HELP!Set-up of lab for CCNA w new exam after Feb 2020 in mind, without taking out a loan!

mizwanmizwan Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello lovely community!

So I am looking at setting up a home lab for my CCNA training and it is just a jungle, I am totally lost. I found pricing info on CBTNuggets that, after looking at eBay etc, seems wildly optimistic, see below for what they claim.

I also have another concern, and this might seem like a very stupid concern to those who know what they are talking about, but I have read that certain equipment will not be considered good enough as it is too old or as Cisco exams change and of course there is a big exam change coming up from 24th Feb 2020. There is no way I will be ready to take an exam by then, I am way too new and working full-time and have two kids, so do I risk getting routers and switches that will not serve me well in the new exam? How can I find out what I really need, as affordable stuff as possible?

This is the info on CBTNuggets, no idea how old it is but it certainly isn't reflected on eBay and stuff seems impossible to find (esp outside of the US).
************

What do I need to get started? Buy a cheap router! Using these routers, you can convert your home network to a Cisco-based network, and gain valuable real world experience.

Any of the following routers are affordable and can help you learn the material:

  • Cisco 2611(xm) / 2621(xm)    ($10-$50)
  • Cisco 1721 w/WIC-1ENET    ($10-$50)
  • Cisco 871(w)                          ($10-$50)

Which switch do I need? These are all 100-megabit switches. For just a few more dollars, buy a Layer 3 switch such as Cisco 3550 or 3750. These will be useful for moving onto your CCNP, and even CCIE, certification journey.

  • Cisco 2950 ($10-20)
  • Cisco 3550 ($20-$50)
  • Cisco 3750 ($50-$150)

Whats the ideal CCNA lab setup? Three routers, three switches, and two laptops. That’s all that Cisco requires for you to set up a network for the CCNA. 

Comments

  • MrsWilliamsMrsWilliams Junior Member Posts: 168Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited August 11

    without taking out a loan!


    I think your question can be better answered if you were to say how much you can reasonably afford..?...

    Take into consideration, INVESTING in your FUTURE is never a bad idea.
  • MrsWilliamsMrsWilliams Junior Member Posts: 168Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited August 11
    mizwan said:
    Hello lovely community!

    So I am looking at setting up a home lab for my CCNA training and it is just a jungle, I am totally lost. I found pricing info on CBTNuggets that, after looking at eBay etc, seems wildly optimistic, see below for what they claim.

    I also have another concern, and this might seem like a very stupid concern to those who know what they are talking about, but I have read that certain equipment will not be considered good enough as it is too old or as Cisco exams change and of course there is a big exam change coming up from 24th Feb 2020. There is no way I will be ready to take an exam by then, I am way too new and working full-time and have two kids, It's been a lot of success stories over the years of people in similar and worst positions, that have obtained certification and degrees. ;)  so do I risk getting routers and switches that will --->not serve me well <---in the new exam? If that is how you are thinking come back and ask this question again after February 2020 :# I will be here waiting to hear from youB) How can I find out what I really need, as affordable stuff as possible? If you google CCNA Lab Kit, you can spend 2 hours reading what equipment people say is needed/suggested for a CCNA Lab. Truth be told, I am sure you can get the same interactive lab with a free version of Packet Tracer. So, if motivation and funds are limited (like they seem to be) just download packet tracer and buy a book off of Amazon. Technically, based off what I read on your post...you'll be just fine with this and a book ->

    Download The Packet Tracer Simulator Tool & Find Courses ...https://www.netacad.com/courses/packet-tracer



    This is the info on CBTNuggets, no idea how old it is but it certainly isn't reflected on eBay and stuff seems impossible to find (esp outside of the US).
    ************

    What do I need to get started? Buy a cheap router! Using these routers, you can convert your home network to a Cisco-based network, and gain valuable real world experience.

    Any of the following routers are affordable and can help you learn the material:

    • Cisco 2611(xm) / 2621(xm)    ($10-$50)
    • Cisco 1721 w/WIC-1ENET    ($10-$50)
    • Cisco 871(w)                          ($10-$50)

    Which switch do I need? These are all 100-megabit switches. For just a few more dollars, buy a Layer 3 switch such as Cisco 3550 or 3750. These will be useful for moving onto your CCNP, and even CCIE, certification journey.

    • Cisco 2950 ($10-20)
    • Cisco 3550 ($20-$50)
    • Cisco 3750 ($50-$150)

    Whats the ideal CCNA lab setup? Three routers, three switches, and two laptops. That’s all that Cisco requires for you to set up a network for the CCNA. 


  • mizwanmizwan Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hello again Mrs Williams :D
    Thank you for taking the time to help again. Are you saying don't get a physical lab just yet? I have downloaded packet tracer just the other day but not had time to get involved yet.

    I absolutely agree investing in your future is a very good thing. I can't tell you how keen I am to set up a physical lab, I can't wait!! My big fear, and this could well be my low confidence after a lifetime in my brother's shadow, and constantly being told not to bother because it will probably be too hard for me, is that I spend hundreds, if not over a thousand, looking at prices, on setting up a lab and then I find out halfway or less through the course that I am too dense to actually manage to progress. And then I will be in a worse financial position as well as knocked down mentally.

    I guess I believed the prices quoted on CBTNuggets and was shocked to find that it was just fantasy prices! :wink: I have no clue what I am supposed to pay, or if I will be ripped off! So trying to gain an idea from you guys who I expect I can trust :) 
     so do I risk getting routers and switches that will --->not serve me well <---in the new exam? If that is how you are thinking come back and ask this question again after February 2020 :# I will be here waiting to hear from youB) 

    what do you mean by this bit? :smile:
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,078Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Todays virtualized environments can emulate almost everything you need to study, the big exception being serial links (PPP and PPPoE dependency). I'd suggest you start off with Packet Tracer and only buy equipment once you have a better idea of why you're buying it else you risk wasting money.
  • mizwanmizwan Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks EANx. I was under the impression that I wouldn't learn well unless I had a physical lab but I just read some more info that says exactly what you two are saying. I am going to get on with Packet Tracer right away and get the physical lab started once I have more experience and money (have been on maternity leave and got married this last year). I have also just understood that the CCENT is being retired, which I somehow managed to miss when I read the info the other day, so I will do my best to get both certs (ICND1 and 2) separately before 23rd February, as the idea of one big exam is kind of scary. I did manage to ace my degree while on home with my eldest and then working part time for the last year, so maybe this is doable too even with two children. I am just scared because it is a new subject for me!  :#

    Thank you both for your valuable input, and your time. I really appreciate it  <3
  • yoba222yoba222 Posts: 1,055Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I would definitely not purchase Cisco equipment with the intent to use it to learn the new exam content (yet). You don't even need it for the old content. Sure it's a nice luxury to have. If you can't afford it, don't spend your money at the CCNA-level (different ball game for CCNP so I've heard). If you look for CCNA lab kits, you'll find CCNA lab kits because people want your money.

    I was amazed at how underwhelming the so-called lab portion of the 2016 CCNA was. It's really just a multiple choice exam with a few sort of wannabe, crappy simulation-like questions thrown in the mix. Packet Tracer (I liked the Labsim software that came with the Todd Lammle book personally).
    2017: GCIH | LFCS
    2018: CySA+ | PenTest+ |CCNA CyberOps
    2019: VHL 20 boxes
    2020: OSCP | CISSP
  • williebwillieb Posts: 106Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited August 12
    Great advice so far. I'd also suggest to stick with Packet Tracer and/or GNS3, especially if you are tight for time and money. Hands-on experience is very important in the real world but you really don't need it to pass the CCNA exams. I have access to all kinds of physical equipment but I choose to exclusively use virtual labs (although I have plenty of hands-on experience).

    Don't get me wrong, physical equipment is best for sure if you have the time and money. And even though obtaining your CCNA with virtual only is highly possible, it will leave a gap in your networking skills. Luckily the CCNA can help you get a related job and then the hands-on experience you need to fill the gap.
    [X] CCENT ICND1 100-105
    [X] CCNA ICND2 200-105
    [X] CCNP Route 300-101
    [X] CCNP Switch 300-115
    [ ] CCNP Tshoot 300-135
  • mizwanmizwan Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you ever so much!  If I do find I can afford some equipment down the line, is the list in my original post good? What I am thinking is to start with the Packet Tracer, and as I progress and hopefully find I can master it, to buy stuff as I go along, one router one month, another the next and so on.

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