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I'm looking to purchase a Cisco 2900 series router. My ideal router costs far more than the business' would like to pay, leading me to look into used equipment. (A used 2951 is approximately the same cost as a new 2911, but with over double the routing capacity.)

Are there any significant security or reliability risks, or pitfalls to look out for, when purchasing used equipment?

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Most used or refurbished routing equipment will come with a lifetime guarantee. This is ok in my opinion for switches but not ok for routers. But this question incites opinion based answers. – HAL Aug 6 '14 at 18:40
Check out refurbs, i.e.…. You can add smartnet to certified refurb devices from authorized Cisco sellers. – some_guy_long_gone Aug 6 '14 at 19:11
You can buy new hardware on secondary markets. It doesn't always have to be used or refurbished. There are circumstances where a business has to liquidate. During the 2000 dotcom bubble burst, there was a lot of unused equipment being liquidated. – Sun Aug 6 '14 at 22:46
Yes, Sun, and that's why Cisco has such restrictive policies in place now. (somewhat less of a pain than back then, but still a pain.) – Ricky Beam Aug 7 '14 at 0:13

The short list...
a) it might be broken (not unlikely with shady eBay stores)
b) it might be "stolen" (i.e. still on someone else's inventory and/or contracts)
c) (and here's the big one) only slightly better than a snowball's chance of getting a Cisco smartnet contract on it as it very likely wasn't bought from an "authorized" cisco partner/reseller. Which means no legal/legitimate means of getting software upgrades.

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Pretty much this. I only buy used for my home lab. Anything else is new or certified refurb from a Cisco authorized seller. – some_guy_long_gone Aug 6 '14 at 19:09
Given that I hadn't even heard of SmartNet contract before you mentioned it, should I worry about not being eligible for one? – Kyle Johnston Aug 6 '14 at 21:16
A serious buyer can ask a serious seller for the serial number and contract details to verify support eligibility with the manufacturer. – Sun Aug 6 '14 at 22:43
@KyleJohnston, if you don't have any plans for manufacturer support (software updates, bugs, hardware repair, etc.) then no. – Ricky Beam Aug 7 '14 at 0:14

In addition to Ricky's answer I would throw in a couple more:

d) Generally software licenses are non-transferable, either requiring you to re-license or risk fines if you are found in violation of licensing agreements.

e) The device has a status of "destroyed" or "disposed." This is often the result of "upgrade" deals where the owner provides documentation to the vendor stating they have destroyed or disposed of items to get reduced cost on new equipment. Not only does this make it impossible to get support on the devices, but depending on local laws this could get you and/or the original owner into legal issues best avoided.

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I was going to mention that: if you listen to Cisco's ignorance of the First Sale Doctrine, then you have no right to use the IOS that's on the device. (100% incorrect, if you want to take it to court.) – Ricky Beam Aug 6 '14 at 19:40
Yup exactly. Keep in mind though with the new licensing model, they can enforce it if you want anything besides the most basic features unlocked. – YLearn Aug 6 '14 at 20:02

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