Cisco VIRL or a Home Lab

marcj04marcj04 Posts: 75Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Hey Guys,

So I have just been using packet tracer for my CCNA studies which has been working well in preparing me but once I finish up my CCNA, I want to move onto the CCNP. From what I've read online, Packet Tracer just doesn't cut it for the CCNP. So I had originally planned on buying a home lab but then I heard about Cisco VIRL. Which seems similar to GNS3 but I haven't worked with GNS3. What do you guys think I should do? Cisco VIRL really isn't that expensive and I had originally planned on dishing out $1500 on a CCNP Home lab. I also do plan to continue to work on the CCIE after the CCNP. So that's something I need to keep in mind to. I would rather dish out $1500 for an in home lab now that will suffice for the CCIE too rather than buying Cisco VIRL but then it isn't enough for the CCIE.


  • quickman007quickman007 Posts: 195Member
    Real equipment is king, and the equipment you buy is yours forever. Honestly, I can't imagine spending much more than $600 for a CCNP Home lab.
  • broli720broli720 Posts: 394Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Real equipment is king, and the equipment you buy is yours forever. Honestly, I can't imagine spending much more than $600 for a CCNP Home lab.

    Yea, but then you limit yourself on what you can work on. I say go for VIRL. It's $150 for a one year license and you get access to quite a bit like, switching, routing, asa support, and the nexus platform.
  • marcj04marcj04 Posts: 75Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Is Cisco VIRL enough for the CCNP? What about CCIE:R & S? The price isn't bad at all which is why I might just get it since it would be cheaper than an actual physical lab. All though I kinda do want to own some physical equipment. Idk something about the actual routers and switches are fun to actually have.
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Posts: 598Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    There are plenty of good things to be said about owning real equipment AND Cisco hardware would have a longer shelf life than most other manufacturers. In my case however, my home office just isn't big enough to store more than a few routers and switches (I need the room for my comics and action figures). That alone makes VIRL very appealing to me.
  • broli720broli720 Posts: 394Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I say finish up your CCNA studies first. The knowledge and experience gap required to really be a legitimate ccnp is quite large. This isn't something you want to rush through. But yes, to answer your question it should be enough for CCNP. I'm not sure about IE because I am not at that level so I can't give you an idea of the effort required.
  • marcj04marcj04 Posts: 75Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Yea I was definitely thinking about waiting to get some experience first until tackling the CCNP. I am pretty much done with the book for the ICND2 and afterwards I'm going to go through the CBT Nuggets videos. I really don't find anything on the ICND2 hard at all. It all just makes sense to me. But still I do think I should get some actual job experience before I go for the CCNP. One of the network engineers at my internship told me that there are too many paper certs in this field that don't even know how to actually configure things. I definitely want to avoid being like that
  • SimridSimrid Posts: 327Member
    For my CCENT I mainly used packet tracer purely for convenience. I don't have a laptop so accessing the different switches and routers became annoying reaching behind all the time. I am currently looking at purchasing an access server.

    However, packet tracer did have annoying bugs and doesn't give you the same thrill that real equipment does. If you have real equipment you can say on your CV that you have had real hands-on experience with the equipment, making you more employable.
    Network Engineer | London, UK | Currently working on: CCIE Routing & Switching
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