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Classic CCNA/CCNP Hardware Cisco Catalyst 4908g L3-Switch

Updated on February 25, 2015

the Cisco Catalyst 4908g Layer 3 switch

The 4908g is an "Old School" aggregation switch. Often it would be in a wiring closet linking together trunks from other switches that administered subdivisions of a campus LAN.

A 4908g might be a good piece of equipment for you to have on a shelf as you practice CCNA or CCNP level labwork. And now that it is older and "aging out" of active inventory, it is very inexpensive to buy from eBay. Typical prices are around $50 for a unit (with no modules in it). To almost $300 with modules in all 8 slots, plus shipping.

I got mine (sans modules) for 20 bucks.

The 4908g has 8 gigabit ports. But, if you do buy one, just be sure of what modules might be pre-installed in the unit. If you do wish to work with fiber-optics. You may buy one with some fiber-optic modules in it. Or, if you want to keep your infrastructure in copper... then you will want to get the 1000BaseT (Ethernet) style converter modules for it.

Typical prices for the 1000BaseT modules run from $9 to $14 dollars a-piece.

the Cisco Catalyst 4908g used, on eBay from $50 to $250

Click thumbnail to view full-size
empty socketsempty socketsempty socketsback viewcloseup of GBIC converter modulesCloseup of Administrative ports and GBIC converter modulesA 4908g with GBIC modules in all sockets
empty sockets
empty sockets
empty sockets
empty sockets
empty sockets
empty sockets
back view
back view
closeup of GBIC converter modules
closeup of GBIC converter modules
Closeup of Administrative ports and GBIC converter modules
Closeup of Administrative ports and GBIC converter modules
A 4908g with GBIC modules in all sockets
A 4908g with GBIC modules in all sockets
Click thumbnail to view full-size

I got a 4908g for $20 on eBay

And that's the primary reason I grabbed it.

I also grabbed 3 of the 1000BASE-T modules for $14 plus shipping... NOT BAD. Now I can do ether-channels through this 4908g-unit that are fairly significant (for a small network).

Besides, I suspect I should be "playing" with fiber more... (LoL I just realized I could also say I "need more fiber"... LoL...) Geek humor. Gotta Love it.

This is a closeup of what a fiber module looks like (installed)

So, just be sure to NOT buy a unit with fiber modules, if you prefer to work with Ethernet
So, just be sure to NOT buy a unit with fiber modules, if you prefer to work with Ethernet

Buy a 1000BASE-T module "USED" ($14) on eBay or "New"

Your choice-  But what's nice about the aging "Legacy" equipment, is you can always pick up something rather inexpensively.  Don't expect the "mileage" as when the equipment is new... and you'll do okay.  It could last for years... and... maybe not.
Your choice- But what's nice about the aging "Legacy" equipment, is you can always pick up something rather inexpensively. Don't expect the "mileage" as when the equipment is new... and you'll do okay. It could last for years... and... maybe not.

Buy the same style of 1000BASE-T module for $57 from Amazon

The usual Modules installed in a 4908g - For up to 62 mile runs

You COULD have a 100km run with a 4908g.

The 4908g was used in (Legacy) Fiber-Optic runs for medium to larger LAN's. The most popular modules were: 1000BASE-T- Ethernet, for twisted-pair copper wire. But for the fiber optic runs you'd use 1000BASE-SX (WS-g5484) then 1000BASE-LX (WS g5486) or the 1000BASE-ZX (WS g5487) for Fiber-optic runs up to several miles long. (see below)

The Cisco 1000BASE-ZX-Gbic, with ordinary single-mode fiber optic link, could span 43 miles (or 70 kilometers) of distance. With a premium single-mode fiber (or dispersion shifted single-mode fiber) distances of 62 miles (100 kilometers) are possible with the 4908g.

Just because this is an older unit, does not mean you couldn't press this into service for an actual network.

You might go with a fiber-optic based infrastructure - converter module. You may have a "small" manufacturing campus you want to interconnect, and this would work nicely. The Cisco 1000BASE-LX/LH GBIC (WS-G5486) allows connections up to 6 miles (or 10 kilometers) over what's termed "SINGLE MODE FIBER" (SMF). And as far as 550 meters over a "MULTI MODE FIBER" (MMF). The Cisco 1000BASE-SX GBIC (WS-G5484) was used for Legacy "MULTI MODE FIBER" (MMF), optic-link spans of up to 1,815 feet (or 550 meters), and on "LASER OPTIMIZED MULTI MODE FIBER" spans of up to 3,281 feet (or 1 kilometer).

But most likely you will use Ethernet for most "GBIC" connections

Click thumbnail to view full-size
For RJ45 connection to twisted pair copper wire.  1000BaseT gigabit Ethernet module typical price: $9 or $15 dollars a module for the clones.  It can be MORE for genuine cisco modules (used) and much more for new modules.I was able to pick up 3 (generic) modules for $14 plus shippingYou can clearly see the connector at the back of the module hereYou can clearly see the connector at the back of the module here
For RJ45 connection to twisted pair copper wire.  1000BaseT gigabit Ethernet module typical price: $9 or $15 dollars a module for the clones.  It can be MORE for genuine cisco modules (used) and much more for new modules.
For RJ45 connection to twisted pair copper wire. 1000BaseT gigabit Ethernet module typical price: $9 or $15 dollars a module for the clones. It can be MORE for genuine cisco modules (used) and much more for new modules.
I was able to pick up 3 (generic) modules for $14 plus shipping
I was able to pick up 3 (generic) modules for $14 plus shipping
You can clearly see the connector at the back of the module here
You can clearly see the connector at the back of the module here
You can clearly see the connector at the back of the module here
You can clearly see the connector at the back of the module here

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