is 2601 router w/ ios 11.5 good for the lab..thanks
You do work for VZ :-) You are in the right place to start your learning process.
It's been more than 5 years since I took CCNA/CCNP exams and I am not sure what the newer tests look like and hence, I can't comment on how much Cisco tests on newer features. But, if I have to guess there would be a decent amount of emphasis on newer features.
If you can you should definitely upgrade to a newer version. Is there a problem upgrading the IOS? VZ can help you if you have any problems with upgrading the image.