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CCNA practice

Posted on 2006-06-12
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Last Modified: 2010-03-19
I would like to build my own CCNA lab at home.

Could you please help me to solve this problem:

1. How many routers minimum i require

2. I have found 2500 series routers are quite cheap on eBay, is that okay?
Does this router helps me to do the CCNP labs?

3. What about operating system and the firmware about the router

Thanks in advance
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Question by:joy333
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by:pseudocyber
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1.  Minimum one.  Better, two.  Best three.
2.  Ideally, you want two Ethernet interfaces, and one serial.  Ethernet interfaces are easier to work with in a lab situation.
3.  Doesn't matter.  CCNA asks common questions which most IOS' can all do.

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by:lrmoore
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You might be able to pick up a couple of 1600's dirt cheap. Some have 56k DSU's built in..
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by:dasmcse
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Try this website. All sorts of CCNA equipment with the proper cables and IOS versions are sold here. You should add a switch to your equipment list as there will be questions on the test about VLANs and STP.
http://www.ciscokits.com/
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by:rafael_acc
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It sounds nice to have your own devices; and it is indeed. However, it is also expensive. If you are a thorogh kind of person, you will buy three maybe, and then, when trying to implement more complicated scenarios, you will learn that you need a couple of more, and a switch, and ...

Another thing is: people think they can get cheap things from ebay ... well, it si true! In my case, I found even cheaper to find a nice rack rental online, not too crowded and I get for few money 6 routers, switches, I can play with vlans, ISDN, routing ...

I paid 7 £ for 20 hours. I found that very cheap. I am studying towards ccnp now and I found the racks quite useful so far. I'll be taking the (remote access) exam in two weeks time. I passed the troubleshooting exam already. I leave the routing and swtching at last - just to have more fun with it; I love routing and swtiching.

One last thing: You don't actually need many devices for ccna. But if you go for ccna, you will go for ccnp, right? so you will need more devices anyway ...Not to say there is the risk of buying faulty devices? Can you imagine what a pain it is to think your config is wrong, when the router is the one messsed up - this can easily happen when you are a beginner with cisco devices; when you are not sure about the configs you are implementing ...

Good Luck though! I found CCNA quite difficult! It is not like in the past (I hear)! it is harder and harder ... which is good!


Cheers
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by:pseudocyber
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I took it in 2000 and 2004.  It was much harder the second time.
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by:v_karthik
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I wouldn't recommend spending on equipments for CCNA. For one, CCNA is easy, you can clear it without practising on the actual hardware. Two, there are a number of simulation softwares out there. Get a book from Cisco press, preferably Wendell Odom (thats what I used), and it gives you simulation softwares. Usually, you have a couple of questions that ask you to troubleshoot / configure a given network. These are usually very easy, more of common sense. So simulation softwares are more than enough.

These questions carry lot of points, but u'll clear them easily. Majority of the questions were on technical details that are unrelated to your practice on the hardware. Just read the book carefully and take mock exams, that'll take you through the exam.

I didn't spend on anything other than the book, and I cleared the exam with an easy 93%, which is infact not a great score if you prepare well.

Many people who cleared CCNP told me they didn't need any physical router or switch to clear the exam.
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by:v_karthik
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and another thing ... you'll get questions involving both switches and routers. If you really decide to buy the devices, get a 1900 switch also. The catalyst (operating system that runs on the switch) is different from the IOS (the one that runs on the router). The command set is similar but certainly not the same. You'll see a number of commands that will presumably work on both, but will not in reality.
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rafael_acc earned 20 total points
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I was reading v_karthik's post and I felt this high urge in commenting back ...

1. The number of simulation software available are buggy and many times cause waste of time debugging issues causing by bugs rather than by user's config - it happened to me ...

2. Simulator that come with the books are usually quite limited and work with a limit set of commands and do not allow the student to thoroghly study a specific subject

3. I don't know when you took the exam but in my case it was in 2005. My time expired twice. So I became CCNA by the third atempt after going through all testking questions - threfore, cisco "encourages" cramming instead of understanding of the actual issues ... - I totally disagree with this approach though ... Everytime I failed the exam, I was confident. The third time a took it in another country where I got 30 minutes more since English was not the main language

4. People that clear the exams with no need of devices, I believe are people with a strong memory. Unfortunately, once I spoke with a CCNP which didn't even understand what a broadcast domain is!!?? At that time I was still studying for CCNA ...

5. Achieving cisco certifications is by far much harder than before. So do not understimate it! You can also pass the exams by cramming testking sessions... sometimes you have to; yet, make sure you do understand what are you reading otherwise, you might embarass yourself even as a ccnp!

6. Those simulation questions are not actually that easy! It depends whether you understood the material or not.

7. Easy or not; this also depends on the student experience in the past. In your case, maybe you knew most of the networking topics already! But for someone who doesn't, CCNA material can become a big struggle.

Cheers.
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by:v_karthik
v_karthik earned 20 total points
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Well that was my view ... I don't want to comment on your other points, except:

"1. The number of simulation software available are buggy and many times cause waste of time debugging issues causing by bugs rather than by user's config - it happened to me ... "

I agree that the software is certainly a subset of the router. Ofcourse. The real exam does the same! The exam doesn't punish you too much with tricky troubleshooting questions, its mostly common sense.

I took the exam in the old pattern, but I also sat in a course that covered the new pattern, just to see what has changed, and took some mock tests.

"7. Easy or not; this also depends on the student experience in the past. In your case, maybe you knew most of the networking topics already! But for someone who doesn't, CCNA material can become a big struggle."

This is right. I have seen students shelling out huge sum on training. I did work for cisco for a few years, but my work was not directly on the routers ... so that didn't give me any extra advantage as for the CCNA syllabus is concerned. I didn't have a good grasp of networking earlier, and the cisco press book helped me a lot.

I'm just giving my experience, so pick whatever suits you the best. I posted it because, the person who asked this question shouldn't have a one-sided opinion that it is impossible to clear the exam without buying the devices.
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by:rafael_acc
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cool... just making sure the asker would not be misinformed.
no worries
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by:v_karthik
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Seeing your post again, I think I missed something - Test King..  It rocks!  I remember getting 3-4 questions right out of it.
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by:rafael_acc
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"it rocks!" Sorry ... I don't know the expression? Is this good or bad? :)

Cheers
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by:v_karthik
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good. sorry about that.
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by:pseudocyber
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>>Unfortunately, once I spoke with a CCNP which didn't even understand what a broadcast domain is!!??

>>Test King..  It rocks!

Certified people who don't know the basics and don't really understand what they're certified in come from using Brain Dumps like Test King ...

My $.02.
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by:rafael_acc
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It doesn't necessarily mean that one wouldn't know the basics unless you relay on brain dumps ONLY!

Cheers
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by:rafael_acc
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If you take brain dumps as simple exercises to practice what you've learnt, then I think it is ok. But just memorising q&A ... that's absolutely wrong

My $.01 ;)
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by:v_karthik
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pseudocyber and rafael_acc:

Please ignore my post and continue posting your ideas. You dont know me, you don't know what I know. So its not a good idea to comment on my knowledge level. Just because I used test king doesn't mean I don't know my basics. I was just trying to help the author of the post and not flaunt what I know. If I gave u that feeling, I'm sorry.
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by:rafael_acc
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uh ?? I didn't mean to put your knowledge in doubt.

anyway ...
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by:pseudocyber
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Me neither - I just don't like to encourage people to use Brain Dumps - which Test King is notorious for.
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by:joy333
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Yeah! i knos i can pass the CCNA exam just reading books and playing with simulation software.
But its really good to play with real hardware, and know exactly.
For example by reading the book someone knows how frame relay works but to do it practically its different.

so does 2500 series supports CCNP as well? BTW what is test king?
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by:v_karthik
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http://www.testking.com/

they give u many question and answers for the exam. its not a good idea to cram everything and go, but its worth looking at it bfore ur exam to check where u stand ... because i found that their questions were very close in difficulty to the real exam.
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by:rafael_acc
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Actually I think there must be a group of people that go and take the exams and contribute with the questions from the real exam ... otherwise I dn't get it really! The questions are almost identical to the ones you get in the real exam ... Sometimes they just replace a couple of strings!

One more thing when you go for testkings ... not all the answers are correct. That's why you must study as well before going for the questions & answers! DO NOT GO FOR IT BLINDLY!  

Yet, the answers are accurate 95%.

Another reason to go for the Q&A is to get use to the type of questions. And there are also many tricky questions (where they play with words - which I don't agree with) !!!


Cheers
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by:pseudocyber
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>>Actually I think there must be a group of people that go and take the exams and contribute with the questions from the real exam ... otherwise I dn't get it really! The questions are almost identical to the ones you get in the real exam ... Sometimes they just replace a couple of strings!


Yes, exactly.  As I said, Test King is notorious for Brain Dumping - this means CHEATING, since it doesn't appear my subtlety is working ... they PAy $$$ for people to go take the tests, try to remember as much as they can, come back and "dump their brain" onto paper - writing the questions down, as best they can, word for word - with the answer.  The reason they're not always accurate is that unless someone has a photographic memory, it's kind of hard to be 100% accurate regurtigating a 100 question (more or less) test.

Just in case there's any lack of communication - both performing brain dumps and using them to pass the test is a violation of Cisco's confidentiality agreement and if caught can lead one to be banned from any Cisco certifications.

So, however you want to rationalize cheating ... go ahead.  If you were taking a final in school, and paid for a stolen copy of the test and answers, and "test yourself" with the real questions and answers ... that wouldn't be considered cheating by the Professor and the schools Honor Committe/Council?
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by:rafael_acc
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Pseudocyber,

I agree with your point ...

1. Cheating or not ... it still helps as Cisco doesn't makes it easy to use other means either. They are the one who encourage this approach ...

2. Cheating or not ... cisco si well aware of the fact that people use braindumps.

3. Cheating or not ... one could still use it positevely and learn from braindumps, from books, and use braindumps as exercises ... we are not talking about 10 Q&A but hundrends ... so it is not that easy to memorise all the questions anyway ... that's why understanding the topics and the answers provided, is a must!

4. I guess we will never know how this works in reality ... This world is all about money ... unofortunately! And not even already rich companies like cisco, give away opportunities of making even more money!

5. As I said before, it is really annoying and waste of money when you know the topics properly but are unable to pass just because the time they give you to answer 60-70 questions is totally unrealistic! You know ... for big problems, people find big solutions ... if you know what I mean ...

6. Take this as a personal oppinion. I didn't mean to argue your point. Again, this is just my oppinion form along the years and based on my exams experience.



Cheers
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by:pseudocyber
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>>This world is all about money

True.  And, hopefully the time and money I spent learning Networking and getting my Cisco Certification is worth a certain amount of earning potential.

However, as more people discover they can cheat their way to a certification, more employers and HR reps and others learn this as well, and the "value" of the certification drops.

Therefore, beyond ethics, it doesn't make sense for IT professionals to recommend, or even tell, NewB's about how they can cheat their way into a certification that the IT professional holds - this is counter productive - giving some NewB and edge to enter the field and offer the employeers the ability to pay less $$ for the same certification!!!

I am all about helping people - or I wouldn't be here giving a little advice and experience for points towards nothing.  However, I adhere to the philosophy of "teach a man to fish" instead of "giving him a fish" when he's hungry.  I encourage others to do the same.
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by:rafael_acc
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I do the same. By recommending to use Braindumps in a positive way, I think I'm providing quality information as an IT professional, as a person that know how important is not to embarass yourself, as a person that know how much money you can spend to pass exams with tricky questions where also, many times the questions author is just playing with words ...

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