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.
– Main.TobyRodwell - 14 Apr 2005