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Newbie: Pix 501 vs. 831?


I am totally new to Cisco and have never used any of the hardware, so please pardon any obvious oversights....

(Learning as I go here.)

What exactly are the practical differences between the PIX 501 and the Cisco 831 router?

From what I can tell, it looks like the 831 costs the same but does more? What am I missing?

I am volunteering at a small school to help them set up a ~10 user office/admin network, and was hoping to get some advice from you folks before proceeding.

Right now, all machines are in one room, but they need to expand to a 2nd location in a different building. Both locations have cable modems w/~1.5-3 Mb upstream, and I am planning to link them via VPN.

Which pair of units should I buy?

For the moment, no fancy QoS is needed, but eventually they may need to run VoIP over the VPN.

Thanks in advance,



Re: Newbie: Pix 501 vs. 831?


Both the devices are designed keeping different features in mind.

PIX 501 basically designed keeping security and can do some basic routing functionalities.

if you are more concerned about the security part you can have pix 501 installed in your location with the broadband connection hooked up on the pix firewall.

In this case since its going to be simple internet and VPN you can have cisco 831 router configured with NAT for Internet access and either GRE or IPSEC for VPN purpose..


Community Member

Re: Newbie: Pix 501 vs. 831?


Thanks for the help.

I have a couple of more questions. :)

- Can the 501 and 831 do flexible QoS over, and along side, the VPN tunnel?

- What about performance? Will both suffice?

- Is the Pix "more secure"? If so, what does that mean?

- Is setting up either of them "do-able" for someone with, thus far, only SOHO nat router experience?

- Does the 831 have dual WAN ports, or do I need to look higher for that? (Not an absolute requirement.)

What do you folks recommend?



Community Member

Re: Newbie: Pix 501 vs. 831?


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