How to Build a CCNP Lab

filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SPMember Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
Hello everyone!

I know this is not an easy question, there seems to be SO many answers out there. I have found Wendell Odom's CCNP lab guide on the internet and it is very interesting. Problem is that the article is from May of 2008 and I really do not have enough experience to use that information to effectively update it for current requirements.

There are three options I have heard.

1. Doing all Simulation on the computer

2. Half Hardware and Half Software Setup

3. All Hardware


What are your recommendations for a LAB setup for SWITCH, ROUTE, and TSHOOT?

I realize I could not afford to get Every switch and Every Router needed to make a real hardware lab, but was not sure if I could get a minimum amount of Routers and Switches needed to practice the concepts on a smaller scale using the proper IOS versions, etc.

OR If I could buy the minimum amount of hardware needed to interact with a software based solution that would be good as well.

I am willing to save up thousands of dollars for this, so my budget is not so bad, but I would rather get a cheap solution if possible.

I have read on the internet people buy some hardware and make it interact with emulated software components to even practice for the CCIE, so I know it must be doable for a CCNP/CCIP.

Thanks guys!!
CISSP, CCNA SP
Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller

Comments

  • BADfish10BADfish10 Member Posts: 88 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Half and Half is a good way to go.

    For Route you could get away with
    GNS3/Dynamips running on a PC (more cores the more mem the better)
    and several Network adapters.

    For Switch you would probably want some Kit
    2*3550 or above 3560/3750 if you are mint'ed
    2*2950/2960

    You will never beat hands on with kit just to see all the querks in real life but for 4-5 good routers running 12.4T
    a frame relay switch
    a access router
    all the T1/T2 cards
    cables
    and as some have pointed out the Power and the ear plugs to run them.
    you are looking into the x,000's

    Or you could buy a Quad-Core computer (if you dont have one) and 4 switches for far less

    you can see what one i am doing

    J
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    AS much real hard ware as you can afford. Then run something like GNS3 alongside it.

    If you palm it well cheap second hand routers will do 90% of what you need. So you can for a few $100 get hold of 3 or 4 physical routers.

    Then you just run 2 or 3 higher end / feature sets on GNS3.

    Or at lest this is how I do it, mundane stuff on physical, flashy stuff emulated.

    this nice thing about GNS3 now is you can put ASA firewalls in to it.

    As far as the switch goes you really need soem real hardware, although CISCO PACKET TRACER 5.3 if you can get hold of it will do about 80% of the stuff.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • burbankmarcburbankmarc Member Posts: 460
    The cheapest router I can recommend is the 3640. If you buy cheap routers and end up needing to use GNS3 anyways, what was the point of getting the routers at all? The 3640 is pretty cheap and quite versatile.
  • peanutnogginpeanutnoggin Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I would suggest hardware. That of course is my personal opinion. The reason I say hardware is because I want to see when lights blink, when hardware fails, pull network modules in and out, etc... Now, I will say that some people are very successful with using GNS3 primarily for their studies. To each his own. If you can afford to build a lab, build one. If money is tight, use GNS3 with some physical switches. HTH... good luck!

    -Peanut
    We cannot have a superior democracy with an inferior education system!

    -Mayor Cory Booker
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The cheapest router I can recommend is the 3640. If you buy cheap routers and end up needing to use GNS3 anyways, what was the point of getting the routers at all? The 3640 is pretty cheap and quite versatile.

    I woudl agree, the 3640 is what I use, I think i picked up 3 for about £150.

    I know for £350 I got 3 X 3640's a 2509 access server and all the leads + upgrade to memory.

    ontop of that I have 2 x 3550, which i "borrowed from work" fingers crossed they never need to use them... I also borrowed 2 X 3750's :)

    Its actuly the switch side of things that will cost you the momeny and unforunatly you can't simulate these on GNS3. You are looking at £250+ for a singel 3550. and if you want to practice things like PRVT VLANS you need at least a 3650....

    If I was builing my lab again from scratch with my own money I would be looking to get some real layer 3 switchs first, and not worry to much about physical routers, if you can afford them great other wise GNS3 is great and you still get the physical hands on feeling of the switchs.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks guys!

    So I need 4 Switches for sure, do all 4 need to be Layer 3? If they are not Layer 3, what will be the limitations of following some labs?

    Thanks for all your help. Could you guys provide Specific switch and router models you would get to be able to do the majority of labs?

    For instance, how many routers would meet the minimum? Should I go with 3 Routers?

    Also, would i want 4 switches minimum?

    If I am going with a 3 router and 4 switch setup, what exact model numbers would you buy and how much memory should be in each one? I am not super familiar with the memory requirements, so I just need to track down what I would need to look out for on auctions.

    If anyone wants to go into great detail, what kind of cards do I need for these routers?

    Thanks guys!
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would say you need at least 2 layer 3 switches such as 3550's

    if possible a 3650 (you only need one) beacuse it will allow you to do a few things such as PRVT VLANS you can't do on the 3550's.

    I only think you need 2 or 3 switchs really but the more the better. if you can afford a few more some 2950 (non layer 3) should be fine.


    As for routers if you have 3 good 3640 or better, then remember you can use your layer 3 switches as routers as well (less features but plenty for CCNP)

    In summery you want

    At least two 3550's switchs (if possible one of these should be a 3650)
    another 2 switchs such as 2950's, (again if you can get another two 3550's even better)

    three 3650 or better routers with at least one having the advanced ip service feature set.

    I would say your looking at about $200 for the routers

    and about $600 - $700 for the switchs

    then if possible you want a 2509 or 2511 for your access server... once you have used an access server you will never be with out it!! (about $200)
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    BTW, I do have an older computer, would this run GNS3?

    Phenom X4 9950 (HD995ZXAJ4BGH),2.6GHz,125W,rev.B3,SocketAM2+,Quad-Core
    8.00 GB ram
    Windows 7
    2 built in gigabit Ethernet NICS
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition AM2 NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    BTW, I do have an older computer, would this run GNS3?

    Phenom X4 9950 (HD995ZXAJ4BGH),2.6GHz,125W,rev.B3,SocketAM2+,Quad-Core
    8.00 GB ram
    Windows 7
    2 built in gigabit Ethernet NICS
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition AM2 NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard

    I run GNS3 with 4+ routers on a 2.1GHZ single core processor with 1gb memory and it runs fine. so you should be ok with tha system!! ;) (this is also my laptop I do all the config on so not even a dedicated machine for GNS3)
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Sweet!

    I used to upgrade my computer every year or so, but now it has been a couple years and I really am not interested in PC Hardware anymore as I just use it for research and studying. Also, since I got my xbox360 with Netflix streaming I almost exclusively use my PC for Internet surfing and Youtube.
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks guys!

    So I need 4 Switches for sure, do all 4 need to be Layer 3? If they are not Layer 3, what will be the limitations of following some labs?

    Thanks for all your help. Could you guys provide Specific switch and router models you would get to be able to do the majority of labs?

    For instance, how many routers would meet the minimum? Should I go with 3 Routers?

    Also, would i want 4 switches minimum?

    If I am going with a 3 router and 4 switch setup, what exact model numbers would you buy and how much memory should be in each one? I am not super familiar with the memory requirements, so I just need to track down what I would need to look out for on auctions.

    If anyone wants to go into great detail, what kind of cards do I need for these routers?

    Thanks guys!


    Any help with these questions would be great guys! I hope I am not seeming impatient, sorry!!
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    Thanks guys!

    So I need 4 Switches for sure, do all 4 need to be Layer 3? If they are not Layer 3, what will be the limitations of following some labs?

    Thanks for all your help. Could you guys provide Specific switch and router models you would get to be able to do the majority of labs?

    For instance, how many routers would meet the minimum? Should I go with 3 Routers?

    Also, would i want 4 switches minimum?

    If I am going with a 3 router and 4 switch setup, what exact model numbers would you buy and how much memory should be in each one? I am not super familiar with the memory requirements, so I just need to track down what I would need to look out for on auctions.

    If anyone wants to go into great detail, what kind of cards do I need for these routers?

    Thanks guys!


    I have 4 2650XM's with maxed out memory and flash (256/48 I believe) and a 3550 for my setup. GNS3 to run anything else I may need. No matter what devices if any you decide to purchase, always max out your memory.

    one thing to take into consideration when deciding on what to purchase is what are you going to do AFTER NP? Do you want to go onto IE, quit or go another route? I got mine for the fact that if I chose to learn voice I wouldn't have to purchase anything other than modules.

    IMHO it's better to figure these things out now, than to realize what you have will have to be replaced later on for something else (IE voice).
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • BADfish10BADfish10 Member Posts: 88 ■■□□□□□□□□
    i have a lot of love for the 2691 router
    Yes it is 2U yes it is a tad on the OTT side but bugger it they do nearly 100mb through put and can run most things :)

    To get you started now "as in this min"
    i would clean build that old (lol 5 times better than my main one) Computer
    Download GNS & some router images 3640 12.4T and start Route 'ing

    Nothing beats hardware but TBH This gets the ball rolling big time.


    Just do it
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Panzer919 wrote: »
    I have 4 2650XM's with maxed out memory and flash (256/48 I believe) and a 3550 for my setup. GNS3 to run anything else I may need. No matter what devices if any you decide to purchase, always max out your memory.

    one thing to take into consideration when deciding on what to purchase is what are you going to do AFTER NP? Do you want to go onto IE, quit or go another route? I got mine for the fact that if I chose to learn voice I wouldn't have to purchase anything other than modules.

    IMHO it's better to figure these things out now, than to realize what you have will have to be replaced later on for something else (IE voice).

    Thanks Panzer!

    My goal is this:

    1. Taking my CCNA this September
    2. Take SWITCH, then ROUTE, then TSHOOT
    3. Pursue CCIP
    4. CCDA
    5. CCDP
    6. CCIE R&S
    7. CCDE


    I want to accomplish this over the next many years of my life. My work pays for boot camps and I can get study materials, CBT Nuggets, Trainsignal, etc.

    I have studied for CCNA very much over the years and recently, taking boot camp this September.

    In Feb taking SWITCH bootcamp which allows me to study all the SWITCH books from Sept to Feb.

    Then onto ROUTE, TSHOOT, etc.
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    So what kind of switches do I need and how many of them are needed for CCNP and CCIP labs?

    For instance, this is just a table for one switch:

    Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches

    Models Comparison

    The following table compares the Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches Models.




    FeatureSet Model TotalEthernet Ports Uplinks AC Power PoE Power


    Upgradable IP Base Layer 3 WS-C3560V2-24TS-S 24 2x1G SFP 60W -
    WS-C3560V2-24TS-SD 24 2x1G SFP 60W DC -
    WS-C3560V2-48TS-S 48 4x1G SFP 130W -


    IP Services Adv. L3 WS-C3560V2-24TS-E 24 2x1G SFP 60W -
    WS-C3560V2-48TS-E 48 4x1G SFP 130W -


    Upgradable IP Base Layer 3 WS-C3560V2-24PS-S 24 PoE 2x1G SFP 525W 370W
    WS-C3560V2-48PS-S 48 PoE 4x1G SFP


    IP Services Adv. L3 WS-C3560V2-24PS-E 24 PoE 2x1G SFP
    WS-C3560V2-48PS-E 48 PoE 4x1G SFP


    Upgradable IP Base Layer 3 WS-C3560-8PC-S 8 1 Dual Purpose 204W 124W
    WS-C3560-12PC-S 12


    Upgradable IP Base Layer 3 WS-C3560E-12D-S 12x X2
    (TwinGig Converter - 24 SFP) - 300 W or 265W Modular Slot -


    IP Services Adv. L3 WS-C3560E-12D-E 12x X2
    (TwinGig Converter - 24 SFP) - 300 W or 265W Modular Slot -


    Upgradable IP Base Layer 3 WS-C3560E-12SD-S 12x SFP 2x X2 300 W or 265W Modular Slot -


    IP Services Adv. L3 WS-C3560E-12SD-E 12x SFP 2x X2 300 W or 265W Modular Slot -
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I am just so confused on what Switches to get, here is another list. If the different between 1 switch and another is $300 to $500, one is good for CCNP and CCIP, and one is not. I am very willing to pay more for the other model, I just want to make sure I make the right purchase.

    Here is another list of Switches, I am so confused as to what to buy though:

    Cisco Switches
    Cisco Catalyst 6513 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 6509 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 6509-NEB Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 6506 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 6503 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 4510R Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 4507R Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 4506 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 4503 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 4912G Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 4006 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 4003 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3750-48TS Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3750-24TS Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3750G-24T Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3750G-24TS Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3750G-12S Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 48 EMI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 48 SMI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 24 DC SMI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 24 EMI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 24 FX SMI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 24 PWR Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 24 SMI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 12G Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3550 12T Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3524 PWR XL Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 3508G XL Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2970G-24T Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2970G-24TS Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2955C 12 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2955S 12 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2955T 12 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950 24 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950 12 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950C 24 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950G 48 EI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950G 24 EI DC Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950G 24 EI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950G 12 EI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950SX 48 SI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950SX 24 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950T 48 SI Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2950T 24 Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2940-8TF Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2940-8TT Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2980G-A Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2948G-GE-TX Switch
    Cisco Catalyst 2948G-L2 Switch
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • fonquefonque Member Posts: 92 ■■□□□□□□□□
    for the CCNA I just used a boson similator and no real equipment,
    for the BCMSN I used 2 x 2950's ($100) and 2 x 3550's (borrowed from my job), it handled everything except private vlans. For that I just typed the commands in notepad over and over and over till I had them down. Also I dont think the private vlan feature alone is enough to justify the crazy price jump up to 3560's.

    For the BSCI I put together a full lab.
    6 x 2610xm ($70 each maxed out)
    1 X 2620 w/ NM32A
    1 x 2520 ($350 for 2620 and 2520 and all cables)
    1 x 2950 (reused from bcmsn)
    1 x skeletek rack (dont remember the cost)
    1 x skeletek power strip (dont remember the cost)

    It took me 2 months to put it together, but it has been sooo worth the money. I can use it to lab up scenarios for work, and practice for my cert, and whatever else I want to get into.
    I program my heart to beat breakbeats and hum basslines in exhalation.... matter, verse, spirit
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks for the replies!

    If one were to purchase a 3550 or a 3560, what model of each would be needed? I have seen 3560s that range in price very much in retail so I am confused which models to price out
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • burbankmarcburbankmarc Member Posts: 460
    The 8 ports are the cheapest, but if you want to use them for CCIE you need the 24 port if you're going to use INEs training materials. Also, I'd recommend PoE so you can also use them for a Voice lab.
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    Thanks for the replies!

    If one were to purchase a 3550 or a 3560, what model of each would be needed? I have seen 3560s that range in price very much in retail so I am confused which models to price out

    Me personally, looking at what you want to do, I would suggest a Cisco Catalyst 3550 24 SMI (Standard Image). Reason being is they are usually cheaper because of the IOS that is installed. You can upgrade it to the EMI (Enhanced Image) via a software upgrade if you have a Cisco.com account that has access to IOS'. This should do everything for NP except private vlans and I think a couple other options but its not significant. I'm pretty sure a base model 3560 should suffice for that though. Most people suggest purchasing 2 - 3 3550's and 1 3560 or 3750 (3750's are expensive though). Me personally when I get to that portion of the NP again, I'm going for 4 3550's. I've used Ebay for most of my equipment and usually can get a decent deal.

    Here is a link to the 3550 line of switches - Cisco Catalyst 3550 Series Intelligent Ethernet Switches [Cisco Catalyst 3550 Series Switches] - Cisco Systems
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • burbankmarcburbankmarc Member Posts: 460
    You only need 2 L3 switches for the CCNP, anything extra is superfluous.
  • ayseafayseaf Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I have 2 x 3560 & 1 x 2950 ...are these enough for ccnp switch study or replace 2950 with 3550 is better ?

    Thanks
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