I just recently got my CCNA and bought some routers from the teacher that he had laying around to do some home labbing. While two of them are good and more modern, the third one is an old 2611 from like 2005. It has 8 MB of internal flash memory and 32 MB of DRAM. I think it can be upgraded to 16 MB of flash and 64 MB DRAM as top capacity. The version it's running is 12.3 (10). Which from what I've noticed is pretty limited in its feature capabilities, including I think lack of support for SSH and some other crypto/security features. Most of the possible replacement flash images I want for it can't even fit as it is now. It can't run IPv6 at all either.

I'm not even sure about full support for EIGRP... from what I understand, that is a newer routing protocol, only fully implemented in 2013 from what I read. But typing in 'router eigrp' on an interface there still seems to be accepted, despite this version being 13 years old. I haven't tried any actual in depth setup yet. Does anyone know if this is supported by my router and IOS version?

Basically I'm trying to decide whether or not to upgrade the flash and memory on this old router and then get a new feature set, or if it's more worth it just to buy a new router altogether and save the hassle.

Also, is there a difference between installing a new system image into flash and actually upgrading the version of IOS? I take it there's a limit to how recent of a version the hardware certain older routers can support.


  • 1
    If you're spending money, my advice is to spend it on new(er) hardware. The 2600's aren't just EOL, they're erased-from-history.
    – Ricky
    Oct 5, 2018 at 20:52
  • "I'm not even sure about full support for EIGRP... from what I understand, that is a newer routing protocol, only fully implemented in 2013 from what I read." You are reading some very incorrect material. EIGRP is probably older (>20 years) than you are.
    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 5, 2018 at 23:50
  • Ah I see, interesting. Yeah I'm most likely going to just get a new router; they're pretty affordable on eBay. Yeah I misread that about EIGRP on Wikipedia, it has been around at least 20 years. So wait, EIGRP is just as old as OSPF (which apparently came out around 1998? Why is OSPF so much more commonly used- just cause it's non-Cisco proprietary? The things I read made it sound like it was a relatively recent development meant as a competitor to OSPF
    – Addy Lupe
    Oct 6, 2018 at 3:25
  • You can use feature navigator to investigate which features are available in your IOS version. Oct 6, 2018 at 3:31
  • EIGRP has been around since 1993. The RFC for OSPF was published in 1989, the first OSPFv2 RFC was published in 1991, and OSPFv3 was first published as OSPF for IPv6 in 1999. EIGRP has been proprietary until more recently (2013), and it would have cost a vendor a lot of money to license it from Cisco, whereas OSPF was always a free, open standard.
    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 6, 2018 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


Throw away the networking hardware, buy a decent computer / server (lots of RAM (at least 32GB) and CPU) and use a virtual environment. If you want to stick to Cisco buy a VIRL license (about $200/year) on ESXi, if you also want to learn Juniper and others install a Linux and run GNS3 or EVE-NG (and still buy the VIRL license because last time I checked you could download the different software images VIRL is using and put them into GNS3.).

  • I cannot second this enough. For CCNA R/S, CCNA Sec, and CCNP R/S at a minimum, there is no reason to do anything other than GNS3 at this point in time.
    – boomi
    Oct 6, 2018 at 22:31
  • Ugh, everyone online keeps lauding GNS3 all the time. My friend who's the head of IT at a news station and works in networking hasn't even heard of it. As for me, I tried installing it after going through the cert with Packet Tracer and before getting actual equipment, and it didn't turn out well. After multiple troubleshooting issues just getting it set up, I realized the whole set of images I had which I thought were legit were not and it wouldn't accept them. So I ended up trying this route. Maybe I should give GNS3 another chance
    – Addy Lupe
    Oct 11, 2018 at 17:06

Actually, you are wrong. EIGRP was released in 1993, and EIGRP v6 200x.

From 2013 Cisco said that Eigrp is an open standard, but for CCNA EIGRP is proprietary.

Since you have an old device you may upgrade your version by downloading a new version for your router, for more information, check Chapter 36 "IOS License Management" in official CCNA guide.

ESXi looks like a great idea since you are going to learn a new product which is in demand nowadays, I definitely going to create ESXi account to get experience with that...

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