Network Topology Simulator

I once again come to the experts for sage wisdom.

Here is my current dilemma.  I am in the process of getting my Network+ certification.  I have a strong computer science background, but my networking knowledge is limited.  What I am looking for is a network topology simulator that will allow me to create a virtual network composed of routers, switches etc.  The perfect solution would then allow me to change the configurations on these items and the effects would be displayed.  Again in my utopian world the configuration would be modeled after actual products, ie I could put in a Cisco PIX firewall and the configuration dialog would resemble what I would see in the real world.

I'm looking for something that will help me learn without having to buy $50K worth of equipment.

Thanks!

-R
ShadowedOneAsked:
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ksearchCommented:
Sorry, but I really don't think you'll find such a thing. It'd be great! but I have some doubts.  You could try volunteering or interning to increase your networking skills through hands on practice.  
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fadiramadaCommented:
Hello,

I am Network+ certified, I don't know where you
can get this a the moment, but I will look for you,

What I can recommend to you right now however,
is that
you register for free with cramsession and you
get their free study guide for the Network+
exam, (www.cramsession.com)

Thanks,

Fadi Ramada,
Network+, Security+
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fadiramadaCommented:
Hello Again,

I didn't find anything like that as of yet, but if you
use the study guide it will help you greatly on the
exam. In addition, the book I used to study for
the Network+ is by Mike Meyers, it is the all in
one book that is gold and red, the author is goofy,
but he really covers everything on the exam.

Here are a few exam tips from me:

1)Don't focus on any one area, my friend was tested
heavily on cabling standards and he got
a lot of layer 1 related questions, I on the other
hand, got a lot of questions on TCP/IP

2)Know the 7 layer OSI model inside out and
backwards, know what OSI stands for and
know the layers by name and number, the
OSI should be like a part of you, it just flow
from your mouth.

3)I got a good amount of questions on IPCONFIG
and WINIPCFG, know that WINIPCFG is for windows
9x systems and that IPCONFIG is for win 2000/xp

4)know what layer all the devices go into for example
hub - layer 1, router - layer 3, etc...

5) know the IEEE standards, for example 802.3
is ethernet - CSMA/CD, 802.5 is token ring

If you have any questions about the test, ask me,
I will be more than happy to help, I have gone
through it already, so take my experience and
use it.

Thanks,

Fadi Ramada,
Network+, Security+
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ShadowedOneAuthor Commented:
ksearch -> I would intern with a company, however I graduated with my BS  in Comp Sci and I am already employed.  So I am just trying to further my knowledge.

Fadi -> You seem to be on the same track that I am!  My plan is to get my Network+ cert, then go after a Security+, and then CEH, and CISSP as time goes on.  I ordered a self study guide for the Network+ from Amazon yesterday so hopefully that will be helpful in studying for the exam.  I have learned the OSI Layer Model to some degree, but not to the degree of detail that you specified above.  I'd love to talk more with you about your experience with the certs etc.  Please send me an email when you get a chance and we can chat.  reeselloyd at hotmail dot com

Thanks to both of you. :)
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holger12345Commented:
Hi,

perhaps you want some of that:

>>MIMIC Virtual Lab - Cisco (Price: $99 for a limited time only)
http://www.gambitcomm.com/site/products/virtual_lab_cisco.html

>>RouterSim : CCNA Network Visualizer 4.0 (Price:  £150.00) & more
http://www.pageforward.co.uk/acatalog/RouterSim.html

>>Cisco CCNA Exam (640-801) Router Simulator : Sem Sim (Shareware $29)
http://www.softpile.com/Education/Miscellaneous/cisco_ccna_exam__640-801__router_simulator__sem_sim.html

>>Boson NetSim® v5.27
 http://www.boson.com/netsim/

Most of them are (hopefully) usable for a grace period after which you'll have to pay

Good luck
Holger
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ksearchCommented:
Good luck.  I also have my Network+ cert among others. Hands-on learning is really the best way to learn. However, I understand the scheduling limitations.  It's always been my advice, when preparing for exams, to read 3 books on the subject matter. If you read just one, you'll miss too much. If you read two, you'll get some of what you would have missed by reading only one, but if the two authors disagree, how can you tell who's right? that's where the third book comes in. And seeing the same material presented a little bit differently can often help with retention. Also, if all three books emphasize a certain topic, you can be pretty sure it'll be covered heavily on the exam. And if it's a microsoft test you are preparing for (I know this one isn't for you, right now) then one book should be by Microsoft because that's the answer you need to give on the exam.

Mike Meyers has a network+ certification study guide that's good.  Check out bookpool.com -- all technical books, all brand new, and all at a discount.  I've been shopping them for years.
 
Good luck.
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crazijoeCommented:
holger12345 has some nice links for CCNA. I must remember them.
 I too got my Net+ last year. I didn't study for the test. I just wanted to see where I was. I did pass. I really didn't think I passed at all. I was being hammerd on Ports, Unix and Fiber questions. Of course you always remmember the questions that you struggle with.
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ShadowedOneAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all of you who responded.  

Holger -> The links are awesome.  That should get me going in the right direction to say the least.

KSearch -> The 3 book idea is great.  Think I'll use this or a variant thereof to tailor my own studying.

Fadi -> Thanks for the study recommendations, look forward to talking with you about it.

Joe -> Thanks for the input.

-R

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