CCENT/ICND1 Training Prep and equipment

Answered Question
Jan 5th, 2008

Hi Folks,


Im 19 and have been reading the ICND1 book by Wendall Odem to prepare for the 640-822 exam. I understand the basic principles within the book but have heard that the exam itself requires you to setup and configure a newtork.


I have tried to find a simulator but as of yet have not found one that seems to be of any use. People have suggested buying routers of ebay and set up a home lab but I am very short on cash.


I know this question has been asked loads of times and I have looked at the replies but I am still a little confused. What is the best preperation to have for the CCENT exam with a limited budget and will the simulators give enough practice in order to be able to pass the exam? If so could anyone recommend a good simulator which I could use?


If I have to buy routers and equipment, which equipment would you recommend?


Thanks in advance


Luke

Hi Luke


For what it's worth I studied for the single CCNA exam from about Aug 2006 and passed the exam in March/April 2007. I initially started with a Sybex book which came with a simulator on a CD. I found this software fairly basic but the book author also provided a link to a supposedly better simulator package which I also purchased.


This package was better but I still found

a. Bugs which prevented me from completing a lab


b. Commands which were not available, again preventing lab completion


c. Commands which gave incorrect output, not helpful when you are studying a new technology.


I searched around the web and in the end I ended up with about 5 different simulator packages, one of which was marketed towards CCNP, but all had some if not all of the issues I listed above. I had spent a fair amount of money by this time.


In the end someone mentioned setting up a home lab. I looked around Ebay and found that the equipment required for the labs in my study material was only marginally more expensive that what I had already spent on Simulator software. If I had only investigated this option sooner...


So IMHO you can probably do about 90% of what you need with any of the simulators available on the market, but I think your money would be better spent on whatever real equipment you can pick up. You can always add more as your budget allows and this would also serve you better as you progress with your Cisco studies.


Some other potions you might consider though are


a. Renting some Rack time from an online provider. There are a number of online providers which provide this service. The racks are usually set up for CCIE, but you can do your CCENT/CCNA/CCNP labs on these also. For a provider who rents out racks setup just for CCENT/CCNA/CCNP labs check out www.thebryantadvantage.com


b. Have you heard of or checked out dynamips/dynagen? This is Emulator software that you run on a PC/Laptop which allows you to build up a lab and run proper IOS on the routers in the lab. The only downside to this is that is does not emulate catalyst switches, but is does provide basic switching functionality. This software is freeware, though you will need to get your hands on some IOS versions. Also you will need a decent enough PC/Laptop to run a medium to large lab.


If you do decide to go the home lab route, be aware that you do not need the latest and greatest routers. I think that you could cover most if not all of what you need using 3or 4 25xx routers and 1 or 2 2950 switches.


Well I hope some of this information is of some use to you and provides you with some options to help you get the hands on experience you are looking for.


Good luck with the studies.


Best Regards & Best Wishes for 2008 and beyond,



Michael

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Correct Answer

Hi Luke


For what it's worth I studied for the single CCNA exam from about Aug 2006 and passed the exam in March/April 2007. I initially started with a Sybex book which came with a simulator on a CD. I found this software fairly basic but the book author also provided a link to a supposedly better simulator package which I also purchased.


This package was better but I still found

a. Bugs which prevented me from completing a lab


b. Commands which were not available, again preventing lab completion


c. Commands which gave incorrect output, not helpful when you are studying a new technology.


I searched around the web and in the end I ended up with about 5 different simulator packages, one of which was marketed towards CCNP, but all had some if not all of the issues I listed above. I had spent a fair amount of money by this time.


In the end someone mentioned setting up a home lab. I looked around Ebay and found that the equipment required for the labs in my study material was only marginally more expensive that what I had already spent on Simulator software. If I had only investigated this option sooner...


So IMHO you can probably do about 90% of what you need with any of the simulators available on the market, but I think your money would be better spent on whatever real equipment you can pick up. You can always add more as your budget allows and this would also serve you better as you progress with your Cisco studies.


Some other potions you might consider though are


a. Renting some Rack time from an online provider. There are a number of online providers which provide this service. The racks are usually set up for CCIE, but you can do your CCENT/CCNA/CCNP labs on these also. For a provider who rents out racks setup just for CCENT/CCNA/CCNP labs check out www.thebryantadvantage.com


b. Have you heard of or checked out dynamips/dynagen? This is Emulator software that you run on a PC/Laptop which allows you to build up a lab and run proper IOS on the routers in the lab. The only downside to this is that is does not emulate catalyst switches, but is does provide basic switching functionality. This software is freeware, though you will need to get your hands on some IOS versions. Also you will need a decent enough PC/Laptop to run a medium to large lab.


If you do decide to go the home lab route, be aware that you do not need the latest and greatest routers. I think that you could cover most if not all of what you need using 3or 4 25xx routers and 1 or 2 2950 switches.


Well I hope some of this information is of some use to you and provides you with some options to help you get the hands on experience you are looking for.


Good luck with the studies.


Best Regards & Best Wishes for 2008 and beyond,



Michael

lukeinglut1404 Sun, 01/06/2008 - 03:13

Thanks for the reply Micheal, it was most helpful. I think I will probably have a look around on ebay and see what I can find.


The only other question I have which you may be able to help me with is I have been looking for a diagram of a home lab setup and I wondered if you had one that you may be able to send me?


Once again I just want to say thankyou and have you have a good 2008.


Luke

Hi Luke


Thanks for the rating, it is much appreciated.


As for a diagram, I have attached a diagram of the kind of setup I used while studying for my own CCNA. I have posted it in .jpg format and also the Visio version in case you have access to Visio 2003 and want to modify it.


This diagram was actually made for one of the other forum members, so you can ignore the 26xx model numbers of the 3 main routers.


If you can afford 26xx routers then well and good, as you can use them on into your CCNP studies. However for the CCNA you could get by with say the 2520 as your Frame Relay switch and 2513's as your 3 main switches. The 2513's provide 2 serial and one 10 base T interface. If you purchase models which have the maximum DRAM and Flash memory (16mb DRAM/16mb Flash), these models can run IOS 12.3 which should be sufficient for the CCENT/CCNA tracks.


If you check out my answer to this posting

http://forums.cisco.com/eforum/servlet/NetProf?page=netprof&forum=Career%20Certifications&topic=Certifications&CommCmd=MB%3Fcmd%3Ddisplay_location%26location%3D.2cbf0706

you will get an idea of the equipment required to set up this lab. If you go with the 2513 models you would also require 3 AUI to Rj45 transceivers to enable you to use the Ethernet interfaces.


Again I hope this is of some help to you. Good luck with the studies and happy shopping :)


Best Regards,


Michael



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lukeinglut1404 Sun, 01/06/2008 - 07:14

Ok thankyou very much. Sorry to be a pain but I have on further question. Where would be the best place to purchase all of the equipment from without paying a hurendous amount of money? I have looked on ebay for the UK and they are expensive aswell as there not bein all that many routers and switches on there.


If you have any suggestions I would be very grateful.


Luke

Hi Luke


No problem with asking questions, I am glad if I can be of any help.


Well the person I dealt with mostly on Ebay UK (as I am in Ireland) was the person at this link

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CISCO-CCNP-Router-Lab-CCNA-CCIE-2950-2610-2501-2503_W0QQitemZ110209858841QQihZ001QQcategoryZ73321QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

(This is pretty similar to the lab I started off with). I found him to be really helpful and he provided excellent service. I have also put a couple of other people in contact with him and they also found him good. If you were to contact him and let him know what your budget is and what your immediate requirements are I would think that he could sort something out for you.


Another option is to keep a careful eye on some of the auctions, as you can get really good deals by placing bids at the very last minute :) I have picked up a few bargains this way.


As for the amount of equipment available on Ebay UK, I find that there is loads of stuff available. What I do is search for just "Cisco" and then anything that I might be interested in I mark to watch and if, when it gets towards the end of the auction, it is within my budget I will make a bid. I have built up a pretty decent lab like this.


Well again hope this is of some help.


Best Regards & Good luck with the shopping & studies ,



Michael

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