Popular Cisco 2901 Router, best way to know about Cisco 2901 Setup

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Popular Cisco 2901 Router, best way to know
about Cisco 2901 Setup

As a network engineer, do you have a chance to work with physical equipment? May
be not often, here we will share this article with those who are interested in getting
familiar with the physical Cisco equipment. We will take the Cisco 2901 as an
example.

Cisco's Integrated Service Routers (ISR) are usually utilized by most small to
medium sized businesses. These routers are intended to be a general purpose,
flexible option for a number of different environments that support a number of
different capabilities from simple routing to VoIP and videoconferencing. The Cisco
2901 router is the successor to Cisco's 2500, 2600 and 2800 series lines of routers. It
is 1RU (Rack Unit) in size and is often referred to as a `pizza box' router.

The figure below shows a picture of the front and back of
the 2901 router:


In this article we will focus on the hardware setup of a Cisco router. There are a
number of different module options that are available for the 2901. The image above
is of a 2901 without any additional modules installed. The first thing that any
engineer must do with a new router (or new to them) is to configure and update it to
meet the needs of its intended role in the network.


To do this the engineer must connect a cable to the Cisco 2901/K9 to access the
console of the device. With older routers the only option when connecting to the
console was via a custom rollover cable which was then used in combination with a
RJ-45 to DB-9 or DB-25 converter which enabled a connection with a serial port on a
PC. Since almost all newer PCs (including laptops) no longer have conventional serial
ports many companies have developed USB to serial cable adapters which allow a
connection to these older devices via a modern USB port. The 2901 has two different
available methods of connection; via the older style RJ-45 port and a rollover cable
OR via a direct mini-USB connection to the device.

Note: As another wonderful Cisco router, CISCO2921/K9 delivers highly secure
data, voice, video, and application services for small offices.

The Cisco2901 (and most new series devices) includes built-in Gigabit Ethernet
interfaces (2) that can be used to connect the router to the network. The Gigabit
Ethernet ports on routers are pinned the same as hosts/PC's and do not require
crossover Ethernet cables to connect to Switches. Some of the higher model routers
also support small-form-factor pluggable (SFP) Gigabit Ethernet ports which enable
the use of fiber directly into the device.

Cisco 2901/K9 and Its Size
The 2901 is able to be used in a number of different physical locations. It is small
enough to be used as a desktop device or it can be used in a 19 or 23 inch rack with
the addition of rack brackets. The routers that are placed into racks are higher in
model number than the 2901 and therefore are larger than 1RU.


Limitations of Cisco 2901
The 2901 is limited in the type of additional modules that it can utilize. In the rear of
the 2901 there are four Enhanced High-Speed Interface Card (EHWICs) slots. The
2911, for example, also supports a single Service Module (SM) on top of supporting
the same four EHWIC slots. Generally speaking the higher the router series number
the more flexibility will exist on type of module supported.

Overall, the Cisco 2900 series (and its successors) have been built with flexibility in
mind. The more recent versions of the routers (2800, 2900) have included support
for many of the more common technologies seen in today's environments (Voice,
Video).

Hopefully this will at least cover the basics of what an engineer would need to know
before getting their hands on the equipment and playing with it to become familiar.
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