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End of Life vs End of Service Life in Networking


If you receive a notice from your hardware manufacturer that support is being discontinued, it can be a confusing time. However, it’s essential to understand the differences between end of life vs end of service. In this article, we compare end of life vs end of support so you can understand the difference.

What is End of Life (EOL)?

End of Life, or EOL, means that the original equipment manufacturer is no longer producing those items. A lot of the time, this is a result of the manufacturer releasing a new generation of devices. Other times, it may be as simple as a particular device isn’t selling as well as they’d hoped.

That being said, end of life devices still receive post-warranty support — i.e. the manufacturer continues to offer maintenance and responds to customer service requests. And typically, at this point in a device’s life cycle, there won’t be any ongoing software issues to worry about.

Even though you can no longer purchase end of life equipment new, it’s still available via pre-owned networking vendors. And most end of life computer equipment still has plenty of good years left.

What is End of Service Life (EOSL)?

End of Service Life (EOSL), on the other hand, not only means the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is no longer selling the equipment, it’s also no longer supported by the manufacturer in any way.

EOSL devices are also typically older than EOL products. It works like this: first, OEMs stop manufacturing a device, then — often several years later — OEMs stop supporting the products.

In general, when it comes to end of life vs end of service life support, it often comes down to the OEM discontinuing an older device to focus on a new one.

But networking hardware is constantly evolving, and even if you don’t want to invest in brand new equipment, there will come a time when you’ll need to upgrade. And even by making the switch to pre-owned end of life networking equipment, you can increase productivity and reduce downtime.

The Difference Between EOL vs EOSL

In comparing end of life vs end of support, the biggest difference comes down to the support. EoL equipment continues to receive some level of support from the manufacturer, whereas EoSL products do not. To get support for EoSL equipment, you will need to go through another service provider.

Transitioning devices into EOL and EOSL allows the OEM to cut ties with product lines, which allows it to focus on manufacturing, selling, and supporting newer devices. It’s also a way of encouraging companies to upgrade to newer products, even if their existing products are in great working condition. This is often why businesses turn to used networking vendors and purchase pre-owned equipment.

Why would you opt for end of life network equipment?

There are plenty of reasons to purchase end of life IT equipment over new IT equipment.

The first — and most obvious — is that buying used networking equipment can save you money. And oftentimes, new equipment is capable of much more than you need. Additionally, if you need to replace broken networking equipment, you may prefer to have the same models in place. If the manufacturer has stopped selling them, the only option available to you is a pre-owned replacement.

It’s More Affordable Than Buying New Equipment

Pre-owned networking equipment is subject to the same price reduction as most used items. Let another company take the majority of the hit on the cost and scoop up the savings after it’s been used.

Buying used equipment from networking vendors, like BrightStar Systems, is a great way to get a phenomenal discount. In fact, some of the pre-owned equipment we sell is as much as 95 percent off the list price — i.e. what it would cost to buy it new from the manufacturer.

You Don’t Require the Specifications of New Equipment

In some cases, it is crucial to have the most up-to-date equipment with the latest specifications. But many companies can operate perfectly fine without it. If your company doesn’t require the latest and greatest networking devices, you might find that EOL equipment covers all of your needs.

You Need to Replace Broken Pieces of Equipment

When a part on a piece — or several pieces — of networking equipment needs replacing, you have two options: you can purchase it new — if it’s still being manufactured — or you can also purchase it used. Purchasing used parts is the more cost-effective solution, but sometimes it’s the only option.

Oftentimes, on EOL and EOSL devices, parts are also not available new; you have to buy them used. The only other option would be to replace an entire piece of equipment as opposed to just the part.

However, if everything else is working properly, you’ll likely want to avoid a complete overhaul. Instead, replace the part(s) with pre-owned end of life equipment to get a few more years out of your hardware.

Factors to Consider When Buying EOL Equipment


As you evaluate your end of life vs end of support options, you may be sold on the benefits of EOL products. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before you move forward.

The OEM Warranty No Longer Applies

With end of life vs end of support equipment, both come without a manufacturer warranty. That means, when the product is discontinued, the OEM no longer provides warranty support. Without this protection, it’s up to you to foot the bill for repairs if something breaks.

You May Have To Hire a Specialist for Repairs

While the manufacturer can help you repair and maintain newer equipment, you may have to hire a specialist to work on your EOSL hardware. And it may be difficult to find a company that specializes in repairing used hardware — especially outside urban areas. It may also be costly.

That being said, the upfront cost of purchasing pre-owned networking equipment is significantly less than buying new equipment. Just be prepared to spend a bit more on repairs and maintenance.

Accessible Software Features May Be Limited

New hardware often means new software. And when you buy EOL and EOSL equipment, you may not have access to the most up-to-date software features. But only you can determine your software needs.

We recommend researching the latest software capabilities to determine if they would be valuable to your company. If not, you may be better off buying refurbished networking hardware and saving money.

Why Buy EOL Equipment from BrightStar Systems?

Anytime you’re considering buying EOL or EOSL networking equipment, you’ll need to be careful who you buy from. At BrightStar Systems, we offer our clients several perks that ensure complete satisfaction.

We Test All Our Equipment

When we purchase EOL equipment from other companies, our team works hard to ensure it operates as it should. In fact, we’ve developed a 9-point Quality Control Process solely for hardware testing.

Our inspection process ensures there is no physical damage to the casing and that the correct serial number is listed. Additionally, all hardware must include the proper mounting and racking accessories. It must also be free of debris and dust. We also test all of the power supplies and fans to ensure correct operation and we test all the physical ports. All of the devices run for an hour after the operating temperature is reached and we restore the equipment to the factory settings before shipping it.

We Use the Most Protective Shipping Materials

Shipping networking equipment isn’t easy. We spend the extra money to ensure every device arrives intact and ready to set up. For starters, everything we use is anti-static. We also make sure the boxes are heavily padded. The right amount of padding ensures nothing is moving around in the box.

We also don’t overpack our boxes. Some companies try to cut costs by shoving everything into one large box. But that’s not the proper way to ship expensive and fragile networking equipment. We always break up large shipments to ensure nothing gets damaged in transit.

We Include a One-year Warranty

Another advantage of working with us is our warranty. With some suppliers, there’s no guarantee that the equipment you purchased is going to work past the return-by date.

That’s not the case with BrightStar Systems.

Every purchase includes BrightStar Systems’ 1-Year, In-House Warranty. If something should go wrong, we will repair, exchange, or refund your purchase within ten working days. We go above and beyond to ensure you are always satisfied with your networking equipment, or we make it right.

BrightStar Systems Also Buys Used Network Equipment

At BrightStar Systems, we are your go-to vendor for all pre-owned networking equipment. But we do more than just sell used networking hardware. We also purchase EOL equipment from reputable companies — including large-scale enterprises and data centers. If you are considering upgrading your networking equipment, it’s time to cash in on your existing equipment.

And with the money you receive for your pre-owned equipment you can put that toward the replacement equipment, reducing the upfront investment.

Talk to our customer support team about your EOL equipment or get a quote for the sale of your pre-owned networking supplies.