what to look for in CCENT/CCNA home lab builds

monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hello everyone,

I just have a few quick questions, after reading some forum post I have decided for my CCNA journey to invest in a home lab setup!! my main question is what am I looking or when buying routers/switches? I think im set on buying 2x 2150 routers and 2x 2950 switches is that enough?

For the routers whats a good iOS version? on certificationkits.com they list 2150 16/16 routers what is that? also is that a good site to buy from?

I was looking at this kit CertificationKits is this a ripoff?

Thank you for your help as i am still a noob when it comes to cisco(not for long at least)

please leave feedback and/or advice

Thank you,
Monorion
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Comments

  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Generally ebay kits are cheapo kits - Lots of horror stories of things not working. I would say that the online retailers would be more reputable. I delt with CertKits before for my router memory and flash upgrades, they were heck of a lot better there than the ebay dealings.

    As far as what to look for - Make sure they power on! Green ports, not amber (orange) is a good way to tell. Make sure to get the IOS version, Hardware information from a "show ver" if possible. Spend a little more for knowing what you'll get. Otherwise, you may need to spend a good while of upgrading... which to say isn't a bad thing. It's experience. But still it's a hassle.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • TehToGTehToG Member Posts: 194
    If I were you I'd go for 2600XM routers. They can run the 12.4 IOS which is the required IOS for the CCNA exam. If you want them fast buying a kit is alright. It also gives you some sort of warranty. I got my kit singularly off ebay but it took around 6 months.
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■□□□
    You bought the entire/majority of the kit from lab, or you build your current lab piece by piece from ebay stuffs?

    I bought both my switches and my terminal server from ebay, one at a time. But I never went for the package deals.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • TehToGTehToG Member Posts: 194
    I bought each part of my kit on ebay separately. Three 2600s (a 2651XM. 2621XM and a 2610. All max ram/flash) and 2 x 2950s. I'd like a 3550 or a 3650 before I explore CCNP but this and GNS3 in a VM suits me for now.
  • monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you for the advice guys. On average whats a good price for the 2651XM's and 2950's? the reason i was looking at the kit was due to the fact that you get a bunch of other stuff with it(practice questions, lab demos, etc.)
  • TehToGTehToG Member Posts: 194
    US and UK prices vary wildly and sometimes you just have to be lucky. I paid the about following.

    2651XM - £40
    2621XM - £30
    2610 - £0.99
    2950 - £5-10

    This is without shipping of course. I was on a shoestring budget too. I also bought another 2651XM which came DOA but the seller was super nice and resolved everything quickly. It was a shame because it was in almost flawless condition. The 2600 was slightly rusty (on the blank faceplates).



    edit: Worth noting. The 2600XM has a ROMMON chip. It's like an old school bios chip and as far as I can tell it holds the basic bootloader for the IOS (I may be wrong about this). If you plan to buy a 2600XM and upgrade the ram, you'll need to make sure the ROMMON version can support the extra ram. This chip CAN be upgraded later but it's an extra cost.

    Also most ebay shop sellers take out all the cards (like the WIC-1T) and sell them separately. Most private sellers keep them in. Some you'll use, some you won't.
  • monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Is this good enough for ? source CertificationKits and then was gonna jsut buy 2x 2950 off ebay for cheap

    Two 2610XM 128/32 12.4, SDM Routers
    Two WIC-1T Serial Modules
    One Back to Back Cable

    Console Cable Kit
    Power Cable

    again the kits seem like a lot of $$ but it seems like they give you everything you need, i would like to get off ebay but im a little sketched out of buying something and it not working or im missing some stuff
  • TehToGTehToG Member Posts: 194
    The 2610xm only has one ethernet (although the XM various is a 100mb ethernet unlike the non XM) so that might limit you. See what cost a 2611XM/2621XM/2651xm would be on ebay. Those prices seem very steep.
  • monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for your help, I think i narrowed it down to

    1x 2621xm
    1x 2651xm
    2x 2950's

    as far as the routers go what am I looking for when buying these? i know to get the iOS 12.4 but what is this WIC stuff all about? do I need them for a lab environment? also what type of cables do i need?

    thank you again for your assistance i really appreciate it.
  • TehToGTehToG Member Posts: 194
    The routers you've mentioned both have two ethernet ports for connectivity. You can install cards into these routers to give extra functionality. A WIC-1T is the most common card for the 2600 series and adds a serial port. With two of these and the correct cable you can test setting up WAN links. You can get ADSL cards, ISDN cards etc
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    I believe that how much you invest in a lab depends chiefly on your background.

    If you've configured switches before, with consideration for VTP, STP, DTP, dot1q, and what not, probably not that big of a deal to own switches and routers. If you have not, then, yeah, you want to have something to practice on.

    For example, packet tracer and GNS3 could very well get you by, BUT ... if you don't have experience with the interfaces and what not, you might be better served to go through the ordeal of ordering the equipment, browsing the cisco feature navigator, obtaining the necessary IOS for the features you need, etc. If this part of it bothers you, then not sure what to tell you, other than find a way to deal with it.

    If you do go to e-bay, be very careful to confirm what the items are. People like to advertise power supplies and what not, and price them similarly to what the entire piece of equipment costs! I ALMOST bought one of those!!!! ---I'm usually not very patient when shopping. Fortunately, I double-checked to read the entire description before committing to the purchase.

    If you want to pursue the CCNA, you can realistically get by with some really low level gear.

    Wendell Odom made a site that provided lots of hints on what to get for the lab:

    CCNA Build Lists

    I can tell you right now that 1721 series routers can be bought very cheaply, and they can get you through the CCNP. If you get the desktop models, they can't really be stacked that well (but I do have some two high, as I type this out, LOL.)

    When you get into the switching side, you'll run into some issues where you won't be able to perform some labs, unless you get 3560s or better (this is for CCNP and above).

    Hope this helps!
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Informational post thanks!

    A friend and I are labbing with 3500 switches and I am not sure which type of Cisco routers. It's been a lot of fun actually setting up the routers (haven't got to the switches yet)

    Connecting in with HyperTerminal and initating the configuration has been a blast. I'm a total noob when it comes to Cisco.

    Good times
  • monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you for everyone's help i really appreciate it,

    as far as my experiacen goes with cisco, I have 0 and the only reason I want to buy equipment is because I fell that it will keep me motivated more(and it makes great conversation piece haha), even though simulators are great i think i will learn better with hands-on experience.

    If I get 1721's can I combine them with 2621xm's? I really want to get a rack going lol.

    thanks again guys
  • iamme4evaiamme4eva Member Posts: 272
    When I did my CCNA I bought a few routers off eBay to use. They sat on a shelf collecting dust and never got used. I found packet tracer to be perfectly ok for the CCNA. I'm a system engineer for my day job though, so although not necessarily Cisco, I'm pretty comfortable with sticking my hands in things, connecting cables, checking connectivity, consoling into things, etc. If you aren't OK with this stuff then I'd definitely get some kit - it's all good connecting things up nice and pretty in packet tracer, where everything is laid out logically, but it's not "real".

    Now I'm doing my CCNP, I've extended my rig and I use it regularly.
    Current objective: CCNA Security
    My blog: mybraindump.co.uk
  • monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks Iamme4eva, i'll try and get my hands on packet tracer see how that works out, I might still buy they lab anyway due to the fact that in my current position I have no hands on networking experience so I feel it will still be a nice thing to have.

    again thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions
  • geek4godgeek4god Member Posts: 187
    monorion wrote: »
    Thank you for everyone's help i really appreciate it,

    as far as my experiacen goes with cisco, I have 0 and the only reason I want to buy equipment is because I fell that it will keep me motivated more(and it makes great conversation piece haha), even though simulators are great i think i will learn better with hands-on experience.

    If I get 1721's can I combine them with 2621xm's? I really want to get a rack going lol.

    thanks again guys

    The 1760 is basically the same switch and is rack mountable. You could buy them for 10-20 + shipping. They are a cheap way of getting some hands on. You might spend more on cards and cables then you will on the routers.. the 2600XMs are running around $50 + shipping so for not a lot more you you get a better router. But it is more about the ISO they have then the hardware at this point. 2610xm, 2620xm, 2650xm, all have one Ethernet port. The 2611xm, 2621xm, 2651xm have 2 Ethernet ports, but cost a little more.
  • geek4godgeek4god Member Posts: 187
    Some free advice. Don't start with hardware, start with a lab manual. Go here http://www.techexams.net/forums/ccna-ccent/28660-ccna-ccent-home-lab-ideas.html and scroll down to the labs. Most lab manuals will have a topology that you are to use in the lab. Look them over and find one you want to use while looking at the labs topology. When you have one or more you like (hopefully that use similar topology) then go buy the gear to match the topology!

    Ohhh and don't spend a dime till you have read one ccent/ccna book or watched a video series! The Lab is supposed to support your goal of getting certified NOT be a distraction!
  • jhatto1jhatto1 Member Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've been doing some research of myself and think I'm going to go with 3 1721's and 2 2950's, as recommended by Odem. eBay prices seem pretty reasonable.

    My plan is to get Odem's book/sim kit to start, while at the same time starting to acquire the real gear as I find good deals. I want to take my time and learn/retain as much as possible rather than just memorize everything needed for the tests..so I think the dual sim/real lab approach will work well for me :)

    Anyone care to list some drawbacks of this setup for CCENT/CCNA?
  • geek4godgeek4god Member Posts: 187
    jhatto1 wrote: »
    I've been doing some research of myself and think I'm going to go with 3 1721's and 2 2950's, as recommended by Odem. eBay prices seem pretty reasonable.

    My plan is to get Odem's book/sim kit to start, while at the same time starting to acquire the real gear as I find good deals. I want to take my time and learn/retain as much as possible rather than just memorize everything needed for the tests..so I think the dual sim/real lab approach will work well for me :)

    Anyone care to list some drawbacks of this setup for CCENT/CCNA?

    Nothing wrong with it.. I don't like the 1721s because they don't stack well and have a separate power supply. Other than that nothing wrong with them.. Look at the price of the 1760s on eBay. Same family of routers.. Ohhh and if you buy either make sure they have 32m of embedded flash.
  • jhatto1jhatto1 Member Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
    geek4god wrote: »
    Nothing wrong with it.. I don't like the 1721s because they don't stack well and have a separate power supply. Other than that nothing wrong with them.. Look at the price of the 1760s on eBay. Same family of routers.. Ohhh and if you buy either make sure they have 32m of embedded flash.

    Thanks! Yeah the style of the 1721 isn't too appealing but the price and features are right. If the 1760's are in the same ballpark I'll check them out!

    This place is a never-ending source of knowledge haha

    side note -- how do you 'rep' people?
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    side note -- how do you 'rep' people? The bottom little star at the left hand corner of the post.
  • jhatto1jhatto1 Member Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    side note -- how do you 'rep' people? The bottom little star at the left hand corner of the post.

    Weird, only shows up next to my name in Chrome but I can see it for everyone in IE...apparently Chrome only likes to report people
  • mikesprangermikespranger Member Posts: 54 ■■□□□□□□□□
    i just finished buying routers and switches for my lab
    try to find a lot of 3 together in one listing- especially for the 2950's as the shipping is way cheaper that way

    also a big fan of the 1760 routers - if you keep at it ebay has plenty with the wic cards in them, and most have enough flash to run 12.4. you may need extra for 12.4t though
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I am working with a friend. He bought most of the gear we lab together 2-3 times a week. He has a lot more experience than I do so it's nice for him to show me how to run certain commands etc.

    We are running 4 3600 2 2950 1 3500XL
  • jamthatjamthat Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Currently browsing eBay and noticed that a lot of the 1721/1760's come with WIC-T1's as opposed to the WIC-1T as commonly recommended here. Any downside to having the T1's instead?
  • monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Sorry for the late response, thank you everyone for the advice/guidance, my last question is.

    Once i get equipment where can I get lab books on how to setup, bare in mind that I am really really new to this and need a good guide for a noob haha.
  • jamthatjamthat Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm somewhat new to everything also and the ccent/CCNA books I have all guide you through it pretty well. I have lammel's 7th ed. CCNA book and odoms most recent cert library
  • mikesprangermikespranger Member Posts: 54 ■■□□□□□□□□
  • monorionmonorion Member Posts: 90 ■■■□□□□□□□
    wow thanks man i saw that forum post didn't scroll down haha
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