I'm interested in expanding my networking knowledge a bit, specifically in the area of actually interacting with Cisco gear. I'm good with theory, but am a hands-on learner, so reading about how to use Cisco gear isn't very rewarding. But I don't want to learn on my employer's production network gear.
I notice that eBay is flooded with gear like 16-port 10 Mbps switches or lots of low-end routers that are probably way obsolete for real use. But I'm more interested in learning IOS, STP, and HSRP than I am in having a 48-port Gigabit switch to practice with. I periodically come across "CCNA labs" on eBay, a small rack of various switches and routers set up for learning, but I think it would be more educational -- and perhaps much more affordable -- if I bought the gear myself. I already have a working network, so this gear would just be a for a 'lab' for me to learn on, hence the fact that 10 Mbps is fine and I need STP and HSRP.
Is there a good resource out there that will help me determine the capabilities of a particular model, both in terms of features and whether it's CatOS or IOS? There's a really cheap WS-C1924-EN, for example, but not much information beyond the fact that it's 24 10 Mbps ports. What about a 2950?
More than recommendations about whether those two switches will do what I want, though, I'm primarily interested in where I might go to find this out on my own. (I'm equally as interested in routers.) My searches on Google so far haven't been too successful, mostly yielding online merchants trying to sell the switches at what they were worth a decade ago, without giving any information about their capabilities.
Im sure there are better places than ebay, such as a business closing sale, but ebay is great. You just have to pay attention to the IOS, specifically if it is EN or not. That matters mainly with switches if things have not changed.
Ebay really is great though, I used that for my CCNA and working on my CCNP cert. Better than any of those "simulated" virtual labs.