equipment for building a home lab

BennyTheManBennyTheMan Member Posts: 76 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi. I just failed my ccent 100-105 and am planning on bringing my study to the next level, so I can pass this exam by the end of the summer. I subscribed to cbtnuggets and would like to make a home lab. Cbtnuggets recommends a general setup regarding routers and switches etc.. Does anyone have any recommendations about which equipment I should buy and where? I plan on studying for the second ccent exam after passing the first one so I may continue to use the lab. I am new to networking and would rather buy all the gear as a complete lab instead of getting all the pieces myself, unless it is really straightforward.

Best regards,



  • keenonkeenon Member Posts: 1,922 ■■■■□□□□□□
    it depends on your idea. my suggestion is for someone new is to go physical. reason being is that your going to need real hands on experience as all of the stuff you will touch will be real gear. gets you accustom to real gear and physical stuff that comes with it
    Become the stainless steel sharp knife in a drawer full of rusty spoons
  • BennyTheManBennyTheMan Member Posts: 76 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • CryptoQueCryptoQue Member Posts: 204 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I agree. If you're new to networking then physical equipment will work best. However, if you have network experience, I would suggest using a simulated environment like Packet Tracer. I used it personally when taking the CCENT and CCNA exams and followed along with the CBT nuggets presentations. It gives you all the simulated things needed to pass the hands-on portion of the exam (i.e. routers, switches, PCs, cabling, etc.). I failed my CCENT exam the first time I took it because I wasn't prepared for the simulated hands-on questions, so I completely understand what you're going through. Let me know if I can help. Good luck BennyTheMan!
  • DCDDCD Member Posts: 473 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You need at least three routers and 2 layer 2 switches and 1 layer 3 switch otherwise use Packet Tracer.
  • GDainesGDaines Member Posts: 273 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Have you looked at old threads? This subject is covered in detail regularly.

    Here are some threads I contributed to, but I've not been online for a while so there are probably many others I've not seen. There are lots of opinions as to whether you need a physical lab or not, and which is better physical or virtual. Personally I like a physical lab, and again just my opinion but I tend to go for newer model kit even though many claim the older kit is perfectly adequate (when the older models cost nearly as much why not have more modern kit for your money, that way if you come to sell it you're going to find it easier to find a buyer?).

  • QueueQueue Member Posts: 174 ■■■□□□□□□□
    My suggestion is to go with a physical lab when starting out. A new network job will have you doing tasks such as imaging routers and switches, and with something virtual you just don't understand that as well. Also the time spent trying to get the virtual environment working correctly could rather be used actually studying building the lab topology from scratch.
  • NetwurkNetwurk Member Posts: 1,155 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I'd get one router and one switch to start out and then build from there. A 3825 can be had for around $60 and is expandable. For switches, the older 2960's are affordable. Get one with PoE as they cost about the same as the non-PoE switches
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