Home lab upgrade – Routers

In the last few days, I upgraded the network setup of my home lab. I have replaced two over a decade old CISCO 2610 routers with a newer router. The previous routers were replaced not for their old age; Until they were decommisioned they were working flawlessly. They were decommissioned due to their limitation. Before the upgrade the setup looks like the following:

 Home Lab Network Infrastructure Before the upgrade
Home Lab Network Infrastructure before the upgrade

As seen in the image above, the connection between the 2610 routers is a serial cable. Serial cable limits the connection speed up to 8 Mbps. Moreover, the connection was not stable at all. As a result, connecting VMs to the Internet is barely possible.

New routers requirements

For a basic infrastructure for my home lab, I do not have niche requirements. Thus, my requirements were dual gigabit ports, not too old and there is room for future ios updates and lastly, it is affordable. I chose CISCO1921-SEC/K9 to replace the current 2610 routers I use. CISCO1921-SEC/K9 is a dual gigabit connection and it is supported by Cisco until 2020. Moreover, it has some security features like VPN connectivity, firewall IOS, and others as well.

Buying the new router

I live in Bahrain and Bahrain does not have a market for used enterprise equipment. As a result, I needed to get my router from outside of Bahrain as I did with my servers. For this purchase, I decided not to spend a lot. Thus, I had a limited budget. I tried buying from US and German-based websites that sell used and refurbished equipment. The shipping cost was too high for the price of the device. Then, I looked into other options like eBay and surprisingly Amazon. I ended up buying my router from Amazon. I bought one router instead of two. The reason is that I do not think about building a two sites architecture for the time being. I paid about $142 (About 43 BD) including shipping!!

Buying a single router will change how devices are connected to each other. The new arrangement will eliminate the need for using dynamic routes (OSPF, EIGRP..) because all networks are handled by a single router. The below image shows how devices are not connected in the home lab.

 Home Lab Network Infrastructure Afterthe upgrade
Home Lab Network Infrastructure After the upgrade

Future Plans

Buying the new router allows me to connect my home lab to the Internet properly (Finally). Moreover, the new setup allows me to deploy services like WSUS and others in my current home lab. Which means more ideas for future blog posts. Also, it allows me to experiment with some of CISCO related security features like VPN and others.