Navigate the Network Horizon: A Guide to Identify Cisco Hardware Nearing EOL in 2024 and Beyond

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Mar 3, 2024 11:36:23 PM

Cisco, a leading networking solutions provider, is known worldwide for its range of hardware devices designed to enhance...

Cisco, a leading networking solutions provider, is known worldwide for its range of hardware devices designed to enhance connectivity, security, and efficiency of modern IT infrastructure. From routers and switches to firewalls and access points, most corporate networks and data centers rely on Cisco hardware due to its reliability, innovative technology, and ability to scale networks. Whether enabling seamless communication between devices, facilitating secure data transmission, or optimizing network performance, Cisco hardware plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of businesses and delivery of services to end-users. Cisco's wide range of hardware solutions cater to diverse networking needs across various industries.

Despite Cisco’s hardware being efficient, it is important to understand that all hardware has a lifecycle. Keeping track of Cisco hardware through End-of-Life (EOL) and End-of-Sale (EOS) is critical. Organizations know when the hardware will reach EOL, indicating that it will no longer be supported or receive updates. This enables them to plan for upgrades and replacements effectively.

Discover the stages of the product lifecycle and explore Cisco's policies regarding EOL.

Comprehensive Overview: Cisco's Product Lifecycle Stages

To manage your network effortlessly, organizations must understand the product lifecycle of Cisco’s equipment. Cisco has  EOL policies that help you better understand the critical dates of a product and allow for advanced planning. Cisco has also compiled a list of networking hardware nearing EOL or EOS. Follow four stages of the Cisco product lifecycle to reduce the risk of network downtime and increase savings.

  1. End-of-Life (EOL): EOL refers to the End-of-Life of equipment, which means that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) will no longer sell, market, or update the equipment after a specific date. This helps organizations proactively plan the next move of managing Cisco products reaching EOL by either moving to third-party Cisco support at cost-effective prices or upgrading/replacing the hardware with a new one directly from the OEM.
  2. End-of-Sale (EOS): EOS refers to the End-of-Sale or a date  the product will no longer be available in the market for purchase. These products are still available in the secondary market though. Dedicated vendors offer refurbished Cisco hardware in good condition at the best prices. Organizations can decide whether to follow Cisco’s suggested upgrade or move to an independent support vendor.
  3. End-of-New Service (EoNS): OEMs use the term, EoNS or End-of-New-Service, to indicate the ending of new services and updates for network equipment. It also indicates that the OEM no longer sells or renews hardware support or provides updates for particular network equipment. Organizations can move to third-party support though.
  4. Last-Day-of-Support (LDoS): Indicates the last date to receive service and support for the networking hardware from the OEM. After this date, support services for the product will be unavailable. At this point, organizations can consider aftermarket services for vendor support and/or hardware maintenance.

Importance of Understanding EOL, Business Impact

It is crucial to understand Cisco’s EOL policies to ensure that the following issues are resolved in advance. These issues can directly impact a business’s productivity, efficiency, and overall performance.

  • Vulnerability to Security Threats: When hardware reaches its EOL, OEMs often stop providing security updates and patches. This makes your networking hardware or systems vulnerable to emerging cyber threats. Due to a lack of security upgrades, organizations may encounter increased risks of data breaches.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Issues: Non-compliance is one of the biggest drawbacks of using hardware beyond EOL. Many industries are subject to strict regulatory requirements when it comes to data security, privacy, and compliance. It can lead to potential fines, legal consequences, and damage to an organization's reputation. To mitigate regulatory risks and maintain trust among stakeholders, organizations need to remain up-to-date and compliant with industry standards.
  • Performance Degradation: Aging hardware may experience performance degradation, slow processing speeds, and fail to support modern applications and technologies, impacting overall system efficiency and user experience. This can cause downtime, delays, and decreased productivity for users relying on network services.
  • Technical Issues: Once hardware reaches its EOL, manufacturers discontinue providing technical support and assistance for troubleshooting issues. Organizations using hardware beyond EOL may experience difficulty resolving technical problems. This can, again, lead to downtime and increased IT maintenance efforts. Switching to third-party maintenance services can provide support services at affordable prices.
  • Unavailability of Replacement Parts: Another major drawback of using hardware beyond EOL is that the availability of replacement parts diminishes. This leads to higher maintenance costs. Organizations also deal with the scarcity of replacement parts during repairs and upgrades, leading to increased expenses, risk of equipment failure, and impacting operational continuity and reliability.
  • Choosing Greener Alternatives: Legacy hardware consumes more energy and generates higher carbon emissions compared to modern, energy-efficient alternatives. Switching to greener alternatives reduces environmental impact and carbon footprint.

How CXtec Helps with Aftermarket Services

CXtec offers a comprehensive solution to address the challenges associated with hardware reaching EOL and EOS through its RapidCare® aftermarket services,. RapidCare provides organizations with a reliable alternative to OEM support by offering cost-effective maintenance and support for networking hardware nearing EOL or EOS. With RapidCare, organizations can ensure continued performance and reliability of their IT infrastructure, even after the manufacturer has discontinued support.

With RapidCare, businesses can extend the lifespan of their networking equipment, mitigate security risks, and avoid costly downtime. It offers flexible service options, including hardware maintenance, technical support, and access to replacement parts, allowing organizations to meet their specific requirements. RapidCare enables organizations to confidently navigate the challenges of hardware reaching EOL and EOS while maximizing the value of their IT investments.

Learn more about RapidCare by CXtec!