Buying Used Network Equipment: A Complete Guide
The process of buying used network equipment can be daunting. It’s often the most important piece of infrastructure that enterprises and service providers have to buy. This means any equipment you purchase has to work — and work well.
Getting a great deal when you buy refurbished networking hardware is one thing, but making sure you understand the entire buying process will help you avoid any catastrophic mistakes.
In addition, part of the process of buying pre-owned network equipment is making sure you’re prepared for when it arrives. In reality, the buying process isn’t over until your equipment is hooked up and running without you encountering any major issues.
If you’re replacing existing hardware, for example, you’re going to — at the very least — need to move it in order to make space for the new equipment. You’ll also need to be prepared for any downtime that’s expected to occur if you’re switching out new hardware.
In order to help make sure everything runs smoothly when you buy used networking hardware, we’ve put together this in-depth guide explaining the entire process, start to finish.
Once you’ve made your way through the guide, check out our selection of used data center equipment. We stock the highest quality used network equipment made by some of the industry’s best manufacturers, including Arista Networks, Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems.
Who Buys Refurbished Networking Hardware, and Why?
Used IT equipment buyers range from individuals to large-scale operations — like hosting companies. It all depends on what kind of capabilities you’re looking for.
At BrightStar Systems, we specialize in selling high-end data center equipment in bulk. Buying equipment in bulk is the most cost-effective and efficient way to buy used network equipment.
Let’s say, for example, you need to replace a few dozen devices now, but you’re going to have to replace a few hundred devices in the next couple years.
In that case, you should consider replacing everything at once; that way, you’ll pay for shipping only once and increase your chances of getting a discount for buying in bulk.
But not all used network equipment resellers buy hundreds of pieces of equipment at once.
A small business that has an office with only a few people or an IT consultant looking for a solution for a client may be looking to buy used routers and buy switches in smaller quantities.
It also makes sense to buy equipment directly from resellers on an online marketplace if you’re looking for a few very specific models. Larger resellers are stringent when it comes to pricing. Individuals and small businesses, however, are flexible, so you’re more likely to get a great deal.
But if you’re looking to buy high-end data center equipment in bulk, it’s likely because you’re in one of the following situations:
1. This is the first time you’re buying network hardware.
Just like any other business, if you’re just starting out, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest a ton of money in your business’s infrastructure. Spending a lot up front — especially when you’re not sure how things are going to go — is only going to make it harder to recover in the long run if things start to go downhill.
2. You need to expand your existing network.
Whether you’re a large-scale enterprise that has its own network, or you provide services for other companies’ networks, you’re likely going to have to expand your existing network at some point in order to support more devices or faster speeds.
3. Your existing equipment is broken and you need to replace it.
If you’re in this situation, time and cost mean everything; you’re looking for a quick and cost-effective solution so you can get things back up and running. With everything you already have to budget for, it can be tough to set aside funds for hardware maintenance, but we offer great pricing when you buy refurbished networking hardware in bulk.
4. Your existing equipment is not getting the job done and you need better hardware.
You need experts — people who really understand the needs of hosting companies, service providers, cable operators and large-scale enterprises, and have worked with them for years — to guide you through the buying process.
5. Your existing equipment is old and you want to replace it.
It’s only a matter of time before your used network equipment starts to age, and as a result, its performance may start to drag. When this happens, your best bet is replacing it.
Regardless of why you’re purchasing refurbished networking hardware, BrightStar Systems can help you determine which equipment is the best solution for your specific circumstances.
Benefits of Buying Used Network Equipment vs New Hardware
There are several advantages of purchasing used network equipment, but the biggest is that it’s more cost effective.
No matter what industry your business is in, one of your goals is likely to minimize overhead costs. Refurbished networking hardware is certainly part of that, but you can easily reduce the amount of money you spend on your network equipment by purchasing pre-owned devices.
This is even more important for operations that need to buy networking equipment on a larger scale — some require hundreds or even thousands — of pieces of hardware. And when you’re looking to buy a lot of equipment, the smallest percent difference can save you a ton.
On top of that, if your business relies heavily on hardware usage, you’re going to be replacing or expanding your network more frequently. Think about how much you could save over the course of several rounds of replacing equipment if you buy used versus new networking hardware.
Lastly, you don’t take on as much financial liability when you buy used network equipment as you do when you buy new hardware. If you encounter an issue with your new hardware that’s not covered under a warranty, you’ll lose a lot more than you would if you bought it used.
Another benefit of purchasing used network equipment is being able to buy legacy equipment — hardware no longer made by the manufacturer but that’s still available through resellers.
This is important for a few reasons:
- You’re having an issue with a piece of legacy equipment but only need the parts to fix it.
- You need to replace only a single piece of legacy equipment that’s not working.
- You need to replace a lot of legacy equipment, but you don’t need upgraded equipment.
- You to replace a modular chassis that’s compatible only with legacy modules.
A third benefit of working with a used networking vendor is that they often sell and buy pre-owned equipment, which makes it incredibly easy to replace hardware.
When you work with us, you can even sell pre-owned network equipment without knowing whether or not it’s in full operating condition, since we have a world class test environment, in house.
So even if you have hardware gathering dust on a shelf somewhere, you may be able to get something for it and put that toward your order.
What To Look For In a Refurbished Network Hardware Reseller
Considering how big of a decision selling used hardware is, you’ll want to look for a networking vendor that meets a few key pieces of criteria.
First and foremost, make sure you buy used network hardware from a reseller that stocks their own inventory. They will not only be able to provide the best pricing and availability information; they’ll also be very knowledgeable about all their products.
And if you already know exactly which products, or the part numbers for the products, you’re looking to buy, working with a stocking reseller makes the process especially easy. That way, all you have to do is supply the vendor a list of what you need, and they can take it from there.
On top of that, if they don’t currently have in stock all the equipment you need, they’ll likely be able to give you an idea of when they will have the products in stock. Worst case, you can ask the networking vendor to notify you when they have more available.
Stocking resellers are also really good about testing all their used data center equipment. Their business relies on it; in order to resell equipment, they have to verify it’s operable.
At BrightStar Systems, we run every piece of hardware we purchase through a 9-point Quality Control and Testing Process. This procedure involves inspecting a piece of hardware for any physical damage and checking all the internal components to make sure it’s operating properly.
You also want to look for a networking vendor that specializes in selling a few particular products. Companies that stock general electronics have a wider variety of inventory, which may sound like a positive, but it’s often not — particularly if you’re buying in bulk.
That’s because companies that resell phones, computers, laptops and monitors on top of used network equipment aren’t going to have any level of expertise in their products.
BSS has almost 50 combined years of sales experience and all our sales representatives can answer questions you have related to any of our products. And if you’re a first-time used equipment buyer, we can help you determine which products will meet your networking needs.
If you require phones and computers, in addition to refurbished networking hardware, it may make sense to buy all those items from one vendor. But you’ll likely end up paying more than you would if you bought them from a specialized reseller, like BrightStar Systems.
It’s not too difficult to determine how widespread their product selection is; spend some time browsing their website to get a sense of all the various products they stock. If you want to learn more, just call and ask who they usually work with — i.e. hosting companies, data centers, etc.
If they work mostly with individuals, they likely won’t be a good fit if you’re looking to buy data center equipment in bulk.
At BrightStar Systems, data center equipment is our specialty. Whether you need to buy used Cisco routers, buy used Juniper routers or buy network switches manufactured by Arista, you can trust our experienced and knowledgeable sales team to set you up with the right hardware.
Lastly, when selecting a networking vendor, make sure they offer some kind of warranty on their products. These are used devices, after all, so it’s important you get some sort of reassurance from the seller that the refurbished network hardware you buy going to work properly.
We offer a 1-Year, In-house Warranty on all our networking products. We’ll repair, exchange, or refund the equipment under warranty within 10 working days after its receipt at our warehouse.
What You Need to Know When You Start Shopping For Used Network Equipment
It may sound obvious, but it’s impossible to know what you’re able to buy if you don’t know what you can spend. So, regardless of whether you only need to replace a few pieces of broken equipment or you’re looking to upgrade hundreds of devices, you have to have a budget.
The most difficult part of budgeting is when you have to spend money you weren’t planning to spend. But, if you work with a reseller that also buys used networking equipment — like us — you may be able to keep costs down by selling your existing hardware.
At BrightStar Systems, we’ll even pay you in advance for your used network equipment via credit — we just have to confirm the hardware is fully operational. But, on top of testing all the equipment we buy, we cover all the shipping cost, so you don’t have anything to lose.
You should also have an idea of what you’re looking to buy before you start talking to resellers. That doesn’t mean you need to know exact quantities of specific model numbers you need, but it helps to know if you need to buy used routers, buy switches or buy used routers and switches.
If you’re a well-established hosting company, service provider, cable operator or enterprise, you may know exactly what you need to buy.
But if you’re new to the used networking equipment buying process or you’re a fast-growing operation, you may need a little help, so make sure you work with a reseller that’s willing to guide you in the right direction.
At BrightStar Systems, we value the relationships we develop with all our customers, regardless of how much equipment they buy. You can always trust us to do what’s best for you, and not try an upsell you on used networking equipment you don’t need.
You can see all the products we stock on our Arista, Juniper and Cisco manufacturer pages. If you’d rather talk directly with our sales team about buying data center equipment, please contact us directly.