Ready to get a real lab

MooseboostMooseboost Senior MemberMember Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
So, I have decided it is time to get a real lab so I can get hands on experience. I figure the investment is worth it, since it will help further my career. The question is, I see a lot of different kits. There are a lot of different kits, at different price ranges. My price range is 400-700ish. This are the kits I have found so far:

http://www.amazon.com/Cisco-CCNA-Advanced-Lab-Certification/dp/B00IXYRU3A/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1429723609&sr=8-20&keywords=ccna+lab+kit

http://www.amazon.com/Cisco-Complete-Switch-2611XM-Warranty/dp/1323549870/ref=sr_1_21?ie=UTF8&qid=1429724162&sr=8-21&keywords=CCNA+Cisco+lab


http://www.amazon.com/300-101-300-115-300-135-Routing-Switching/dp/B00SA7XKZC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429724102&sr=8-2&keywords=CCNA+Cisco+lab


Do any of these kits look reasonably priced? I tried pricing out the individual pieces but I get such a wide range of prices. I am hoping to have a kit that will cover CCNA R&S, then allow me to build on it to compete my CCNA Security and then my CCNP R&S. I see such a wide variety of routers in the kits, I am not sure what is crap and what is not. I found some lab building guidelines but they were pretty old. Any advice on current builds would be greatly appreciated or if anyone knows a good starter kit. If you have a lab that worked really well for you during your exams I would love to hear about it. Eventually this will become my home network.
2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
Blog: https://hackfox.net

Comments

  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Those seem high, I'd look on eBay.

    love how the last one tries to sell them, calling all their switches and routers "CCIE level"
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    When looking through ebay is it better to go for kits or piece it out? Are there any series of routers I should avoid? I don't know at what point the model series is too old.
    2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • MTciscoguyMTciscoguy Member Posts: 552
    I pieced my lab out and saved money over purchasing a "Kit", I was able to pick up 3 1841 routers, 2 2503 Routers and 5 2950 Switches, as well as upgrading all of the memory in the routers to max them out and 2 Wic 2 serial port cards and various misc. items. I make my own cables, so that part was easy. 2 of my 2950 switches are enhanced version switches. All 3 of my 1841 routers have been upgraded to IOS 15.1. And I have less than $500 in the whole kit. I made my own rack and already had the computers. So I am quite pleased and right now all I have to do is add a couple of newer switches and a router to advance beyond CCNA.

    So if you know what you are looking for, you can piece one together for less than what the kits sell for.
    Current Lab: 4 C2950 WS, 1 C2950G EI, 3 1841, 2 2503, Various Modules, Parts and Pieces. Dell Power Edge 1850, Dell Power Edge 1950.
  • HAMPHAMP Member Posts: 163
    I don't know if you tried Certificationkits.com or not, but the link to them is on the left under the advertisements. Most feel they are expensive compared to you buying individual pieces yourself, but for a beginner it is hard knowing what to buy and what not to.

    Here is a link to a basic two router, two switch package for $224.99.
    Basic 2 Router & 2 Switch CCNA Lab Kit 200-120 - CertificationKits

    Even if you don't buy from them, if you simply goto that page and scroll down some, they explain a bit in the differences you will need and why.

    When I first went to them, I felt the upgrade options was a nice touch compared to other sites I have been to. Then once I learned a little bit more, I found it cheaper to buy my additional pieces from ebay and craigslist. Although everything was cheaper for me later, I do appreciate them for helping me with my beginning kit.
  • MTciscoguyMTciscoguy Member Posts: 552
    I recommend at least reading the information that Certification Kits has, it will tell you what you need to put together a good kit for getting it done, they have lots of great information on their web pages.
    Current Lab: 4 C2950 WS, 1 C2950G EI, 3 1841, 2 2503, Various Modules, Parts and Pieces. Dell Power Edge 1850, Dell Power Edge 1950.
  • marcj04marcj04 Member Posts: 75 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Will that 2 Router and 2 Switch set up be enough for a CCNP? I am just using Packet Tracer right now for my CCNA studies but I definitely plan on buying a real lab once I'm finished with the CCNA. Should I just go with this one for the CCNP:
    Cisco CCNA & Super Economy CCNP Kit - CertificationKits
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I cant imagine 2 switches and 2 routers is enough for the CCNP, I have 3 routers and 2 switches right now and feel it's tough to study on only that for the CCNA.
  • clarsonclarson Member Posts: 903 ■■■■□□□□□□
    +1 on the certification kits website. lots of good info there.
    here is my advice:

    1) buy just what you need for the cert your training for.

    the equipment needed for the ccna is cheaper than the equipment you need for the ccnp. the more expensive ccnp equipment will be depreciating while you study for the ccna. You can purchase a $20 2950T switch now for your ccna. Probably sell it for $20 when you finish your ccna. But the $100 3750 switch you buy now for ccnp studying might be purchased for $50 next year when you start studying for your ccnp.

    2) buy routers that are running at least the adventerprise 12.4T ios.

    if they aren't, they are too old or don't have enough memory installed. more a rule of thumb. as i'm not going to go into specifics about what models with how much memory with which ios is good enough.

    and they should have 2 serial interfaces. for the ccna you need at least one router with 2. and for the ccnp they need multiple so more is better.

    3) buy at least one 2811 router

    2800 routers are more expensive than 2600xms but not by much.
    It is nice to have at least one router that runs the version 15 ios for the ccna
    the 2811 supports voice where a 1841 doesn't
    the 2811 is smaller and lighter than a 2821 or 2851 so shipping is less
    if your not paying for shipping the 2821/2851 has gigabit ethernet interfaces
    and for security and voice you will need a router that ccp supports which the 2811 does
    and of course you will want routers that run version 15 ios for the ccnp
    you will need at least 512dram to do voice
    and at least 128mb cf to load version 15 of the ios
    and more memory is always better

    4) buy the 2950 c/g/t switches for the ccna

    They support more features than the plain 2950 switches do and they aren't that much more expensive

    5) 3 routers and 2 switches are a good start. more might be better, but you can always buy more if you want to.

    and don't use cisco equipment for your home network. it is just too expensive to do so.
    And, I can sell it to you for less than they will
  • nikalisnikalis Member Posts: 37 ■■□□□□□□□□
    1841's are where its at right now. find a group of 3 on ebay for 100-150 then buy ram and flash to max them out at maybe 5 bucks a stick so 180 max and you have routers that support 15.1 and have 2 ethernet interfaces (not necessary for most topologies but with my 1721 that only have 1 i have trouble practicing failover routes)
    To Script or not to Script, that is the question.

    MSCA [ ] 70-410 [ ] 70-411 [ ] 70-412
    CCNA [X] 100-101 [ ] 200-101
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I would recommend 3 1841s and 3 2960 or 2950 switches. If hardware is a problem, you may want to consider Boson Netsim software. NetSim Cisco Network Simulator & Router Simulator The price is not bad however you only have a 3 year license for it I believe. That is what I was told when I called them. Also, look at upgrading the WIC cards also. Most kits will not come with WICs of if they do, they are mostly horrible WICs. Don't use Packet Tracer. I don't recommend it mostly because some commands don't work for full protocol functionality. It will work for CCNA but barely. You are better off either using real equipment or with Boson or even GNS3. Plus what is nice is that if you are not creative with lab topologies, Boson includes labs for you to do. I highly recommend their products if hardware cost is a concern. For $179 for the 200-120 simulator, that is a good deal instead of paying $100-150 for 1 router plus WIC cards. Yes it is a 3 year license but 3 years should be more then enough to get your CCNA. You can also do it in 60 days like I did with Paul Browning CCNA in 60 days book. Worked great with Todd Lammle. Greatest $10 you can invest for your CCNA (ebook of course) http://www.amazon.com/Cisco-CCNA-Days-William-Browning/dp/0956989292/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429806652&sr=1-1&keywords=CCNA+in+60+days.
  • GSXR750K2GSXR750K2 Member Posts: 323 ■■■■□□□□□□
    nikalis wrote: »
    1841's are where its at right now. find a group of 3 on ebay for 100-150 then buy ram and flash to max them out at maybe 5 bucks a stick so 180 max and you have routers that support 15.1 and have 2 ethernet interfaces (not necessary for most topologies but with my 1721 that only have 1 i have trouble practicing failover routes)

    I agree. I used two 1841's at 384D/64F running 15.1 and two 2960's running whatever they have on them (15.0 or something) for my CCNA several years ago. I haven't looked at the update that happened in October of 2013, but I imagine those four components would still be enough get you by...the CCNA is more about the concepts and command understanding than configuration complexity. I wouldn't bother with the 2950's as they are out to dry, the 2960 is still in production and receives IOS updates.

    That setup will also be a good start for a CCNP lab. I'm upgrading my lab now for CCNP stuff and have added two more 1841's with the same memory and flash in addition to two 2821's with 1GB-D/256F. Just for future reference, you'll need a couple of layer-3 switches for the CCNP, so go with the 3560 over the 3550 because the 3550 doesn't do private VLANs (one of the SWITCH topics). Ideally, you'd want 3750's, but as of now the 3560 would be sufficient (also, the 3560 and 3570's support stacking, the 3550 doesn't).

    There are 1841's on eBay right now for $60 or less each, and like nikalis said updating their RAM/Flash capacity is quite cheap (some come already upgraded also). If you have the budget and want to get a big jump on the CCNP lab, look at the 2811 or 2821 routers as they are well priced right now as well (2821 has two gigabit ports and offers a 50 kpps higher forwarding rate than the 2811). Don't get a 2801...the fan noise will drive your entire neighborhood crazy. :) Plus, the 28xx routers support voice and Call Manager Express, so if you wanted to get the CCNA Voice you could play with those features as well.
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I looked around ebay and started adding individual components over kits and found that when I do individual equipment I have much more flexibility. So far I have found:

    3 x 2821 (Memory upgraded)- $240
    1 x WS-C3550-24-SMI - $65
    And for my layer 2 switchers I found either:
    2x WS-C2960-24 $120
    or
    3x WS-C2950-24 $60 (3x lot purchase option)

    All the gear comes with 1 year warranty., So building my own lab would be 425 or 365 for roughly the same equipment that is in those $550 kits o.o

    I have also found their "A $120 value!" is crock. I have found tons of 12U racks for way cheaper than that value.
    2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • MTciscoguyMTciscoguy Member Posts: 552
    The 2950 Switches are still relevant for the L2 Switches, so if you can find a good buy on them, go for it., especially the enhanced versions, even Certification Kits talks about them as still being relevant.
    Current Lab: 4 C2950 WS, 1 C2950G EI, 3 1841, 2 2503, Various Modules, Parts and Pieces. Dell Power Edge 1850, Dell Power Edge 1950.
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I figure I can grab them now and by the time I go for my CCNP (I intend to go CCNA R&S - then CCNA Security and then look at CCNP) the cost of the 3750s may go down and I will just add on those then. Right now I am only using packet tracer but I think getting hands on equipment would be better in the long run.
    2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • nikalisnikalis Member Posts: 37 ■■□□□□□□□□
    packet tracer is meh at best. GNS3 runs off actual images(which are easily found on the internet if you look) and will give you full commands and is free. look into it
    To Script or not to Script, that is the question.

    MSCA [ ] 70-410 [ ] 70-411 [ ] 70-412
    CCNA [X] 100-101 [ ] 200-101
  • MTciscoguyMTciscoguy Member Posts: 552
    I use packet tracer, not so great, I use GNS3, a lot better than packet tracer, if you have access to IOS images, which I do, I have over 5 gigabytes of different IOS images, and I have real gear, I much prefer the real thing to simulators.
    Current Lab: 4 C2950 WS, 1 C2950G EI, 3 1841, 2 2503, Various Modules, Parts and Pieces. Dell Power Edge 1850, Dell Power Edge 1950.
  • GSXR750K2GSXR750K2 Member Posts: 323 ■■■■□□□□□□
    MTciscoguy wrote: »
    The 2950 Switches are still relevant for the L2 Switches, so if you can find a good buy on them, go for it., especially the enhanced versions, even Certification Kits talks about them as still being relevant.

    Didn't mean to imply the 2950's aren't relevant as they are used in many kits and are completely adequate for the CCNA and will probably be able to cope with some of the requirements of the CCNP. I was just saying that since Moose is building the lab from scratch he should consider the future and invest in the 2960 because the 2950 will most likely not be able to support some/many of the blueprint features when the next refresh comes around since it no longer receives updates. I was chatting with some of the guys over in the CCNP-Security forum and a few are debating whether or not to skip the ASA 5510/5520 for their labs and go to the 5506-X since the FirePOWER stuff on the ASA NextGen models will be on the next security refresh for sure.

    Of course, as cheap as these switches are we're talking about it's not really a big deal going with one or the other, I just like to future-proof where possible for as long as possible. :)
  • GSXR750K2GSXR750K2 Member Posts: 323 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I agree with nik and ciscoguy, GNS3 is pretty handy. I used it entirely for my CCNA-Security since it can emulate ASA Firewalls as well as routers. Its switching functions however have been iffy in the past...I haven't played with the 1.x version to see if it has been improved or not.
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I don't currently have access to IOS images but I am sure I can wiggle something up. I had not looked at GNS3 before because I had been told it only emulates routers as where Packet Tracer did switches as well.
    2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I picked up http://goo.gl/ebhNHP and I think he has more to sell. Best deal I could find.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Got my lab in today. Ended up buying equipment from clarson. I highly recommend going to him if you need some good gear.
    2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • siggnationsiggnation Member Posts: 182
    Mooseboost wrote: »
    Got my lab in today. Ended up buying equipment from clarson. I highly recommend going to him if you need some good gear.

    You're making great strides, Moose. Have a look at the following thread about possibly obtaining a console server to make your device management seamless: http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/75642-digi-cm32-console-server.html
    Currently Reading:

    CCIE Routing and Switching Written Exam v. 5.1
    CCIE Routing and Switching 5.0 OCG, Vol. I
    Cisco Lan Switching
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I will look into it. Right now I have an NM32-A installed on one of the routers which provides console access (have not worked with it yet, my octal cable won't be here until tomorrow).
    2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
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