Can we get a general consensus on lab equipment?

binaryhatbinaryhat Posts: 129Member
There are many post asking what home lab equipment people should buy. Each one has different answers. Can we get a consensus on:

1) Number of routers and what model(s)
2) Number of switches and what model(s)
3) What IOS versions
4) How much memory for each device
5) Anything else ?

What do you all think?
Currently working on:
ICND1 - TBD
Book: CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101 Official Cert Guide
Equipment: Packet Tracer, GNS3
Supplement Material: Youtube, Google, Boson ExamSim-Max, CBTNuggets
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Comments

  • CyberNBDCyberNBD Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    My opinion for a future-proof basic CCNA lab-setup:

    3x 2600XM series 128/32 with one or more WIC-1T with 12.4 ios
    2x 2950 series switch for layer 2
    1x 3550 series switch for layer 3

    Bunch of cables serial and RJ45 straight / Crossover

    That's what I started with.
  • JollycorkJollycork Posts: 149Member
    I don't think anyone will tell you, buy this, for your lab.....

    first off, no one will say "buy this" and leave themselves open for blame...and there are those people who will blame others for recommending "anything" if such recommendations do not meet expectations.

    second, part of the learning process and in my opinion, the most important, is learning what you need by yourself, rather than someone telling you what you need.

    The Internet is full of web sites devoted to Cisco certifications which anyone can find with a simple google search. Cisco's web site is probably the best place to go for information, and the information is there, if one just spends the time reading...

    the real questions about lab equipment no one really asks, such as:

    will 2500's do RIP, EIGRP, OSPF, Frame Relay, etc

    will 2600's do RIP, EIGRP, OSPF, Frame Relay, etc

    etc, etc etc for any models

    that will allow practice of the exam objectives for CCENT, CCNA, CCNP and further for CCNP

    will 2900s do VTP? Vlan? port security, trunking?

    will 1900s do VTP, Vlan, port security, trunking?

    etc, etc, etc for any models

    that will allow practice of the exam objectives for CCENT, CCNA, CCNP anf futher....


    If one simply does some research on what exam objectives there are for the exams, one can pretty much learn what they need equipment wise [IOS included] they need to practice the exam objectives...

    Here's the real question: "What are the exam objectives" for CCENT/CCNA?

    then determine what you need to practice those exam objectives.....
  • j-manj-man Posts: 143Member
    Combine what CyberNBD and Jollycork said and that's your answer. IMHO there isn't a perfect lab because there are different directions you can take with it. The first goal for any lab is the CCNA (CCENT) but you don't want to throw money out the window buying equipment that will only get you through the CCNA.

    That is why I said to combine the two above mentioned posts. They each hit on valid points.
  • Excellent1Excellent1 Posts: 461Member
    I agree with Jollycork, but I would also say that for someone starting out on the CCNA, it can be pretty overwhelming to figure out exactly what equipment will work for specific exam objectives, along with understanding which pieces of equipment will have viability for future Cisco certifications. The information is definitely out there, and it is certainly a good idea to do the research, but part of that research is having to wade through the enormous amount of subjective information that is out there. That said, I can see the reason behind the OP's request.

    For me, the trick right now is how to figure out which less popular routers and switches will work for the CCNA and up. Reason being, of course, is that most of the decent deals for the well-known lab equipment are snatched up by resellers. That's great--free market and all that, but it makes putting a lab together somewhat tedious. So I've been looking at the equipment that isn't as recommended, but gets the job done, some of which is actually better than what is recommended. (WTB fairly priced 3550 EMI icon_lol.gif)

    Anyway, there is a ton of good information on this forum about labs, and I'm very grateful for it. A lot of people (such as mike) have put a lot of info out there that isn't just WHAT you should get, but WHY you should get it. That "why" let's you extrapolate that information to make better decisions on other equipment. It just takes some time to sift through, but that's the nature of the beast.
  • JollycorkJollycork Posts: 149Member
    Excellent1 wrote: »
    I agree with Jollycork, but I would also say that for someone starting out on the CCNA, it can be pretty overwhelming to figure out exactly what equipment will work for specific exam objectives, along with understanding which pieces of equipment will have viability for future Cisco certifications. The information is definitely out there, and it is certainly a good idea to do the research, but part of that research is having to wade through the enormous amount of subjective information that is out there. That said, I can see the reason behind the OP's request.

    For me, the trick right now is how to figure out which less popular routers and switches will work for the CCNA and up. Reason being, of course, is that most of the decent deals for the well-known lab equipment are snatched up by resellers. That's great--free market and all that, but it makes putting a lab together somewhat tedious. So I've been looking at the equipment that isn't as recommended, but gets the job done, some of which is actually better than what is recommended. (WTB fairly priced 3550 EMI icon_lol.gif)

    Anyway, there is a ton of good information on this forum about labs, and I'm very grateful for it. A lot of people (such as mike) have put a lot of info out there that isn't just WHAT you should get, but WHY you should get it. That "why" let's you extrapolate that information to make better decisions on other equipment. It just takes some time to sift through, but that's the nature of the beast.

    buy from an Ebay reseller that has lots of positive feedback for 3550 emi's and have a non DOA policy....

    someone here bought a 3550 smi pwr with emi that the ILP controller is either bad, or their IOS is corrupted and if your shelling out $200.00 USD for a switch, that can bite.....
  • brad-brad- Posts: 1,218Member
    I'll agree to some extent with what is said...but there is a baseline of equipment someone can reasonably expect to start off with. We know we need 1 router running 12.4 for SDM (2610xm with increased RAM/ROM). We know we need another router with a module in it for frame relay. We know we need another router to show routes propogate. We know we need a switch capable of vlans, vtp...

    Of course if you go to Security, Voice, or CCNP...then you can expect to buy a little more...but there has to be a baseline for CCNA that will cover everything for icnd1 and icnd2.

    Im a little surprised we dont have a resource that shows an example of what a minimum lab setup would be for CCNA with the routers, switches, cabling, and modules needed. Maybe we could get not just one lab layout, but possible several based on cost? Im just spitballing here maybe we can get something useful out of it.

    Cost:
    LOW | MED | HIGH
  • JollycorkJollycork Posts: 149Member
    brad- wrote: »
    I'll agree to some extent with what is said...but there is a baseline of equipment someone can reasonably expect to start off with. We know we need 1 router running 12.4 for SDM (2610xm with increased RAM/ROM). We know we need another router with a module in it for frame relay. We know we need another router to show routes propogate. We know we need a switch capable of vlans, vtp...

    Of course if you go to Security, Voice, or CCNP...then you can expect to buy a little more...but there has to be a baseline for CCNA that will cover everything for icnd1 and icnd2.

    Im a little surprised we dont have a resource that shows an example of what a minimum lab setup would be for CCNA with the routers, switches, cabling, and modules needed. Maybe we could get not just one lab layout, but possible several based on cost? Im just spitballing here maybe we can get something useful out of it.

    Cost:
    LOW | MED | HIGH


    and there is a stickty about labs.... which gives you most of all that....

    here's a thing,,, while SDM is an exam topic, does that mean a 2500 series route is not good for a lab? no it does not....it only means that you need at least 1 router that can run SDM...

    Frame Relay...I'm running a 2610 with a 4A/S module as the frame relay switch... and it works for frame relay.... I don't need a 8 A/S..I don't have 8 routers to hook up... if we look in the study guides, most show 3 routers and a frame relay switch [4 routers]...can one or more be 2500s? sure...

    but if you want what Wendel Odom suggests, then go to his blog..he's done all that.... what models, what IOS, and what prices...

    Cisco Cert Zone | Network World
  • j-manj-man Posts: 143Member
    I don't believe there can be a sticky because I don't think there is one definitive lab out there that everyone will have access to.

    In a Utopian world the sticky would be something like this:

    4 routers running IOS 12.2
    3 switches preferably 2950

    Then we get into connecting everything:

    A couple WIC 1-T (or WIC 2-T)
    A bunch of back to back DB60 (Or if you are using WIC 2-T then you'll need to account for the smart serial)

    etc... etc

    I don't see how there can be a template on what to buy.

    I think the average Joe can figure out what they need by reading the CCNA Lab sticky and doing some research on this site and ask if you have questions.

    There are more than enough topics devoted to lab questions.
  • SlowhandSlowhand Questionably Benevolent Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    It would probably end up hurting CCENT/CCNA candidates more than it would help if we set up an "official" list of lab-equipment to buy. Part of the learning experience is figuring out what you need for your lab, (emphasis on your.) The reason for this isn't just to help you learn the ins and outs of routers and force you to look beyond the simulators and emulators - not to mention that the tests and lab-requirements are always changing - but also prepare you for those times when you're going to be asked to do product research on the job and make recommendations for purchasing equipment.

    Poke around the forum, do your due-diligence and research what you need. If you can't buy brand-new equipment, there are plenty of suggestions in this thread, as well as the CCNA and CCNP FAQ stickies.

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  • odysseyeliteodysseyelite Posts: 500Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    j-man wrote: »
    I think the average Joe can figure out what they need by reading the CCNA Lab sticky and doing some research on this site and ask if you have questions.

    There are more than enough topics devoted to lab questions.

    I agree. Its based on the needs of the person studying. Some are fine with using packet tracer others want the real thing. There are posts and web sites with suggestions on scalable labs based on cost.

    My 2 cents is this:

    2 - 3 swithes (2950's)
    3+ routers.

    That will get anyone started.

    Depending on cost one can start off with some cheap 2500's to get the main concepts down. The majority of what I read was to try to get some 2600xm's because they will run 12.4 IOS. Some like the 1700 routers as well, but they do not stack.

    Seems like the main lab the books, online and the classes want you to learn is connecting three routers running RIP.

    Frame relay seems to be the second most popular lab, so one router needs to have several serial ports.
    Currently reading: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Slowhand wrote: »
    It would probably end up hurting CCENT/CCNA candidates more than it would help if we set up an "official" list of lab-equipment to buy. Part of the learning experience is figuring out what you need for your lab, (emphasis on your.) The reason for this isn't just to help you learn the ins and outs of routers and force you to look beyond the simulators and emulators - not to mention that the tests and lab-requirements are always changing - but also prepare you for those times when you're going to be asked to do product research on the job and make recommendations for purchasing equipment.

    Poke around the forum, do your due-diligence and research what you need. If you can't buy brand-new equipment, there are plenty of suggestions in this thread, as well as the CCNA and CCNP FAQ stickies.

    This is the best advice ever. Instead of immediately coming and asking what equipment to buy, do some research first and figure it out. Recently I saw someone asking about CCIE level equipment. Seriously? You want to pursue one of the hardest certifications in the networking industry and you can't figure out what lab equipment to buy? /facepalm

    To stay on topic I guess:

    I have 3 2950's, a 2511, and 5 2610's fully loaded with NM-4A/S and some WIC-1Ts and appropriate cabling. Plenty to pass the CCNA.
  • j-manj-man Posts: 143Member
    It seems to me that so far the general consensus is the following:

    Do your research, ask questions and learn.

    It's the best way there is.

    *edit*
    My lab
    2 2610, 1 2610XM, 1 2620XM, 2 2950, 1 3550-EMI and cables
  • jdfriesenjdfriesen Posts: 45Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I think part of the problem new people have, is they do some searching on eBay, and lots of things come up if you do a search on "CCNA lab", etc., most of which is highly overpriced compared to buying it separate, as well as usually containing some pretty limited equipment.

    To some extent, it's certainly helpful if people make a decision as to whether they are only interested in CCNA level, or if they are planning on doing more certifications on top of that.

    When I was setting up my lab (admittedly with my employer funding it), I knew I was interested in going at least to CCNP level, so that influenced my decisions, and influenced the type of research I did. I agree with earlier posts, that researching equipment yourself, rather than looking for a cookie cutter solution is a very good way to go. That way you're learning about the equipment, and technologies it supports right from the start.

    I think a basic recommendation such as for CCNA, you should have at least 2 routers and 2 switches, and preferably 3 (or more) of each is fine, and on the switch side, there certainly seems to be fairly standardized easy options, the 2950 being the obvious one, and the 3550 if you are thinking of continuing past the CCNA level at all.

    On the router side though, there are so many more options, with different pros and cons, many of which can do the job just fine.

    For me, I quite enjoyed researching what I wanted in my lab. I do that with virtually anything (of any value) that I purchase though. I want to know why I want something, and it can't just be because Joe Expert said to buy it, I've got to understand why. I know not everyone feels that way, but it's the way I approach purchases.
  • geek4godgeek4god Posts: 187Member
    Jollycork wrote: »
    buy from an Ebay reseller that has lots of positive feedback for 3550 emi's and have a non DOA policy....

    someone here bought a 3550 smi pwr with emi that the ILP controller is either bad, or their IOS is corrupted and if your shelling out $200.00 USD for a switch, that can bite.....

    That would be me :D updated IOS and it is DOA.. It had these tamper resistant stickers on it so I think the seller thought it was new. Now I am sure I will be working with eBay to get my cash back as I am sure the seller is AWOL. Worst case i am out $144 with shipping! Would have been better to have spent a little more and got one from the right people!
  • geek4godgeek4god Posts: 187Member
    binaryhat wrote: »
    There are many post asking what home lab equipment people should buy. Each one has different answers. Can we get a consensus on:

    1) Number of routers and what model(s)
    2) Number of switches and what model(s)
    3) What IOS versions
    4) How much memory for each device
    5) Anything else ?

    What do you all think?

    Advice from a n00b

    The IOS is a HUGE issue, or has been for me.. Lots of stuff on eBay with very old IOSs and many with passwords! Look for an auction that has a printout from the router/switch so you can see what memory it has, what IOS is on it ect. That is also a decent sign that the seller at least knows how to get into the router! Many just buy these, slap them on eBay and hope for the best!

    I have bought a bunch of 1760s and 2621xms. In the end I will have learned a lot about resting passwords, restoring them to the factory settings, upgrading memory/flash, and upgrading the IOS. I was lucky and had a router (851 recommended by the cbt nuggets guy) that I could add a SMARTnet agreement on. Cost me some cash but it was the only way I could get IOS images in a way that I was comfortable with.

    Save yourself the pain, take your time, get them with what you need on them and realize you do NOT need 7 routers, 3 switches, a frame relay router, and a terminal server/router etc etc to pass CCENT or CCNA. (okay you might need frame relay for CCNA I am still unsure about that lol)
  • JollycorkJollycork Posts: 149Member
    geek4god wrote: »
    Advice from a n00b

    The IOS is a HUGE issue, or has been for me.. Lots of stuff on eBay with very old IOSs and many with passwords! Look for an auction that has a printout from the router/switch so you can see what memory it has, what IOS is on it ect. That is also a decent sign that the seller at least knows how to get into the router! Many just buy these, slap them on eBay and hope for the best!

    I have bought a bunch of 1760s and 2621xms. In the end I will have learned a lot about resting passwords, restoring them to the factory settings, upgrading memory/flash, and upgrading the IOS. I was lucky and had a router (851 recommended by the cbt nuggets guy) that I could add a SMARTnet agreement on. Cost me some cash but it was the only way I could get IOS images in a way that I was comfortable with.

    Save yourself the pain, take your time, get them with what you need on them and realize you do NOT need 7 routers, 3 switches, a frame relay router, and a terminal server/router etc etc to pass CCENT or CCNA. (okay you might need frame relay for CCNA I am still unsure about that lol)

    Just so you know, your not alone in the Ebay seller's Cisco junk sales,
    I've also gotten junk ...Years ago, oh 2004, when I was a nobb, I bought some Cisco 2500s as part of a kit. One router had a 16 port repeater in it. Had no clue and never could get it to work. Recently, last year, I finally turned that Cisco router with the repeater in it it in to the electronic recyclers, along with the Token Ring router, Token ring switch ..and a 1900.... I don't consider it a waste of money, because I learned...

    Buy from sellers with good positive feedback for the item you want to buy..not just positive feedback in general.. buy from a seller that offers non DOA on the equipment.... as as you mention, from those that can show a sh ver output....
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    The lab that a lottery winner builds is going to be different from the lab someone working a McHelpDesk job can afford to build. If you've got the money and the networking gene then it makes sense to start building your CCNP/CCIE lab on day one. If you're just starting your studies and can't subnet to save your life, spending 2x the cost of a good CHEAP complete CCNA Lab on one 1841 router may not be a good idea.

    If you page through the books you're using to study, what router and switch topologies do they use in their examples and exercises? What do you get when you combine them all into one lab?

    Complete Newb, Setting up a home lab (CCNA)

    CCENT/CCNA Beginner Lab Setup HELP!!!!

    Since those threads I've seen the 1760 routers (which are rack mount and also great for Voice) sell for less than the 1721 routers -- but you still have to do your research and figure out if they are the older model with 16Meg fixed flash or the better 32Meg fixed flash versions.

    My advice on IOS has always been the same -- get your routers with the biggest/baddest IOS they will support. That means you'll need to buy at least one of each model you want with the Memory/Flash to support the lastest versions of the Advanced Enterprise or Advanced IP Services that are/were available for that router.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • astrogeekastrogeek Posts: 250Member
    jdfriesen wrote: »
    I think part of the problem new people have, is they do some searching on eBay, and lots of things come up if you do a search on "CCNA lab", etc., most of which is highly overpriced compared to buying it separate, as well as usually containing some pretty limited equipment.

    I just want to add the most frustrating part of figuring out what one needs is when they ask a question in a web forum like this and people just respond by saying "go research what you need". Umm, hello, ASKING ON A FORUM IS RESEARCH!! Most of the time when you do simple google searches you get recommendations from years ago that might not be relevant any longer, what is so wrong about asking this stuff in a forum to get the most up to date recommendations?

    There are a lot of junk sellers on e-bay, I avoid that site as much as possible because of it so it's really hard to know what one might need for a lab when so few will offer advice into what equipment one should buy and all we have are recommendations from the e-bay scamm...I mean sellers.

    I'm slowly figuring out what I probably should get, but I definitely agree with the sentiment of the OP that a baseline for just a starter CCNA lab with the intention on future expansion to get someone started would be very helpful. Nobody builds a lab if they don't plan on going further than CCNA too, so I think it's expected the lab will be expanded upon so some older models that won't transition well should be avoided.

    So far I'm thinking a starter kit probably should include a couple of 2950s/60s, one 3550...and I'm still not sure what routers would be good. Still a bit confused on ram requirements and wics....I'll get it eventually

    Perhaps a better question would be to ask others what they have in a lab and why they chose each model they have. It doesn't help if people list off what they have without explaining why they have them, to us noobs you're just listing off numerous 4 digit numbers that mean nothing to us.
  • JollycorkJollycork Posts: 149Member
    astrogeek wrote: »
    I just want to add the most frustrating part of figuring out what one needs is when they ask a question in a web forum like this and people just respond by saying "go research what you need". Umm, hello, ASKING ON A FORUM IS RESEARCH!! Most of the time when you do simple google searches you get recommendations from years ago that might not be relevant any longer, what is so wrong about asking this stuff in a forum to get the most up to date recommendations?

    There are a lot of junk sellers on e-bay, I avoid that site as much as possible because of it so it's really hard to know what one might need for a lab when so few will offer advice into what equipment one should buy and all we have are recommendations from the e-bay scamm...I mean sellers.

    I'm slowly figuring out what I probably should get, but I definitely agree with the sentiment of the OP that a baseline for just a starter CCNA lab with the intention on future expansion to get someone started would be very helpful. Nobody builds a lab if they don't plan on going further than CCNA too, so I think it's expected the lab will be expanded upon so some older models that won't transition well should be avoided.

    So far I'm thinking a starter kit probably should include a couple of 2950s/60s, one 3550...and I'm still not sure what routers would be good. Still a bit confused on ram requirements and wics....I'll get it eventually

    Perhaps a better question would be to ask others what they have in a lab and why they chose each model they have. It doesn't help if people list off what they have without explaining why they have them, to us noobs you're just listing off numerous 4 digit numbers that mean nothing to us.

    Fair enough to ask... but there is a sticky about labs that do list equipment. Wendel Odom over at NetworkWorld.com has a blog that did exactly what everyone was asking. Listed out equipment, price, IOS, and exam objectives. Have to dig around his old blog posts of a year ago or so, but it's there.
  • lwwarnerlwwarner Posts: 144Member
    I'd say, pick a good lab workbook to use for your exam prep, get what you need to build the topology that matches the labs, and have at it. It seems to me that a lot of folks here waste a lot of time anguishing over this...
  • astrogeekastrogeek Posts: 250Member
    lwwarner wrote: »
    I'd say, pick a good lab workbook to use for your exam prep, get what you need to build the topology that matches the labs, and have at it. It seems to me that a lot of folks here waste a lot of time anguishing over this...

    People just don't want to waste time and money on outdated equipment that won't make a good lab. Who wants to buy a bunch of equipment only to realize half of it is outdated?

    A good example is that someone might read about a 3550 layer 3 switch then head over to e-bay and see a 3548 for $50 and think they just scored a killer deal. That person would be a bit frustrated when they got it home and realized its just an outdated basic switch and they will need to not only sell it to recoup the costs, but buy an actual layer 3 switch for which they were originally looking for.

    Another problem is e-bay itself. I've never bought anything of decent quality from e-bay, and over the years they have changed their policies to benefit shady sellers as opposed to protecting buyers. The simple thought of spending a few hundred bucks on e-bay is enough to make most people want to wait and give this a bit more thought.
  • JollycorkJollycork Posts: 149Member
    astrogeek wrote: »
    People just don't want to waste time and money on outdated equipment that won't make a good lab. Who wants to buy a bunch of equipment only to realize half of it is outdated?

    A good example is that someone might read about a 3550 layer 3 switch then head over to e-bay and see a 3548 for $50 and think they just scored a killer deal. That person would be a bit frustrated when they got it home and realized its just an outdated basic switch and they will need to not only sell it to recoup the costs, but buy an actual layer 3 switch for which they were originally looking for.

    Another problem is e-bay itself. I've never bought anything of decent quality from e-bay, and over the years they have changed their policies to benefit shady sellers as opposed to protecting buyers. The simple thought of spending a few hundred bucks on e-bay is enough to make most people want to wait and give this a bit more thought.

    you just pointed out the perfect reason for doing research on equipment for a lab...

    In my previous post here said, I bought junk Cisco equipment from Ebay. It was junk and part of a kit. while I could do some minimal CLI stuff with it, backup, restore, blah blah, they were useless for anything else... but I learned a valuable lesson... I didn't do research, I didn't know what I needed, bought something that wouldn't let me practice all the lab practice sets.
    I could do some, so he equipment wasn't totally useless but it didn't give me a lab that I could all practice labs in the books.

    The learning process of my mistake was to do research. Find out where to get the information I needed, such as this site as well as Cisco's site.
    That research isn't quick, it isn't easy, it isn't asking someone "what should I get" but it's invaluable.

    I'm all for someone learning from my mistakes, and sharing my mistakes, ..but in my opinion, the beginner Cisco technician really needs to know where to get the information they need to make sound decisions, not just being told what to do.

    If you want to know what Wendel Odom's lab recommendations are, here's his blog about it:

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/24916

    again a source of information

    just my 2 cents....
  • HypntickHypntick Posts: 1,451Member
    Jollycork wrote: »
    If you want to know what Wendel Odom's lab recommendations are, here's his blog about it:

    Cisco Cert Zone: CCNA Lab Main Post Summary | Network World

    That is a good resource there. I know his prices are a bit out of date but it's pretty helpful overall. As far as getting things from ebay, make sure to look at return policy, at least a show version output and feedback. If you make sure you've got a good return policy, a good show version and high feedback you'll very rarely get hosed. However chances are you'll spend a bit more as well since these will be bid up a bit due to the quality of the seller.
    WGU BS:IT Completed June 30th 2012.
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  • brad-brad- Posts: 1,218Member
    I get you guys's points about learning while researching the lab gear...but thats just a little snobby IMHO. Its like "I know what you need, but Im not going to tell you". Everyone knows you'll learn by researching it, but maybe not everyone is willing to risk the money if they are wrong, or might not be wild about investing the time if they want to start right away. What makes it your right to decide how that person gets their info to start learning cisco?

    Its ok for Wendell Odom to write lab suggestions, but we cant because we're better than that? Come on people. Lets not point our noses to high.

    I definitely agree that it is better to learn it on our own...but everyone needs help...particularly if they're trying to take this first hurdle. Im just saying its a resource we should have. CCNA appears to be by far THE hottest forum on the site, so there's alot of people that would benefit.
  • lwwarnerlwwarner Posts: 144Member
    astrogeek wrote: »
    People just don't want to waste time and money on outdated equipment that won't make a good lab. Who wants to buy a bunch of equipment only to realize half of it is outdated?
    That's exactly why I suggest using a good lab workbook as your guide. If you match the equipment used by your lab book, then you pretty much guarantee yourself that you will be able to perform all of the labs that it gives you. What more do you need?

    All I'm saying is that this is what worked for me when I started, and this approach makes more sense to me than looking at disconnected lists of "must have" equipment and trying to decide what to get. When I decided to build my first CCNA lab (ca. 2006) I picked up Chris Bryant's lab workbook, then jumped on eBay and bought what I needed to duplicate his setup. Simple. I had a working lab up and running less than 2 weeks after deciding to do it.
    Another problem is e-bay itself. I've never bought anything of decent quality from e-bay...
    I haven't had that experience. All of my Cisco gear has come from eBay and it is all in good working condition. I have had a few (3) problematic transactions over the years, but all 3 were resolved satisfactorily either through direct contact with the seller, or in one case by having Paypal reverse the payment. YMMV.

    As for getting a consensus on what lab gear to buy, well that sounds a lot like herding cats to me!:)
  • JollycorkJollycork Posts: 149Member
    Well Said! my thoughts exactly!!

    anyone see that Best Buy commercial about smart phones? where the minute you buy something there's a new model out? Perfect example. Ebay is used "stuff". It's outdated or it wouldn't be on Ebay. But it's great stuff for a lab. Try buying brand new Cisco equipment with the latest and greatest IOS. Have to win the lottery jackpot, to afford it...
  • jdfriesenjdfriesen Posts: 45Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    brad- wrote: »
    I get you guys's points about learning while researching the lab gear...but thats just a little snobby IMHO. Its like "I know what you need, but Im not going to tell you".

    I certainly understand where you're coming from on this, but I disagree (and this is from someone who's in the early stages of their Cisco journey). There are so many possible permutations of equipment that will work just fine for CCNA, that you can't really say "just buy this". As I mentioned in an earlier post, switches are pretty easy, as the 2950 is a great switch, and is cheap as well. It's also usable if you go past CCNA. If you can afford to bump a switch or 2 to 3550, even better, you're covered for L3 switching at CCNP level, but if you only want CCNA, not required.

    The real problem for a "just buy this recommendation" is routers, there are a ton of different routers that will do the job, it just depends what your budget is, and what your future plans for Cisco certifications are, and for that, you really do have research and decide for yourself.

    Even on Odom's lab posts, there are several options presented, and yet more discussed in the comments. There just isn't a cookie-cutter lab that will work for everybody.

    People regularly get asked (especially on "I passed" posts), what lab equipment they used, and replies are available there, and often rationale as to why they chose the equipment they did.

    Here's my current lab, and my rationale:
    • 2511 - I will be setting this up as my access server. Just haven't gotten around to it yet...
    • 2520 - the hub in a Frame Relay setup
    • 3x 1841 - all other routing requirements. Relatively expensive, but useful all the way up to CCIE level
    • 2950T - basic switch
    • 2x 3550 - covers L3 switching topics at CCNP level
    Obviously this is way more than required for someone who only wants to go for CCNA. For me though, after doing a lot of research, it was the right way to go, as I have no intention of stopping at CCNA.
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Jollycork wrote: »
    you just pointed out the perfect reason for doing research on equipment for a lab...

    In my previous post here said, I bought junk Cisco equipment from Ebay. It was junk and part of a kit. while I could do some minimal CLI stuff with it, backup, restore, blah blah, they were useless for anything else... but I learned a valuable lesson... I didn't do research, I didn't know what I needed, bought something that wouldn't let me practice all the lab practice sets.
    I could do some, so he equipment wasn't totally useless but it didn't give me a lab that I could all practice labs in the books.

    The learning process of my mistake was to do research. Find out where to get the information I needed, such as this site as well as Cisco's site.
    That research isn't quick, it isn't easy, it isn't asking someone "what should I get" but it's invaluable.

    I'm all for someone learning from my mistakes, and sharing my mistakes, ..but in my opinion, the beginner Cisco technician really needs to know where to get the information they need to make sound decisions, not just being told what to do.

    If you want to know what Wendel Odom's lab recommendations are, here's his blog about it:

    Cisco Cert Zone: CCNA Lab Main Post Summary | Network World

    again a source of information

    just my 2 cents....

    +1

    Use the blueprint for the CCNA and start matching the blueprint items to what IOS versions support those features you need to learn and then the models of equipment that IOS is supported on. Then you can go to eBay and look for equipment educated. You will screw up most likely and buy something you don't or can't use. It's kind of the nature of buying a home lab and something you have to accept.

    Searching through Google came back with a ton of hits on home labs for the CCNA. Look at what those guys are doing or look for kit vendors to see what they're offering (usually crappy and high priced though). Research the models they are using and whether or not they support the features you need. Search Cisco's site for hardware documents that show supported modules and RAM and Flash amounts.

    Take the models you want to know more about and put them into the Cisco Feature Navigator and start looking what each model can and can't do based on IOS version and how much RAM it will take to use that IOS version with that device.

    That's all I did and I learned a metric ton of information about Cisco hardware outside of studying for the certification.
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Jollycork wrote: »
    Well Said! my thoughts exactly!!

    anyone see that Best Buy commercial about smart phones? where the minute you buy something there's a new model out? Perfect example. Ebay is used "stuff". It's outdated or it wouldn't be on Ebay. But it's great stuff for a lab. Try buying brand new Cisco equipment with the latest and greatest IOS. Have to win the lottery jackpot, to afford it...

    Sounds like you would benefit from just renting a rack to study on instead.
  • brad-brad- Posts: 1,218Member
    jdfriesen wrote: »
    I certainly understand where you're coming from on this, but I disagree (and this is from someone who's in the early stages of their Cisco journey). There are so many possible permutations of equipment that will work just fine for CCNA, that you can't really say "just buy this".
    I agree you cant say "buy this" and be done with it, because of the individual variables based on cost and how far someone intends to go with it.

    That said, there should be a chart/list with those variables taken into account.

    If you go to certkits.com now, they have a very LONG list of lab kits based on the cert ur going for, and its all pretty much the same stuff. However, it is not presented in a newb friendly fashion. The Odom blog is like 10 pages deep...while great info, it is a little intimidating and ultimately not decisive imho. Think of yourself before you knew a thing of cisco. (Im still very new to cisco myself, thats kind of why I think this is important.)


    Think of it as if it were table data. You can have accross the top CCENT | CCNA | CCNP. On the other axis, $, $$, $$$...or something to that effect.

    I know I may be alone in this, but I think TE is going to miss out on a good chance to create a simple effective resource to increase membership and traffic. If I had more cisco knowledge I would do it myself and present it for review.
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