Lesson 3

Eh oop,

This is the 3rd and final installment in Crispy’s Building A Home Lab spam, we are going to be looking at where do get this equipment from and how much you would be looking to pay. Does that sound GOUDA my little CHEESES? See, I do give EDAM about helping you get the best bang for your Buxton Blue. Sorry for the dairy input.

Where was I … ah yes

3) Where can I get this equipment from and how much does it cost?

This is probably the easiest (and hopefully shortest) of the three posts to do.

The how much is determined by the where bit? Still with me? Good.

You can get equipment from the following places:-

Cisco Partner/Reseller

Each have their own advantages and disadvantages.


Great way to share equipment or through people who have studied in the past and no longer require their toys.
Problem sadly is they sometimes may want their toys back (A few have you have mentioned to me in the past about having to return equipment midway through studies)
DOH, not helpful

CISCO Partner/Reseller

Can’t be beaten, you have your guarantees, you have smartnet contracts and can update your kit. The best method.
However, one teeny weeny small issue with that … COST. For those starting off, or indeed those pursuing higher end certifications, this is, at best very expensive, especially as you will only ever use this in a lab environment.


Those of you who are lucky enough to have employers who upgrade/decommission routers and switches may be in luck and can get some EOL stuff that will be great to have.
Only problem you might have is if it’s been loaned to you, they may ask it back at anytime, so won’t be good for you especially through mid study your 3560 is taken away from you. Boo hiss.


It’s more like a classified ads section. Someone offers the equipment and price, but there is not as much legal recourse as you would get say from ebay (or a reseller). I am sure there are bargains to be had, especially people who advertise their kit and don’t realise what cards are in them. I am sure there is scope to haggle, but you may not get the best prices.


Ah, the nations favourite place to shop for cisco stuff. You have some power sellers there who refurbish cisco toys and even provide some limited warranty on them (typically 30 days) – I am not going to recommend anyone, but if you go by Star ratings and feedback, you tend to get a rough idea. You can also easily compare prices of similar if not identical equipment too – This is typically my first port of call for cisco kit.

That’s pretty much it, if anyone else can think of other places, please let me know and i’ll amend/add accordingly.

Finally, the bit everyone has been waiting for:-


I can give you a rough idea of what to typically pay from a UK perspective, perhaps you can use conversion sites to give it the local currency equivalent. Bare in mind it might just be cheaper for you to buy from someone in another country and ship it over rather than get it locally. I can’t comment personally as I have only purchased locally (And also you will need to make sure you receive the relevant power cables for items if they are non generic)

For a WIC-1T, no more than £15
For a WIC-2T, no more than £25
For a DB60 to DB60, no more than £8, slightly more for the Smart Serial versions.
For an NM-8A/S (don’t bother with the NM-4A/S, prices very similar), around £30
For an NM-16A including two CAB-OCTAL cables, around the £150 mark. This will also be the same as purchasing a 2511. 2509 will be around the £90-100 mark.
For a 2620XM – you are looking around the £40 or so mark (depends if someone has put modules in it and the ram it has) vary this by £5 for every extra feature is has (e.g faster, more ram, extra interface etc)
For a 2950, unless you are going for the enhanced image versions (denoted by a -EI after their name), no more than £25, unless they are gigabit/24/48port versions, then slightly more. Te be honest, I would spend a little more and get 3550’s
For a 3550, closer to the £100 mark is what you will expect, and closer to £150 for the inline power version. Not necessary to be honest, but if you are doing some Voice/PoE stuff, it’s handy to have. 24 port would be the idea to go for. Look for ones with IPservices as they have all the bells and whistles, but nothing stopping you getting one without it, and “upgrading” it later Wink

Well folks, this is the end of the 3 part guide. I have done my best, based on experience to write this and trust that you will find some of it quite useful.

Please PM or reply on this if you have any extra comments or suggestions.

All the best.

Chris P

Chris Patsalou is a network engineer who works somewhere in London. He was voted most annoying person on the howtonetwork.net forum in 2007,2008,2010 ( he was travelling in 2009). He can often be found in Starbucks pondering the meaning of life.