Finding the $$$ for a home lab

Cat5Cat5 Posts: 292Member ■■■□□□□□□□
I'm trying to put together some more equipment for a home lab. I'm not looking for a magnificent home lab - only something sufficient to get me through the three NP:R/S tests. Let's just say that things are very tight financially with me, and I just don't seem to have the funds for even eBay equipment. Yes, it's that tight.

So - I've been thinking that instead of scrimping to get that used equipment and stack it on the kitchen table, then find the money for cables and accessories that are inevitable, and it taking weeks/months to get it all - I could just apply for one of the multitude of credit cards that are always coming in the mail to me. I have great credit, and I wouldn't have any problem getting one. I would be able to get not only the routers/switches that I need, but the accessories and a lab rack to put it all in. I think I could get all I need for less than $500, and I could get it quickly. I really just need two decent routers and a 3550 switch (I have a 2950 already; I might add one more). I'd just need to negotiate for a lower interest rate.

I knew one guy I worked with who had just finished his NP:R/S and was going for his IE, and he coughed up about $2,000 on a card for an IE lab. He went in debt, yes, but he also shortly thereafter got a very nice job - in the six figures.

I'm just thinking that if helps me to understand what I'm learning and gets me a better job, it would be a lot like college tuition. A necessary evil.

Has anyone else gone this route, and if so how did it work out?

Comments

  • shodownshodown Posts: 2,271Member
    I bought gear back in the day, and spend most of my time labbing in GNS3 as I was a WAN engineer at the time. You can do most of CCNP with GNS3 these days. You can play around with IOU or the newer version for switching. I would do as much as you can with the free stuff, and get the higher paying job with the KNOWLEDGE that you learn. Then buy real gear if you really need it. As more and more tools come out I suspect less people will be buying labs unless they area the unlucky voice/wireless/dc folk
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  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 292Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I thought GNS3 didn't work with switches? How can I lab the SWITCH test using it?
  • 65026502 Posts: 41Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Free switch lab:

    labswitch.blogspot.com

    2x 3750
    2x 3560
    4x 3550
  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 292Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Awesome! But just switches? No routers to interact with?
  • viper75viper75 Posts: 726Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Use GNS3 for routers.
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  • bugzy3188bugzy3188 Posts: 213Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    From what I understand you can add switch modules to the routers in GNS3. These will perform most of the functions that an actual switch would such as VLANs and such, I would imagine STP as well. Furthermore the switches that GNS3 does have do allow for GUI configuration of VLANs as well.
    If you havin frame problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a switch ain't one
  • OfWolfAndManOfWolfAndMan Posts: 923Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Right now, you can get the beta GNS3 1.0 which supports IOU (IOS for Unix). While it doesn't have as much functionality as a switch, it will get you a lot of what you need for the switching part. The setup will require you to have Virtualbox or VMware, and you'll need to install the .ova file for IOU. Routing can all be done in GNS3. If you really want a home lab though... I bought a 3750, 3550 and 3 2950s for when I get to SWITCH (Working on ROUTE now). Costed me... 320 for all five without the cables (www.monoprice.com for cables). I paid another 50ish for a rack. All depends on how much you're willing to spend. Good luck on your studies!
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  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Posts: 1,717Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I think that home labs have there place but if you are really that short on cash I would hold off on spending the money. I definitely don't recommend going into debt for it. There are so many other options and that fancy high paying job is not guaranteed with the purchase of the lab.
    If you have the extra cash then it's another resource at your disposal. Not a required one.

    Good Luck
  • theodoxatheodoxa Posts: 1,340Member
    bugzy3188 wrote: »
    From what I understand you can add switch modules to the routers in GNS3. These will perform most of the functions that an actual switch would such as VLANs and such, I would imagine STP as well. Furthermore the switches that GNS3 does have do allow for GUI configuration of VLANs as well.

    The command syntax is slightly different for some commands. GNS3 Etherswitches are fine for some things, but I wouldn't use them as my only switching practice for an exam. For real hardware, the 2950 and 3550 can be had very cheap on eBay, but won't cover a few of the exam topics (PVLANs, IPv6, etc...) They're still better than GNS3. Switches that cover all the exam topics (3560, 3750) are still over $100 a piece.
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  • hitmenhitmen Posts: 133Banned
    Right now, you can get the beta GNS3 1.0 which supports IOU (IOS for Unix). While it doesn't have as much functionality as a switch, it will get you a lot of what you need for the switching part. The setup will require you to have Virtualbox or VMware, and you'll need to install the .ova file for IOU. Routing can all be done in GNS3. If you really want a home lab though... I bought a 3750, 3550 and 3 2950s for when I get to SWITCH (Working on ROUTE now). Costed me... 320 for all five without the cables (www.monoprice.com for cables). I paid another 50ish for a rack. All depends on how much you're willing to spend. Good luck on your studies!

    IOU supports switching?
  • creamy_stewcreamy_stew Posts: 406Member
    Don't bother with routers - use GNS3 for that. Get 2 3550s's or a 3560 and a 3550.

    If you really want routers just for the feel of actual hardware, get some 26XX or 17XX for the price of a steak dinner. They run 12.4.
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  • OfWolfAndManOfWolfAndMan Posts: 923Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    hitmen wrote: »
    IOU supports switching?

    Assuming you have the right IOU image, yes :D. In the GNS3 alpha release, of course. I believe the standalone version does as well
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