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When is Networking Hardware Obsolete?


When is Networking Hardware Obsolete

When is it time to replace your networking hardware? How do you know when it is time to upgrade a corporate network? What parameters should you use to justify the cost of maintaining your existing network--and is it worth the cost? These are common questions that every network administrator faces when trying to determine if their current network is obsolete.

To help you make this important decision, below are six key factors to consider when deciding whether or not your current network needs to be replaced.

  1. You experience diminished network functionality. Hardware, software, and infrastructure are required to perform within predetermined productivity ranges. When your network's functionality requirements increase or its performance decreases, and the shortfall between network expectations and actual results is critical enough to justify an upgrade, then the existing network equipment is obsolete.
  2. Your system is no longer compatible with current network requirements. Upgrades to one part of your network will often create incompatibilities in other areas. If you are unable to bridge the two generations of components, the older equipment is considered obsolete and must be replaced.
  3. Your network has become unreliable. Corporate networks demand reliability and I’m certain yours is no different. When age and/or other factors hinder a network's reliability and that reliability affects your ability to do business, it's safe to assume the equipment needs to be replaced.
  4. Your network is lagging behind that of your competition. Your network should never hinder your ability to compete with leaders in your industry. If updating your network will allow you to achieve significant competitive advantage in your market, it’s essential that you consider upgrading your network as soon as you are able.
  5. Replacement parts for your network are hard to find. When the time and effort it takes to find replacements for failed components eats up significant IT time that could be better spent elsewhere, it’s time to begin planning your next system upgrade.
  6. The cost of maintaining your current network is rising and cannot be reduced. The cost of maintaining a network is considerable and hardware maintenance costs typically increase as equipment ages. When your network maintenance costs are rising and cannot be reduced, you owe it to your bottom line to start the upgrade process.

But is your current network hardware really obsolete? No, I didn’t just lead you through an obsolescence exercise to get you to second guess your decision. If you’ve arrived at the conclusion that your network equipment has hit its shelf life for your company, it is safe to consider that equipment obsolete for your company.

However, while your current network configuration might prove to be obsolete for your business needs, it’s highly likely that the same equipment will be useful to another organization. In other words, if you’re wondering what you should do with your now obsolete network hardware, you’re in luck. You can probably sell it and rid yourself of the problem of how to dispose of it otherwise. A third party reseller will be able to give you a quote for your current hardware and you can use the proceeds to offset the cost of your new network. (Got old networking equipment you’d like to sell? Click here.)


Trying to determine whether or not your current network is obsolete is no small task and should be carefully considered. By considering your current system’s functionality, compatibility with new components, reliability, availability of replacement components, and maintenance costs, you should be able to easily determine whether or not it’s time to make a change.



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