Monday, February 21, 2011

Seven Reasons to choose Cisco for home or SOHO Network

After building my own Cisco home lab, I feel very satisfied with how they perform for my LAN.
So let me poison your mind, I'm going to show you why I think home network geeks - like my self - and SOHO network should consider to replace the network devices they have now with Cisco networking devices.

Actually Cisco has an article called Why Enterprise Choose Cisco, but frankly I don't quite understand what they're trying to say so I figured 7 reasons that I can think of why choose Cisco for Home or SOHO network.

1. Cisco Certification

The number one reason is of course to smooth your way in passing Cisco Certification exams. You can get away not having Cisco home lab for the CCNA exam, but above that, especially if you don't have a direct access to the real Cisco devices, at least you need to rent Cisco lab.

2. Wide Range of Products
Not just apply to Cisco, every vendor has wide range of products to offer, routers, switches, VPN concentrators, wireless, firewalls, you name it.
But wouldn't it be nice to have a room in your home or SOHO with that cool Cisco logo on all of the devices.
Imagine clients walking down your office and see the network rack or at least the picture of it, and shockingly say what the heck is that???
Oh, that's just our small data center you reply.
Surely make your business seems reliable enough or what??

3. Scalability
This is what I really like from Cisco, you can easily upgrade everything, well almost everything in the devices.
Say you bought a 2611 router, the chassis only, and later you found out you need WAN connectivity, DSL connection, additional switch ports, VPN, and even Voice card for VoIP, etc.
You can just buy the modules and slide in to your router, not all of them of course, but as much as the router permits.
The complete reference for the modules supported by 2600 routers can be found here.
You can buy and upgrade the IOS according to your needs. Routers such as linksys also can be upgraded (the firmware), many third party firmwares are also available, but the Cisco IOS can do much more functionalities no doubt.
Need more power for the Cisco routers, no problem, you can always upgrade the RAM, now this is hard to do on average home usage routers. You can easily slide in a bigger RAM in the router just like PCs.
My default amount of 2611 RAM provides me a great connectivity to the internet compared to my old router.
You know if you connect lots of clients to the internet, the router maintains a NAT table and if the RAM is not enough it should affect the connectivity.

4. Managabililty
Having Cisco devices in your LAN is like being a tyrant in your own kingdom. You can pretty much do anything in it at your wish.
Kick out a client, limit the connection to nearly bytes per second and let them come to you and beg for mercy.
No no that's not me.. I think. I don't know about you but controling network devices from the CLI is like having an unlimited power over the LAN.
You can configure anything right from nothing and seeing it connects successfuly, I'm telling you nothing beats the feel of it.

5. Reliability
No question about reliability for Cisco devices. In fact I just knew that Cisco Systems Sets Guinness World Record with the World's Highest Capacity Internet Router.
Now get this, with the show version command in the device you can view the uptime right? how long the router is up and running without shutting down or reloading.
A company has a record of about 10+ years, 10 years, man,

6. Enterprise Class Features
Depends on the router capabilities and the IOS image you have, you can have an enterprise class features in your LAN.
Advance firewall system, Intrusion Detection System, Multicast handling, VoIP, all of that you can have just by upgrading your Cisco routers later when your company got bigger.

7. Cost
No, I'm not talking about the cost of buying Cisco devices, the price for the new ones are insane for home usage and SOHO. But you can always buy the used ones from ebay or other used Cisco resellers.
What I want to say is the cost that you can save if you bought Cisco devices. Return of Investment what smarter people would say.
So the reasons are good enough for you? If you're working in a SOHO you might be able to persuade the finance department to upgrade the network devices you have now.
But you're just students or a techies want to get deeply intimate with Cisco, how could you ever afford them.
If you really really want it why not? Take a look at me, I'm currently just about a quarter of century old, living in a country where you wouldn't dream of having a real live Cisco home lab.
And no, my Dad is not a millionaire, I bought the Cisco lab purely from my own income, one by one at a time, you just need to know what to buy and where.

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