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February 21, 2023

EOL, EOSL – Is It Time to Upgrade the Network?

Your network equipment has been humming along for a few years now and everything has been working to perfection. Okay, nothing is perfect but you haven’t had to spend a sleepless night thinking about your network in quite some time. We all know that technology is evolving at a rapid pace and OEMs are coming out with new equipment with technology and capabilities unheard of before. So your network will eventually hit one of three major milestones:
              1. Management is requesting new capabilities or capacities
              2. Your equipment is no longer able to keep up with ever increasing demands on its performance
              3. Your network is performing well but for how long?
The first two are fairly straightforward in terms that the decision to bring in new equipment has pretty much already been made for you and you have to start the process of finding the gear to meet the new requirements on your network. So the third milestone is a bit more ambiguous and you need to be aware of some red flags that indicate it may be the time to start the process of a network upgrade.

Flag #1 – End of Life (EOL)

Usually in the 3-6 year timeframe is when you get the first shot across the bow when an OEM announces that a particular model is going end of life on a certain date generally a few months to over a year in the future. Proprietary and custom products can have even  longer periods that are negotiated at the original purchase of the equipment.So what does EOL actually mean? Generally it comes about when an OEM has a newer product that will meet or exceed the specifications of the product. Or in some cases it can be a model that has similar performance but at a lower price point in the market. The OEM will no longer manufacture, market or sell the product yet they will continue to service and support the product. Things to consider is that the support cost will more than like ly increase and the frequency of technical support and software updates will diminish. A few things to consider:
  1. You may want to hedge your bet and consider replacing equipment before an EOL is announce as the value of equipment once an EOL is announced drops dramatically.
  2. What will be the availability  and cost of spare parts?
  3. Should you purchase additional spare parts for critical application equipment?
  4. Will the OEM offer a last order date (LOD) for parts?
  5. Generally security updates are important to the OEM’s reputation so they should keep you updated on critical security issues but they may not come as often which could put your network at increased risk.
  6. It may be time to start looking for a Third Party Maintenance (TPM) company that will pickup when the OEM stops their support at end of service life (EOSL).

Flag #2 – End of Service Life (EOSL)

When your network equipment is getting in the range of 5-10 years old you are more than likely going to be faced with some equipment reaching an end of service announcement from the OEM. Unfortunately they longer you go with the existing network equipment the more often you will be facing EOSL announcements. At this point it’s not a shot across the bow, the shot just took down your mast! An end of service life (EOSL) announcement generally means that the OEM will no longer provide support of either the hardware or the software and will not provide any technical support for the product. Fortunately the notifications in advance of the EOSL date are similar to the EOL announcements. A few critical things to consider here:
  1. Choosing a Third Party Maintenance (TPM) company for service level agreements (SLA) that protect you more than them is critical. Make sure they have expert remote support and highly skilled field engineers.
    1. Here are a few of the top rated TPM companies:
      1. Remi
      2. NorthSmart
      3. Service Express
      4. Park Place
  2. While working with a TPM company can usually save you  about 50% of the cost of the original OEM maintenance plan, be careful you don’t get what you pay for and do your due diligence in selecting the right company.
  3. Find a TPM that can service ALL of the equipment in your network, i.e., be brand agnostic.

Final Thoughts

While there are no clear cut answers on when to upgrade your network, it does require a bit of due diligence to determine the best time to upgrade your network. You can take the easy path, albeit the most expensive, and just replace your equipment every 3-5 years whether or not they have reached end of life (EOL) or the end of service life (EOSL). Going beyond the end of life (EOL) of your equipment does have risk associated with it but managed well, you can get years of additional service before you make the final decision to upgrade your network While security and network reliability are always the most critical factors in making decisions on the future of your network, there are certainly financial considerations that can have dramatic effects on the ROI of your network. As we mentioned earlier you should consider the value of selling your old equipment before it reaches end of life(EOL). There are companies like TeleTraders  that will give you a fair price for your used equipment and make that upgrade of your network much more financially appealing to you and especially your management.    

About the Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff at TeleTraders, led by IT asset expert Clay Beckham and his seasoned team, boasts over 10 years of industry experience in IT asset management, secure IT asset disposal, and technology solutions. Founded in 2013, TeleTraders quickly became a trusted source of IT expertise. The team at TeleTraders demonstrates its commitment to excellence, spending countless hours each day handling a wide spectrum of IT equipment, spanning from intricate networking gear to precision barcode scanners. Our team strives to transfer our hands on knowledge into resources for IT professionals in businesses of any size.

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