pondering on buying a lab-kit, questions

beaucaldwellbeaucaldwell Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
First and foremost when it comes to networking, I'm uber-noob. I've been doing Tier 2 site support for 6 years so i know that side of stuff real well, but I'm sick of dealing with end-users and their outlook issues. As far as networking goes I know port activating, I can run cables from multiple data closets, I've helped install SCSI cards, VoIP stuff, but when it comes to 99.9999% of what I'm going to be learning for my CCNA just consider me fresh meat... Be brutally honest with me.

I'm the type of person that learns super quick, but better with having my hands on equipment. I have my CCENT/CCNA kit with labs, but I figured I'd learn much more in the long-run by getting a lab setup at my home. I have access to a lab at work which would save me money, we have a 2950, (2) 2970's, 2921 and an ASA 5505. Those mean nothing to me now, could be crap/gold for all I know, but I don't really have time too much extra time use it for long enough to sink my head into it. I will use it, but I'd like to have my own gear that I can spend an entire day on on the weekend and really get down on some learning.

I'm also the type of person that doesn't like to buy cheap stuff and upgrade later, I'd rather spend the money and get something that is going to be quality, and be useful to me when I go to expand on my CCNA to maybe my CCNP or CCNA Security. I'm thinking of investing in a solid kit with my tax return that can do just that... Now I've read plenty of people advising to not get kits, to go out and buy each item individually via ebay or similar to piece it together. I understand the message in that but personally I'd rather just buy it at once, and have a mini-christmas and get the show on the road.

I've been looking on the link this forum has for cert. kits CCNA Certification Kits and was wondering if anyone has recommendations on something that is quality, will not be the bare-minium, that can take me from 0-CCNA and not require me to start from scratch when I go for the CCNP/CCNA Security.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and sorry I wrote a book, I try not to but I never seem to be able to keep it short. Maybe my true calling is in documentation... lol Cheers!

Comments

  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,775 ■■■■■■■■□□
    So I also point out that when you buy kits you usually get a slightly lower quality item for a slightly higher price.

    For ccna some of the kits you linked to will be fine. If you are looking to go beyond that I would buy 1841 routers. I have one now but would have bought 3 of them if I knew better last year. I also wanted a layer 3 switch. I have not used it yet but buying equipment becomes addictive.
  • mgmguy1mgmguy1 Linux Essentials certified , Cisco CCENT certified PA Member Posts: 480 ■■■□□□□□□□
    This is the Lab I got from Certificationkits.com. This lab will will allow me to do CCNA/CCNA Security and upgrades to the CCNP nicely.
    I am going the two test route to get my CCNA and once that is done I will get my CCNA Security and then my CCNA Voice. It's going to be a-while before I do voice. I want to save up and get a nice Voice router and another nice Layer 3 switch.

    You will hear ALOT of people on here say Packet Tracer and GNS3 are all you need to pass the exams but one of my frustrations is both programs come with there own set of limitations. As you use them you will see those limitations. I got REAL equipment so I did't have to deal with those limitations. IN addition, in 2013 I went on a few job interviews and when I told them I was sitting for my CCENT I was asked if I had a Home Lab or I was using Packet Tracer ?
    I responded Packet Tracer and both people I interviewed gave a "sigh" kind of look. It was after this experience I decided to invest in "ME" and get real equipment so I can learn this stuff inside and out. Pre-made kits do "cost" but if you go looking on E-bay you will find buying everything in pieces may be just as expensive as buying a kit. My suggestion to you is do your research and do what's right for you.



    1 x 12U Deluxe Rack Stand
    Access Server -Digi CM 32
    Router #1 Upgrade 1841 256/64
    Router #2 Upgrade 1841 256/64
    Router #3 Upgrade 1841 256/64
    Switch ##1 Upgrade 2950 to 2950C
    Switch ##2 Upgrade 2950 to 2950C
    Switch ##3 Upgrade 2950 to 3550
    "A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don't have a J.O.B."

    Fats Domino
  • roch_gregroch_greg Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    It's been pointed out many times on this board that going the kit route may not always be the best. Buying individual components may be cheaper and give you the ability to customize your setup. Not to mention getting more current hardware.

    I did that and it worked out fine. CF Cards and memory are upgradable and readily available too.
    Goals for 2014: Cisco ICND1[X], Cisco ICND2/CCNA R&S[X], Junos, Associate (JNCIA-Junos)[ ]
    Ain't Nothing Illegal til You Get Caught --> Tickle from Moonshiners TV Show.
  • beaucaldwellbeaucaldwell Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    thanks for the replies everyone :)

    i will def keep an eye out on local deals that i can just go an pick up but i want to steer clear of having to pay shipping for several items individually rather than getting it in 1 shot. I understand its a mark-up to get the kit, they have to make their money, but the convenience for my situation is nice. from what I've seen on certificationkits.com it's all customizable. from what i've pieced together of other peoples rigs it looks like i want at least one 3550 or 3560, and a mix of a 2950/2950c/2960 (pick 2 to total 3 with the 3550/3560) and it's best to get (3) 1841's. these seem to be the go-to's for ccna rigs, is there something more current like you mentioned that I should keep an eye out for?
  • mgmguy1mgmguy1 Linux Essentials certified , Cisco CCENT certified PA Member Posts: 480 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The only other thing I would suggest is downloading the Cisco Router Guide. I got the link via another thread on this forum and downloaded the PDF. It really helped me in narrowing down what I was interested in getting vs what I could afford. Having specs and learning what each model offers was a good learning experience for me.
    "A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don't have a J.O.B."

    Fats Domino
  • White WizardWhite Wizard Member Posts: 179
    I'm about ready to do the same and buy a kit, while somewhat expensive I consider it an ABSOLUTELY worthwhile investment in yourself.

    It seems the best route to go is to buy the hardware individually rather then a kit based off what others have posted right?

    I'm a bit lost myself since there are so many different kits to choose from and then there is ebay with an endless amount to choose from as well.
    "The secret to happiness is doing what you love. The secret to success is loving what you do."
  • beaucaldwellbeaucaldwell Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm about ready to do the same and buy a kit, while somewhat expensive I consider it an ABSOLUTELY worthwhile investment in yourself.

    It seems the best route to go is to buy the hardware individually rather then a kit based off what others have posted right?

    I'm a bit lost myself since there are so many different kits to choose from and then there is ebay with an endless amount to choose from as well.
    I see pro's and con's to buying a kit, but overall am still convinced the kit is the easiest way to go. Yes buying individually you might find a deal if you spend the time hunting, but then you're paying shipping for each item, there is no guarantee it's fully functional, you're not getting a warranty most of the time, and you're def. not getting the additional study material that comes with it like with the kits.

    I have Odom's official cert. library which seems to be one of the top recommended books which comes with labs, but it looks like the labs that come with the kits from certificationkits.com are way more details, 450 pages alone on labs... It may be more than you need but hey, personally I want the knowledge first, cert second.

    I'm still a bit lost on what is being referenced as 'not getting current equipment' and would like to know some current setups that people are using that are 'better' than the lab kits. I'm just curious because I've looked on stickys and such but most of the stuff on here regarding that is way old from like 2003-2008 so I'm sure that isn't the standard info anymore...
  • bbarrickbbarrick Member Posts: 242 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well, when I first started I was in your shoes. I couldn't wait to get some equipment but I ended up buying mine in pieces rather than the kit. I got two 24 port 2950T switches and two 2600 routers. More or less I just got tired of stressing out over what to buy and pulled the trigger. I'll probably use this setup till I get my CCNA then start picking up better equipment if I decide to go further. It cost me less than 200 bucks including shipping and I don't believe there is anything I can't do between now and my CCNA cert with it.
  • beaucaldwellbeaucaldwell Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    i found this link VERY resourceful, explains what routers/switches are relevant to the current CCNA exam, which routers/switches cover what % of labs you need to know, suggestions on lab setups, minimum and ideal switches/setups, etc. Explains each individual router/switch's functionality and specifications, all in one place. probably the best info source I've found yet that has everything in one place and is not from 5 years ago.

    Cisco CCNA Lab Suggestions | CCNA Certification v2 200-120
  • beaucaldwellbeaucaldwell Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    this is the setup im thinking of going with, full CCNA/CCNA Security kit

    - Access Server: 2511 & 16 Cables
    - Router #1 Upgrade: 1841 256/64
    - Router #2 Upgrade: 1841 256/64
    - Router #3 Upgrade: 1841 256/64
    - Switch #1 Upgrade: 2950 to 3560
    - Switch #2 Upgrade: 2950 to 3550
    - Switch #3 Upgrade: 2950 to 2960
    - Lab Workbook: CCNA Security
    - Extended Warranty: 3 Year
    - CBT DVD: CCNA 640-802
  • roch_gregroch_greg Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I brought 3 2801's from here Cisco 2801 Router w 15 1 iOS Installed CISCO2801 1 Year Warranty | eBay @ 84.00 a pop. If I could've found some 2811's as cheap I would've got them.

    I got my WS-3750's POE's from the same seller but they were a bit more expensive. WIC cards can be found cheap on EBay as well as the cables.
    Goals for 2014: Cisco ICND1[X], Cisco ICND2/CCNA R&S[X], Junos, Associate (JNCIA-Junos)[ ]
    Ain't Nothing Illegal til You Get Caught --> Tickle from Moonshiners TV Show.
  • bobfromfplbobfromfpl Member Posts: 104
    Dont forget to check craigslist! I got a fully loaded 2821 voice gateway router from a small business that went under. It was 200$ but the modules included in it alone made the device worth over 800$ according to eBay prices at the time.
  • MoabMoab Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I bought my lab kit off ebay, had I known I would have went thru Cisco Certification Kits: CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, used and new router and switches. It would have been cheaper and I could have mixed and matched for a better lab; the kit included:
    2, 2620XM 128/32 IOS 12.4 routers with 2 serial ports (but only 1-100 Mb port)
    1 2924 24 pt switch
    1 2950 24 pt switch
    Although it was a noob purchase It has served me well, I added NM-1E cards(10 Mb) to each so I could route my internet connection. As well as doing more than a router on a stick. Other than having the hardware to play with I do most of my labs with GNS3. Then route it to real hardware. My best advice is to make sure your routers have 2 FA ports (lol) get a couple of layer 3 switches! I have 2 3550’s they are cheap and very useful. I was lucky in that all my hardware is relatively quiet so they are always running (not just collecting dust.)
  • DeadeyeDeadeye Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi,
    Did you ever get your kit? I was thinking of 1x2801, 2x2811, 2950c, 2960, & 3550.
  • martell1000martell1000 Member Posts: 389
    my lab setup which took me all the way to ccnp: 2x 3550 2x2950 1x2511

    got one 2600 series router but barely used it because routing is so much smoother in GNS3 and i have the image of how the boxes look and fell in real life
    And then, I started a blog ...
  • EdTheLadEdTheLad Member Posts: 2,112 ■■■■□□□□□□
    As i said before, go buy real equipment, equipment that's end of life, and running old ios which behaves a little different to whats out there in the real world. Plug in afew cables and listen to the fans. Now when your tired of listening to the fans and looking at the dust gather around your equipment, think about using an emulator, not a simulator. Emulate the ios of today, the few things that wont work will be far less than the features not supported on your old ios.
    But what do i know.... you can have endless fun plugging cables into different routers and switches.
    But please stay away from packettracer.
    Networking, sometimes i love it, mostly i hate it.Its all about the $$$$
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    What Ed said, but I still think there's value in buying switches. Buy cheap 3550s. If I could do the whole CCNA -> CCNP journey all over again I would get 2x 3550s and 2x 2xxx from the start and just learn the layer 2 stuff like spanning tree properly right away instead of fumbling around with GNS3 and packettracer.
  • DeadeyeDeadeye Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    The problem with the emulator is you need to have the IOS software. The best way to get IOS legally is to buy real equipment. I did a lot of research on this and found a supreme court ruling that although it talks about foreign resale, technically should still apply to non-foreign resale also... Supreme Court OKs Discounted Resale Of 'Gray Market' Goods : The Two-Way : NPR ... So, based on this I would say buying old Cisco equipment that has IOS on it already is okay. Plus, Odom who writes for Cisco recommends real equipment, so I would say it is okay to buy it. Although it may be against Cisco's agreement to buy used equipment and use it, they have the option of not supporting it or allowing you to upgrade it, but to me they can't legally get you in trouble over it. Let me know what you guys think?
  • DeadeyeDeadeye Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Another article on the decision: Landmark win for consumer
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