Yes, finally some pictures. Everybody kept asking me what my home lab looks like. I’m quite happy about it but it’s not perfect, so if you want to set your own lab, use my guide instead.

The pictures:

The first picture shows four 2611 routers and one Cisco Catalyst 2900XL in my rack. The 2611s have two 10 Mbps Ethernet interfaces, one (unused) ISDN interface and one DB60 serial interface. The 2611s run IOS version 12.3 IP Basic, which is the biggest IOS they can hold on their 8 MB flash. Which means support for RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, Frame Relay, NAT, Tunneling, HRSP, VRRP, GLBP, ACLs… But no IPv6.
The 2900XL is ancient: it has twenty-four 100 Mbps ports but runs an unofficial IOS version which just has basic spanning-tree, VLANs and a static port-channel. I tend to use it as a patch panel between the routers mostly.

The second picture shows my server on the bottom of the rack. It’s quite heavy and I don’t have a rack-mount kit. It’s an IBM xSeries 335 server: two 32-bits Xeon single cores clocked at 3.06 Ghz, 1.5 GB RAM, two SAS 36 GB 10k rpm hard drives (with hardware RAID support) and two 1 Gbps Ethernet interfaces. It used to run ESX with some virtualized Linux and Windows servers, but now it has become an Ubuntu with GNS3.

The third picture shows my laptop, an IP Phone, a Catalyst 2970, a Catalyst 3560 PoE and a 2503 router.
The laptop is a Pentium III 400 Mhz with a broken battery, no working USB port and no working wifi. But it has a COM port and provides console access without problem, as well as Wireshark and Putty for test through the 100 Mbps NIC.
The IP Phone is a Cisco 7912, powered by PoE. I have three of these now.
The WS-C2970-24T-E switch is my workhorse for heavy loads: twenty-four 1 Gbps ports with a 24 Gbps backbone, so it can support a full load at all ports at once. It’s IOS version 12.2, with support for MST, PVST, Rapid-PVST, LACP, PAgP, static port-aggregation, VLANs, VTP and security features like port security, DHCP Snooping, DAI and the like.
The WS-C3560-24P-S is a full layer 3 switch with twenty-four 100 Mbps ports and two 1 Gbps Small Form-Factor Pluggable Transceiver (SFP) ports. The 100 Mbps ports have Power over Ethernet (PoE) auto-detect. It has a more recent IOS 12.4 IP Services with crypto installed. At the time of writing, it’s still in production and supports all features of the 2970 plus layer 3 functionality like routing protocols, DHCP, IPv6, ACLs, and also QoS and Private VLANs. It even has a temperature sensor and auto-MDIX.
The 2503 router is the only survivor of a batch of five 2503s, which was my original CCNA home lab together with the 2900XL. It’s ancient, has two serial interfaces and one 10 Mbps Ethernet interface (with an AUI). It supports routing protocols in their basic configuration, NAT, ACLs. In reality, it reaches about 4 Mbps throughput in my lab, making it the only device I have with less throughput in Mbps than power consumption in Watts.

Not photographed: a WS-C3560-8PC-S. It’s an 8-ports 100 Mbps switch with a 1 Gbps uplink. Fanless, completely silent, but all functions of the 24-ports 3560, including PoE.

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