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Thread: Best place to buy Cisco?

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    Senior Member SephStorm's Avatar
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    Default Best place to buy Cisco?

    Where is a good place to find low cost Cisco routers for use in a lab environment? I heard about someplace that sold them, that was recommended. But I can't remember if it was even on this board.
    "You're only smoke and mirrors..."

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    Very good friend of the forum Gitsnik's Avatar
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    eBay. As someone who used to be a Cisco Reseller, I can not stress enough how extortionately expensive they are if you want to just mess around with things. eBay is your friend, you get no support but it's a lab environment so it's not like you're going to be using it as your main router.

    Make sure you get your console cable though, it will be essential for resets.
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    Senior Member SephStorm's Avatar
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    Yeah I noticed an older model that was suggested for me on there for dirt cheap, but no cables included. Can they be bought seperatly, maybe in local stores?

    in a completly seperate but related question, whenever people start talking about networks, they talk about switches. Now, I have my net+ and I know what a switch is and what a router is, but I dont see why anyone would have a switch as I know of it in most networks, i.e, in my home network I have a Residual gateway(linksys router) connecting my computers, and the internet. My question is, when they talk about switches, are they talking about "dumb" devices that transmit data recieved on all ports, and pass on broadcast traffic or something else?
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    Very good friend of the forum Gitsnik's Avatar
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    Stonewall make console cables, you might be able to buy separate ones on ebay as well.

    Your router has a switch in it if it has more than one port on your LAN side (probably does). It is just combined into one unit.

    I run a switch out of my closet, one in my bedroom and one in my living room - each one connects the units in each area to itself, and provides a link up to the other systems (closet --> bedroom --> living room --> DSL router).

    A dumb device like you mentioned is a Hub.

    I hate holding a Network+ certification, there was a lot of theory in it but almost no practical useful information - a question like yours is something I too would have had issues answering if it weren't for other experience.

    I think all that makes sense, it was a bit stream-of-consciousness.
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    Super Moderator lupin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SephStorm View Post
    in a completly seperate but related question, whenever people start talking about networks, they talk about switches. Now, I have my net+ and I know what a switch is and what a router is, but I dont see why anyone would have a switch as I know of it in most networks, i.e, in my home network I have a Residual gateway(linksys router) connecting my computers, and the internet. My question is, when they talk about switches, are they talking about "dumb" devices that transmit data recieved on all ports, and pass on broadcast traffic or something else?
    Gitsnik is correct, the dumb device you are describing is a hub. A switch is normally used in situations where you want to connect multiple network devices onto the same broadcast domain (or onto the same subnet in TCP/IP parlance). A hub does the same thing but switches are preferrable to hubs in this regard because they don't just spew everything they receive out every other port, they instead learn which devices are connected to which ports (by checking the source mac addresses on sent packets from each port), and only forward traffic based on this information. This way you give each connected system its own virtual "wire" to communicate on and eliminate collisions (which is when when multiple devices try and communicate on the same wire at once).

    Many routers including the home linksys device you mentioned will contain their own switches. Dedicated switches however are available with more ports than routers (usually with port counts of 24 and 48 for enterprise switches). At my work we use these enterprise switches to connect user workstations on an office floor or servers within a server room. I personally also use an 8 port switch at home to connect the systems on the main wired network segment. I then use a router to seperate this broadcast domain from the wireless network segment and the Internet.

    A good way to learn about this stuff is to read the Cisco CCNA study guide, it covers this stuff in as much detail as you could possibly want (and maybe more).
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    Senior Member SephStorm's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information Gitsnik, I appreciate it, I'm defiantly going to have to re-research my network devices information. I'm looking over CCENT information now, more for the knowledge for the moment that the test, I personally think Cisco is pretty far away from me at this point, but I am liking the CBT training i'm getting, I like it much better than the Cisco Press books, but I'll probuly look at them after i'm done to see how much i've learned, before I attempt an exam.

    Anyway, back on subject,

    I am seriously considering buying a Cisco switch an router, making a nice little rack... I'd better stop before I start drooling...

    Thanks Lupin, I saw your post as I was posting the above. I'll be looking at that.

    Also, on a lot of these listing,, the switches and routers do not come with cables, console or power. i found the console cables, does Cisco cave proprietary power cables? Do I need a specific kind?
    "You're only smoke and mirrors..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by SephStorm View Post

    Also, on a lot of these listing,, the switches and routers do not come with cables, console or power. i found the console cables, does Cisco cave proprietary power cables? Do I need a specific kind?
    Generally no, it's a standard power cord you would plug into your PC. I did however get a Cisco ASA5505 for the house and it uses a proprietary power cable. They still use the standard console cable for all their products. I have hundreds of them, if you need an extra PM me and I will ship you one .

    edit: As for your lab, you can get away with a 2600 router and 2950 switch. That's what I picked up a few years ago and you can get each under $50 on ebay. A friend at work showed me http://www.dynagen.org/ , it's a Cisco emulator. All you need to do is get a CCO account with Cisco (free) and download the IOS's and it will run them.

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    Senior Member Thorn's Avatar
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    If you can't find a Cisco console cable (aka "management cable") included with a device, or at a reasonable price, it is possible to make your own.

    Electrical retailers that handle networking equipment (e.g. Greybar), sell RJ45-to-DB9F converters, which retail for about $4USD. Configure the pins, and plug in a standard Cat5 patch cable, and you have a console cable. Since the official Cisco cables retail for about $25-$50USD, and most of us have Cat5 patch cables by the dozens, it's a pretty inexpensive way to get the cable you need.

    Cisco Console RJ45 to DB9 Pin Cable Pinout - AllPinouts

    Also, if you do any field work that involves Cisco equipment, it's easier and takes less space to have a converter in your bag or kit, than carrying a separate, specialized cable.
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    Senior Member SephStorm's Avatar
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    I was able to find the 2600 router, but not the 2650 switch, I can find 2650 routers.

    In my home network, I am envisioning... two wired connections hooked into a switch, which is hooked into a router offering wireless access, on a separate subnet. The router is hooked into the DSL line. What would you guys suggest for this setup?
    "You're only smoke and mirrors..."

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    Senior Member Thorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SephStorm View Post
    I was able to find the 2600 router, but not the 2650 switch, I can find 2650 routers.

    In my home network, I am envisioning... two wired connections hooked into a switch, which is hooked into a router offering wireless access, on a separate subnet. The router is hooked into the DSL line. What would you guys suggest for this setup?
    As a best practice, you should isolate any lab completely from both 'normal use' network or the Internet. That guarantees that no matter what you do, you cannot cause any problems outside the lab. (e.i. You can't, for example, accidentally DoS you're own PCs, or cause an attack to go to a machine out on the Internet.) This protects you from damaging your regular network, or worse, being accused of doing something malicious to a network belonging to someone else.
    Thorn
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