This kit is geared for your success! These line up directly with the new Cisco official specifications on the IOS. This kit is the economy option to get you going on your path to success on a budget. You can do a whole lot of labbing with this budget friendly lab kit. Since this is entry level equipment on the routing end, you may run into a "few bumps in the road" with the very advanced labs, but for a CCNA candidate watching their pocket, this will get you the experience you need to master the test!
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In this article we will cover how to build an effective CCNA lab. Please do not skip any of this information, as it is all very important for you to understand so you get the most value for your money in purchasing your kit. Dependent on what you do by mistake, you may see either the interface or protocol go down and based upon that it should give you a clue of where to start troubleshooting hint, what layer is the interface at and what layer is the protocol at? Anyway, you will come to find quite quickly that mistakes you make on Router 1 are affecting Router 4 all because you did not screw in a cable properly.
No simulator can simulate that, so real routers and switches are invaluable. Cisco wants to make sure you really know your stuff on this exam. So what does that mean to you? The days of having a high level understanding of what is happening and passing the exam are gone. You need to practice on more complex setups and really understand what is happening first hand. That is why when we revised our lab workbook. We made it much more complex and explain the concepts in detail as you do each lab. Two routers are the bare minimum to see if anything works.
If you have a very limited budget, you can still receive value from only purchasing a single router over working with a simulator. However, with a single router you will not be able to see the main thing we are trying to accomplish; the propagation of route tables and the routing of data!
The only way you can see if your configurations really work is to have at least two routers. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you purchase at least a dual router kit. But if you want the best experience, you will want to go with a three router kit. One router will give you the ability to run the commands on it and will allow you to memorize the correct syntax and context in which to run the commands.
Two routers will allow you to be able to see route table information propagate, data propagation and path election. In addition, you will see basic device elections.
Three or more routers and you will get all of the above, more complex topologies and full device elections. Ok, so we say we suggest three routers and you see what we wrote above, but it just is not clicking why you need three routers as maybe you heard somewhere else two routers is all you need.
In this slide from our study guide, you see a topology with three routers. If we just have two routers, we can simply set the priority of R1 to zero which will make that router ineligible to be a DR. So then R2 would be the DR by default. More than likely most companies you will work at will have more than two routers, right? So now you can see that we are going to have to do multiple configurations to influence which router is the DR in the more complex topology.
So in this scenario, we need to increase the priority of R2 and leave R3 at its default priority to accomplish our goal. So hopefully now you can start to see why three routers are critical to really hammering home some of the CCNA concepts. You will see that the lab topology this is from our lab workbook on the top has two load balanced WAN links the two lighting bolts , a subnet off of R1 and R3 where the computers are and from R2 we have multiple paths to get to any of the subnets at the top portion of the topology.
Now compare that to the simple two router lab below it and see that it does not have load balancing, no multiple paths, no ability to set different costs on the links and obviously the route tables are not as complex.
So a quick scenario. You are at the computer off of R3 and you are communicating with a server off of R1. The super fast WAN link goes down. What will your path be to the server off R1? Will the data travel across two routers traversing a super slow WAN link or traverse 3 routers utilizing fast links? Good question, huh? Now which lab topology do you think will give you a better learning experience? But with the recent changes, inter-vlan routing is hit very heavy on the exam in various scenario questions.
So if you can afford it, yes, switches are required. With only a small margin of error between passing and failing, not fully understanding switching concepts such as VLANs, STP, and root elections could be the one question that stands between you passing and failing your exam.
Thank goodness we memorized STP. That said, it would be nice for us to be able to actually see the switching concepts work. So similar to our router review, this is what you will get with the corresponding number of switches. One switch will give you the ability to run the commands on the switch and allow you to memorize the correct syntax and context in which to run the commands. It will also allow you to do some of the VLAN labs. Three or more switches you will get all of the above and full device elections.
Again, you may have heard that you only need two switches in your CCNA lab. Yes, you can get by. But you want to know this information inside and out. So three switches will give you the best learning experience. Let me prove it again.
Wow, there is a lot of information on this slide. Spanning Tree Protocol is used to eliminate loops in our network, as loops are bad. So how can we determine which switch will be the Root Bridge? In general, it is based on the MAC address of the devices but it can be influenced by changing the priority on one or all of the devices.
When a Root Bridge is elected, it is as if everything in the world will revolve around the Root Bridge. That dictates then which ports on the other switches are root ports, designated ports and non-designated ports. If also then impacts the states of the ports. So if the Root Bridge changes from Switch C to Switch B, then each port will change to a different type of port and state.
Now we will have to figure everything out again from scratch. You might not fully understand this now, but by practicing with three switches in a complex topology such as this CCNA lab, you definitely will have a much deeper understanding of the technology at hand.
Hopefully this example has fully convinced you of the value of a CCNA lab with three switches. Sill not convinced you should have three switches in your CCNA lab? Well then maybe my final point will sway you. The topology in the diagram below is similar to what appeared on a previous version of the CCNA exam. We wrote our Lab Workbook to the specification of three routers and three switches.
But you still should fully understand the concept which is being presented. Note in the topology diagram below how complex we make our labs. These are not straight forward two link setups. We include redundancy, multiple subnets and explain it all in great detail. Accordingly we are the premier CCNA lab supplier with support second to none!
Click on the topology picture to see a PDF of the sample lab. Simply bundling three random routers together and calling it a kit is not the right approach. One router with two serial ports to establish links to the other two routers. Notice how I mentioned these are the bare minimums. But that is not always realistic from a budget perspective. Also it is ok if one router does double duty.
We know with all the options out there, this can be a bit confusing which is why we have pre-configured many of our CCNA Lab kits to already have these features balanced giving you the best bang for the buck. There is no reason for you to guess and make a couple hundred dollar mistake.
If you have questions, please use the Contact Us link in the upper right to send us an email as we welcome questions. Now choices, choices, choices. Which router do I pick? Well, we have many choices which I will list below with some pros and cons to each. I will also include a table at the end of this document to visually aid you in seeing the features of each router.
CCNA Lab Routers Cisco Series Routers These are not good lab routers as they do not have traditional serial ports to connect them to other routers in a lab environment. Cisco Series Routers This is a good low cost router that is a traditional rack mount router unlike the other series routers. This is the cheapest and best choice for an Since the prices have come down on these tremendously, these are a great choice for CCNA labs and will serve you well as you move up through your Cisco certification path.
I think the answer to that is simple. This router packs lots of value for the price and is a staple of many of our budget level kits Cisco Series Router At this point these are no longer great CCNA routers. They had their run for almost 17 years as a staple of CCNA labs. But their time has passed. The only s that have significant value these days are the and access server routers.
You can remote access 8 devices from this unit. You will need one octal cable or 8 rollover cables. You can remote access 16 devices from this unit. You will need two octal cables or 16 rollover cables. They are modular routers which means you have to add WIC or NM modules to them to provide additional functionality.
How to Build a Cisco CCNA lab
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Cisco CCNA 200-301 Standard Kit
This is your chance to get almost pages of labs at a massive discount! A lot of this content will carry over into the new exam. Round out those skills! But what happens when you go home as it is not reasonable for you to retain all that information you would have been exposed to in a one week boot camp.
CCNA - Lab workbook
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Free Downloads: Ciscokits Ccna Complete Lab Workbook
Home Our lab kits are hardware ready for the Cisco updates! Please take a moment to read our new CCNA lab suggestions article! We are dedicated to making sure you are prepared with the best devices configurations available. Our engineers work hard to make sure you are getting the best capability you can get at any price point. We are here to offer full service support, every step of the way!