Home lab set up question

tearofstearofs Posts: 112Member
Hello,

New to CCNA here. I did some research before I posted and I have couple questions for u guys. icon_mrgreen.gif

The purposes of home lab:

1, CCNA
2, budget is as small as possible
3, (in the future) simulate an enterprise environment including database server, web server, storage server etc.

Questions:

I have read couple sticky posts (which are 2-3 years old) and a recent one. I am still wondering what kind of cisco equipments I need to match minimum requirement? I have Dynamips and cisco packet tracer 5.2 installed.

Thank you very much

Comments

  • anfearranfearr Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi,

    I'm five years f**king around studying on and off for the ccna etc. And i have decided to get my finger out and do it but the equipment i had was so out of date i gave it too a school.

    My new lab is and like you i was worried about costs:

    Cisco 3640 (Cost 30euro) 96/32 Ram
    NM-4T (4 Serial Ports) for Frame Relay (Cost 20euro)
    NM-2FE (2 Fast Ethernet Ports) (Cost 30 Euro)

    Cisco 1721 x2 (Cost 20euro x2)
    Has Fast Ethernet
    Plan to buy two serial WICS for each. (2x 15euro).

    Cisco 2950 x2 (Not purchase yet).

    I think this makes for a nice lab. Where you practice everything.

    And should come in at just under 150 for routers and cables.
    Passed: MCTS: Vista, MCITP:EST, SAP Earlywatch (ABAP Performance Analysis in Netweaver 2005), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA Voice
    Next: MCITP:SA (70-640)
    Studying: BSC (Honours) in IS/IT Managment.
  • tha_dubtha_dub Posts: 262Member
    I don't really think there are minimum requirements. You really need to decide how much you can spend and go from there. Like I've said before if you buy hardware and there are a couple things you can't do in real life you could sim them and or just read about them.

    That beingsaid I'm on a budget myself and so far have,
    cisco 2611
    cisco 2650 24 port
    so far = 95.00 delivered

    Working on purchasing
    cisco 2600XM
    cisco 1760 CME
    cisco 2650
    Likely about $250-400 delivered depending on the deal and what feature I go for.

    So all told I expect to build a half decent lab for about 400-500.
    Also keep in mind are you going to keep the gear forever? Some people do I suppose but when you are done you can recoup some cost.
  • tearofstearofs Posts: 112Member
    Thank you, anfearr & tha_dub.

    If anyone has any suggestion and thoughs about setting up a home lab with small budget, please share with us.

    Again, thank you very much.
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    tearofs wrote: »
    I have read couple sticky posts (which are 2-3 years old) and a recent one.
    Not much has changed or will change for the CCNA until Cisco does the next major update to the exam(s).

    If you're building a lab with an eye to the CCNP and CCIE, then you'll have to do the research about what's required for those.

    For the CCNP that is "going away" you just needed to make one of your CCNA lab routers "MPLS capable" and then add a 5th router that did MPLS to turn your CCNA lab into a CCNP Lab.

    1721/1760 and 26xxXM routers are probably the cheap/good routers to consider now if you're building for the future.

    Check out the "More Recent Lab Threads" section in this post I made in the CCNA FAQ thread.
    http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/6434-ccna-faq-please-read-before-posting.html#post369740

    A 1721 ($50) and 2 2500s ($10 each, $15 if they come with Transceivers) and something to use as a frame relay switch (252x for maybe $25-30 or $50 for a 2610 with NM-4A/S), along with a couple 2950 switches ($25-50) and a 3rd cheap switch like the 2924XL-EN (for $10-15) will give you a cheap CCNA lab.

    An access server is a luxury for a CCNA, nice to have for a CCNP lab, and you should at least know how to use one for the CCIE Lab.

    As always -- get equipment max memory when you can. And the latest and greatest, biggest and baddest IOS feature sets.

    If you're looking at hitting the CCNA Security, you'd want 2 1721's in your CCNA with at least 12.4(9)T (or greater) -- and you may as well get the Advanced Enterprise IOS, though the Advanced Security may still work for CCNA level exams. So from my "list above" -- lose a 2501 and add a 2nd 1721.

    And since I remembered a PM I didn't have time to answer as I was clearing work issues and spinning up for the Lab attempt, I'll toss in the CCNA Voice to this post too. icon_lol.gif

    For the CCNA:Voice you're going to want something "cheap" that either does voice, or can be upgraded later -- so that's the 1760 or 26xxXM routers. But you may as well buy a "complete CME Router" off ebay (with the "matched" CME software/IOS, since you can't legally get it elsewhere, though it's still "unlicenced") in place of one of the CCNA 2501 routers. It could also double as your "2nd router" for the CCNA:Security. If you get an FXO port (and the NM-2V if you go XM), then you can just use your home analog phone line to call your cell phone and see if your dial peers work. If you're planning for the CCVP beyond that, then consider another "Voice Router" to use as your "Lab PSTN."
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    mikej412 wrote: »
    An access server is a luxury for a CCNA, nice to have for a CCNP lab, and you should at least know how to use one for the CCIE Lab.

    While I agree that it's a bit of a luxury for the CCNA, once you get past that, I'd say it's a good thing for everyone to have. It's really tedious moving the console cable around once you get past 5 devices.

    I'd also recommend folks have one just for the remote access ability as well. I'm glad I finally have mine in place, as I can now power the rack up when I leave for work and work with *all* of my devices, instead of just the ones I can plug into serial ports on local computers. Previously when I wanted to work with everything, I had to put login credentials in place, and ensure IP connectivity between all devices before I left... make the wrong mistake, and it's bye bye to the lab until I can get home and fix it. (Which, now that I think about it, is probably a valuable lesson for working on production routers, but I'm still glad the hassle is gone. The real lesson I learned from that is to have proper OOB management in place ;))
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    It's really tedious moving the console cable around once you get past 5 devices.
    Yeah, but to some people on a budget, the access server could cost eat up 1/2 their budget.

    I decided against rack mounting when I couldn't find anyone who'd combine shipping on rack ears (even though they'd probably turn around and throw them all in one flat rate box and pocket the "extra shipping" dollars). The cost of rack ears & the shipping was more than I spent on all my old 2500 series routers. icon_lol.gif

    Hum, I've probably reached the point where I don't need to use my 2509 & 2511 access servers as actual routers in my lab anymore. I should probably just move them onto my home network, or better, a Lab DMZ network along with my remote power controllers (which are on the home network).
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • mikem2temikem2te Posts: 407Member
    While I agree that it's a bit of a luxury for the CCNA, once you get past that, I'd say it's a good thing for everyone to have. It's really tedious moving the console cable around once you get past 5 devices.

    I'd also recommend folks have one just for the remote access ability as well. I'm glad I finally have mine in place, as I can now power the rack up when I leave for work and work with *all* of my devices, instead of just the ones I can plug into serial ports on local computers. Previously when I wanted to work with everything, I had to put login credentials in place, and ensure IP connectivity between all devices before I left... make the wrong mistake, and it's bye bye to the lab until I can get home and fix it. (Which, now that I think about it, is probably a valuable lesson for working on production routers, but I'm still glad the hassle is gone. The real lesson I learned from that is to have proper OOB management in place ;))

    Agree, the number of times I have locked myself out of devices is incredible, whether messing up routing protocols, getting aaa or spaanning tree wrong etc. My lab is two rooms away from my computer so getting an access server was a must.

    There are other solutions though, a Cisco access server on ebay with octol cables comes to around £160 (I guess that is around 250 US$). I picked up a Lantronix ETS8P in the end for about £25 and made RJ45 rollover cables myself. It serves the same purpose - with 8 serial lines.

    Another trick I have used to get me out of a hole when I couldn't find a console cable is to connect the AUX port on one device to a console port on a second device. After a bit of config reverse telneting into the first device allows connecting to the second device. Magic.
    Blog : http://www.caerffili.co.uk/

    Previous : Passed Configuring Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (70-630)
    Currently : EIGRP & OSPF
    Next : CCNP Route
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    mikej412 wrote: »

    I decided against rack mounting when I couldn't find anyone who'd combine shipping on rack ears (even though they'd probably turn around and throw them all in one flat rate box and pocket the "extra shipping" dollars). The cost of rack ears & the shipping was more than I spent on all my old 2500 series routers. icon_lol.gif

    Yeah, that's why one of the requirements for all the lab gear I've purchased was that it had to have the rack ears as part of the package hehe
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    mikem2te wrote: »
    There are other solutions though, a Cisco access server on ebay with octol cables comes to around £160 (I guess that is around 250 US$). I picked up a Lantronix ETS8P in the end for about £25 and made RJ45 rollover cables myself. It serves the same purpose - with 8 serial lines.

    Yeah, the folks wanting $250 for a 2511 are out of their minds. I got lucky and found mine on ebay for $150, including shipping, and it included all the accessories (16 rj-45 to rj-45 rollover cables, which I needed since the majority of mine are RJ-45 to DB9, the AUI for the ethernet port, and the rack ears). Prior to finding that, I was just going to pickup an NM-16A and use one of the 2610's I had laying around as an access server. Even buying that combo off ebay will usually be cheaper than buying a 2511.
  • SysAdmin4066SysAdmin4066 Posts: 443Member
    2511s are pretty pricey, but man are they worth it. I've never used mine as a router, only as an access server and it's been awesome.
    In Progress: CCIE R&S Written Scheduled July 17th (Tentative)

    Next Up: CCIE R&S Lab
  • tearofstearofs Posts: 112Member
    Thanks for all the great advices
  • tearofstearofs Posts: 112Member
    mikej412 wrote: »
    A 1721 ($50) and 2 2500s ($10 each, $15 if they come with Transceivers) and something to use as a frame relay switch (252x for maybe $25-30 or $50 for a 2610 with NM-4A/S), along with a couple 2950 switches ($25-50) and a 3rd cheap switch like the 2924XL-EN (for $10-15) will give you a cheap CCNA lab.

    So, basically, I need:

    1 x 1721 (with 12.3 or 12.4 IOS + possibly WIC-1T)
    1 x 252x
    2 x 2500s with transceivers
    2 x 2950-24 (possibly T/C/G with EI)
    1 x 2924

    4 switches + 3 routers

    Do I get this right? Do I really need a WIC-1T for that 1721?
  • mikem2temikem2te Posts: 407Member
    I would put it the other way around, 3 switches 4 routers.

    Four routers are useful for frame relay labs using hub and spoke topology. You would have a router acting as a frame relay cloud (this would be the telco), another router acting as a frame relay hub with one serial port (think of this as being a head office of a company) and two other routers acting as frame relay spokes (image two remote offices of the company).

    The 252x would be the frame relay cloud with 4 or more serial ports, the other routers would need a serial port as well (WIC-1T on the 1721)
    Blog : http://www.caerffili.co.uk/

    Previous : Passed Configuring Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (70-630)
    Currently : EIGRP & OSPF
    Next : CCNP Route
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    tearofs wrote: »
    So, basically, I need:

    1 x 1721 (with 12.3 or 12.4 IOS + possibly WIC-1T)
    2 x 2500s with transceivers
    2 x 2950-24 (possibly T/C/G with EI)
    1 x 252x
    1 x 2924

    4 switches + 3 routers

    Do I get this right? Do I really need a WIC-1T for that 1721?
    4 routers (1721, 25xx)
    3 switches. (2950, 2924-XL-EN)

    Max Memory & the BIGGEST BADDEST IOS -- Check the Cisco Feature Navigator to see what's available for a platoform.
    Shortcut Redirect - Cisco Systems

    http://www.cisco.com/web/partners/downloads/765/tools/quickreference/ciscoiospackaging-eng.pdf

    If you're going to do the CCNA:Security, you want at least 12.4T(9) Advanced Security for the Zone Firewall support on that 1721. But the "biggest & baddest) 12.4T feature set is the Enterprise Services (that doesn't do the Zone Firewall). In a "perfect world" there would be a 12.4T Advanced Enterprise which "does it all" -- but for now the world isn't perfect. icon_cry.gif

    So if you're not planning on the CCNA:Security, then the 12.4 Advanced Enterprise would be your target 1721 IOS.

    The 2500 should have a 12.2 Enterprise Plus with crypto -- but the latest (and last) was a 12.3 IP Plus (I think) which is what you may want for the CCNP tasks and some limited IPv6 support. The IPv6 tasks in the CCNP are probably what will eventually put the cheap 2500s out to pasture -- or limit them to just cheap CCNA Lab duty (until IPv6 & IPv6 routing hits the CCNA).

    That cheap 3rd switch is a 2924-XL-EN.

    You have to price the 252x and compare it to the available 2610 routers and NM-4A/S modules to find the current cheapest frame realy solution. If you get a 252x, make sure it's an Ethernet model. The Token Ring versions should be cheaper, but then you have a dedicated frame relay switch that you can't use for "LAN stuff" with your other routers -- but it's fine for WAN tasks....

    The 2500's come with 2 built in serial ports, so if you have 2 of those, you can do PPP multilink with those routers. You probably can get away with just one WIC-1T in the 1721, but I always just went for 2 WAN ports since I wasn't budget conscious when I built my lab.

    If you can get the 2950 EI versions, that would be great for when you move on to the CCNP -- otherwise you'd have to decide if any additional cost is worth it now if you're trying to build cheap CCNA lab. But if you can get them for the price of a regular 2950 -- jump on them fast!!
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • tearofstearofs Posts: 112Member
    Thx a ton icon_thumright.gif
  • hermeszdatahermeszdata Posts: 225Member
    Yeah, the folks wanting $250 for a 2511 are out of their minds. I got lucky and found mine on ebay for $150, including shipping, and it included all the accessories (16 rj-45 to rj-45 rollover cables, which I needed since the majority of mine are RJ-45 to DB9, the AUI for the ethernet port, and the rack ears). Prior to finding that, I was just going to pickup an NM-16A and use one of the 2610's I had laying around as an access server. Even buying that combo off ebay will usually be cheaper than buying a 2511.

    I got tired of banging my head ... jumping up and down to switch the console cable from one device to another shortly after I but my lab together. It was not a big deal when it was a couple of routers and a switch, but when I expanded so I had 1 router as a dedicated FR Switch, 4 others to work FR Labs, A backbone router for my internet access, and 4 switches, then added 2 voice routers to the mix, I was spending more time swapping cables after wiping configs than I spend entering configs.

    I finally "Stole" an NM-16A from evil bay! $65 US Delivered !!!!!!!!!! It is really nice not to have to get up from my chair to set up an new config!

    I think the access servers, 2509/11 or NM-16A are a very necessary part of the rack. I was going to spend the $s regardless. I jsut got very luck with my purchase. And, the amount of time and frustration it has saved me is priceless!

    John
    John
    Current Progress:
    Studying:
    CCNA Security - 60%, CCNA Wireless - 80%, ROUTE - 10% (Way behind due to major Wireless Project)
    Exams Passed:
    CCNA - 640-802 - 17 Jan 2011 -- CVOICE v6 - 642-436 - 28 Feb 2011
    2011 Goals
    CCNP/CCNP:Voice
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