maybe only comes with a Non-DOA warranty (Dead on arrival) or 30 day warranty.
- Equipment should be able to add support and maintenance to it. Equipment that is refurbished by a reputable source will be eligible for an OEM and or third party support and maintenance program. Reputable re sellers of refurbished gear have their own third party maintenance programs which can save you significantly over the cost of OEM maintenance. Given that used equipment is not thoroughly tested, cleaned, or returned to the original factory settings. Getting OEM maintenance on these items will be next to impossible and will be a huge headache to you and your company.
- Make sure the equipment is guaranteed to be authentic. Reputable re sellers who refurbish and or resell network and or telecom gear have a rigorous process that ensures that they eliminate any and all questionable gear from their stock. Stay away from any As-is/ non warrantied items.
- Again I can't stress enough you need to buy from a company that stands behind the equipment. When it comes to buying used networking gear or refurbished networking equipment, it's essential to ask yourself whether or not the re-seller will stand behind the purchase. Check out the company's warranty. Make sure they offer Lifetime warranty with lifetime advanced replacement. You don't want to spend hours on the phone troubleshooting while your network's down and your boss is on you like white on rice!
Save money and buy refurbished gear with confidence by using these tips on the difference between refurbished and used equipment.