Rebuilding the network lab.

Cables cables cables

My homelab was getting rather messy, and I had spare 1U devices not doing anything.

Before shot

As a hobby I have a network lab I occasionally dabble with. While I do intend on going for my CCENT/CCNA at some point in the future this is very much a hobby in line with ham radio (this being the cheaper of the two hobbies).

Inventory at the moment includes:

  • Cisco 2851 w/ NM-4FXS module, and WIC-1DSU-T1-V2 – Its big! Its still quieter than my 2811s!
  • Cisco 2811 (x2) w/ WIC-1DSU-T1-V2 – One of these has a bad fan and also complains about its 1DSU-T1-V2 module’s firmware.
  • Cisco 2651XM w/ NM-16A – My current implementation of a console server.
  • Cisco 3560-24PS-S – Core switch for the lab, also powers the next item(s).
  • Cisco 2960-8PD-L (x2) – These I kind treasure more than the rest of my kit, not only because they run the latest IOS software (15) in my lab, but because they are POE powered which is pretty damn sweet. Also I got them at a very good price even in comparison to the rest of my kit.
  • GateProtect GPA-400 – Recently (today) reflashed with pfsense, this is also my first attempt at installing pfsense on dedicated hardware. Went pretty well with the exception of a BIOS issue that was resolved by reinstalling and turning off “packet” when it came to formatting the internal disk. Also what the ethernet NICs are labeled as on the case are reversed in pfsense itself.
  • Cisco SF300-24 – The backbone of my network, this links between my router (Edgerouter X) and my server (other room) as well as provides intervlan routing between the network lab and the rest of my network. And most importantly of all: Its silent!
  • Linksys RV016 – This is a new acquisition, an 8 WAN (well, 7 + 1 DMZ in my case) router is quite interesting. The black box you see in the first image is a 4 gang passive POE injector for Mikrotik/Ubiquiti gear.
  • GateProtect GPO-125 (Not Pictured) – Picked this up at the same time as my GPA-400, new in box and I still haven’t removed the plastic on it. It is destined to also run pfsense. Also its the same size as a Motorola CDM1250 and it has a fan D:<
  • Cisco RV042G (Not Pictured) – Cheapo ($7) little router I got to play around with.

Anyways, while this post is officially about recabling the lab, its really just a brag post about stuff I own. I’m now going back to actually cable things up.

At the moment the lab itself is hooked up with Cat5e jumpers, but the lab is also not powered on 24/7. In an effort to reduce QRM I have everything else hooked up with shielded Cat6a (the blue cables). I don’t think its doing much just because the run to the server and the Ubiquiti AP is quite long but it makes me feel good. I’m very tempted to move a bunch of stuff to fibre optics but thats a bit silly for my 1 Mbit up/8Mbit down internet connection. Btw a bulk purchase of 6″ and 12″ Cat5e cables from monoprice was an excellent idea.