Help setting up home lab

buzzboy01buzzboy01 Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi guys
I have searched and searched around everywhere to find the answers i need but no one can seem to tell me what i need to set-up a good CCNA\CCNP home lab.

I have been looking on ebay for 2900 switches and 2500's and 2600 routers. Obviously the 2500's are a lot easier to come by and are cheaper. From what I have read the 2500’s are fine to use for setting up a CCNA\CCNP lab.

My questions
What ports should the routers have (either 2600's or 2500's)
What IOS should the routers and switches have to support all the required material for CCNA\CCNP
To support them IOS how much memory should the routers and switch’s have.

Thank your to anyone who can take the time to answer my questions.


  • initialdinitiald Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□

    Scroll down to the middle of that page. :)

    "Life without knowledge is death in disguise."
  • Paul BozPaul Boz Member Posts: 2,620 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Has your search included these forums? There are about 10 topics linked from within the CCNA forum sticky FAQ, and there are numerous home lab posts on the front page of the CCNP forum as well. Are you just getting started on the CCNA track? What's your networking experience? A CCNA lab can be as simple as two routers and a switch to a rack full of routers and switches. It depends on what you want to spend. If you only get one switch I'd get a 2950 over a 2900XL. The 2900 series is end of sale and end of life. They're great routers to supplement your lab but I wouldn't use a 2900 series as my only switch. 2500 series routers are pretty out dated and won't really be able to do all that much for you. Get the most current release of IOS that you can and make sure your router has enough memory to run it.

    You can go to to look at sample kits and specs. I suggest you read the above mentioned resources before you progress though.
    CCNA Security | GSEC |GCFW | GCIH | GCIA
    [email protected]
  • buzzboy01buzzboy01 Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    just to answer paul boz qestions . i did have a look around the site but couldnt find much telling me what type of routers i need in regards to ports they need or ios or memory requirments.
    at the moment i am heading into unit 4 of the ccna and soon there after doing ccnp routing.
  • initialdinitiald Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hhmmm....TechExams has tons of information regarding this topic.

    Be sure to check:

    Here is another link which may be helpful:

    "Life without knowledge is death in disguise."
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    In addition to the links in the Forum FAQ, here's a couple more CCNA/CCNP Lab threads.

    icon_arrow.gifHardware for CCNA
    icon_arrow.gifNo of LAB equipment required

    icon_arrow.gifLabs for ONT and ISCW

    Here's a recent switch topic
    icon_arrow.gifNeed a little help (CCNA: 2924 vs 2950)

    Getting a home lab is like buying a car -- we don't know where you live, or how much you want to spend, how long your commute is, or how the traffic is in your area. Plus since we don't a commission on selling you a home lab, you have to do most of the work.

    The 2500 aren't modular except for a couple of the models - usually at least 2 serial interfaces and 1 network interface. Other 2500 models have more serial interfaces, 2 network interfaces (ethernet/token ring/combinations), BRI interfaces, a built in hubs.

    The 2600s are modular -- the 2600XMs are an upgraded more expensive version. They come with 1 or 2 network ports and 2 types of expansion slots -- 2 WIC slots and 1 NM slot.

    3600 routers (which I use in my CCIE lab, in addition to a vast herd of 2500s) are nothing but slots (except at the expensive 3660 high end) and you have to fill it with NM modules to get your network ports.

    People have built labs with nothing but 2501s -- 2 serial ports and 1 ethernet port per router.

    Building a home lab takes up space, makes noise, uses power, gives off heat, and attracts cat hair (and cats looking for warm spots in winter). But it also means that you can practice or try anything you have the hardware for while you are studying -- so there is a hugh convenience factor.

    Alternatives to a home lab.....

    A school lab -- I had the lab at my Cisco CCNA Network Academy when I got tired of software bugs in Boson NetSim (and before I bought my first routers).

    Boson NetSim -- its just a simulator, but its "good enough" to "get by" if you stick to the labs that come with it. I've put simple configs from real routers and switches into Boson and it hasn't worked. I typed in configurations from their labs and they didn't work. If you want to learn more is required, then you may get frustrated with Boson NetSim.

    RouterSim -- another simulator. A couple people posted recently that they used it. It sounds like they may have fixed some of the bugs that made me hate it more than Boson (but I always like the interface better).

    Rack Rental -- yep, you can "try before you buy." It does help to actually see and touch the equipment when you first start out, but this is still a good option if you don't want to start collecting obsolete (and possibly eventually useless) equipment.

    Work Lab -- maybe you have "spare parts" that could be used for practice.... or maybe you can find a job with a Cisco Business Partner who has a lab/demo equipment for use by employees.

    Dynagen/Dynamips is good for routing, once you have a clue about routers. Its an emulator that run a real IOS file and simulates the hardware.

    Just like you can buy a car, rent a car, get a job driving a car, play grand theft auto and pretend to drive (and pretend to steal a car?), or take the bus -- there are similiar options for a home Cisco Lab.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • buzzboy01buzzboy01 Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I would just like to thank everyone who has replied so far

    Another question ,what are the 17XX routers like for using in home labs

    Thanks again
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    The 1700s are fine. The 1720 might not support trunking for some reason (there was a post on the Cisco Website Forum) even though it has a FastEthernet interface..... can anyone confirm or deny.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
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