You can't learn without labbing!

GDainesGDaines Member Posts: 273 ■■■□□□□□□□
Well there's a statement if ever there was one. I wonder how long until some smartass comes along and says they've passed their CCNA without any real equipment and without ever setting up a lab. Well not me!

I didn't feel strong on routing protocols so decided to do some labs, why else did I buy all this equipment anyway? First I set up RIP and had to do a lot of troubleshooting to find out why it wouldn't work, then EIGRP with a similar amount of troubleshooting to get that to work as well. Today I finally got around to OSPF, and you'd think by now I wouldn't make so many silly little configuration mistakes, but then that would make it too easy!

Each time the problems have been my fault (of course, no-one else is touching my kit). I've been trying to configure one interface when plugged into another, mis-typing IP addresses as 176.16 instead of 172.16 A LOT, and putting the wrong network under the protocol, but fortunately I've not yet used a subnet mask in place of a wildcard mask... give me time :D

I've still got to finish the OSPF lab by adding the PCs and pinging around, and while I don't think the lab I'm following tells me to, I want to shutdown an interface on one of the routers to make sure I can still ping using a different path.

After all of this though, I now have RIP, EIGRP and OSPF memorized which I didn't before the labs, so let's see if I can get ROAS (Router On A Stick) sussed next! What I really need, and I'm sure many others will agree with me, is a good source of practice labs complete with configuration steps if you get stuck and want to see how to set it up, and lots of troubleshooting advice - which commands to run and what part of the output can guide you to the problem


  • TechytachTechytach Member Posts: 140
    There is definitely a huge difference between someone who has experience with equipment and someone who doesn't whether they pass the CCNA or not.

    Same experience as you, I can't tell you how many times (at first) I troubleshot for 10-20 minutes and I typed the IP address wrong... or I forgot to turn on an interface ...

    It cultivates good problem solving you won't get any other way.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
  • joemysteriojoemysterio Member Posts: 152
    I agree that labbing is key. I didn't lab a lot though, but when I did, I used a simulator which helped me a ton. Now that I've started studying for my CCNP, I'm going to get my equipment that I do have up and running and look for labs to follow.
    Current goals: CCNA/CCNP
  • TechytachTechytach Member Posts: 140
    hear ya go
    In my opinion that sort of a learning model is misleading. It just means 25% of people are talented enough to fool standards by learning without doing. But everyone learns better by doing or teaching.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The model isn't representing percentages of people at all, its representing the % of information the average person retains by doing certain tasks.
  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 1,944 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I'm sure there are brilliant people out there that are capable of learning without labbing, but this guy needs hands-on for the information to stick.
    Alphabet soup from (ISC)2, ISACA, GIAC, EC-Council, Microsoft, ITIL, Cisco, Scrum, and more.

    2021 goals: AZ-303, AZ-304, maybe TOGAF and more ISACA

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • TechytachTechytach Member Posts: 140
    The model isn't representing percentages of people at all, its representing the % of information the average person retains by doing certain tasks.
    ahh im an idiot, its obvious now
  • mr_scottmr_scott Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    What's somewhat disappointing is that the CCNA barely tests one's CLI skills. You aren't required to configure a single thing. That is truly baffling to me.
  • broli720broli720 Member Posts: 394 ■■■■□□□□□□
    It's not a test on commands lol. It tests you on the subject matter. You get a hang of the former with more experience, but if you can't understand foundational concepts you will be lost. Labbing doesn't really teach you that although it may reinforce it. At the end of the day you will have to pick up the books and read....
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    When I took my CCNA - I had no actual work experience with the gear. My home labs were my only hands-on experience and for me, it made a world of difference. I worked help desk for an ISP, so some of the networking concepts I already had. I contribute my passing of the exam to my lab.

    Fast forward to today where I work as a network engineer. When I went for my Juniper certifications, I had a much easier time with them than I did the CCNA. I attribute it mostly to seeing many of the concepts in action during the work day. So if I didn't understand exactly how a command work, I had a rough idea of the concept and was familiar enough with how it works to figure out what I needed.

    I consider my lab a critical resource in my studies. Will the lab alone allow you to pass? No, but for me seeing the concepts in action really solidifies my understanding of the topic.
    2020 Certification Goals: OSCE GXPN
  • pinkiaiiipinkiaiii Member Posts: 216
    well its two way street,same could be said that single person wouldnt be able to setup medium sized network properly.One thing that i learned with labs that you actually need to work in pairs at least-since made similar mistakes dozen times,and whats better then two eyes is four :) since you can always miss single ip,or some command but when two people start to troubleshoot its way easier to find solution.Also that said of course without someone who never seen proper routers switches,in real life they would have hard time conosle ing into switch router,using proper cables,knowing your interfaces etc.

    That said when sitting test you get very limited commands,thus if someone knows their routers etc,but say are at packet tracer daily and labbing on it,wouldnt find much difference once in the test getting sims that are limited with commands and outputs,thus knowing theory is another 60-70% that separates fail from pass.while in real work youd want to know your hardware inside out,but for the tests you need to know theory more,sort of like getting drivers license ,first you learn all the rules to pass theory,but real fun begins when you actually on road-thus theory is like knowing road rules and signs,but experience is the way you drive daily.Thus test like CCNA gives you only a pass how you'll apply in actual work will be way different where youll work or what part you'll be responsible for.
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