Help with purchasing l3 switch for lab

Unanswered Question
Aug 5th, 2009


I want to buy a L3 switch for a lab, and I'm trying to figure out which model to purchase. So far I've been looking at the 3550s, but is there an earlier model that works just as well and would be cheaper? Did Cisco make a L3 switch in the 29xx series by chance? I always thought that the 29xx series was layer 2 and the 35xx series was layer 3 until I worked on a 3548 and noticed it was layer 2.



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Peter Paluch Wed, 08/05/2009 - 03:46


As far as I know, there are no Layer3 switches in the 29xx series. The Catalyst 3548XL is an old switch that is end-of-sale and end-of-life for several years (the end-of-sale was in 2002).

Regarding the 3550, it is also already being gradually replaced with the 3560. What purpose shall this lab have? Do you plan using it in some special way?

Best regards,


Jon Marshall Wed, 08/05/2009 - 04:07


As Peter says there is no switch in the 29xx series that is L3 capable. Your minimum is the 3550 which you are already looking at.

I have 2 3550's and they are perfectly adequate for a lab setup. They will allow you to play with all the usual L2/L3 switches and even though the latest labs use 3560's there is not that much difference to be honest. Yes the 3560's do support more features but not enough to make a huge difference in my opinion.

Also bear in mind that 3560/3750's have greater throughput and you pay for this but in a lab environment this is often not that important.


John Blakley Wed, 08/05/2009 - 04:16


Thanks for the response. My primary reason for wanting to get an L3 switch is to be able to test configurations before I implement them in my environment like dhcp snooping. This would be my personal switch at the house though. I have two 2950s, a 2801, and an 831 as well, but I think I'm going to end up bringing some 2500s from the office.


Is there a way to get dhcp snooping to work in GNS? I haven't been able to figure out a way.



glen.grant Wed, 08/05/2009 - 04:15

3550 is the choice for L3 though it is EOL.For lab work it should work fine. 3560 is just a newer version of the 3550 with more features. 2900 series are all layer 2 and the early 3500 series was also layer 2 , before they decided to combine functions in a L2/3 switch like the 3550.

John Blakley Wed, 08/05/2009 - 04:26

Well, my 2950s support dhcp snooping, so now I'm wondering, in my case, how having a L3 switch would benefit me. Can anyone tell me what a L3 switch can do that a L2 switch can't other than routing? Is there a real reason for me to even have a L3 switch?



glen.grant Wed, 08/05/2009 - 04:33

That is certainly the main function , if you don't need L3 routing then get a 2950 for your lab .

srue Wed, 08/05/2009 - 05:11

and since you have a 2801 you can always do router on a stick - it's not pretty but it works!

Leo Laohoo Wed, 08/05/2009 - 14:39

Hi John,

With the exception of the 3500-XL, all 29XX are Layer 2 switches.

You can still purchase 3550 from various sources (including everyone's favorite, e-bay) but be sure you get the EMI version otherwise you'll have to purchase the upgrade kit. Because the 3550 is EoL, there may be some features it will not support that the newer switches can.

For a lab, I'd recommend the 3560-8PC or 3560-12PC. It's fanless and PoE.

Hope this helps.


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