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Importance of physical Labbing & Network Diagrams

dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
I noticed the other day when working on some real equipment how strange it felt going from labbing a lot in PT & Boson to having to wire up real equipment. There is almost a disconnect because you have physical equipment now that isn't laid out in a neat logical diagram like in PT.

Has anyone noticed a similar phenomenon when going from virtual to physical gear? Is this why good network diagrams are important when building labs so you can keep track of the logical layout? When you have a stack of switches/router ontop of eachother, it's going to look nothing like the logical topology, is it then just a case of trusting your diagram and wiring it up how you planned it?

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    ErindErind Member Posts: 33 ■■□□□□□□□□
    lol ,yes it is a little bit shocking, wait until you see the core MDF in the same rack with the floor's IDF with no cable management whatsoever.
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    Codeman6669Codeman6669 Member Posts: 227
    haha yes, thats whay experience trumps certs. But if you have experience and certs, then Ill hire you.
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    WastedHatWastedHat Member Posts: 132 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I definitely had the same feeling, went from the Pearson sim to a physical lab. I thought I could plan everything in my head and I found myself troubleshooting a lot of simple mistakes that went away as soon as I drew out a topology and addressing plan on paper. Now I can create most CCNA scenarios without planning just from repetition. I always begin with minimal configuration and never save it.
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    Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Once my physical lab got larger, a real surprise was the complexity of managing all the routers,switches and servers power cords. Many servers have two electrical cords for each box. a lab of 14 devices can have 20 or more electrical cords. I eventually had to start managing just the surge protectors.
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    byron66byron66 Member Posts: 169 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @Node Man, got any pictures?
    CCNA   A+   N+  Sec+
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    Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @Byron66 - nothing pretty. its kind of a mess. I will try to put up some pictures when I get home today.
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    MAC_AddyMAC_Addy Member Posts: 1,740 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Yep, just wait until you walk into a building and have to re-cable an entire cabinet of power cables, fiber, and patch cords. SO. MUCH. PHUN.
    2017 Certification Goals:
    CCNP R/S
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    dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Erind wrote: »
    lol ,yes it is a little bit shocking, wait until you see the core MDF in the same rack with the floor's IDF with no cable management whatsoever.

    Yeah that would be a handful for even an experienced Administrator, let alone a entry level Technician! To be honest, another difficulty I found was even in a tidy environment there is a lot of faith required when cables disappear off into the ether. If you're use to having the full end-end visibility of the links (even in a lab environment) it's a little unnerving not being able to see the whole picture. I guess this is something you get used to with experience and more labbing!
    WastedHat wrote: »
    I definitely had the same feeling, went from the Pearson sim to a physical lab. I thought I could plan everything in my head and I found myself troubleshooting a lot of simple mistakes that went away as soon as I drew out a topology and addressing plan on paper. Now I can create most CCNA scenarios without planning just from repetition. I always begin with minimal configuration and never save it.

    I can totally appreciate this especially the part about trying to plan everything in your head. I think part of the problem is people believe they need to understand the entire network without delegating to a diagram/map. I know personally this is what I do a lot, I guess you just have to accept the fact that when something is complex it's more of a mental burden and no plausible to try keep it all in working memory.

    Node Man wrote: »
    Once my physical lab got larger, a real surprise was the complexity of managing all the routers,switches and servers power cords. Many servers have two electrical cords for each box. a lab of 14 devices can have 20 or more electrical cords. I eventually had to start managing just the surge protectors.

    ;) This sounds more like a small business network than a home lab. I can understand the burden though, with only a handful of devices a lab can become a mess of cables and power adapters very quickly.
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    MAC_AddyMAC_Addy Member Posts: 1,740 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Always keep your network closets neat and tidy! However, if you're new to a role and you have messy cabinets, racks or network rooms - make a point to stay late one night and tidy the wiring. Troubleshooting a messy cabling mess is often 90% of the work.

    Document the links, too. So use CDP to see where the important links are, and be sure to see where the trunks go, too. What I do for network racks is I use Yellow cables for important links (trunks, wifi, to the router) and Blue as regular patch cords. Keep this documented so when someone needs to go out to a site, you can hand them a piece of paper with a nice and pretty picture of how it should be.

    Keep standards!
    2017 Certification Goals:
    CCNP R/S
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    Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Label the ends of the ethernet cables! It helps alot.

    I tried taking a couple photos of my lab rack. Every pic looks dark and fuzzy, not what the lab deserves icon_smile.gif I'll probably have to post up a bad photo
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    prdemonprdemon Member Posts: 54 ■■■□□□□□□□
    MAC_Addy wrote: »
    Yep, just wait until you walk into a building and have to re-cable an entire cabinet of power cables, fiber, and patch cords. SO. MUCH. PHUN.

    Gonna do all of this FUN this weekend at work.....YAY
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