#CCNA Lab Router Models: More than Just 1721
I finally worked through part-timer Chris’s pricing data, gathered from eBay. The short version: 1721 is still a great model to use for CCNA labs, but two others join the mix as great price performers. Today’s post works through a few of the highlights of the new pricing data.
Earlier posts in this series:
- CCENT and CCNA Lab Gear
- CCENT and CCNA Lab Topologies
- IOS Version 15 for a Cisco Home Lab – or Not
- Narrowing Your Router Search Based on IOS Version
- CCNA Home Lab Homework: Cisco Feature Navigator
- Specific Searches for Your CCNA Lab
- Final Words on CCNA Router Lab
- Used CCNA Router Pricing Process
Link to the Pricing Page
The new prices are updated at this page:
This page also lists the older prices for perspective.
1760 Joins 1721 for Great 12.4T Price Performers
Of the router models that support IOS versions up through 12.4T, 1721 has always been a great used CCNA price performer. 1760s have joined 1721 in the same price range. Both support up through 12.4T, and both support IOS feature sets that work well for CCNA.
(Note the details from earlier posts: for used gear, choosing the right IOS version and feature set should be done BEFORE you buy!)
If you find the same IOS version and feature set on a 1721 for sale as for a 1760, I personally would pick the 1760, jut because of the form factor. The 1721 form factor requires that you put it on a shelf, whereas the 1760’s 19” width lets it be rack mounted easily. If you expect to have a Cisco router lab in your house or apartment for CCNA, then CCNP, and maybe longer, you’ll end up rack mounting the gear at some point, and the 1760 works a little better.
1841’s to Support 15.1M are Reasonably Priced
Our pricing put 1841’s, used, at $125. Specifically, we looked for:
- Only eBay, US listings, “buy it now”, and ignored suspect or unusually low priced units
- Ignored listings with less than 192/64 Meg RAM and flash (you need 192/64 to run the better feature sets)
- We did NOT try and find listings with 15.1M, or the right feature set.
The price for the 1841, w/ 192/64 memory (at least), was averaging around $125. Add $20 for a WIC-2T, and you have the $145 price listed at Certskills.com.
Surprises When Pricing
As usual, their were several surprises when pricing, some more so, some less so. Thought you might be interested:
Buy Used, the IOS You Buy is What You Get
I’m going to state it again, because it’s a surprise to many folks new to Cisco. Most used Cisco gear is sold as simply used gear, without Cisco in the loop. That is:
- Company X buys a router from Cisco
- Company X uses it 5 years
- Company X sells the router to some company that deals in used gear, or on eBay, etc. Cisco is not in the loop on this sale.
- If sold to a used gear reseller, that reseller may be a Cisco authorized reseller of refurbished gear, and maybe not. If not, Cisco is not in the loop on the sale of the used gear.
If Cisco isn’t in the loop on the sale of the used gear you buy, there’s no legal path to upgrade your IOS at all – not even a later rev of the same IOS version. Certainly not a new IOS feature set or major version upgrade. Think through the posts in this series before you buy used.
If you buy used gear from an authorized reseller, it’ll cost you more money for the device, and more for the rights to download through a maintenance contract… making that option too expensive for most.
15.x IOS on Used Gear on eBay is Rare
1841’s and 2600XM routers support up through 15.1M IOS. However, finding these routers with even 15.0M is difficult. Finding them with older 12.x versions is easy.
Why do you care? The whole point of buying these slightly more expensive used models is to run the better IOS versions, mainly for better IPv6 support. (See earlier posts this series.)
800’s as a Whole: No Serial Interfaces
This one’s not really a surprise, but I haven’t mentioned it in this series. The 800 series routers do not happen to support serial interfaces. In real life, they’re meant as small routers for smaller remote offices, often with small built-in LAN switches, plus some kind of link to the Internet: Ethernet WAN to connect to a cable model, or various types of DSL, and so on.
For CCNA labs, they don’t support serial interfaces, so you can’t practice HDLC, PPP, or Frame Relay. However, they’re cheap, and you can connect the routers with Ethernet, and those cables are cheap as well. So, for the price conscious, 800’s can be a reasonable choice. And the 870’s support up to 15.1M – if you can find one with that IOS loaded.
Finding eBay Inventory with Enough Memory was a Challenge
When pricing, I told Chris to ignore listings for routers that had too little RAM or flash to run the best CCNA feature sets, as discussed earlier in this series. Sure, we could have priced items with less memory, and then also priced memory upgrades, but that took more time.
One thing Chris noticed when researching was that many of these used routers listed on eBay simply didn’t have enough memory already. So, the original owner bought the router long ago, with an older IOS version, and a smaller feature set, so it had less RAM and flash. That company likely never upgraded the memory. The reseller of the used gear didn’t either.
The moral? Check the RAM and Flash on the item, IOS version, and feature set on the item. Then check Cisco feature navigator (cisco.com/go/fn) to make sure it agrees that’s enough RAM/flash to run that IOS. Then power up the router as soon as you get it, and check to make sure that IOS etc. is truly on the gear before the return period is over.