Lab Equipment for CCNA/CCNP

chezbezchezbez Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi Guys hope you're well,

I am in the process of purchasing equipment to cover both my CCNA & CCNP studies. Currently i am looking at getting 3 routers and 4 switches. I have been recommended by a colleague who is a network engineer a set of three 2801 series routers and two 2950 switches. Please see the eBay link below, apologies for the UK site this is because I’m based in the UK.

Cisco CCNA CCNP LAB STARTER KIT 3 X 2801 + 2 X WS-C2950-24 + Cables 882658072789 | eBay

To make up for the two other switches I have been recommended Cisco 3750 series switches which I understand provide layer 3 support . The reason for this would be to have the equipment capable of using for my CCNP in the future.

Please could you let me know if this should be ok or am i spending too much considering it's also going to be used for a CCNP lab in the future.

Any suggestions or advise would be most welcome.




  • GDainesGDaines Member Posts: 273 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Not quite sure why you want/need 4 switches, until recently I only had 3 and to be honest 90% of the time only fire my main switch up (a layer3 3560 running DHCP, VLANs and inter-VLAN routing). The only reason I've added a 4th switch is because my two 3560 PoE switches can't run IOS 15. On the other hand, for ages I only had 3 routers which is the bare minimum for some labs, but I recently added 2 more extending my capabilities to do bigger labs for things like OSPF.

    My lab currently consists of the following:
    1x 1841 router
    4x 2811 routers running 512mb ram, 2x 64mb flash with IOS 12 and 2x 128mb flash with IOS 15
    1x 3560 TS Layer3 switch
    2x 3560 PS Layer3 switches
    1x 2960 Layer2 switch

    Admittedly I've spent way more than the kit in your link, but then I have newer or better models which hopefully will take me further if I get into Cisco more deeply.

    Personally I wanted 2800-series routers and xx60-series switches as they're nearer to current models than the more common 2600-series routers and xx50-series switches many of the labs contain. Ideally you should look for 3560 TS switches so you have the layer3 and IOS15 capability people often post are required for CCNP.

    As far as the cost, when I did a search for CCNA lab I didn't see your link, but I did come across this link for the same or very similar kit for a lot more money, so the lab you found seems reasonable. Just be careful you don't find yourself having to replace everything as soon as you start on CCNP, perhaps now is the time to get layer3 switches instead?
  • clarsonclarson Member Posts: 903 ■■■■□□□□□□
    none of the equipment can be used to study for the ccnp.

    you could use the 2801s if you upgraded the memory, both ram and flash, and put a version 15 ios on it.

    Currently, you need at least one router that has 4 serial ports for the ccnp. You'll have to figure out how your going to do that with those routers.

    The plain ole 3750 doesn't run version 15 of the ios. the 3750V2 and 3750G models do
  • Sy KosysSy Kosys Member Posts: 105 ■■□□□□□□□□
    My albeit limited experience with the prepackaged ebay kits is that they are.....overstated.....

    They usually indicate, as does yours, 'CCNP' which being in the middle of my studies I can tell you is not able to fully meet the current requirements of the 300-1xx exams. Your best overall bet is to piece it together, IMHO

    Here's an excellent breakdown of the lab requirements for CCNA/CCNP, covering packet tracer, gns3, physical, etc...

    Best of luck in your hunt!
    "The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
    ― Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
  • GDainesGDaines Member Posts: 273 ■■■□□□□□□□
    clarson wrote: »
    none of the equipment can be used to study for the ccnp. Currently, you need at least one router that has 4 serial ports for the ccnp.

    Why not look for 2811/2821/2851 models that can use the NM-8A/S 8-port card (there's a 4-port as well but I can't find a cheap one). As you're in the UK check out these on eBay at £18.45 and £20.00 respectively. Much easier than filling the WIC slots with WIC-1T cards, and much cheaper than a pair of WIC-2T cards from what I've seen.

    You'll want the routers to have 512mb/768mb ram and 128mb or larger flash cards so you can load IOS 15 but chances are most will be sold with 256mb ram/64mb flash and so be running IOS 12 (or a lower version of IOS 15 than you need). Not to worry, easily upgradeable on both counts. I have some 256mb sticks of the correct type ECC ram available as I bought a job lot from the US to upgrade all my routers and got more sticks than I needed.
  • GDainesGDaines Member Posts: 273 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Baring in mind that this 2821 router I found on eBay is a 2U unit whereas a 2811 is 1U so it takes the same space as two 1841/2801/2811 routers, I think for £34.99 delivered it's as good a price as you'll find unless you're really lucky at dropping on bargains. I paid somewhere around this price for each of my routers. And they have 2 units as I write this.

    There's also this 2821 but it's not a buy-it-now price and someone has already started the bidding. It doesn't include rack mounts which the first unit does, so at £9.50 for those and £8.00 for postage you've only got £17.00 left to play with so don't get sucked in to bidding more (unless the others have already sold or you've bought them and want another unit on top).

    If space is a problem and you want to buy the smaller 2811 I've found a few options. At £31.99 this one includes rack mounts, then for the same £31.99 this doesn't, and finally for £32.00 this again doesn't include rack mounts but does include a console cable, CAT5 patch lead and power cable. Just be sure to investigate how much brackets, console cables, patch leads etc cost and buy the unit that's best value for money overall.

    Oh and here's another option. At £38.00 it doesn't at first seem cheap, but then it comes with a WIC-1T which will set you back £6.95 so actually the router is only £31.05 which is in line with all those others. This, like the £32.00 2811 I linked to are being sold by Lobsternet who I've used myself, and they do state that rack mounts can be supplied extra so worth asking for how much. On the subject of rack mounts I found my 2811's sag because they're pretty long and heavy, so I fit one unit with brackets front and back, then sit the units above it in the rack with just front brackets. If I add more units I'll probably sit 2 more units on top of each unit front/back mounted. I'm gonna buy some more brackets from this supplier so let me know if I should buy some for you at the same time so we can do a deal on ram and rack mounts.

    As you'll probably want a bunch of WIC-1T cards why not buy these 4 at £17.50, a saving of £10.30 over buying 4 singles.

    As you can see if you don't jump in and buy the first unit you see then both models are similar in price. Don't buy one with a broken eject button or missing face plate when you can buy an undamaged complete unit for the same money or less.

    Something else that's becoming obvious too is that you're going to have to spend at least double the cost of that lab to get it right first time, but at least you have the experience of people like myself that didn't and so ended up spending even more.
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