Cisco Router Recommendations

The following are the models of Cisco routers we suggest to use on a dedicated leased line connection to the Internet. All prices are high estimates (so we don't have to keep changing this web page every time there is a price change) actual new prices are probably going to be lower than what is listed here.

Note that due to the increasingly serious shortage of TCP/IP network subnets on the Internet (assigned by ARIN), Internet Partners no longer assigns entire subnets of legal TCP/IP numbers to non-multihomed customers. Instead, customers may use either Proxy servers, or Network Address Translation to connect their networks.

Cisco 1005

Cisco 1005 Router

Firewall IOS is NOT available for this router. "IP Plus" feature set from version 11.2 or 11.3 MUST be loaded on this router to enable full translation. 4MB of Flash and 8MB of DRAM required for IP Plus 11.2 and 11.3. The "Port Address Translation" present in pre-12.0 IOS for the 1005 is NOT sufficient for NAT! The 1005 is no longer in production - and all units that were sold came standard from the factory with less than 4/8MB. SNTP only supported. This router is not recommended for full-bandwidth T1, or high-bandwidth Frame connections. (such as in the US West service area, where Frame circuits above 128K can burst to 1024Kbps) It is a fine router for use with 56K Frame circuits, or limited-bandwidth Frame circuits. (such as in GTE service area) Used devices typically sell for $500 if you can find them. This router requires an external DSU and a Cisco cable to connect the DSU.

Cisco 1600 series or 1600R

The successor to the 1005 with a faster processor. IOS 12.0.X required for NAT, EXCEPT if Firewall IOS is selected, in which case you can go down to version 11.2 of IOS. Firewall IOS IS available for this router. 6MB Flash and 4MB DRAM required for IOS 12.0, 4MB Flash, 2MB DRAM required for Firewall version 11.2.XP. Almost all used devices require memory upgrades to run current IOS. The "R" series of the 160x is actually the more desirable under IOS 12.0.x (because it's software can be remotely upgraded without taking the router offline for an extended time) but is rarer and has different memory requirements. This router is currently in production. This router will work fine up through a full-blown T1. SNTP only supported. Used devices generally appear with regularity on Ebay and the Usenet newsgroups. New devices generally sell for $1200-$1500 depending on configuration. These prices are for the chassis only. The 1600 series has a WAN slot in which a T1 DSU (available from Cisco) can be inserted, eliminating the need for an external cable and T1 DSU. The 1602 has an integrated 56K DSU as well as a WAN slot.

Cisco 2500 series

Cisco 2501 Router

The most popular router Cisco has ever manufactured, is still in production. There are numerous board-revisions with varying memory configurations. Earlier 2500's with pre-10.X boot ROMS cannot support more than 8MB of flash, and don't support subinterfaces in the rom, making them impossible to remotely upgrade IOS over a Frame circuit. IOS 12.0.X required for NAT, EXCEPT if Firewall IOS is selected, in which case you can go down to version 11.2 of IOS. 8MB Flash and 4MB DRAM is required for IOS 11.2 through 12.0. Supports NTP allowing it to be used in a time-synchronization network. Will work fine at T1 speeds. Used devices are plentiful. All 2500-series routers are fixed configuration and require an external cable and DSU. A new Cisco 2501 sells for around $1800.

Cisco 2600 series

The successor to the 2500 series, most obvious change is the addition of slots allowing T1, ISDN, voice, and other kinds of cards to be used. Also has a different and much faster CPU. Also allows IOS upgrading to be done remotely without taking the router offline for an extended period of time. Will easily support 2 fully pegged T1 connections, while the 2500 will bog under 2 fully loaded T1's. (fully loaded is both inbound and outbound traffic simultaneously) Minimum IOS this router will run is 11.3, IOS 12.0.x is recommended because 11.3 is an interim release only. 4MB Flash and 20MB ram required for Firewall, we recommend purchasing at least 32MB of ram in these routers to allow for code bloat as later versions of IOS are released. This is the best router to use for customized CBAC/Firewall configurations under high-bandwidth circuits as it's faster CPU will give the least latency for complicated packet inspection. New devices sell for approximately the same price as the 2500 series. Used devices come up occassionally prices are generally the same as brand new, the used ones frequently throw in a T1 card.

Cisco 3600 series

Cisco 3620 and 3640 Routers

An older router than the 2600 but younger than the 2500, this comes in two variants, the 3620 and the 3640. This is a specialized router intended for voice applications, and the 3620 has been pretty much superseded by the 2600. It's use as an ISP internet router is declining and it is mainly found in niche applications.

If an administrator finds a used Cisco router for sale, (some people choose this route) a service contract is STRONGLY recommended (we sell them) because Cisco WILL NOT warranty older router hardware without one. Also, on used units be aware that some routers require cabling, others require add-in cards, make sure that everything is specified in the sale. New Cisco units typically come with a 90-day manufacturers warranty. Cisco service contracts typically DO NOT cover router power supply replacement. Service contracts, and IOS upgrades are generally NOT available on non-standard Cisco routers. (such as routers-on-a-hub-card)

All Cisco router owners MUST have a router IOS liscense physically in their possession, unlike most hardware devices the presense of a particular load of IOS on the router is NO proof of ownership!!! IP-Only IOS firmware liscenses are typically under $25 for the small Cisco routers, however Firewall and IP/IPX liscenses are considerably higher. Service Contracts entitle the possessor to upgrade to the latest version of IOS within their feature set.

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