Home lab for CCNA V3

JTNJTN Posts: 36Member ■■□□□□□□□□
I'm planning to start studying for the CCNA soon and I am thinking about purchasing a home lab for the exam prep. When I look online most sites list the home lab kits for CCNA V2 and not V3. Is there a difference between the two in regards to a home lab setup?

Comments

  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    The quick answer is there isn't any difference.

    what your lab needs is:
    1) the right ios
    2) if it is a router, it needs at least the minimum memory to run that ios
    3) the right amount of serial wics.
    the v3 exam doesn't have frame relay. But, still covers serial wans (ppp) and how to troubleshoot them.
    and the ccnp does cover frame relay. So, you might not need them as much now, but you will later
    4) enough cables to connect everything
    straight though, crossover if needed for the switches, serial crossovers for the serial wic, console cables
    5) rack brackets if you want to rack the equipment

    the only difference is that there is less of a need for serial wics, but the need hasn't gone away. And, the need for serial wics for the ccnp hasn't changed.
  • KoolsterKoolster Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi Clarson.

    I am also thinking of building a home lab for CCNA v3. What would you recommned for switches and routers? However, my budget is approximately $250-300. Any help would be appreciated. Many thanks.
  • cabishopcabishop Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi,

    You should find this to be a good read to answer your questions:

    https://blog.cbtnuggets.com/2016/05/building-a-ccnp-home-lab/

    It does mention CCNP, however you could minus the frame relay switch to lower costs and still have enough of an idea to budget out a CCNA home lab.
  • carterw65carterw65 Posts: 318Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    You can build a home lab with a server that will do everything you need it to. If you don't go overboard on the server it will be cheaper than buying routers. You still need switches, but it will still be cheap.

    I bought a Dell 1950 iii server on ebay for $150 bucks. I run CSR1000V virtual routers on it which are the 15.0 series of IOS. I can run as many routers as I have RAM for. I have 32gb of RAM and can run ATLEAST 10 router instances. Yes, that is over kill for CCNA, but the cost is FREE for the CSR1000V.

    Connect 2 or 3 real switches (4 for CCIE) to that and you have a full blown lab that will be good for CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE depending on your switches.

    I run VMware ESXi baremetal hypervisor under the eval license. It is only good for 60 days, but it is simple to renew the 60 day license over and over.

    CSR1000V is a full blown virtual router. As I said, you can run as many as you want up to your RAM limit. You do have to have the proper CPU also. I think it is best to have and Intel X5500 series or newer processor in a server because it will allow nesting. Mine is a L5420 x2 processor and will not allow nesting, however, it will run the CSR1000V just dandy. What it won't run is VIRL.

    The server has 2 NICs. This allows one to be the management access so you can do your configs and control things, while the other is connected to the switches.

    With this out there now, I really can't understand why anyone is trying to buy regular routers for their lab. It takes a little bit to set up, but once it is done it is done. All you have is one server running and a few switches rather than a whole rack of equipment. That is a bit easier on the power bill. And oh yeah, you can use tabbed Super puTTy to access all of it which is very similar to Secure CRT but FREE!

    BTW, this is almost the exact setup that INE is using for their lab equipment. Granted they have MONSTER servers, but you don't need that in a home lab. Mine runs awesome! You just have to make sure you get the proper server. Not all of them run emulation. Ideally, you want a server that will run VT-x/EPT. That way it will run Cisco's VIRL if you are so inclined. I wouldn't go less than 32gb of RAM, but 16gb would run a CCNA and CCNP lab.

    My 2 cents.
  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Koolster wrote: »
    Hi Clarson.

    I am also thinking of building a home lab for CCNA v3. What would you recommned for switches and routers? However, my budget is approximately $250-300. Any help would be appreciated. Many thanks.

    First thing you need to look at is weather you are going to go for additional cisco certs beyond the ccna.
    there is cisco equipment that can run version 15 of the ios and equipment that can't
    for just the ccna you don't need equipment that can run version 15 of the ios
    but for other cisco associate level certs you do need some equipment that can run version 15 of the ios
    And, for the professional level certs you should have all equipment that run version 15 of the ios.

    The equipment that can run version of the ios does cost more than the equipment that cant
    But when your talking 5 pieces of equipment, 5 times a little can add up to a lot.

    You can always go with cheaper non version 15 equipment for the ccna. Then sell it when you've finished your ccna and purchase equipment that can run version 15 of the ios for your other certs. Then you get into the how long will it take to sell, how much will you get for it, do you own two labs while your trying to sell it, etc.

    So, first question, do you have plans for other cisco certs beyond the ccna? if so, do they include any professional level certs?
  • KoolsterKoolster Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the link cabishop. Much appreciated. I am thinking of going with what is there in the link, minus Frame relay switch. And, instead of 2600xm, might go with 2x Cisco 2940.
  • KoolsterKoolster Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yes, I will be going beyond Cisco CCNA. And, yes they would include professional level certs. I have already passed my ccent, so need to pass ICND2 next. After that, I am thinking of doing CCNA security and hop onto CCNP later.

    I will try get ios 15, if the price difference is substantial, then I might just settle for ios 12.4 for the time being.

    And, then sell it, like you suggested and get ios 15. I am trying to get my employer to pay for this. So, let's see. Time to get some real equipment. Thanks a lot.
  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Koolster wrote: »
    Thanks for the link cabishop. Much appreciated. I am thinking of going with what is there in the link, minus Frame relay switch. And, instead of 2600xm, might go with 2x Cisco 2940.

    Not to sure about that link. it calls out 5x routers and 2x switches. The current ccnp topology for the TSHOOT exam calls for 4x routers and 4x switches. That is what you need if you want to study with the same topology as your going to see on the test. and, that equipment is really old. only the 1841's can run version 15 of the ios. The rest can not. I'd recommend that all your routers and switches run version 15 when studying for the ccnp exam.

    What runs version 15 of the ios?
    for switches:
    3560 ps does not
    3560 ts, 3560V2, 3560G
    3750V2, 3750G

    for routers:
    1841, only 2 wic slots, doesn't support voice, a little cheaper than 2800's, hard to get rack mount brackets
    2801, one wic slot is voice only
    2811, 4 wic slots
    2821/2851, 4 wic slots, 2x gigabit ports, twice the height, twice the weight, twice the cost to ship.

    with a ccnp lab you need 10 serial ports, two in each router, and one router needs 4 serial ports.
    You need the right combination of serial wics to satisfy this requirement.
    such as the 1841 only has two wic slots. you put in two single port wics and you satisfy the two serial ports in a router.
    But, to have 4 serial ports in a 1841 you will need to use serial wics that have dual ports.
    And, of course, you need the proper serial cables to connect up the wics that you have.

    what I'd recommend is getting 4x 3560-ts or 3560V2
    4x 2811's with 512mb/128mb for memory
    10 dsu-t1 v2 single port serial wics

    you can save a little money replacing two of the 3560 models with 2960's and/or replacing some 2811's with 1841's. But, you don't save much if you have to spend a lot to get rack mount brackets for the 1841's

    then for cables you will need at least
    5x serial crossover cables
    12x straight though for connecting the switches together, 3560's do auto mdix so straight though works fine
    4x straight though for connecting your routers to the switches, more if you want to use both ethernet ports.
    more ethernet cables for connecting your computer, ftp server, dns server, etc.

    Then how are you going to connect to the equipment? console cables, telnet/ssh, terminal server?
    then there are things like do you want 3750V2's instead to do stackwise, or switches with poe for phones, access points, etc
    and you will want rack mount brackets if your going to be putting the equipment in a rack.

    for the ccna you just need 3 routers and 2 switches. then for ccnp you'll need to replace/add to what you have to get to 4 routers and 4 switches.
  • GDainesGDaines Posts: 272Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    To add to what clarson has said, stick with newer kit as quite often if you take your time buying it, it won't cost you much/any more and it will be much more use to you.

    For switches you're looking at the last two digits, so a 2960 or 3560 is newer than a 3550 or 3750. If it's not a 60 I wouldn't touch it (with the possible exception of a 3750 which I don't personally have, but which are often still recommended as I think they can do Stackwise).

    For routers you're looking at the 2nd digit so a 2900-series is newer than a 2800-series which is newer than a 2600-series. There may be exceptions to the rule that I'm not aware of. The first digit identifies the model range, so an 1800-model has lower spec and/or less features than a 2800-model which itself has lower spec and/or less features than a 3800-model.

    My current lab stands at:

    1x 1841 router
    4x 2811 router (all expanded to 512mb ram/128mb flash)
    1x 2960 layer2 switch
    2x 3560 layer3 'TS' switch
    2x 3560 layer3 'PS' switch with PoE (cannot run IOS 15)

    Knowing what I know now, if I was starting again I'd buy 4 each 2811 (or 2821/2851) routers and 3560 'TS' switches. When pricing, make sure you take account of any cards, brackets, cables and other items you might also need to buy.
  • KoolsterKoolster Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for that Gdaines! So, I am just wondering now, how will I be able to emulate multiple PCs in the home lab? For example, in Packet Tracker, it's simple to create multiple PCs and assigning an IP address to those PCs.

    What would I need, in order to emulate PCs with my home lab, mainly for testing if the pings are going through? How do you do this? Many thanks.
  • KoolsterKoolster Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    carterw65 I think all of these are pretty much CCIE labs, I am not quite up to speed with VMware ESXi yet. Just trying to focus on CCNA at the moment.
  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I don't think I ever had multiple pc's connected to my hardware. I just used the one pc and it was mostly as a tftp server and for console access using TeraTerm or telnet/ssh.

    I did use loopback addresses on routers for additional network addresses and used extended ping to source the ping from the loopback addresses.
    loopback addresses are available on routers and layer 3 switches and even the 2960 which only has limited layer 3 capabilities. But, not on a strictly layer 2 switch such as the 2950.

    Koolster wrote: »
    Thanks for that Gdaines! So, I am just wondering now, how will I be able to emulate multiple PCs in the home lab? For example, in Packet Tracker, it's simple to create multiple PCs and assigning an IP address to those PCs.

    What would I need, in order to emulate PCs with my home lab, mainly for testing if the pings are going through? How do you do this? Many thanks.
  • carterw65carterw65 Posts: 318Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Koolster wrote: »
    carterw65 I think all of these are pretty much CCIE labs, I am not quite up to speed with VMware ESXi yet. Just trying to focus on CCNA at the moment.

    Yes, they are, but you can easily make it a CCNA lab. There is really not much difference except the amount of devices and the scope of the tasks. You can make that lab as small or big as you need. As far as VMware, well honestly I am no data center or sysadmin myself, but it was pretty easy to follow along with the instructions. You should do what you are comfortable with though, I was just throwing it out there for a viable option that truly is a great setup.
  • JTNJTN Posts: 36Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Would this lab kit be enough for CCNA?

    Complete CCNA CCNP V2 Cisco Certified Network Professional Home Lab Kit  | eBay

    I spent sometime looking browsing ebay for the individual equipment and it usually ended up being more expensive then the kit.
  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Yes, it is adequate.
    that lab is pretty expensive. None of that equipment can run version 15 of ios or is adequate for the ccnp exam.

    Now there is a lab in the for sale thread, page 37, #920
    http://www.techexams.net/forums/general-certification/3161-sale-37.html

    All of that equipment has version 15 of the ios. All can be used in a ccnp lab.
    You are getting better routers and better switches at a cheaper price.

    Now, there is one less switch (that isn't necessary for the ccna exam). No rack or rack mount brackets. But, that lab is put together to be compact and quiet. And, the 1841 doesn't support voice if you were wanting to do that.

    There are better options out there.

    JTN wrote: »
    Would this lab kit be enough for CCNA?

    Complete CCNA CCNP V2 Cisco Certified Network Professional Home Lab Kit* | eBay

    I spent sometime looking browsing ebay for the individual equipment and it usually ended up being more expensive then the kit.
  • KoolsterKoolster Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    When you say cards, what exactly are they used for? Thanks much.
  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    a serial wic ( Wide area network Interface Card)
  • GDainesGDaines Posts: 272Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    JTN wrote: »
    Would this lab kit be enough for CCNA?

    Complete CCNA CCNP V2 Cisco Certified Network Professional Home Lab Kit* | eBay

    I spent sometime looking browsing ebay for the individual equipment and it usually ended up being more expensive then the kit.

    Again clarson beat me to it due to the different time zones we're in, but I'll go back to my previous response and point out these are old 2600-series routers where you really should be looking for at least 2800-series (2900-series if you have the budget), and 50-series switches where again you really should be looking for older-model 60-series.

    It'll do for CCNA, but it's like going out and learning Windows 2003 which is old and unsupported. Yes, it's Windows, but we've had 2008 and 2012 already, and 2016 can't be that far away if it's not out yet. My point, yes it's Cisco and it may well run IOS 12 which still ships on many devices even today, but it's soooo old they should be giving it away.

    The trouble I've found with most labs from companies is that even if you get 1841/2801/2811 routers, you generally still only get 50-series switches when you really want 60-series, and ideally layer3 (layer2 will be fine if you only intend to do CCNA and stop at that). You'll also find the routers will only be running standard ram and flash and will need to be upgraded, and if they claim to be running IOS 15 it's 99% probably too basic a version anyway.

    Take a look at this kit. It works out to $280 US (and bare in mind everything seems to cost more here in the UK so it should be cheaper to match it if you're in the US with a more local supplier). For that money you get 3560 layer3 switches, 2821 routers, some WIC cards and power cables. It's not perfect as they're PoE switches so won't be able to run IOS 15, but it's much better/newer than what you looked at. Okay you'll still need more WIC cards, some LAN cables, serial cables (shown in one of the pictures but not listed in what's included), a power strip and if you want to rack mount everything you'll need a rack and rack mount kits for everything, but that's no different to the other lab you looked at.
  • KoolsterKoolster Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    if your just looking for something that is ok. I guess this is.

    But, don't confuse quantity with quality.

    as an analogy, a lumber yard puts out a big pallet of 2x4's. Most are straight, but some are checked, warped, knotted, etc. The knowledgeable carpenter will check the boards for defects and leave the defective ones behind. Eventually, only boards with defects will be left. Does the lumber yard put the boards on sale? No, they don't. They just wait for someone that isn't knowledgeable come along and buy the defects at full retail.

    Now this equipment isn't defective as in it doesn't work. But, this equipment is what a knowledgeable user wouldn't buy. This is just a bunch of it put together and they are waiting for someone to come along and pay full retail for it.

    every piece of equipment has something undesirable. But, still just barely usable.

    the 1701 is just worthless. your paying to have garbage shipped to you.

    the 1721 could be usable if it had 32mb of flash. Ones with 32mb of flash have a marking on them to indicate that. This one doesn't have the marking. So, once again your paying to have a piece of garbage shipped to you.

    Then there is the phone. Like they said, you will need to get a way to supply power to it. Either a power injector or a poe switch. The 2811 will support voice so you have that. But, you don't have the cme files to do voice so you will have to get that software. and, you will need to have an ios that supports voice. This router doesn't have enough flash memory to install the voice software so you'll have to upgrade the flash. Then, you will find that it doesn't have enough ram to run the software and you'll need to upgrade the ram also. etc. etc. that phone is useless with this lab without doing a lot of work.

    The 2950 switches are ok. But, they run the standard version of the ios. And, that ios doesn't support RSTP or MSTP. and RSTP is going to be on the ccna exam. and MSTP is on the ccnp. It would be preferred to have switches that ran the enhanced version of the ios, such as the 2950T. Maybe they will substitute them for you.

    the 1841s, they say it has 32f/128d for memory and it has the latest version 15.1 ios. the latest version of the 15.1 ios for the 1841 requires at least 64f/192d, and most require 256d. So, I don't know what your getting. but I do know what your not getting. Get them to send you the ios file names for all the equipment so you do know what your getting. You'd want to get 64f/256d.

    for the 2811, they say it has 64f/256 and the latest ios 15.1 ios. The only 15.1 ios that fits on 64f doesn't support all the features your going to need for the ccna. you will need at least 128f to support an ios that does. and, you'd need that different ios too. and if you want to do voice, 512d.

    So, you'd want to get switches that run the enhanced version of the ios. Routers that had more flash and ram so you can run an ios that has more features. The rest is just junk. Nice rack though.
  • GDainesGDaines Posts: 272Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Very detailed response there clarson, and exactly the point I was making but better explained by you. The kit uses basic routers that don't have enough ram or flash memory, so even though they claim to be running IOS 15, there's no way it's the version you'll want so you'll find you have to upgrade everything - memory, flash and IOS file (and therein lies another problem, how to legitimately get a better IOS file which is a whole new discussion). And the switches are 50-series not 60-series as I also noted are always included in kits.
    GDaines wrote: »
    The trouble I've found with most labs from companies is that even if you get 1841/2801/2811 routers, you generally still only get 50-series switches when you really want 60-series, and ideally layer3 (layer2 will be fine if you only intend to do CCNA and stop at that). You'll also find the routers will only be running standard ram and flash and will need to be upgraded, and if they claim to be running IOS 15 it's 99% probably too basic a version anyway.
  • GDainesGDaines Posts: 272Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Koolster wrote: »

    I've just been reading the ad. There are references in it that show the same ad has been used since 2014, they just keep adding new numbers so people searching for kit for the newer exams find it, but it's still the same old equipment in the lab. It's also not the only advert claiming to be the number 1 selling CCNA lab on eBay. Well, even if they did have the information available, and I doubt eBay are giving out such statistics, only one of them can hold that accolade so someone is making it all up.

    Regarding the phone they make it clear there's no power supply, but say they're really cheap. Okay, if they're so cheap why not include one so the customer won't need to risk buying the wrong thing?

    And how about bull sh^t alert #2. Yes the WIC-2A/S would be too slow to use in the real world in a live production environment, but you're not using it in a live production environment, you're using it in a lab. A more trusted well known CCNA tutor said they're fine for a lab, so I bought an NM-8A/S (basically the same thing just with 8 ports to fit the bigger expansion slot on a 2811 or larger unit), and not once have I ever had to sit waiting for something to happen.
  • Welly_59Welly_59 Posts: 431Member
    one thing about the 2811 routers, they will happily run the base versions of ios 15.* with 256/64. no need to upgrade to 512mb ram and 128mb flash.

    They'll run (on 256/64):
    IP Voice
    IP Voice with integrated Voice/Video Gatekeeper, IP-IP Gateway, and TDM-IP Gateway
    IP Base
    IP Base without cryptology
    Enterprise Base
    Advanced Security

    I dont think theres any features missing that youd need for ccna in those ios feature sets, but someone please correct me if im wrong

  • clarsonclarson Posts: 887Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    well, you need advanced ip services to do ipv6. maybe it won't be on your ccna exam, wasn't on mine, but there is a new exam now. But, it will be on the ccnp exams. and, you'd need that if you were going to use it in a lab for ccna:security

    and the latest (15.1) advanced ip services ios is 63mb in size. How much space do you have left on a 64mb flash card after you format it?
    how much space do you need for other files besides the ios?

    So, get a 128mb flash card and don't worry about it.

    for the latest advanced ip services ios, Cisco recommends 512d/128f. Just for a lab, I think 256d is ok. But, if you want to use the router for voice you should have 512d.
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