#CCNA Lab Router Models: More than Just 1721

 In 200-301 V1 CCC No Category on Purpose, CCENT-OLD, LabGear

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.

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Earlier posts in this series:

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.

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[…] CCNA Lab Router Models: More than 1721 […]


Is this a good setup for the CCNA?
Cisco 2621 connected to a
Catalyst 2950-24t enhanced iOS
With one PC connection to the the switch
Cisco 2821 connected to a
Catalyst 2950-24t enhanced iOS
The 2621 connected to the 2821 via t1 dsu/csu
With one PC and one windows 2008 server connected to the switch.

My thoughts are to connect both pcs and server as one domain routed across the t1 links..

Any thoughts?


Hi Thomas,
Yep, that’ll work just fine. I might look for a third router, and another couple of WICs, to make a triangle of routers, as a next purchase. That let’s you have some redundant routes, which makes the routing protocol experiments more interesting. But that you’ve got works great for learning much of what you need to know!


Hello Wendell,
I do appreciate your time and effort in your busy schedule to answer our questions, sometimes straight and silly (and I do know there is NO silly questions), but anyway here is mine:
I have three 2621XM routers and three 2950G switchies. Would that be sufficient to use that gear for my CCAA lab and I do plan to go for CCNP as well.
Thank you.


And I forgot to mention I will upgrade memory up to 256Mb on 2621XMs


Hi Andrey,
Sorry it’s been a month with no reply. The notifications from my blog to my email were inadvertently turned off, and I missed the fact that you had posted. My apologies.


I think that your lab is reasonably good for CCNA. Could it be better? Sure. But we could all spend more money on labs.

Looks like 2621XM (per Cisco’s downloads page) supports at best 12.4T. So the downside will be with more recent features. IPv6 should be good for CCNA, but you might avoid a bug or oddity here and there with a router platform with a 15.x IOS. Check the charts here: http://www.certskills.com/LabGear/CCNA/RouterIOSFeatures.aspx

As for CCNP, I haven’t looked at the new (late 2014) exams in depth in regards to features needed and lab gear. Now that I’m not writing to those topics, I probably won’t take the time to research it. Maybe pop over and ask Kevin Wallace – I’m sure he’d have a good suggestion or two.
Hope this helps!
Wendell Odom

Debasish Sinha

Dear Sir,
Follower of your book since started learning Cisco. I am still a bit confused about router serial interface bandwidth.
If I set the speed more than the bandwidth configured what will be the problem? As per my little knowledge I know that bandwidth means the capacity of the link as well as interface.
Speed defines the actual layer 1 bit transfer rate.
Kindly solve my doubts.


If by “speed” you mean the “speed” command, then yes, it sets the literal layer 1 bit rate used by Ethernet interfaces. Note that the “speed” command is not used on some other interfaces, for instance, serial interfaces.

The “bandwidth” interface subcommand then sets a software setting for the interface that represents the speed. Bandwidth does not have to equal the physical aka layer 1 speed aka bits/second on the interface. It is used for documentation, and used as the basis for several important calculations, like some metrics for some routing protocols.

Why not just use the physical interface speed? Well, on some interfaces, the router software could not accurately detect the layer 1 speed. In others, the available layer 1 speed (aka bits/second) is used by several virtual interfaces (for instance, with router interface trunking on ethernet interfaces), so it is useful to have a software setting (bandwidth) to represent the capacity of each interface/subinterface, a value that can be set by software.

Hope this helps,

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x