Building a home lab for the first time

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

So I have been using packet tracer for my CCNA studies but I have decided to purchase an actual lab since I will be starting my CCNP studies. I don't know too much about what routers are capable of doing everything for the CCNP. Here is what the kind of build I was looking at:

3 x Cisco 1841 256/64 w/ iOS 15.1
2 x Cisco 2950 Switches
2 x Cisco 3550 L3 Switches

I am looking to spend around $1000 and I want it to be compatible with the CCIE topologies. What do you guys think? Will this be enough?

Oh and what do you guys think about this?

Best Cisco CCNA CCNP V2 0 Lab Kit 300 101 300 115 300 135 R s 2 x 3750 | eBay

Is that a good deal?

Comments

  • whizzerwhizzer Posts: 17Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm a big fan of GNS3 for routing labs. So, personally, I would buy only one 1841 just to use for image upgrades, password resets, post stuff, etc. For switching, I would look for ones that can run v15, like the 3560 which has enough flash, 32M. I recently bought some of these for around $70 each. I also bought an 1841 for around $60. So you can certainly build a decent lab for under $1000.

    I'm also looking to buy one of these power switches so I can power up devices as needed.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000GASJF2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1MKZ73PC10TWV&coliid=I35GOJ8944IQBB
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Posts: 773Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Since you are posting in the CCNP forum, I will assume that you have the CCNA? If so, you should have the knowledge to safely piece it out. It will be a lot cheaper. I put together my lab for waaay less than a grand and my lab will pretty much cover all the topics i need. Clarson is a member here and he puts together kits for a good price - you may want to message him.

    3x2811 (have one of these setup as frame relay / access server)
    3x2821
    2x2950
    2x3550
    2x3560
    2019 Certification Goals: OSCE OSWE
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • theodoxatheodoxa Posts: 1,340Member
    For CCNP, I used --

    5 x 1841 (IOS 15.1)
    1 x 2811 (IOS 15.1)
    2 x 3560-24TS (IOS 15.0)
    2 x 3750-24TS (IOS 12.2)

    I was able to cover all the CCNP topics with these. I used the old TSHOOT topology for all 3 exams and just changed protocols as needed.
    R&S: CCENT CCNA CCNP CCIE [ ]
    Security: CCNA [ ]
    Virtualization: VCA-DCV [ ]
  • koz24koz24 Posts: 766Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    marcj04 wrote: »
    Hey Guys,

    So I have been using packet tracer for my CCNA studies but I have decided to purchase an actual lab since I will be starting my CCNP studies. I don't know too much about what routers are capable of doing everything for the CCNP. Here is what the kind of build I was looking at:

    3 x Cisco 1841 256/64 w/ iOS 15.1
    2 x Cisco 2950 Switches
    2 x Cisco 3550 L3 Switches

    I am looking to spend around $1000 and I want it to be compatible with the CCIE topologies. What do you guys think? Will this be enough?

    Oh and what do you guys think about this?

    Best Cisco CCNA CCNP V2 0 Lab Kit 300 101 300 115 300 135 R s 2 x 3750 | eBay

    Is that a good deal?

    If I'm not mistaken the CCIE lab topologies from INE and IPexpert have 15-20 routers in some of the labs. So your 3 routers won't be enough, and you'll have to spend a fortune to upgrade. I don't understand the fascination with getting real equipment for CCNP/CCIE Routing & Switching. Everything can be virtualized. The CCIE lab itself, is virtualized. Waste of money getting real equipment for R&S if you ask me.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Have to agree with koz24. I haven't labbed with a real router since at least 2007. Dynamips all the way. Switching is now getting to the point you don't need hardware either. Things like VIRIL, lab rentals etc. you don't need a lab at home anymore.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • marcj04marcj04 Posts: 75Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hmm, Maybe I'll just get Cisco VIRL then. Is that able to do most CCNP labs? Idk, at first I thought it would be cool to have the actual physical hardware but if I can do everything virtually and save money then maybe I'll just do that.
  • smcclenaghansmcclenaghan Posts: 139Member
    Mooseboost wrote: »
    Since you are posting in the CCNP forum, I will assume that you have the CCNA? If so, you should have the knowledge to safely piece it out.

    I did well on my CCNA but did not know the differences between the various hardware models until I started studying for my CCNP.

    I wouldn't assume CCNA bestows knowledge of model capabilities. Sure you can go to Cisco site for that, but until you have a reason to (CCNA isn't a reason to), you may have not come across it yet.

    My own lab (for CCNA and CCNP switching so far, not routing) is:

    3x2950 (used for CCNA and also CCNP)
    2x2610XM + 1x 2610 (used for CCNA and only somewhat for CCNP)
    2x 3750 (used for CCNP)

    The 3 2950s were perfect for anything spanning-tree-wise, most of port-security, dhcp snooping (but not ip source guard), storm control, private vlans, DTP, VTP (except version 3),

    3750 are good MLS which do stackwise, tcam utilization/sdm templates, IP source guard and a few other things the 2950s couldn't do. They don't do vrrp or glbp, and you need the IP Services image to get OSPF support (but can still use eigrp without it). Also, still no version 3 of VTP.

    I can't speak to the covered topics in CCNP Routing or CCIE.

    Edit, price of all was $300 for 3x2950, 2x2610XM, 1x2610 and $200 for the 2x3750. That includes the cost of cables (most of which were provided). So $500 total.
  • koz24koz24 Posts: 766Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    marcj04 wrote: »
    Hmm, Maybe I'll just get Cisco VIRL then. Is that able to do most CCNP labs? Idk, at first I thought it would be cool to have the actual physical hardware but if I can do everything virtually and save money then maybe I'll just do that.

    Definitely. The April update for VIRL added L2 switching IOS support. One thing about VIRL is you are capped at 15 devices and L2 devices count towards the cap. Shouldn't be an issue for CCNP though.
  • marcj04marcj04 Posts: 75Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Can VIRL do layer 3 switching? Seems like that's mandatory for the CCNP from what I've been reading
  • koz24koz24 Posts: 766Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I think so. Here are some notes I found:
    Here are my notes from the second (March 2015) VIRL Webinar.
    • IOSvL2 arrives with the next VIRL version slated for April
      • You can download a new OVA for a clean install, or if you are on the latest version – use the VIRL Software panel to upgrade
      • Adding the IOSvL2 to your topology counts against the 15 node limit – the unmanaged switch does not
      • The IOSvL2 code is based on 15.2 – it provides 16 GigE interfaces
      • The switch can be configured from scratch, or you can use AutoNetkit
      • The default unconfigured switch is in Layer 3 mode, AutoNetkit converts to all Layer 2 by default
      • The focus was on Layer 2 features, so some Layer 3 things might not work yet
      • SPAN and Private VLANs will not be supported at this time
    • ASAv can be used today in VIRL
      • Demo provided in the Webinar on how to do this
      • NOTE: ASAv download from Cisco requires a Support Contract
      • ASAv arrives in VIRL in April release as well
    • Packet Captures are now simple and integrated in April release
    • NXOSv
      • Improvements coming in April
      • Note – this is not an emulator like the other images – it is more of a simulation
      • Features will include programming using NX-API, Fabric Path, and DCI using BGP or MPLS
    Switching and the ASA Arrive in VIRL in April 2015
  • theodoxatheodoxa Posts: 1,340Member
    koz24 wrote: »
    If I'm not mistaken the CCIE lab topologies from INE and IPexpert have 15-20 routers in some of the labs. So your 3 routers won't be enough, and you'll have to spend a fortune to upgrade. I don't understand the fascination with getting real equipment for CCNP/CCIE Routing & Switching. Everything can be virtualized. The CCIE lab itself, is virtualized. Waste of money getting real equipment for R&S if you ask me.

    Real equipment is WAY more stable than GNS3 and you get to know how the hardware (Models, WICs/HWICs, etc...) works. If it wasn't so expensive (licensing doubles the already high cost), I'd use real equipment for CCIE and not have to deal with VMware. A (Routing) CCNP lab OTOH can be had for the same or less than the cost of a dedicated ESXi server.
    R&S: CCENT CCNA CCNP CCIE [ ]
    Security: CCNA [ ]
    Virtualization: VCA-DCV [ ]
  • ninjaturtleninjaturtle Posts: 245Member
    theodoxa wrote: »
    Real equipment is WAY more stable than GNS3 and you get to know how the hardware (Models, WICs/HWICs, etc...) works. If it wasn't so expensive (licensing doubles the already high cost), I'd use real equipment for CCIE and not have to deal with VMware. A (Routing) CCNP lab OTOH can be had for the same or less than the cost of a dedicated ESXi server.
    I totally agree! I'm all for virtualization, but having the real gear is just awesome! I just picked up a 2811 for $50.00 and a 1841 for $30.00 both running IOS 15.1. I'm just creating a lab that touches on all kinds of technologies to keep that R&S fresh, not to mention it's an excellent test bed. Playing heavily with BGP and mimic some ISPs, looking to drop in on some MPLS. Fun stuff!!

    Vendor on ebay - Network Hardware Depot.
    These guys are awesome! I use them for my home lab and at work, when the VPs don't want to pay for new gear. They are very reliable, package all gear very well and best of all, no sales tax! Omaha, Nebraska FTW!!!
    Current Study Discipline: CCIE Data Center
    Cisco SEAL, Cisco SWAT, Cisco DeltaForce, Cisco FBI, Cisco DoD, Cisco Army Rangers, Cisco SOCOM .ιlι..ιlι.
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Posts: 773Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I enjoy labbing on real equipment. Something about cabling it up myself just makes it click so much more. I always want to know that if I make it to a position where I am hands on that I will have the confidence that I know what to do and how to cable it rather than only knowing sims.
    2019 Certification Goals: OSCE OSWE
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • ccie14023ccie14023 Posts: 183Member
    Mooseboost wrote: »
    I enjoy labbing on real equipment. Something about cabling it up myself just makes it click so much more. I always want to know that if I make it to a position where I am hands on that I will have the confidence that I know what to do and how to cable it rather than only knowing sims.
    I did my JNCIE study last year entirely virtually, and I must say it was a heck of a lot easier than dealing with hardware. But I did both CCIE's with a physical home lab, and I think the newer candidates lose something from doing everything in GNS3. I think you're right that there is something to physically handling the gear, and dealing with the cabling and software upgrades for even a smallish group of devices is a great learning experience. Even as network elements become more virtualized, at the end of the day a cable still has to plug into something and so it's important to feel comfortable with the hands-on aspect of network engineering. That said, my power bill has been a lot cheaper now that I don't have the lab and my wife is happier too...
  • Legacy UserLegacy User Posts: 0Unregistered / Not Logged In ■□□□□□□□□□
    I 2nd that physical equipment is best when you don't work with the tech. You need to get used to how the hardware reacts with different factors, modules, cards, amber status lights, passing traffic etc its experiences that you don't get when you go virtual. But once you have a job working with it you do not need physical hardware just need practice with configuring it. I try to go virtual every chance I get its so much easier to spin up a configuration and I'm not drenched in sweat afterwards from the warm fans blowing from the routers and switches.
  • Alexf302Alexf302 Posts: 28Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I recently passed ROUTE and am starting to dig into SWITCH. I'm pretty well set on what physical switches I need, but what has me flustered is how to interface the switches and GNS3. My plan was to simply utilize my Windows 7 PC. Performance wise it's more than sufficient, but I'm stuck on the NIC piece. I'm looking at quad NICs, but I don't know how many I would need to get me through my CCNP studies using 4 physical switches. I certainly couldn't fit more than a couple NICs into my motherboard.

    What do people normally do in this case? I'd like to avoid a dedicated server if possible.

    Thanks.
  • MowMow Posts: 445Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Use a nic that supports dot1q tags.
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