Virtual Vs Real

alliasneoalliasneo Member Posts: 186
I recently purchased a 3550 for the Switch exam as GNS3 is missing too many features for the switch exam but I've actually found it a little harder to study for the Switch material since using the real gear.

Has anyone else has this problem?

I find that when I'm using GNS3 I can get about quite easily and things seem a little easier to understand but I guess this just comes down to the visual overview of the network where as with the real gear it is just stacked up next to me so it's not quite as easy to view.

It's hard to explain.

I think it's a good thing to use the real gear though as this is what it's like in the real world.

Comments

  • MrBrianMrBrian Member Posts: 520
    I usually draw out the topology on my whiteboard while I'm labbing and then I just glance at that when I'm moving from device to device.
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,741
    Nothing like having real kit to play with, but it can be costly.
  • iamme4evaiamme4eva Member Posts: 272
    It's good to get your hands dirty on real equipment - especially if you don't touch much of it day to day. I'm a systems engineer, I don't touch much Cisco at work, but I do a lot of hands on with equipment. I actually have the opposite problem - I don't like GNS 3. It has it's uses (trains, lunch hours, etc), but I'd much rather have my hands in a rack of equipment moving cables, etc. I get a better sense of accomplishment when I make something work.

    Both for my studies and my job, I'm never far away from a white board. It helps view the bigger picture and focus your thoughts. If you have nowhere for a white board, laminated sheets of paper work just as well - scribble away and wipe clean at the end.
    Current objective: CCNA Security
    My blog: mybraindump.co.uk
  • MrXpertMrXpert Member Posts: 586 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I don't really have any experience of using gns3 for switching other than creating a few vlans just for hsrp and dhcp related practice so i guess I am in no position to comment.

    I can comment on proctor labs which I found it very helpful for Switch exam. After a few sessions I started remembering the connections in my mind but did have the topology printed off also. You get 2x3560 and 2x3550 MLSs + about 8 or 9 routers.
    In my opinion this rack rental was a better option for me because I got to use many devices. Many people I have heard from about switch exam say you only need maybe 3 switches (2 * 3550 and 1 *2950) but I think you can't do much with that especially private vlans which needs 3560. I'd seriously rent the kit or if you have space and are fortunate to live in a country which sells cisco stuff cheap then you are ok.

    Here's a random silly fact:the last 3 posts were made by people living in different parts of the UK. Doesn't happen often...i always think us lot are outnumbered on here....
    I'm an Xpert at nothing apart from remembering useless information that nobody else cares about.
  • atorvenatorven Member Posts: 319
    @MrXpert - With rack rentals, are you able to have the topology changed for you or do you just have to make do with what has been setup? Were you labbing from a manual or just "freestyling"?
  • iamme4evaiamme4eva Member Posts: 272
    @MrXpert - good spot. It is unusual for so many UK people on here. Last minute auction sniping on eBay is the way forward for getting Cisco gear - I reckon my rack has cost me ~£130 ish so far. There was the guy I ripped off on gumtree - 3 routers, a switch and a bunch of cables for 50 quid. He put "need a quick sale because my wife has told me to sell. £100". I offered him 50, he said no - I called his bluff and won.

    Anyway, back to the point in hand....I have never done a rack rental but if I did I wouldn't free style. I'd go in with an aim. Either aim to run through a lab that I found on the internet (router alley?), or set a challenge before I went in. I'd probably treat the lab as part of a bigger "design and build a network" activity, with the lab just being the implementation at the end. Then you'd have a clear aim and wouldn't just be wasting time. That's my two bits anyway.
    Current objective: CCNA Security
    My blog: mybraindump.co.uk
  • 7of97of9 Member Posts: 76 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think, if you don't have experience with real, live equipment, then yes, there is value in buying and maintaining a hardware lab, if you can afford it. However, if you work or have worked with hardware in the past, then usually GNS3 or rack rental will be a more efficient use of time and money. Switches, from my experience with GNS3 are one place where it seems like it's far better to either purchase gear or rent rack time rather than try to sim it. There's just too much missing. I was lucky my first go round for BCMSN that I was working in a very large switched environment.

    If you have experience cabling things up and such, though...I'd skip buying a rack full of gear in favor of renting rack time and GNS3. That way you're focusing more on the actual labs than setting up your gear and you don't have to annoy the people you live with with fan noise. ;)
    Working on Security+ study, then going back to re-do my Cisco Certs, in between dodging moose and riding my Harley
  • MrXpertMrXpert Member Posts: 586 ■■■□□□□□□□
    atorven wrote: »
    @MrXpert - With rack rentals, are you able to have the topology changed for you or do you just have to make do with what has been setup? Were you labbing from a manual or just "freestyling"?

    I am not aware of having the topology changed manually but the layout has multiple connections so you do have a lot of flexibility yourself. I found what worked best for me was to create my own scenarios and then try to achieve each thing. I would often adapt Rene's gns3vault labs to suit the topology. There maybe cheaper options out there than Proctor Labs but I found them very good and reliable.
    I'm an Xpert at nothing apart from remembering useless information that nobody else cares about.
  • alliasneoalliasneo Member Posts: 186
    Thanks for all the responses guys. I'm from the UK as well.

    Does anyone have any good labs for the Switch exam? Some labs that cover a lot of the stuff covered? I'm just sort of making my own up as I go at the moment and trying to incorporate different aspects.

    Also - can I not private vlan on a 3550? I thought you could or do you have to have a 3560?

    Thanks
  • spiderjerichospiderjericho CCNA, CCNP Enterprise, CISSP, CASP, SEC+, Pentest+, CYSA+, CISA, CGEIT, CRISC, CISM, VCP 6.7 San DiegoRegistered Users, Member Posts: 861 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I think the advantage of 3560 is PVLAN and IPv6 support from the top of my head. Also, later models support IOS 15. But I'm sure you can Google the differences or someone will post it (or thread search).
  • spd3432spd3432 Member Posts: 224
    Just hit Cisco feature navigator. Did a comparison of advanced IP services 12.2(46)SE on the 3560 with EMI 12.1(22)EA10 on the 3550. For these two images, Private VLANs are common items, there's a very long list of unique features on the 3560 with the bulk of them being related to IPv6.
    ----CCNP goal----
    Route [ ] Studying
    Switch [ ] Next
    Tshoot [ ] Eventually
  • MrBrianMrBrian Member Posts: 520
    alliasneo wrote: »
    Thanks for all the responses guys. I'm from the UK as well.

    Does anyone have any good labs for the Switch exam? Some labs that cover a lot of the stuff covered? I'm just sort of making my own up as I go at the moment and trying to incorporate different aspects.

    Thanks

    The Switch lab manual is available for free. There was a thread with a link in it from the past, and that is where I got it from, as a PDF. I tried searching for that thread and didn't find the one I originally found, but found one where someone posted a link. I didn't try the link though. If it doesn't work try searching the forums more because it was on here at some point and everyone said it was completely legit.

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccnp/72787-ccnp-switch-lab-manual.html
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • WiseWunWiseWun Member Posts: 285
    I believe you can't change the physical topology with rack rentals but you can always create your own logical topology.
    "If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” - Ken Robinson
  • nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Real. Can be expensive/noisy though.
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • alliasneoalliasneo Member Posts: 186
    MrBrian wrote: »
    The Switch lab manual is available for free. There was a thread with a link in it from the past, and that is where I got it from, as a PDF. I tried searching for that thread and didn't find the one I originally found, but found one where someone posted a link. I didn't try the link though. If it doesn't work try searching the forums more because it was on here at some point and everyone said it was completely legit.

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccnp/72787-ccnp-switch-lab-manual.html

    Thanks for this I will check it out
  • alliasneoalliasneo Member Posts: 186
    spd3432 wrote: »
    Just hit Cisco feature navigator. Did a comparison of advanced IP services 12.2(46)SE on the 3560 with EMI 12.1(22)EA10 on the 3550. For these two images, Private VLANs are common items, there's a very long list of unique features on the 3560 with the bulk of them being related to IPv6.

    Hmm this sounds really interesting. I'll try and hit up some private vlan stuff at the weekend and see if my 3550 allows me to create some. If it's mainly the ipv6 stuff then I should be ok for now
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    spd3432 wrote: »
    Just hit Cisco feature navigator. Did a comparison of advanced IP services 12.2(46)SE on the 3560 with EMI 12.1(22)EA10 on the 3550. For these two images, Private VLANs are common items, there's a very long list of unique features on the 3560 with the bulk of them being related to IPv6.


    You might want to research this a bit more heavily.

    The feature navigator can be misleading sometimes. Check out what they mean by Private VLAN support on a 3550 on this page:

    Private VLAN Catalyst Switch Support Matrix - Cisco Systems

    You'll agree, that it's not quite the same Private VLAN support we'd be hoping for.

    Hope this helps!
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
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