Another lab gear post...

qwerty_faceqwerty_face Member Posts: 32 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hi guys,

I'm new to the forum, please be nice!

I reckon I'll be posting here for a while since I'm currently studying for the CCNA and the site seems a terrific resource for support. icon_thumright.gif

Basically, I am currently studying a computer engineering degree and one module in particular that is coming up in September includes a long module in Cisco routing and routing basics. It is designed such that it essentially covers CCNA1 and CCNA2 topics (the CCNA3 & 4 are part of a further module in the final year, but I don't want to wait that long!).

I have a couple of things that I'd like you expert lot to clarify for me.

Firstly, am I correct in thinking that the CCNA1 and CCNA2 topics would give me the knowledge required for taking the ICND1 exam (and thus enabling me to gain the CCENT) ?

Secondly, I went on a spending spree :D - naughty... For the past couple of days I have been looking at threads begun by people like myself who are just getting started in networking in terms of professional credentials and who are asking about recommendations for lab gear.

I found these two particular threads very useful:
A) http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/53162-ccna-lab-hardware-clarification.html
B)http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/51888-ccna-lab-vs-simulator.html

And Wendell Odom over at NWW has a good blog post about routers and switches here:
C) The Best Router for CCNP Prep in 2010 | NetworkWorld.com Community
D) The Best Switch for CCNP Prep in 2010 | NetworkWorld.com Community

Having read these posts the 2600XM series routers are very popular as well as the 2950 switches. I gather that there is a sticky somewhere about what lab gear to go for. The general consensus seemed to be that 2 switches plus 3 routers where 1 router is to act as a FR is generally a good configuration to supplement CCNA studies.

To get to the point, I have spent £276 ($425.59) on eBay gathering the following:

2x WS-C2950-24
1x 2620XM with WIC-2T & WIC-1B S/T (64/16)
1x 2621XM with WIC-1T
1x 2610XM with WIC-1T


What I want to ask you is what would you further recommend together with this configuration, i.e. leads/cables, further upgrades etc?

Another question that I just want to throw out there: is a 2nd Fast Ethernet port really that important and if so, why, likewise if not, why not?

And on an ending note, the Cisco instructor at my university said to me that it would take 18 months to complete a CCNA doing 2 hours study a day. I have since also read the following thread on this site which by the contributors' experiences contradicts him to the contrary:

http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/57315-how-much-time-do-you-think-will-take-me-pass-ccna.html

Some people report completing the entire CCNA in 4 months! Maybe he said 8 months and due to his international accent I misheard... But is that true, I mean a CCNA in 4 months? That would be a huge relief off my shoulders if it means that I can get a CCNA within the next year because in 2012 I will be working in industry and I don't want to struggle for work given the UK's current economic situation at the moment - a CCNA would really help my internship applications! Do you guys definately reckon it is feasable for me to have a CCNA like midway through 2011?

I'd also like to ask about your opinions regarding the current state of the field at the moment. It seems that network engineers are only required when businesses are expanding (naturally), but with the recession at the moment, businesses are conserving, selling and shrinking which seems to have hit the networking field quite hard at the moment. There are some statistics here:

http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default.aspx?page=1&sortby=0&orderby=0&q=&id=500&lid=2618 (click the Comms & Networking category under 'categories')

It seems like the entire field has been hit hard, but I would like to canvass your first hand experiences if you would be helpful enough to help a determined student on the outside looking in make an informed decision? If it is in my better interest to seek work in another field, I'd rather be told now than later!

I will greatly appreciate your contributions.

Thanks,
QF.

Comments

  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIMember Posts: 1,854 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Firstly, am I correct in thinking that the CCNA1 and CCNA2 topics would give me the knowledge required for taking the ICND1 exam (and thus enabling me to gain the CCENT) ?
    The 4 CNA courses don't exactly match up with the ICND1 and ICND2 exams. You can find the exact topics for each here. You have to have an account, but registration is free.

    Having read these posts the 2600XM series routers are very popular as well as the 2950 switches. I gather that there is a sticky somewhere about what lab gear to go for. The general consensus seemed to be that 2 switches plus 3 routers where 1 router is to act as a FR is generally a good configuration to supplement CCNA studies.
    Yes, 2 switches and 3 routers will allow you to work on nearly every topic you need to know for the CCNA. Just be careful, once you start your home lab, you'll find it's quite addictive as many here will tell you. :)
    What I want to ask you is what would you further recommend together with this configuration, i.e. leads/cables, further upgrades etc?
    You'll just need the serial cables to connect the routers, assuming you don't already have those coming as well. What you'll need is a couple of these.

    Another question that I just want to throw out there: is a 2nd Fast Ethernet port really that important and if so, why, likewise if not, why not?
    Having a second Ethernet port is not really that big of a deal. If you only have one, you can use a loopback address to simulate a second network. Most of my routers only have one, and it hasn't held me back at all.
    And on an ending note, the Cisco instructor at my university said to me that it would take 18 months to complete a CCNA doing 2 hours study a day. I have since also read the following thread on this site which by the contributors' experiences contradicts him to the contrary:
    It's really hard to say exactly how long it'll take you since there's a lot of variables involved. It's really going to depend on how much knowledge/experience you have coming in, how many hours a day you can devote to reading and labbing, and how well you're able to retain that information. You'll have a better idea once you get into it.


    Welcome to the forum, and good luck!
  • qwerty_faceqwerty_face Member Posts: 32 ■■□□□□□□□□
    alan2308 wrote: »
    You'll just need the serial cables to connect the routers, assuming you don't already have those coming as well. What you'll need is a couple of these.

    Is this assuming that the WIC's will be 2T's and not 1T's?

    Thanks.
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIMember Posts: 1,854 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Is this assuming that the WIC's will be 2T's and not 1T's?

    Thanks.

    One end of that cable will plug into a WIC-1t (DB60, the end with the larger plug) and the other end will plug into a WIC-2t (smart serial, the smaller plug). As always, look around for the best price and I doubt you'll need a 10 footer. That's just the first thing I found with a good picture.
  • qwerty_faceqwerty_face Member Posts: 32 ■■□□□□□□□□
    alan2308 wrote: »
    One end of that cable will plug into a WIC-1t (DB60, the end with the larger plug) and the other end will plug into a WIC-2t (smart serial, the smaller plug). As always, look around for the best price and I doubt you'll need a 10 footer. That's just the first thing I found with a good picture.

    I'm a silly newbie - I just watched a YouTube video about the cables which clarified it for me. There's a couple of cheep cables on eBay, but I am unsure of how many will I need?

    I have 1 2610XM w/WIC-1T and 2 other routers which both have a WIC-2T... Maybe 1 of these cables and 2 of the DTE-DTE veriety?

    Also, is it just worth standardising the WIC modules to 2T's (or whatever), or is the variety a good thing since it would expose you to a broader range of information on the subject?
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIMember Posts: 1,854 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm a silly newbie - I just watched a YouTube video about the cables which clarified it for me. There's a couple of cheep cables on eBay, but I am unsure of how many will I need?

    I have 1 2610XM w/WIC-1T and 2 other routers which both have a WIC-2T... Maybe 1 of these cables and 2 of the DTE-DTE veriety?

    Also, is it just worth standardising the WIC modules to 2T's (or whatever), or is the variety a good thing since it would expose you to a broader range of information on the subject?

    It would neaten things up a bit to standardize, but that's your call since it means you'll have to buy additional WIC's. Another thing to consider is that a WIC-2t is cheaper than 2 WIC-1t's, and you won't need to stock three different types of cables (DB60 to DB60, smart serial to smart serial, and DB60 to smart serial) so in the long run you'll probably be better off buying those.

    And as I said before, you can never have too many serial interfaces on your routers. If you do go with the WIC-2t's, you'll use the extra ports for something. :)
  • qwerty_faceqwerty_face Member Posts: 32 ■■□□□□□□□□
    My 2620XM has a WIC-1B-S/T, what is this used for and when would I get round to using it?

    I am just wondering whether I will need more than the one at some point.

    Thanks.
  • NetwurkNetwurk Member Posts: 1,155 ■■■■■□□□□□
    My 2620XM has a WIC-1B-S/T, what is this used for and when would I get round to using it?

    I am just wondering whether I will need more than the one at some point.

    Thanks.

    Port is for ISDN BRI

    To use it, you would need another router with a BRI port and an ISDN simulator in between.

    (Or plug it into a live ISDN line from the telco, not usually an option in a lab)

    You'll probably never use it.
  • qwerty_faceqwerty_face Member Posts: 32 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Netwurk wrote: »
    Port is for ISDN BRI

    You'll probably never use it.

    If I was to sell it how much could I expect to fetch?
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIMember Posts: 1,854 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If I was to sell it how much could I expect to fetch?

    I doubt you'd get anything, ISDN isn't used too much anymore. Theres some on eBay for $5 and no takers.
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