Hi guys...just wondering what the best setup would be using Cisco equipment at home. I have adsl with sky and at present i connect wirelessly to the net. I would like to create a home lab for my ccnp so would like to know the best router/equipment to create a home network which will allow me to connect to the net and study for my CCNP. Any help greatly appreciated
I'm not a CCNA yet, so I don't know what's needed for the CCNP exams or labs, so take this as advice from someone who uses Cisco kit at home only!
I have a Cisco 827 (ADSL router with 4-port hub) and Cisco 1721 (modular router with two WIC slots) at home.
The 827 gives me my ADSL WAN connection and has a built-in firewall. I use a home broadband connection, so my outside IP is obtained automatically, so it has to NAT as well.
The 1721 has a WIC-1T and a WIC-1ENET - the WIC-1ENET connects to the 827, and the 1721's built-in 10/100 connects to my switch. The WIC-1T can be used to connect to another such device, so I can use it to create a DMZ. The 1721 also NATs, and has a further ACL applied to provide my home devices with extra security. My DMZ is where I experiment :)
It's a working environment (it provides my family with broadband internet access) and gives me something to study with. And, they're fanless, so they're silent - a real bonus.
I don't know your budget, so I'm going to guess and say you're not looking to buy brand-new kit; used kit can get you through your exams every bit as well as newer kit can, depending on what you buy.
The 827 is probably not the best choice to go for (although they are quite cheap on eBay). If you can, an 837, 857, 877, or (if you have the cash) an 1800-series router with ADSL WIC would be a better choice. The 857W and 877W both have built-in 802.11g WiFi as well, which is a bonus.
The 1721 is a good router, but you may be better off with a 2651 (they cost more, even used) but with two built-in FastEthernet ports and several Voice-capable WIC slots and DSP resources, you can learn about VoIP on them as well.
I also wouldn't go for any router you can't apply a 12.4 IOS image to (due to age or memory requirements) as you'll want to have the most recent command-set available to study on.
If you don't get a router with a wireless connection, there are plenty of Aironet APs on eBay as well, but the 802.11g ones tend to sell quite high. You need to look out though because some that are sold are thin APs, which require a controller (and those aren't cheap, or condusive to a home environment).
As for switching, the 2950 is a good switch as it is compact - however, if noise is a concern and you don't need any more than 8 ports, a Catalyst WS-C2940-8TT-S will do very nicely (they also support voice VLANs, 802.1Q trunking, and have a gigabit uplink, and again are fanless, so they're good for the home).
Also, you can find small Cisco PIX firewalls on eBay. They're not so common, but they do come along from time to time.
I got a 3640 with 2 FastEthernet interfaces and a Catalyst2900XL which provide connectivity through a cable-modem. While both are end-of-life, both will allow you to play with VLANS, configure QoS, setup routing and sub-interfaces, etc. Overall, there is plenty to play with. For a CCNA lab, put a serial interface in the 3640 and get a 2500 or 2600 cheap on ebay. That way you can configure frame-relay, T1's, EIGRP, etc.
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