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Any CCNA/CCNP's that can recommend an up-to-date Lab build ?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've been working as a sys engineer since i graduated business college in 2009 and have been exposed to a lot of everything. My day-to-day is mostly admin duties , but i've built a few small vmware/hyper-v environments (typically 2 hosts running 4-12 vm servers for a 20-50 workstation office), had some minor cisco experience along the way (even though my company tends to just use NSA level sonicwalls for ptp vpn), but I am looking to begin focusing on networking and picking up a CCNA in the near future as my first step.

I am unsure of what my current company can offer me in terms of compensation, but I would rather go ahead and being putting a home lab together for myself to study on.

I saw a few links from Wendell Odom, but they were dated 2008, and I saw some kits on ebay such as the following: http://cgi.ebay.com/The-CCNA-CCNP-FU...ht_13498wt_905

But i couldn't find any decent reviews on the company in terms of starter lab equipment and software. Most of the information I am finding online is 2-3 years old.


Just a bit of background, I have a full rack in my basement running a 24port cisco small business(aka linksys) managed gig switch and a 4U server 2008 r2 enterprise hyper-v box which runs a in-home domain for 5 desktops and 3-4 laptops.

I would prefer to keep the lab in a small rack in my room near my main desktop for learning purposes, but would like to consider the possibility of spending a few more $$ to pick up a decent router that i could incorporate into my at home network above for upgrades/vpn/etc.

My budget is very open currently, but would prefer to keep it under $1000 if possible.

Would appreciate any help at all. Thanks.
Edited by rmp459 - 3/3/11 at 12:29pm
    
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post #2 of 18
I'm not too sure about that but because I'm also in the academy take cisco and do packet tracer. I heard it's very hard and usually peoPle pass it only the second time
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post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Civ216 View Post
I'm not too sure about that but because I'm also in the academy take cisco and do packet tracer. I heard it's very hard and usually peoPle pass it only the second time
I've read about packet tracer, but I would prefer to be able to actually do it hands on if possible. I am sure there are plenty of cases where I can test in the sim and then configure on the actual hardware.

Also, I don't really have the schedule to allow me to sit a class for a long period of time. I work pretty long hours and have prior commitments 3x a week.

I don't mean to come off sounding conceited, but I'm not the type of person who takes a test twice, so I would prefer to learn it all the right way the first time around and having hardware compatible for the CCNP even later on would probably be helpful.
Edited by rmp459 - 3/3/11 at 12:41pm
    
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post #4 of 18
Odom's blog over at networking-world is still current, only the prices have changed.

I'll make this short and sweet because it really depends on what you want to focus your studying on..

1 access server
3 routers
3 switches
APC multiswitch.

Access server..

Currently the cheapest way of doing an access server is using a 2507, 2509, 2510, or 2511. The 2507 (8port) & 2509(16port) Cisco routers have RJ45 ports that you need to make rollover cables to connect to the console ports of your Cisco devices, the 2509 (1 x nm-8a/s port) and 2511 (2 x nm-8a/s ports) use integrated NM-8a/s modules with octal cables to connect to the console ports. It's a 6-to-1 half a dozen to the other kind of solution. The benefits of using the 2509 or 2511 is that they have 2 x serial ports where the 2507 and 2510 only have one serial and one token ring, so it can only be a stub router..

The other Access server solution is buying a router for your pod that supports the NM-8a/s or NM-16a/s slots and buying everything separately. The downside is expense. It's just less expensive to by the 2500 series..

Switches.

- Do yourself a favor and spend more money here..

You want 3, preferably two with 1000mb/s ports, 2950G or 2950T so you can get use to seeing different port costs in spanning-tree. I would stay away from the older 3500 series switches even the ones with PoE. Take my advice and buy 2 x 3550-PWR multilayer switches. They go for $179-$200 shipped (buy now) on Ebay. When (if) you decide to go down the different CCNA:V, CCNA:W or CCNP tracks you'll really like having power over Ethernet for your phones and llwap access points. The 3550's come in 2 major differences, and unlike the 2950's they CAN be upgraded to the EMI images giving more advanced routing and Qos features when doing CCNA Security. I'm going to stop there, just trust me. Spend your money with 2 x 3550's and a single 2950G ("G" meaning it has 2 x GBIC slots for for fiber). That way you can run SC-SC multi-mode fiber between your switches for $60. $10 a piece for the GBIC-FX modules and $7 for 2 x 3-meter SC-SC fiber cables through monoprice.com. That will cost you 1/2 of your budget..

Routers

There are to many to go over, and not enough time. You can emulate your routers for the ICND1 up to CCIE in Dynamips or GNS3. But you can't emulate your switches, well kinda with the NM-16swe but not to the extent where you're truly emulating a switch. That's why you spend your $$ their.

You don't really have the budget to have really nice routers like a 2821, but you can make due..

A little know fact is that the 2961, 3725 and 3745 routers can support NME-16ES-1G-P modules allowing you to run both a 3750 switch ($1000) and a production level router at the same time (like hypervsion). It's a bad-ass solution to CCNP and CCIE R&S labs. And something you may not use now, but down the road maybe. The NME-16ES-1G-P costs about $300, so it's a valuable solution down the road when you need to do PVLAN and you don't want to drop the coin on 3560's.

All 3 of those routers runs about $200 give or take. My suggestion is at least one 3725. It supports more memory then the 2600xm routers, supports newer CME voice version and is a little more powerful for the $$.

The 3640's are solid CCNA-CCNP routers, the only problem is they cost a little more to get up and running because they only have NM slots, they don't come with fastethernet ports like the 2600 or 3700 series, but they can be had for next to nothing. I bought one for $30 on Ebay, and another for $50 through cablesandkits.com

The other option you have which is less expensive is just buying a couple of throw away routers to study for your CCNA, but then will be pretty much maxed to their potential and usability for future studies. Those being the 2500 (except 2522 which is an awesome frame-relay switch) & the 2600 non XM models. Or some of the older 1700 or 800 series..

Multi-switch

APC Multiswitch is a device (power strip) with a 10mb Ethernet network management port that allows your to log into the power strip remotely and turn on/off each of your devices separately. I can't even begin to explain how nice that is. The 2 models to look for are the ap9211 or ap9225. The ap9225 isn't as pretty, but from time to time you can pick them up for under $50 on Ebay. If you're patient..

I barely covered the surface, but that's the time I have.. If I were you I'd do go with:

2 x 3550-PWR switches
1 x 2950G
1 x 3725
1 x 2611xm
1 x 3640's
1 x 2509
1 x apc9211 or acp9225.

1 x NM-4T for your 3640
4 x Wic-1t's (or) 2 x Wic-2t
1 x octal cable

8 x 3 foot DB60 DCE-DTE cables

I'm sure you probably already have or make your own cables but:

12 x crossover cat5e or cat6. Really dosen't matter
12 x strait through cables.

That about covers your budget if not more..

Edited: for spelling and lack of concentration while typing.. Sorry, should have proofed it..
Edited by scottsee - 3/3/11 at 1:59pm
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post #5 of 18
scottsee has you pretty much covered, i would only suggest possibly doubling up on the 3640's.


Also as for reference material.

For your CCNA, Todd Lammle I think writes the better reference books. So Sybex for your CCNA book.

CCNP you want Cisco Press.
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post #6 of 18
Odom's CCNA Library from CiscoPress
Tod Lammle Sybex
31 days before your CCNA

Pass..
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post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Going to take me a while to go through all of this because I just got home from work, but I wanted to just say thanks right away for that monster write up.

I do indeed have a few hundred feet of cat6 laying around here still so I'm covered there.

To say i'm bored with this support side of things i've been stuck doing lately is an understatement and this was exactly what I was looking for to get me pointed in the right direction.
Edited by rmp459 - 3/3/11 at 3:57pm
    
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post #8 of 18
I seldom find things I actually want to respond to around here. So, thank-you.

Scratch that.. I never find anything I want to respond to around here..


Edited by scottsee - 3/3/11 at 4:35pm
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post #9 of 18
Check this site for some pretty cheap cisco stuff http://www.cablesandkits.com/
post #10 of 18
Cablesandkits are ight.. I've bought a couple things from the. 3640, 12u rack, NM-4T, cables, etc.

They're respectable, Everyone's expensive. You can buy the same stuff on Ebay for 30% less. But then you don't get a ziplock bag with a cableandkits business card and a small pack or M&M's.

Edit: But their packaging if ridiculously good and I mean RIDICULOUSLY good.. The foam fit everything into their boxes.
Edited by scottsee - 3/3/11 at 4:46pm
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