Passed ICND - Now CCNA

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Oct 5th, 2007
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So I just passed the ICND course making me a CCNA.

Now that the CCNA is behind me I am going to be working for my CCNP but I need to get some new home equipment before I go for it.

Right now I have 2 2501's with IOS 12 and 12.1, a 1900 with Enterprise IOS, and lastly a 2950 that is on loan from my company.

What other equipment should I start saving for to go for my CCNP? Also, what set of books should I go for? I've been looking at the Cert Library from Cisco Press, a few of the portable command guides, etc. Any tips what else is good?

I've used the CCNA cert library for my current CCNA as well as the portable command guide and flash cards.

Any tips/help would be great! Thanks!

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opteronguy Sun, 10/07/2007 - 11:04
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Anyone? It's been a few days now and I would have thought that someone would have replied...

NateBattle Tue, 10/09/2007 - 07:47
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I was about to purchase Boson's Netsim for CCNA until I read the marketing materials carefully. According to their website, this Product Covers:

640-801 :: CCNA

640-811 :: ICND

640-821 :: Intro

640-861 :: DESGN

640-863 :: DESGN

642-901 :: BSCI

Only one of those exams are CCNP level. The website does say that Boson will make periodic releases of the new technologies as they become available. However I am skeptical about a version 1 purchase. I also have some reservations because there is no time line as to when they will release the updated modules.

It seems that if you purchase the CCNP product now you are in effect paying 499 USD for the BSCI module because you do not need the CCNA or Design modules. The product would be more attractive to me if the BSCI product was sold separately and at a lowered cost.

If you do come across a more complete simulation product for the CCNP level courses, please let me know.

opteronguy Tue, 10/09/2007 - 08:03
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I looked over the Boson stuff as well and noticed that. I came to the same conclusion as you, which means I am stuck looking for either another router sim that is going to cover more material, or save up for real equipment, but after a quick ebay search I doubt that I am going to be going that route.

What else have other people around here used for taking their CCNP? Just the books and the practice tests? Rented router time? Sims?

opteronguy Tue, 10/09/2007 - 09:38
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I have another question about some CCNP material.

I was in the book store and I noticed they had a BCMSN Self Study guide as well as a BCMSN Certification guide. Off the top of my head i can't remember which one was thicker, but the one that was, was significantly thicker than the other. Is there a difference in these books? Should I get both or just the certification guide? Like I said before I was looking at the CCNP cert library, however I'm slightly confused on what to get after seeing the Self Study guides.

NateBattle Tue, 10/09/2007 - 11:26
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In short, the Official Exam Self Study Guide is targeted towards test takers.

CCNP BCMSN Official Exam Certification Guide, Fourth Edition, is a best of breed Cisco? exam study guide that focuses specifically on the objectives for the BCMSN exam. Successfully passing the BCMSN 642-812 exam certifies that you have knowledge and skills necessary to implement scalable multilayer switched networks.

Authorized Self-Study Guide: Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks (BCMSN), Fourth Edition, is a Cisco? authorized, self-paced learning tool for CCNP? switching foundation learning. You will learn how to create scalable multilayer switched networks by installing, configuring, monitoring, and troubleshooting network infrastructure equipment for a campus switched network and integrate advanced technologies such as VoIP and wireless.

opteronguy Tue, 10/09/2007 - 11:26
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Nevermind this question. After poking around on the Cisco Press site I got the answer I was looking for.

Eric Hansen Thu, 10/11/2007 - 06:46
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I know I am two days late but have you looked at this product?

I *believe* so far you can only get router IOS's to work in it and if you need a switch you have to use a router with switch ports. And being open source sure.... buggy at times, but its a LOT cheaper then buying actual equipment.

pay special note the "idle cpu" stuff.


opteronguy Tue, 10/16/2007 - 19:53
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I'll take a look at this more when I get home from work, however it looks promising.

It says that it is tied heavily into Dynamips and Dynagen. I take it that I will need the bin files of the routers that I want to run? If so, then I am going to run into some issues since I don't have or know where to get those bin files from.

tomlammon Fri, 10/19/2007 - 12:37
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You do have to have your own IOS images to make this useful- I use Dynagen/Dynamips, but since my company is a cisco customer I have access to the IOS images.

It is important to remember that dynamips emulates hardware (that's why you can load a real IOS image on it) and is not a simulator. With that comes the limitation of what hardware it will actually emulate. There are a limited number of platforms that are supported, and the 3550 and 3750 switches (that are needed for most of the CCNP BCMSN labs) are not on that list. You can find more info on dynamips at

I am currently working on the BCMSN with some real switches that I have access to, but I plan to use Dynamips to do the BSCI. If you're interested, I can send the dynamips config files over to you for the BSCI labs. Just let me know.


opteronguy Mon, 10/22/2007 - 20:40
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That would be awesome. My biggest hurdle at the moment is not having equipment to do the labs on. I have some older 1900 switches and 2501 routers but not nearly enough newer equipment for my ccnp.

Out of curiosity what order do you plan on taking the tests? It sounds like you are going to go BCMSN then BSCI, is there any reason for that order?

Thanks again!

tomlammon Mon, 10/22/2007 - 23:52
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I am indeed doing BCMSN first. In fact, I have scheduled the test for next tuesday. Hopefully I'll make it out of there alive :)

The biggest reason I did BCMSN first was because some switches became available to me on short notice and there was no guarantee how long they would be available since they were purchased for an upcoming installation. I've heard some people suggest that BSCI could also be taken first, but it didn't seem like a big deal.

Also, if you log in to the CCNP Prep center, at the bottom of the page under the Exam Study tab there are some links for suggested lab topologies for the tests. If you follow those, two routers aren't going to cut it. It looks to me like the cisco emulator we've been discussing will work for almost everything on the BSCI, ICSW, and ONT exames.

Do you need help getting dynamips going? I just found a cool little project that makes it pretty easy to install on windows, you can find that at

I'll get my lab config files packaged up. I'll give you a link so that you can download them when they are ready.

The 1900 switches are pretty much useless for the CCNP at this point. All of the training material I have seen so far focuses on IOS, and don't spend much time on CatOS. I think you can load IOS on a 1900, but it requires more storage than they probably came with. I don't know what to tell you about the BCMSN test if you don't have equipment. You'll probably just have to buy some time at an online rack rental and get through it that way.



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