questions on ccna home lab equipment

cg618cg618 Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi guys and gals! I plan on taking my ccna (ccent-->ccna) within the next six months and I've been told by the majority of the people I talk too (in person and the net) to set up a home lab although there are some that say that it isn't worth it. I would rather not spend the money on a home lab, but I don't mind paying because I think it is a worthwhile investment. I've been reading the todd lammle ccna study guide which I'm doing good with. I also had gotten a subscription for cbt nuggets which helped me out a ton but I've been trying to stick to the book due to note taking. I also bought the chris bryant bootcamp for $10 which is soooo worth it imho, but I'm at the point where I'm thinking about labs as I want to try different things.

The process of figuring out what equipment I need for my ccna home lab is driving me absolutely crazy. Im trying to find the right balance between best gear and best value. I would like a 3 router 3 switch setup to start, I understand that I will need more gear for the ccnp but i'll worry about that when I get to that bridge. I have a cisco 1841 router that was given to me by a friend, but the rest is up in the air.

For switches I was thinking about getting one 3560 and two 2960, but which models and do you consider this to be adequate for the ccna.

As I said earlier I already have one 1841 router, my two other choices are another 1841 and a 2811. Also what should I look for when I purchase these as I will be looking on eBay for my gear. Im scared I'm going to make a bad purchase and would rather consult with those in the know. Another option is Clarson, but I can't pm because I'm new (I guess).

Any advice will be greatly appreciated, I would also like to thank techexams.net for all the info I've picked jus watching from the sidelines.

TIA!

Comments

  • GDainesGDaines Posts: 272Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    There are plenty of threads about home labs, this one in particular is very recent and contains links to other useful threads about layer3 switches. Although in the UK I'm sure price differences between models will be similar in the US.

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/115556-ccna-lab.html

    I too use the Todd Lammle book (deluxe edition, not that I've even looked at the DVD) and have just purchased the Udemy video course which I'm finding having read the book is clarifying the odd thing here and there. I also have the official Cisco Press/Odom books but I've not even opened them yet.

    There are plenty of people that claim simulators are more than enough but personally I'm glad I set up a lab. I've had to factory reset a number of boxes (I doubt you get to do that with a simulator) and the procedure is different for switches and routers so that's been good as I might have to do it in the real world someday. I've also hooked up my lab to the internet which, once I'd had some help from these forums I managed to achieve and that too was a great learning experience getting each stage working how I wanted it to, again only some of which you could do with simulators. I'm sure they're enough to understand the subjects for the exam, but you can't beat real hands-on experience, especially when you hit a problem you have to diagnose and fix.
  • TWXTWX Posts: 262Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    To add to GDaines point, a CCNA-level network specialist will be the person touching physical equipment in the course of one's job. That person will deal with burned-out or otherwise defective switches, with rack-and-stacking new closets and either programming the stack from scratch or else loading a pre-built template and personalizing it to the particular environment, or dealing with moves/adds/changes as different end-devices need VLANs or PoE or even possibly routing.

    That's part of the reason why it's so important to touch physical gear, one doesn't want to show up to an interview only to bomb that interview because they introduced either a lab component or else start asking questions about "Layer Zero" that the interviewee is unable to answer. Knowing rack unit spacing, screw thread types and head types, how to dress patch cables and how to follow a labelling or patching scheme, can call be as important for an entry-level network professional as knowing how to deal with the software.
  • cg618cg618 Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    GDaines wrote: »
    There are plenty of threads about home labs, this one in particular is very recent and contains links to other useful threads about layer3 switches. Although in the UK I'm sure price differences between models will be similar in the US.

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/115556-ccna-lab.html

    I too use the Todd Lammle book (deluxe edition, not that I've even looked at the DVD) and have just purchased the Udemy video course which I'm finding having read the book is clarifying the odd thing here and there. I also have the official Cisco Press/Odom books but I've not even opened them yet.

    There are plenty of people that claim simulators are more than enough but personally I'm glad I set up a lab. I've had to factory reset a number of boxes (I doubt you get to do that with a simulator) and the procedure is different for switches and routers so that's been good as I might have to do it in the real world someday. I've also hooked up my lab to the internet which, once I'd had some help from these forums I managed to achieve and that too was a great learning experience getting each stage working how I wanted it to, again only some of which you could do with simulators. I'm sure they're enough to understand the subjects for the exam, but you can't beat real hands-on experience, especially when you hit a problem you have to diagnose and fix.

    Thank you so much for that link, there really is some great info in there. I can't wait to hook up my setup to the net (when its complete)! Yes the videos seem to shed light on things I do not understand. I had a cbt nugget subscription for about a month and those videos really helped me grasp what I was reading in the beginning. I felt lost and very overwhelmed at times but jeremy's method of teaching made it much easier for me. there are some who can't take his constant rambling but it worked for me and for that I'm grateful. Im also using chris bryant's bootcamp much much more now along with the lammle book, I think I'm hooked lol.

    TWX wrote: »
    To add to GDaines point, a CCNA-level network specialist will be the person touching physical equipment in the course of one's job. That person will deal with burned-out or otherwise defective switches, with rack-and-stacking new closets and either programming the stack from scratch or else loading a pre-built template and personalizing it to the particular environment, or dealing with moves/adds/changes as different end-devices need VLANs or PoE or even possibly routing.

    That's part of the reason why it's so important to touch physical gear, one doesn't want to show up to an interview only to bomb that interview because they introduced either a lab component or else start asking questions about "Layer Zero" that the interviewee is unable to answer. Knowing rack unit spacing, screw thread types and head types, how to dress patch cables and how to follow a labelling or patching scheme, can call be as important for an entry-level network professional as knowing how to deal with the software.

    There is nothing like hands on experience, thats what I've learned through out my life. I have a friend who has an IT business and he takes me on jobs with him from time to time, he's the one that has pushed me in the networking direction. I've done some cabling jobs with him and setup tables but for the most I watch and learn as much as I can. its like an apprenticeship, I have to earn the right to be there/here. I have really enjoyed preparing for my ccna, its challenging for me but rewarding when I figure something out. I would like to get my ccnp then focus on vmware and hyper V. Btw thanks for the advice, its is appreciated.
  • clarsonclarson Posts: 889Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'll be glad to help you out. Send me a pm when your able to.
    First of all, we can find out what you already have. You have an 1841. what is the ios, how much memory does it have (ram and compact flash). what are the serial wics, what cables do you have, is there a console cable, and does it have rack mount brackets?
    These are all questions you should answer before buying an router. Newer ios is better, more capable ios is better, more memory is better, no serial wics - where are you going to get them, are the serial wics compatible with the ones you have, will the cables connect your serial wics together, do you have straight through ethernet calbes to connect to the switches, if you plan on racking the equipment - where are you going to get the rackmount brackets.
    For a 1841, it can run version 15 of the ios. so, it should have that. To run version 15 of the ios you need a compact flash card that is larger than 32mb and more than 128mb of ram. So, it requires a minimum of 256mb of ram and a 64mb flash card.
    So, let us know what you have.
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