Counterfeit Cisco gear – a problem of its own making?

My colleague Cliff Saran has written a story about counterfeit Cisco gear being seized.

He points out the security issues with using counterfeit Cisco equipment, and gives a guide on how to spot fake Cisco gear, but one thing that seems to have slipped under the radar is the total value of counterfeit goods that have been seized: £38 million.

Clearly there is demand for cheap Cisco gear on the part of users, but is this a problem of Cisco’s own making?

As one network manager points out: “There are a lot of ways to spot fake Cisco, with a too good to be true low price being the very first one.”

But since when did a low price suddenly become a privilege for buyers of network equipment?

I’ve been told by industry insiders that Cisco competes very aggressively on price – sometimes offering discounts of up to 70% when it really wants to win your business. So, why doesn’t it offer low prices all the time?

If people felt they could afford prices from Cisco in the first place, they wouldn’t be seeking out cheap deals and the black market wouldn’t have as much clout.

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A good way to guarantee that you do not purchase counterfeit equipment is to work with companies who are associated with organizations such as UNEDA. The United Network Equipment Dealer Association (UNEDA) is a worldwide alliance of more than 300 of the leading marketers of pre-owned networking equipment. Members represent the entire spectrum of the secondary market, from companies with hundreds of employees and millions of dollars in inventory to small, entrepreneurial organizations. Together their combined yearly buying clout exceeds $1 billion, representing the sale of millions of pieces of equipment to tens of thousands of customers. UNEDA members must adhere to a strict code of ethics that includes a firm policy against selling any equipment that is not legitimate.