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#1 JediCheese

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 11:07 PM

So, I'm in the market for a gigabit switch.  The cheapest solution would be to go down to a local computer place and buy a 5-8 port gigabit switch by whoever is cheapest (say $30).  On the other hand, I will be going for my CCNA next year (knock on wood) and thus spending a little money now will save me down the line when I need to acquire Cisco gear for a practice lab.

Unfortunately, the only reasonably priced option that I can find that supports both 12.4 and has more than two gigabit ethernet ports is the WS-C3550-12T.  They don't offer any gigabit ports on the 2950 line and the 2960's are so expensive ($1000+).  Am I missing any other possible options or am I going to be spending $250-300 on a switch?

I do have a second and unrelated question about managing Cisco equipment.  If I don't want to constantly keep moving the console cable around, is there a KVM type device that allows me to connect to multiple Cisco switches and routers?  I know it most likely exists but I can't seem to find the name of what I'm looking for.

Thanks for your time!

#2 timtom22

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 05:07 AM

QUOTE (JediCheese @ Oct 14 2010, 03:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So, I'm in the market for a gigabit switch.  The cheapest solution would be to go down to a local computer place and buy a 5-8 port gigabit switch by whoever is cheapest (say $30).  On the other hand, I will be going for my CCNA next year (knock on wood) and thus spending a little money now will save me down the line when I need to acquire Cisco gear for a practice lab.

Unfortunately, the only reasonably priced option that I can find that supports both 12.4 and has more than two gigabit ethernet ports is the WS-C3550-12T.  They don't offer any gigabit ports on the 2950 line and the 2960's are so expensive ($1000+).  Am I missing any other possible options or am I going to be spending $250-300 on a switch?

I do have a second and unrelated question about managing Cisco equipment.  If I don't want to constantly keep moving the console cable around, is there a KVM type device that allows me to connect to multiple Cisco switches and routers?  I know it most likely exists but I can't seem to find the name of what I'm looking for.

Thanks for your time!


1) I don't understand your first question, I have not idea what you are reluctant to do or pay. So I will leave it at that.

2) I don't think you need a KVM type switch (which I have not seen one designed for routers). You can log in to the most accessible router at a console port and then Telnet/SSH in to other routers. Of course this would involve setting up SSH services on all other routers and other config parameters on all your routers, so that you can Telnet/SSH from any router to any of the other routers in your network, all at the same time. You can suspend one Telnet session and start new one on a different router, you can alternate between different router Telnet sessions, you can end/suspend/start/restart, possibilities are endless.  biggrin.gif

To me that is the most logical approach to setting up the router management in a small network setting, with few routers. If you had tons of router, sure having CNA software from Cisco would make sense. You need to be a registered user at Cisco.com to obtain this software.

Since you are interested in pursuing CCNA, I would suggest you go via the route (NO, this is not a route contained in any router's routing table, so don't try "show IP route" command  rolleyes.gif ) I mentioned above, (console connection to one router then invoking Telnet/SSH session to other routers). That way you would get lots of hands on experience setting up your routers and configuring/managing/troubleshooting your setup.

Good luck.

Edited by timtom22, 14 October 2010 - 05:08 AM.

Petite et accipietis

#3 JediCheese

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:27 AM

1) Sorry, I was unclear.  I guess the question boils down to what is going to be the lowest end model of switch that supports 12.4 IOS and has multiple 1000BASE-T ports?

I've been looking around and according to various websites, there are several models of switches that seem to be recommended for CCNA labs:
2912/2924: Only comes in 10/100
2950: Only comes in 10/100

3550: The WS-C3550-12T has 10 1000BASE-T ports.  Ebay is saying these are $300 which while slightly above my price range for this, I might be able to find a good deal and get multiple uses out of one of these so I can stretch my dollar further.
2960: The 2960-S line comes with the ports I want.  Ebay is saying these are $1000+
3560: There are two models that offer the ports I want but it costs $12,000 according to ebay!


There is another option that I've found and it's the 3508G.  I'm very leery of this option because while it seems to support what I want to do (in a round about way), it's a 3500XL series switch which most websites rating CCNA lab gear don't put on their list AND I would need to pony up the money for multiple GBIC Cards.

Did I miss any models that meet my criteria and don't cost $10k+?  The cisco website isn't exactly newb friendly when it comes to giving technical specs in a table that you can customize (you have to go find what models of equipment you are thinking about buying and then compare the specs individually).

2) Ok, so if I'm understanding you correctly you use the console cable to get into one router and then from there you can get into all the routers inside the network?  I see people saying that you need to constantly have to rewire the network and I figure that they are talking about moving the console cable around to get into all the routers...

Edited by JediCheese, 14 October 2010 - 07:37 AM.


#4 Insomnia

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:17 PM

QUOTE (JediCheese @ Oct 14 2010, 07:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So, I'm in the market for a gigabit switch.  The cheapest solution would be to go down to a local computer place and buy a 5-8 port gigabit switch by whoever is cheapest (say $30).  On the other hand, I will be going for my CCNA next year (knock on wood) and thus spending a little money now will save me down the line when I need to acquire Cisco gear for a practice lab.

I do have a second and unrelated question about managing Cisco equipment.  If I don't want to constantly keep moving the console cable around, is there a KVM type device that allows me to connect to multiple Cisco switches and routers?  I know it most likely exists but I can't seem to find the name of what I'm looking for.

Thanks for your time!


I'm heading the same way as you, planning on getting my lab set up over the next 6 months or so.  My suggestion would be to go with a cheap switch for now.  30 bucks isn't that big of a deal, and it does what you need it to do without taking up much space or requiring much setup.  I actually carry around a D-Link DGS-1005D just in case.  Great for LAN parties, setting up new systems, etc.  And honestly, if you're planning on waiting a year the prices for Cisco gear will most likely drop.  

If you want to start playing right away, go cheap, maybe a 2501 router, or a 2600 XM.  Both should be easy to find for under $60 and $150 respectively.  Routers seem to offer the most educational value, and even having one would give you a head-start on figuring them out.  The other way would be to emulate (see here and here), which wouldn't cost you anything and should allow you to play with some newer features.

As for your second question, I found mention of something called an access server.  It looks like they can be used to remote-manage multiple devices from a single unit.  I'm not sure how different this is from what timtom22 had mentioned.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Insomnia, 15 October 2010 - 09:19 PM.


#5 JediCheese

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 06:11 AM

1) I appreciate the advice.  I used to own two D-Link DGS-2205 switches.  They were really good for LANs and other basic switching duties (between everything, I think I had something like 9 ethernet devices spread across the house and I ran cable through the walls to set up everything).  I moved out of my parent's house and went across the country and left most of my stuff behind.

Much to think over.  At what point does price take over versus looking nice (my computer equipment sits in a server cabinet in my living room - hope to move it to a closet someday).

PS: Go wireless with LAN's!  We started doing it at the last few LANs and the 802.11G is fast enough to host wireless gameing.  Just outlaw anyone with a 11B connection and you should be ok.

2) Thanks!  I'll look into it.  Knowing the name of what you want means you can effectively use google to find answers wink.gif

Edited by JediCheese, 16 October 2010 - 06:20 AM.






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