I recently decided to build a small Cisco lab to mess around with. To keep the lab as cheap as possible I decided to hit ebay and see what kind of deals on used hardware I could find. My goal was to try and build the complete lab for about $100.00
The first router I obtained was an old Cisco 2501, very old but it still works for research on the Cisco command sets.
The second was a Cisco 2514, also very old but again for research and learning it works great.
The cost for the 2514 and 2501 with shipping: $62.50
Although you can make your own rollover cable for connecting to the console of the router I opted to just buy one and save myself the trouble.
I also wanted a DTE to DCE cable to virtualize a WAN link between two serial ports.
The cost for the cables with shipping:
Cisco Console Cable $5.99
1Ft Back to Back DCE/DTE DB60 Crossover Cable $8.45
Because the routers I purchased were older I needed to buy transceivers to allow ethernet connections to the AUI ports on the routers. I wanted to get a transceiver for each AUI port so I needed three. I decided to go with CentreCOM MX20T’s.
The cost for the transceiver’s with shipping:
(3)CentreCOM Transceiver MX20T $34.97
Total cost for the lab: $111.91
It was a little over $100 but still not bad for what I got. If you decide to build such a lab you can find more notes here: Cisco Notes