Larry Dunn from Cisco has set up a portable network emulator based on NISTnet. He wrote this on it:

My systems started as 2x100BT, but not for the (cost) reasons you suspect. I have 3 cheap Linux systems in a mobile rack (3x1RU, <$5k USD total). They are attached in a "row", 2 with web100, 1 with NISTNet like this: web100 - NISTNet - web100. The NISTNet node acts as a variable delay-line (emulates different fiber propagation delays), and as a place to inject loss, if desired. DummyNet/BSD could work as well.

I was looking for a very "shallow" (front-to-back) 1RU system, so I could fit it into a normal-sized Anvil case (for easy shipping to Networkers, etc). Penguin Computing was one of 2 companies I found that was then selling such "shallow" rack-mount systems. The shallow units were "low-end" servers, so they only had 2x100BT ports.

Their current low-end systems have two 1xGE ports, and are (still) around $1100 USD each. So a set of 3 systems (inc. rack), Linux preloaded, 3-yr warranty, is still easily under $5k (Actaully, closer to $4k, including a $700 Anvil 2'x2'x2' rolling shock-mount case, and a cheap 8-port GE switch). Maybe $5k if you add more memory & disk...

Here's a reference to their current low-end stuff:

I have no affiliation with Penguin, just happened to buy their stuff, and it's working OK (though the fans are pretty loud). I suppose there are comparable vendors in Europe.

-- TobyRodwell - 14 Apr 2005

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Topic revision: r2 - 2005-12-15 - SimonLeinen
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