The risks of buying refurbished hardware from the Cisco secondary market




24 Jan, 2018



At face value, purchasing Cisco from the grey market is an attractive means of acquiring cheap Cisco network equipment. In fact, it’s often even cheaper than buying from Cisco directly, or from their authorised partner channel. The unfortunate truth however is that like most things in life, cheap doesn’t often result in quality. Purchasing from the Cisco secondary market comes with an extremely high level of risk that far outweighs the savings you acquire when gambling with this equipment source.

Buying from the Cisco secondary market can’t be that risky…can it?

A high percentage of Cisco hardware purchased from the secondary market is illegal, in that it’s counterfeit or stolen. Although it might look identical to the real deal, this equipment can cause a swathe of problems in regards to network stability and also security. In addition to this, there’s a high chance that hardware purchased from unauthorised channels won’t be eligible for Cisco software licenses, warranty or support. If something goes wrong with this equipment, you could be out of pocket, and suffering from network downtime.

What are the risks of buying counterfeit Cisco hardware?

It should go without saying that counterfeit Cisco hardware isn’t actually Cisco hardware at all. That, in itself, should be a strong enough warning. This equipment won’t be up to the same level of quality as official Cisco equipment. It’s made cheaply, and that’s why it’s cheap to purchase. It’s almost impossible to know if it’s counterfeit or not. Without taking up Cisco’s offer of providing a complementary serial number health check, you can’t know for sure if you’re buying real or counterfeit when purchasing through the secondary market.

It’s not just hardware you need to be cautious of. Counterfeit Cisco hardware is generally accompanied by counterfeit Cisco software, accessories and components, and this is just as dangerous, if not more so. Because this market isn’t regulated by Cisco, you’re potentially connecting a device to your network without truly knowing what it is you’re connecting. It’s like writing a blank cheque for your network. Worst-case scenario: it won’t work, it’s incompatible with your network, or it creates security vulnerabilities and backdoors into your network. Best-case scenario? It works, but could lack critical updates relating to performance or security. Because counterfeit hardware isn’t licensed, any software on the equipment is being used without Cisco’s consent, and is therefore illegal.

Need to meet budget pressures, but want Cisco value, performance and support? Consider Cisco Refresh.

The only safe way to buy Cisco networking equipment is from Cisco Authorised Channel Partners such as Prodec Networks. Contractually, Cisco partners can only purchase Cisco equipment from Cisco or another partner. These relationships are heavily enforced by Cisco Brand Protection to ensure that a suitable level of quality, stability and security that genuine Cisco hardware provides is upheld. This same level of enforcement is carried over to Cisco’s Refresh scheme, which allows customers to purchase remanufactured products with authentic software licenses, warranty and support options, but at a fraction of the price of new hardware.

To learn more about Cisco Refresh and how it can help your business, visit the Cisco Refresh page on the Prodec Networks website, or contact the Prodec networking team and discuss any networking projects you may have.

Looking for a specific Cisco part?

Click below to contact one of the team.

Click here