At my company, we still have a lot of Cisco 2600 and 3600 Series routers. While not all my sites needed the power of these routers, we needed to use a network module card, and these router models were the first in the Cisco product line that supported those network modules. Specifically, we use NM-16A & NM-32A asynchronous serial modules to support serial devices at each location. The Cisco 2600 Series routers don’t have the CPU and RAM to support the latest IOS and to handle the current network traffic load. (Note: The last date to receive service and support for a 2600 Series is April 28, 2008.)
In my case, the Cisco router 2800 Series is the ideal replacement for almost all our routers. We have been purchasing 2811 Series routers, installing a HWIC T1 card for MPLS WAN connectivity, and replacing existing routers at remote sites. We added a NM-16A or NM-32A modules to support the needs of our async devices. I have seen cases where putting in a 2800 Series immediately improved the performance for that remote location.
While I might be able to use a smaller router like an 1800, I need the NM slot from the 2800 Series, and I like the flexibility and power that the 2800 Series offers. Like the 2600 and 3600 Series routers, the 2800 Series has been extremely reliable; so far, not one 2800 Series has failed.
A downside to the Cisco 2800 Series is that it is loud. When I turned it on to configure it in my office, I couldn’t hear my coworkers or my phone.
ConclusionIf you are in the market for a new router (perhaps you’re looking to replace your aging 2600 and 3600 Series routers), I recommend taking a look at the Cisco 2800 Series. Based on my personal use, the Cisco 2800 Series is another rock solid router from Cisco that, like the 2600 and 3600 Series, will serve network admins for years to come.
The real case for the Cisco 2800 Series is that it offers a completely improved package: better performance, solid reliability, versatility of use, and a plethora of WAN interfaces and network modules that you can use to expand it. Also, since the 2600 Series will no longer be supported, the time to replace those routers with the 2800 is now.