Candidates for the CCNA and CCNP are always heard: "Get a personal experience". Personally seeing me go up the Cisco certification ladder, I can tell you personally that there is no such thing as reading by hand. There is no simulator in the world that will give you the information you will get and configure your routers.
Whenever I told this to one of my students, they always said it was too expensive. The truth is, it's cheaper now to build your CCNA and CCNP lab than before. What is the secret? Routers used
The term "used" closes most people and not many of us who buy used computers or used servers. Cisco routers, however, are robust. I personally have a Cisco 4000 router that I use as a Frame Relay switch on my board that I have had for about four years, and I have never had a problem with it.
The good news for current CCNA and CCNP nominees who are interested in building their own labs is that the Cisco equipment used has never been bulky or cheap. EBay is a great way to get an idea of what’s out there and what the prices are, but you don’t have to collect your lab one piece at a time. Many eBay retailers that sell used Cisco equipment sell CCNA and CCNP labs designed for the same price, including cables.
I asked another major CCNA and CCNP lab retailer, www.ciscokits.com, what are the most common questions about building your home lab. Here is what they said:
Why do I need real routes instead of a simulator?
You need a portable router, as simulators do not have the power to give you the "hands" you need to see what happens when you cut the cable or put the cable in the wrong place. You will soon find out that the mistakes you make in Router 1 affect Router 5 all because you did not wrap the cable properly. No simulator can mimic that.
How many routers do I need?
Two routers are really needed to see if something is working. If you have a very limited budget, you can get value by buying only one route by working with a simulator. However, you will not be able to see the main thing we are trying to achieve. Route table spread!
The only way you can see if your configuration is working is to have at least two routes. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you buy a double kit that comes with all the accessories you need. Alternatively you could spend days trying to find all the extra pieces you need to get your lab working.
Do I need a switch?
It's good to have it. However, with only about two questions in the test given the information to change hands ", if you have to hit something, skimp switch.
What routers and switches should I buy?
Choice, choice, choice! Which route is 2500/2600? I will list some of the advantages and disadvantages of each router below, as well as current prices (note that prices are usually lower when you buy one router kit instead of one router). Please note that prices are approximate.
1) Cisco 2501 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 94.99. The introduction is cheap, and you can support most of the instructions you will need to read in your CCNA exam. Every 2500 routes we will discuss comes with a minimum of two serial ports and an Ethernet port.
You will need to install a transceiver in this unit to convert the Ethernet AUI port into the RJ-45 Ethernet style port.
2) Cisco 2503 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 119.99. This is similar to the Cisco 2501, except that it adds an ISDN port to complete all your ISDN command for the CCNA exam. You will need to install a transceiver to convert the Ethernet AUI port into the RJ-45 port of the Ethernet style.
3) Cisco 2505/2507 with 16 MB Flash / 16MB IDRAM $ 109.99. It is similar to the Cisco 2501 except that it has a built-in 8 or 16 port so you do not need to purchase a transceiver.
4) Cisco 2514 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 149.99. This router is similar to the Cisco 2501 except for one Ethernet space you have two. You may ask, what is the main problem? You can use this as your Cable Modem / DSL Modem router. You can now test your ability to set up a firewall and router in a live Internet environment. Lots of fun! You will need to install two transceivers to convert Ethernet AUI ports into RJ-45 Ethernet ports.
5) Cisco 2520 Router with 16 MB Flash / 16MB DRAM $ 119.99. This is similar to 2503 but can also add two more serial ports so you can use this as a standalone transfer key later in your CCNA studies. It costs about 2503, so this is a great tip to save money.
6) Cisco 2612 Router with 32 DRAM and 8 MB Flash $ 199.99. This modular router is unlike any other 2500 routers series. So the biggest advantage of this is that you can purchase additional modules to add functionality like multiple serial ports, ISDN ports, Ethernet ports, WIC ports and more. However, due to flexibility you will pay more. One day it is a frame transfer switch, the next is your ISDN router. In time it will be cheaper than buying a bunch of dedicated routers
the discipline you want to read.
7) Cisco 1912 or 1924 Switch with Enterprise Software $ 109.99. This is a good low cost change. The only thing that comes back is a 10 MB switch without two dual uplink ports. Not a big deal because you have 10 MB routers.
8) Cisco 2912 or 2924 Switch with Enterprise Software $ 249.99. This switch will use all the current commands required for the test and is a full 100 MB switch.
And if you wish to sell your lab after completing your certificate, you can negotiate the price with the seller you sold it to, or you can sell it yourself on ebay. It is my experience that 95% of paid recipients who receive their CCNA continue to pursue their CCNP within one year, however, so do not sell it too quickly.
In the end, you only spend a few hundred dollars, and you get incomparable information that will help you both in your quest for certificates with you.