Twenty percent of Cisco WIC cards in Fortune 500 company were counterfeit

Cisco Counterfeit WICs being sold by Authorized Resellers
Yours truly received the following communication:

Your article on the FBI investigation in Cisco counterfeit equipment is very interesting. About a half year ago, my company worked out an exchange of WIC cards for a customer of ours – a Fortune 500 Company with many locations across the US. This customer buys Cisco equipment from Cisco VARs, and keeps Cisco SMARTnet support on their equipment. They needed to change out WIC cards in their Edge Routers due to changes in Telecom Circuits at many of their locations. We received in about 100 WIC cards from the IT department of this company after they changed out the WIC cards. Our Lab was shocked that close to 20% of these WIC cards our customer pulled from their operations were counterfeit. My customer contact has no idea how this could have happened and is concerned. They have no information on how to spot counterfeit equipment. I do not believe Cisco offers training on how to spot counterfeited equipment, and does not makes such information readily available. A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a CCIE, with whom I was discussing the problems of Cisco VARs earning an acceptable margin selling Cisco equipment. He tells me that a VAR he worked with would keep the pricing for chassis such as CISCO2821 Router, competitive, with what CDW or Insight had posted, while improving their margin with compatible (counterfeit) expansion cards. I believe he said they were a Gold Partner. Their on the road people kept spares in their cars and would do a quick swap out if any customers encountered problems in their network hardware with these WIC cards, etc. This opened my eyes up to how this compatible or counterfeited equipment is getting into large enterprise networks. The very low margins that Cisco has designed for their partners are possibly creating unforeseen creativity for profitability among Cisco Channel Partners.

Related story: FBI criminal investigation: Cisco routers Is Cisco itself the real culprit in counterfeit Cisco?

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