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How to get more networking equipment for your dollar

April 11, 2006 10:30 AM EST | Networking | Email to Friend

If your computer network keeps expanding and the associated networking equipment costs keep increasing, you might want to consider buying equipment in the secondary market. This is a place where you can purchase used or unused brand name equipment; such as, servers, routers, LAN switches and more at substantial savings. Savings of 50-70% of list price are not unusual.

The secondary market for computer equipment was born in the early 1970s when the Federal Government forced IBM to sell equipment and not just rent it. Since that time it is estimated that the secondary market for equipment like computers and WAN and LAN equipment exceeds $20 billion. A few examples of the brands that are readily available on the secondary market are: IBM, Dell, Cisco Systems, Nortel and many more.

In a survey conducted by CIO magazine, which caters to IT executives, found that 77% of companies surveyed buy secondhand or used IT equipment. Surprisingly, the reasons why so many companies are purchasing used equipment go beyond just saving money. Here are some of the reasons that have been mentioned:

œ Maximize IT Equipment Investment You can save 50-70% on previously owned equipmentœ Convert Surplus Equipment into Cash You can sell your un-needed equipment or trade it in towards other equipmentœ Quick Delivery for Emergency Needs Dealers in the secondary market can typically provide equipment much faster than the manufacturerœ More Personalized Service Dealers, being smaller companies than the Manufacturer, are more flexible and responsiveœ More Services Available Secondary market dealers will offer services that the manufacturer may not offer, such as a short term rental program, trade-ins, an integrated solution with mixed vendors and initial set up servicesIf you are a newbie in purchasing equipment on the secondary market there are some very good questions you need to ask before buying from a dealer. Getting the right answers will make it a pleasant experience. Here are the questions you need to ask?œ How long has the dealer been in business? Try to deal with someone who has been around a good number of years and can provide referencesœ Is the equipment tested and how thoroughly? This is a must and a printout of test results is very desirableœ What is the warranty on the equipment? There should be a minimum of a 90 day warrantyœ If your require on site maintenance can they provide it? Can the dealer put this equipment on the manufacturerfs maintenance program or on a third party maintenance plan œ What is the companyfs return policy?œ Will this equipment look like new? Ask the dealer what they do to make the equipment look as close to new as possibleœ What kind of technical support is available? If you need, can you receive pre-sale and post-sale support if you need it. It is not unreasonable for a dealer to charge for applications support, though.

Manufacturers can sometimes be touchy about maintenance and software issues on previously owned equipment, so make sure all your concerns are dealt with in writing. If you get all the right answers to the above questions and deal with someone who has been in this business for a good many years your experience in the secondary market should be a pleasant one.

Alex Lakatos is an expert on the secondary market for networking hardware, starting Warwick Data Systems in 1983 to sell new and used computer networking equipment. His web site is http://www.warwickdata.com

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