Method of understanding the concepts beyond passing the test

ThenyoThenyo Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I have been having a hard time figuring out how to go about understanding and making a connection between the concepts and protocols encompassing the CCNA beyond just passing the test. Meaning, I'm not sure how to go about fully understanding how things work so I can go out and ace an interview to land a job. I want to know what I'm talking about when dealing with networking. I was always under the impression that a basic understanding was enough to land you a starting position where you would get deeper into everything and sharpen your professional/technical knowledge and skill. After speaking to many folks in the field, I've discovered that you're somehow supposed to come into your first job with this knowledge/skill already...

Been having a tough time figuring out how to go about doing this besides just reading the material from the cisco academy and doing the packet tracer labs they have on there. I don't have a home lab and I don't know where to source equipment for a home lab. Anyone have any suggestions or advice for me in reference to everything I've mentioned?

I discovered CBT nuggets and their GNS3 labs. Im looking into using that as a resource. Anyone have any information on that? Is it good? Bad? Enough to sharpen my knowledge in order to land a position and do the work?

Comments

  • TWXTWX Posts: 259Member
    I've bought my home lab equipment used off Craigslist. Some like to use eBay. There are members of this forum that will sell you equipment as well.

    My advice, make your home setup with commercial equipment such that you are dependent on it working right. Come in off of your DSL or cablemodem to a Cisco router and build your home network from there. Get more routers and managed switches and play.

    I've seen 1811 routers on CL for as low as $30. I've seen managed 2960 "lan lite" switches for $40. Older 3550-series stuff can often be found cheap as it's a couple of generations old and businesses have already replaced it, and even some older 3560 equipment can be found reasonably if one is patient.
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,114Mod Mod
    There's a couple of good books to bridge the gap between real life and book knowledge. I would say that Network Warrior is a really good one. Also check out 101 CCNA Labs on Amazon. Another thing I would recommend is ABL - Always Be Labbin' :)

    There's a lot of really good prebuilt labs on GNS3 Vault and if you search around the internet but on top of that, challenge a little by trying to predict behaviors of protocols and topologies in labs and confirm it with Wireshark packet captures. When you understand it down to the debug and packet capture level, you know it better than probably 70% of engineers out there. From what I've seen, there's a lot of engineers out there who understand how to configure something and just use show run as their troubleshooting tool. Anything above that requires a call to TAC and then they wait for TAC to resolve it for them. If you know how STP, EIGRP, OSPF, etc is going to behave and you can understand it on a packet level, you can articulate that in a technical interview and it'll make you a better troubleshooter in real life - moreso than most engineers.

    Now I don't want you to misread and try to take on too much - Just try labbing and wiresharking the CCNA material so you don't get overwhelmed. I think that'll REALLY help you when you start that first job and can really take that knowledge to the next level (CCNP, CCIE, etc)
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  • alan2308alan2308 Senior Member Ann Arbor, MIPosts: 1,854Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    It's all about repetition. Do the labs, run debugs and watch the output, and once you've seen everything you're going to see search out more challenging labs. GNS3 vault as Iristheangel mentioned is a great resource. There's also a lot of great blogs out there with great stuff to read and scenarios to work through.

    If you've outgrown Packet Tracer and unable to get a hold of real gear, try stepping up to GNS3 or remotely accessing the Stub Lab at freeccnaworkbook.com.
  • ThenyoThenyo Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    TWX wrote: »
    I've bought my home lab equipment used off Craigslist. Some like to use eBay. There are members of this forum that will sell you equipment as well.

    My advice, make your home setup with commercial equipment such that you are dependent on it working right. Come in off of your DSL or cablemodem to a Cisco router and build your home network from there. Get more routers and managed switches and play.

    I've seen 1811 routers on CL for as low as $30. I've seen managed 2960 "lan lite" switches for $40. Older 3550-series stuff can often be found cheap as it's a couple of generations old and businesses have already replaced it, and even some older 3560 equipment can be found reasonably if one is patient.

    Thank you for the information. Hoping to get a home lab configured whenever possible and I will keep everything you just mentioned here saved.

    There's a couple of good books to bridge the gap between real life and book knowledge. I would say that Network Warrior is a really good one. Also check out 101 CCNA Labs on Amazon. Another thing I would recommend is ABL - Always Be Labbin' :)

    There's a lot of really good prebuilt labs on GNS3 Vault and if you search around the internet but on top of that, challenge a little by trying to predict behaviors of protocols and topologies in labs and confirm it with Wireshark packet captures. When you understand it down to the debug and packet capture level, you know it better than probably 70% of engineers out there. From what I've seen, there's a lot of engineers out there who understand how to configure something and just use show run as their troubleshooting tool. Anything above that requires a call to TAC and then they wait for TAC to resolve it for them. If you know how STP, EIGRP, OSPF, etc is going to behave and you can understand it on a packet level, you can articulate that in a technical interview and it'll make you a better troubleshooter in real life - moreso than most engineers.

    Now I don't want you to misread and try to take on too much - Just try labbing and wiresharking the CCNA material so you don't get overwhelmed. I think that'll REALLY help you when you start that first job and can really take that knowledge to the next level (CCNP, CCIE, etc)

    Thank you for mentioning the books! I will definitely be checking them out, especially Network Warrior. Today I began the process of gathering some IOS images for GNS3 and will definitely be looking to get that up and running. Thank you for all the advice about understanding how things work at a packet level. That is essentially my goal. I want to be able to explain how things work at a packet level. Wireshark + GNS3 will be my best friends.

    alan2308 wrote: »
    It's all about repetition. Do the labs, run debugs and watch the output, and once you've seen everything you're going to see search out more challenging labs. GNS3 vault as Iristheangel mentioned is a great resource. There's also a lot of great blogs out there with great stuff to read and scenarios to work through.

    If you've outgrown Packet Tracer and unable to get a hold of real gear, try stepping up to GNS3 or remotely accessing the Stub Lab at freeccnaworkbook.com.

    Repetition of labs, debugs, and studies. Got it! Thank you for taking the time to post.

    The majority of people I've talked to basically say "KNOW EVERYTHING". I HIGHLY appreciate the ones that actually point and guide me in the right direction. This is especially true right now, in the beginning, where I am trying to figure out how and where to start my study and labbing regiment.
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