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For some scenarios buying second hand cisco products it's a very good options. It could even be the only possible solution. I have network knowledges but I am not very familiar with CISCO. I would like to know what tests would you make before buying it.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've bought a load of old Cisco 26xx router hardware from eBay and from friends. It's all been pulled from a working network, so I'm usually pretty confident that it works ok.

To answer your question..

You can use the test command subset to test various bits of router hardware/software to make sure it passes the tests.

router# test ?
  aaa               AAA Authentication, Authorization and Accounting
  interfaces        Network interfaces
  memory            Non-volatile and/or multibus memory
  pas               Port Adaptor Tests
  scp               SCP test commands
  service-module    Service module
  sgbp
  Virtual-Template  Virtual Template interface
  appletalk         APPLETALK diagnostic code
  cac               test the l2 cac functionality
  call              Call test commands
  cns               CNS agents
  crypto            Test crypto functions
  dsp               Test DSP functions
  eigrp             IPX EIGRP test commands
  enum              test enum
  gssapi            GSSAPI test code
  hpi               host port interface
  ifs               IFS TEST code
  ipc               Inter-Process Communication Test Commands
  ipmobile          IP Mobility Test commands
  pasvc             PPP over ATM SVC Test Driver
  pm                Port Manager test commands
  pppatm            PPP over ATM SSS Test
  pppoe             PPPoE test commands
  sctp              SCTP test commands
  source-group      Test Source IP Group
  spanning-tree     Spanning Tree Subsystem
  ssl               SSL Test
  sw-vlan           Test VLAN Manager feature
  tpu               TPU test system
  translation-rule  Test translation rule table
  voice             Voice related test commands

Here's what test interfaces might look like (docs)

Router# test interfaces Test Ethernet0/0 [y/n] ? y !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Passed No IP address for Serial0/0. Skipping... No IP address for BRI0/0. Skipping... No IP address for BRI0/0:1. Skipping... No IP address for BRI0/0:2. Skipping... Test Dialer1 [y/n] ? ... Failed - timeout problem Test Loopback1 [y/n] ? n Skipping... Test Tunnel1 [y/n] ? n Skipping... Test Tunnel2 [y/n] ? n Skipping... 9 interfaces: 1 passed, 1 failed, 3 skipped, 4 untestable

You can also run show tech and show mem to confirm that the hardware is what you expect.

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As silly as it sounds, make sure you test it with a similar configuration to what you need, too. I only say this because I had a router which worked 100% fine, 24/7 until I changed the configuration slightly (I forget what it was, but nothing special) which caused it to crash and prevented a full boot. I had to factory reset to boot it and the same thing would happen every time I tried that config. –  Dan Nov 17 '12 at 11:27
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