Another home lab question

Unanswered Question
Dec 4th, 2007
User Badges:


For a budget R&S home lab, I am thinking to add

2610XMs, 128D/32F, IOS 12.4 advanced enterprise

and 3560 8 port switches.

What I have so far is

4x 2500

4x 2600

2x 3640

2x 2950

1x terminal server

They served me well for the CCNP/CCIP labs. But none of them can run IOS 12.4 Advanced Enterprise.

My concern is about the 2610XMs. Will they be sufficient, or is it better to buy for a few Cisco 2801. Well, they are not exactly low budget. That's why I am asking. Still, I don't want to waste any time and/or money on the wrong equipment.

What are your thoughts on this?



  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Overall Rating: 5 (3 ratings)
tperrier Wed, 12/05/2007 - 01:43
User Badges:
  • Silver, 250 points or more

2600XMs are perfect.They can handle any 12.4 release, and 12.4T too, so they're future-proof. I had two of those in my home lab (actually I still have them! :).

You should consider replacing a 3560 with a 3550-24.

Kevin Dorrell Wed, 12/05/2007 - 02:06
User Badges:
  • Green, 3000 points or more


I agree with Thomas, 2600XMs are ideal, especially if the memory is fully populated. For lab work, look for the 2611XM - it has two FastEthernet connections, and can be had at a bargain price. (For a lab, you probably don't need the pps performance of the higher models.)

If you can get yourself a couple of 3550-24s that would be great. The market prices are falling, and they are quite reasonable now.

It is useful to have 4 switches for the R&S, but 2x3550 and 2x3560 works out very expensive. The best you could do is buy 2x3550-24, and keep your two 2950s and put a 2600 router permanently behind each 2950 as a "router-on-a-stick". That should cover most practice labs.

I had dificulty fitting the depth of the 3550 on my bookshelf, but if you have 3640s you will be used to that. ;-)

Kevin Dorrell


ccbootcamp Wed, 12/05/2007 - 06:54
User Badges:
  • Gold, 750 points or more

the 3560 8-port switch is perfect. you should have TWO of those minimum. the price of the 3550 will be about the same price as the 3560 8-port switch. and since the 3550 is EOL, it's a much better "route" to go. i've been recommending these to my students.

2610XMs will do the trick for you. Just make sure to max out the memory.

Don't forget about a frame-switch of some sort as well. you could stick an nm-8a/s in one of your 3640s.


(please rate the post if this helps!)

sascha_wintz Thu, 12/06/2007 - 20:24
User Badges:

Wow! You guys are extremely helpful. Thank you so much!

Brad: I forgot to mention in my original posting, that I am using a 3640, with a NM-4A/S and a NM-8A/S. I can build pretty complex topologies with that.

About the XMs, if you say "max out memory", do you mean 128MB DRAM and 32MB flash? I saw some ought offers of 144 and 48MB. I think this routers have 16D/16F onboard, and the rest is RAM modules. But I might be wrong. AFAIK, the 2620XMs support up to 256MB RAM.

Routers with 2 FastEthernet interfaces are usually between $100-200 more expensive.

The way I have set up my lab is, that each router connects to the framerelay switch with one serial connection. And each ethernet port connects to a switch. I am basically simulating multiple interfaces with different DLCI's and VLANs on sub-interfaces. This already saved me a lot of money for the interface cards. I think most people probably do it the same way. If not because of the money, but because of not having to constantly rewire the devices.

Thanks again for all your help!



This Discussion