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I want to buy a Cisco router to use on my home network. I'm just hoping to get a unit that is not too old and is not a SOHO model. I want to run the latest Cisco OS just to learn how Cisco does things. I would use it to divide my network into two or three IP networks, firewalling, etc.

I'm just asking for a model name/number.


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While it might be fun to mess around with a Cisco router on your home network (I totally understand that!) I wouldn't recommend it from a learning point of view. Your scenario is going to be too tiny to explore any of the more advanced functionality of the router, which leaves you with basic port configuration, and that you can learn on almost any hardware.

For your learning needs I would recommend Dynagen/Dynamips which lets you emulate modern Cisco versions. It lets you create topologies that are actually realistic and try out various protocols. If you want to you can connect your emulated environment to your normal network.

If you want physical hardware the Cisco 1800/1900 series (or the similar Juniper J series if you want to learn Juniper) are probably what you should be looking for. But you will be paying a significant premium for a lot of features you have little use for in your home network.

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+1 Dynagen is going to be better than the hardware I think. After not to much time you will want to play with routing protocols, vpn tunnels, etc. These are going to require more than router to setup for the most part. Although I guess you have to get a valid Cisco device to get the IOS images in a legit way... – Kyle Brandt Apr 5 '10 at 17:21

I've purchased Cisco kits from and have been very happy with them.

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How about a Cisco 1841? It's got two built in FastEthernet ports, and it supports WICs so you can practice configuring whatever else, if you want to buy the cards.

It retails for $1,400, but RouterMall has a refurb on sale for $525, and they might knock off that extra $25 if you ask nicely.

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A couple of years ago, when I was looking into going for a CCNA, there were very plentiful and cheap 2501 and 2514 routers up on Ebay. If I remember right, they were max $30 each, and had every conceivable feature needed for the first couple of exams. Not that you mentioned exams, but last I knew, they had everything you could need. Bulky and loud, tho, in case that matters.

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Ebayed 3 cisco routers total, no problems. – Kara Marfia Apr 4 '10 at 21:26

A Cisco 3640 (~$100 maxed out) + NM-2E2W ($40) x 2 is the cheapest way to do what you want, and will run 12.4 (not 100% modern, but will do everything you need)

Also checkout #cisco on

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I've heard that just build a PC with a bunch of ethernet (12+) ports, install Linux, and use dyhnamips. That was from a guy who did buy 4 switches, but felt no need for a real router.

His setup: Server to host dynamips (virtualizes 9 routers for a standard CCIE topology) 24 Port patch panel Cisco 3560 24 port switch Cisco 3550 48 port switch Cisco 3550 24 port switch Cisco 3550 24 port switch IPpower remote power

Too bad that I guess there is no way to virtualize a cisco switch.

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There's an awful lot of custom silicon in a switch, so it'd require quite a lot of extra code to be able to use the existing dynamips infrastructure to successfully virtualise them to the point that IOS rtuns. – Vatine Apr 8 '10 at 9:17
The problem with Dynamips is that the ASA support isn't stable at all – Kedare Aug 31 '11 at 18:39

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