CCNA lab software - Cisco vs Sybex?

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Apr 13th, 2010
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I'm looking to get my CCNA this year (and hopefully get started on CCNP). There's two textbooks I'm looking at - Odom's Cisco Press book and Lammle's CCNA book. Both come highly recommended and I think I could get the boss to pay for both.

But each of these books also come in a bundle pack with simulator software. The boss might pay for one simulator version but not both, so my question is: does anyone have an opinion as to who makes the better software/lab questions?

Here are the books and bundles I'm referring to, with prices:

Odom standalone:

Odom bundled:

Lammle standalone:

Lammle bundled:

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Marko Leopold Thu, 04/15/2010 - 05:13
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Hello Chris!

Do you work with Cisco switches? If yes you don't need a simulator for this. For everything else i recommend you GNS3. It is free and there is an installation package for Windows too. You only need some router images. Everything else is quite easy to understand. I used it for the BSCI exam.

Kind regards,


henosay45 Thu, 04/15/2010 - 10:34
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Regarding textooks, I used Lammle's Sybex book, found it to be great!  Clearly explains topics and goes in depth.

For the actual hardware simulation, I would recommend Odom's simulator.  Over 200 labs configuring, implementing, and troubleshooting network designs.If you do all the labs and feel comfortable with them, you should be fine on exam day.

Good luck to you.

Sluthy2010 Thu, 04/15/2010 - 18:48
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I don't have hardware yet, although I considered that. Maybe when I get to CCNP study I'll get into that. If I did want to use GNS3, how would I get the IOS images (legally)? Can you just buy them or does that require a Cisco contract?

The impression I've received from reading a fair bit is that:

  • Odom is great if a little bland, Lammle is more accessable if a little 'chummy'
  • Odom's practice questions are harder than the actual exam questions, good practice
  • Lammle's questions seem okay but people seem to talk about Odom's more

Looking at value:

  • Odom's book includes 400 questions "all available in study mode, test mode and flash card format"
  • Lammle's book only includes 200 flash cards and 4 full-length practice tests - the bundle version get 400 and 8
  • Odom's software includes "250 labs, 8 different lab topologies, 3000+ hands-on tasks, 3 unique types of labs"
  • No word how many labs Lammle includes

It looks like Odom might be the way to go. Of course, Odom's bundle is more expensive

I think I'll just bite the bullet and buy Odom's bundle, rather than waste time agonising over it.

vahidsirous Sat, 04/17/2010 - 02:39
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i advice you if you have free time to read both of bood first read sybex and after it read cisco press ebook

Sluthy2010 Sun, 04/18/2010 - 14:08
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I bit the bullet and bought the Odom bundle on Friday.

Thanks everyone for the help, and I'll see if I can give Lammle a read somewhere too.


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