Appropriate Router

Posted on 2008-09-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-05
Hi all,

I'm looking for a router under $500 which connect 3 different networks together.

I have an network application running on a laptop. I plan to have my laptop communicate with 3 different networks. I think a router is the device I need.

Can you recommend me which model is suitable to my needs ?

Question by:kevinnnguyen
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 22611427
Are the networks local or are they remote?  If they're local there are options, if remote you may need to setup a VPN between the different sites, each site will need to have router/firewall that can support VPN
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 22611519
If you need to connect 3 local networks then you can pick up a Cisco 1721 for about $350 USD with 2 WIC-1ENET cards.
This effectively gives you 3 ethernet interfaces that are independently configurable. The only thing to consider is that WIC-1ENETs are only 10Mbps as they are intended for internet connections. This is not a problem as most internet connections are less than that. If you intend to use this on a LAN the throughput could pose a problem if you're doing file transfers or other heavy traffic. It also has 1x 10/100 fast ethernet connection and console and AUX ports for remote management.
If this is just a test environment the 1721 will be fine. If it is to connect to two internet lines it is fine. If it is to connect 3 networks on a LAN, again, watch out for bandwidth requirements as the 2 WIC cards are only 10Mbps.
As this is an enterprise class router, it's is probably the only router you'll be able to find that allows you to truly connect to and route 3 networks without limitations for under $500.
Let me know if you have any questions!
If you instead mean one local network and two remote networks (VPN) let me know and I'll offer suggestions.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 22611526
When I say 3 local, I mean either 3 on LAN, 2 on LAN and one on internet, or 2 on internet and 1 on LAN... or 3 on internet!
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 22611532
Basically, the 1721 has 3 physical connections - not virtual ones (although you can configure many VPN connections [Site-to-site and remote access] on it as well).  sorry, i keep submitting before I'm done.
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Author Comment

ID: 22614665
3 networks are local Gigabit Ethernet and require high throughput. Any other model router can do the job ?
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 22617294
Yes, but it is expensive. :-( Enterprise gigabit stuff costs a fortune. And you usually can't get ones that route with less that 24 ports.
In this situation I'd use a gigbit layer 3 switch. Switches don't block throughput and everything operates at full speed.
Do you need advanced routing features like PBR or are you just trying to basically join them?
Another good thing about a switch is that you can add as many networks to it as you want (only limited by number of ports) and have them all talk, or restrict some of them based on your requirements.
I recommend the Cisco Cisco Catalyst 3560G-24TS. It has 24 gigabit ethernet interfaces and 2 other ports for fiber. It also does routing (just what you need!)
The only catch is that the switch with lowest software on it (fine for you if you don't need OSPF or EIGRP routing - otherwise you'll need the advanced one) costs about $3,600 USD. The advanced one is close to double that.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If it is critical that all networks be joined at gigabit speeds then you have no choice but to get an L3 switch such as the one above. That is the least expensive switch that has the necessary features. If you can give up some performance, a 100Mbps 3560 will only cost $2,200 USD. Otherwise, if you cannot afford that, you will be stuck with a router. Routers really slow down LAN throughput. They aren't designed to be used between LAN networks. Switches are. Routers are only for the network edge -  going out to the internet.
I hope this helps!

Author Comment

ID: 22617849
Do you think Cisco 871 router will work ? Check this link: 
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

Pugglewuggle earned 125 total points
ID: 22617932
Yes, the 871 will "work" but you won't even get close to gigabit speeds, even if using the LAN interfaces. They are only 10/100 BUT they are switchports so they aren't affected so much by routing.

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