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  1. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #1

    Default It Was Going to Happen, Sooner or Later. Slowhand's CCNP Lab

    As I'm sitting here, chomping at the bit to get my next paycheck so I can retake the CCNA exam, I'm looking ahead to future certs. (It's in the bag, I just need the cashola to sit the exam.) I'm going to do the CCDA after CCNA, since my employer requires it, and I'll be doing some Microsoft-moonlighting in the form of chugging away at my remaining MCSE exams. However, the real fun begins in a few months, when I start studying for the CCNP. I've got a rack at home, shamefully empty, and I'm going to need to begin filling it with equipment if I'm ever going to pass those exams. The fact that I've already been sneaking in study-sessions with the CCNP CBT Nuggets is neither here nor there.

    This is a makeshift shopping list of things I'd like to have in the lab, that I'm going to be amassing over the coming months. This is a "best-case scenario" lab outline, of course, and I'm sure I'll end up with other equipment as I go along. Still, I'd like to have at least the following:


    -------------------------------------

    Routers
    Two or three 3640 routers, depending on how much I want to spend. I've seen them on eBay for anywhere from $75 - $250 in working order, so it shouldn't be too hard to snag a couple as my "regular" access routers to break. . . err. . . "set up labs with".

    A 1841 router, since they're nice and cheap, and I'm going to need at least one ISR.

    And I can probably pick up a 2500-series router to use as an access server, this'll either be dirt-cheap, or I can probably find a friend or a co-worker that's got one laying around. In fact, I think my former networking teacher has a 2511 in his office, gathering dust.

    I'm sure I'll come across other routers, probably in the 2500 and 2600 series, that'll end up in the rack. Hopefully, a couple of those will round out my lab.

    Switches
    A pair of 2950's, which are going to be relatively cheap to purchase if I keep my nose to the grindstone with the ol' eBay.

    A 3550, mainly for layer 3 switching. I want to have at least three switches, so this would be my third. I've seen these for relatively cheap, and I think my company has some partners that might do some bargain-sales to get rid of a lot of the equipment on my list. If I really scrounge, I could probably get this particular lab up and running for about $1,000 (not including add-ons and extra memory, that sort of thing).

    -------------------------------------


    Other modules and add-ons I can pick up in time, as I need them. Again, working at a datacenter has its advantages, and I can probably salvage a lot of add-ons and things like memory, along with cables, from routers and switches that have crapped out or have been decomissioned. As the lab begins to assemble, I'll start reading up and asking questions about what, exactly, I'll need in terms of WICs, serial ports, that sort of thing. Hopefully, if I'm lucky, I can also lay claim to that PIX 501 sitting in the store-room, that isn't going to be used anymore.

    So, I'm hoping to get some feedback on my mad plot. Any suggestions from the resident Cisco pros, any suggestions, recommendations, or other comments in general? Am I completely out in left field, or will this lab serve me as a start for CCNP, and potentially be a start for the other pro-level Cisco certs as well?

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  3. Cisco Moderator mikej412's Avatar
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    #2
    I have read your post.... and pondered your plan.... and it is good

    For the 3640's the NM-1FEs are "expensive" -- and I'm happy to get one $150.... but since I'm fully stocked now -- there are other NM-1FE* modules that people don't seem to want that I've gotten for less than 1/2 that price...

    And some people still charge an "arm & a leg" for an NM-1E2W..... but the NM-1E1R2Ws I got were all $25-45 (sort of like my maxed out memory 2513s for $10 -- 2501's with a token ring port you don't have to use).

    Hum.... at $75 for a 3640.... I'd grab 6-8 more so I wouldn't have to re-cable between CCIE vendor workbook labs. Maybe Dynamips/Dynagen is driving down the price of home lab hardware.
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  4. Senior Member impelse's Avatar
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    #3
    Go forward, I will begin my CCNP next month.

    Good plan.

    What books are you planning to use?

    Probably I will use Sybex and The Bryant Adavatage ebooks.

    Raul
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  5. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412
    I have read your post.... and pondered your plan.... and it is good
    Sweet, I was worried that my boss (who is CCNP certified, by the way,) was right and I was "on crack". He suggested I get a couple of 1605 routers and a pair of 2924 switches in order to squeak by the labs in the Cisco press books. Yeah. . . Of course, he did the older CCNP series, but I don't think I want to settle for the 'just barely' equipment.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412
    For the 3640's the NM-1FEs are "expensive" -- and I'm happy to get one $150.... but since I'm fully stocked now -- there are other NM-1FE* modules that people don't seem to want that I've gotten for less than 1/2 that price...

    And some people still charge an "arm & a leg" for an NM-1E2W..... but the NM-1E1R2Ws I got were all $25-45 (sort of like my maxed out memory 2513s for $10 -- 2501's with a token ring port you don't have to use).
    Yup, I'm going to deal with getting my hands on the "big" equipment first, then try to scrounge with my work and my collegues for the modules. I think I can either get the additional add-ons for cheap or even for free, depending on how much wheeling and dealing I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412
    Hum.... at $75 for a 3640.... I'd grab 6-8 more so I wouldn't have to re-cable between CCIE vendor workbook labs. Maybe Dynamips/Dynagen is driving down the price of home lab hardware.
    Heh, heh, heh. . . the $75 one was still at about a day and a half before the auction was over, I'm sure it will go up. It looks like, though, that I can probably score them for around $125 - $200 each, realistically. Interestingly enough, the 2500 and 2600 series routers are still going for as much as $300. . . probably because they're still popular among the CCNA and CCNP candidates, so people have no shame in hiking up the prices to make a quick buck. I'm hoping the 3640's will stay under the radar for a while longer, before people figure out that they'll be useful for Cisco-studying and the opportunists come out in force.

    Quote Originally Posted by impelse
    What books are you planning to use?

    Probably I will use Sybex and The Bryant Adavatage ebooks.
    I'm going to use my shiny new CBT Nuggets videos, the Cisco Press CCNP pack once all the books are out, along with a few others. . . like Routing TCP/IP, Volume 1, Cisco LAN Switching, and Troubleshooting IP Routing Protocols . I'm sticking with the Cisco Press books, for the most part, with some help from CBT Nuggets, Cisco's own documentation, and the like. Of course, just because I'm looking at the CCIE Professional Development book-series, in no way means I'm planning anything bigger in the future. Nope, not at all. . .

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  6. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #5
    So, I finally pulled the trigger after passing the CCNA. I've got a 3640 router on the way to my house, as we speak. Got it on eBay for about $160, so I'm happy with that purchase. Looking at a couple of 2950 Catalyst switches for about the same price, so I think I'll go back to shopping. Here's to hoping that wholesalers keep their prices low, well into the next year.

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    #6
    Cool man, I wouldn't mind following along so make this a homelab buyers Clog.
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    #7
    Just scored myself a Catalyst 2950 12-port switch about two minutes ago, paid $99 for it. The list is growing, slowly but surely. In addition to the list up top of this thread, I'm also snooping around for a new or like-new PIX 501 (10-user) for the house. Our home router is crapping out, and I might even be able to score one for less than $200, if I keep my eyes open.

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    #8
    I reckon 2500s may be more popular than 3640s due to their slimline size!

    So, I wonder if this thread could be made sticky? It seems to me alot of people will be buying kit for CCNP studies so it could be useful to have everyones contribution in one place with links to old threads too. I'm happy to search out the old threads and put links in.

    Well, I've been awake since 4am and after a while I began thinking it's really time to get on with BSCI. I'm going to get the new lab book. As a deskbound IP planner with little real experience of racking and setting up routers I reckon I need to buy some kit to give it a go. I mean I do do know what most of the equipment looks like, switchs, 7500s, 12000s etc but i've never cabled them up. I just put together nice imp specs and then persuade one of the engineers to install the stuff. The rest of my job is capacity management, installing new cards etc, migrations to remove old end-of-life copper cards etc and then the occasional big project like the Juniper T640 core ring we're putting in to upgrade one of our existing rings. So, really I could do with doing some real networking and configuring of circuits especially as i'd really like to learn how to do migrations myself - i think this will go well with my optimisation experience. maybe it'll get me some good contracting positions "hey, i'll optimise your network for 1000USD per day".

    Anyway, for my lab for BSCI i'm going to borrow:
    2 x 3640s
    1 x 3560
    1 x 3550
    Should aslo be able to get hold of as many 2500s as i want and hopefully a 2950.

    Does that sound like enough for BSCI? Would it be enough for the rest of teh CCNP and CCIP modules?

    I'll be keeping my eye out for other kit gathering dust in the transport rooms. Plenty of 7500s around but not sure the Mrs's would appreciate that in the dining room.

    Regards

    john
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  10. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #9
    Two 3640s and a few 2500 should be enough for the NP. The 3500 and 2950s will be enough also for the BCMSN. I'm not sure if there is a need for a sticky for lab stuff for the CCNP. By the time you reach the NP you should know what you need and what to do with it. I understand the NA section because a lot of those guys are new to new to networking. There are also lab suggestions at the CCNP Prep Center that you can use to set up your lab.
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  11. Cisco Moderator mikej412's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDouglas
    Would it be enough for the rest of teh CCNP and CCIP modules?
    You'd want more MPLS capable routers for the MPLS exam -- or go with Dynamips (and Dynagen) to ""fill out" your existing hardware lab. You could probably spend most of your time in Dynamips for the MPLS, BGP, and BSCI exams.
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  12. APA
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    #11
    getting ready to start my CCNP studies as well....

    So far my lab consists of

    1 x 3640
    1 x 3620
    3 x 2620's

    1 x 3524
    1 x 2924
    1 x 2950

    and I still want more although I have access to 3750's and 3560's at work which pretty much cover the multi-layered switching aspects......
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  13. Senior Member
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184
    Two 3640s and a few 2500 should be enough for the NP. The 3500 and 2950s will be enough also for the BCMSN. I'm not sure if there is a need for a sticky for lab stuff for the CCNP. By the time you reach the NP you should know what you need and what to do with it. I understand the NA section because a lot of those guys are new to new to networking. There are also lab suggestions at the CCNP Prep Center that you can use to set up your lab.
    Thanks for the link. Looks like I've got enough then without having to resort to ebay - didn't think it'd be so easy! Just remembered I can lay my hands on a couple of 7206s so I'll be able to use E3PAs, FEPAs, ATM etc in those. Found two 2500s in teh cupboard by my desk.

    All set for studying now. Just need some type of rack.
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDouglas
    Would it be enough for the rest of teh CCNP and CCIP modules?
    You'd want more MPLS capable routers for the MPLS exam -- or go with Dynamips (and Dynagen) to ""fill out" your existing hardware lab. You could probably spend most of your time in Dynamips for the MPLS, BGP, and BSCI exams.
    Dynamips does sound versatile.

    Please could you give me a hint as to which (cheap) routers will support MPLS? I know GSRs do - not sure about smaller devices.
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  15. Cisco Moderator mikej412's Avatar
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    #14
    Well.... the 3640s will support MPLS. Then moving up in price the 2600XMs (or 2600s running the XM code in a lab environment). The 7200s are also an option, and then the newer guys like the 2800s (2801 is the cheapest of that group).... etc

    You can check the Cisco Feature Navigator -- search by feature (MPLS) and then use the Platform drop down to see which routers (and IOS Feature Sets) are options.
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412
    Well.... the 3640s will support MPLS. Then moving up in price the 2600XMs (or 2600s running the XM code in a lab environment). The 7200s are also an option, and then the newer guys like the 2800s (2801 is the cheapest of that group).... etc

    You can check the Cisco Feature Navigator -- search by feature (MPLS) and then use the Platform drop down to see which routers (and IOS Feature Sets) are options.
    ohh, excellent link. thanks mike.

    time to get down to studying now
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  17. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #16
    Another update on my equipment-list, although it's not for the lab. My predecessor at work had replaced what he called "some old Cisco rinky-dink device" with a SonicWall 2040, and left the old firewall in the customer's wiring closet. When I went onsite to talk to the customer, he asked me if I would take some of the old networking equipment out and recycle it, trash it, or reuse it. I agreed, taking the old firewall, an old DSL modem, and some cabling out of there. The modem and the old cabling were useless, but I did find that my predecessor was let go for a reason: the "old rinky-dink device" was a barely-used PIX 501 10-user license firewall. Right now, it's happily inspecting packets at the edge of my home network.

    Even one of the owners of my company, (who said it was okay for me to keep the PIX, so long as the customer said I could,) thought it was pretty funny. Isn't it amazing what kinds of things you can pick up when you. . . oh, I don't know. . . actually know what you're doing?

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    Score! Congratulations.
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    #18
    Excellent work there slowhand. I walked out of the office this evening with a couple of 2500s under my arm. Took me an age to console into them (driver problem with the dongle) but managed it in the end. Sort of shows how real kit = real world ... never had that problem with sims

    So, tomorrow I'll have a go at setting something up. I think the first chapter of BSCI has something. Although to be honest it'd probably be good for me to go over the CCNA again as a refresher.

    Also realised i need to get a load of different connectors and cables and a presentation panel for the octal cables would be good too. Going to get hold of some cat5 and a tool for making the rj45 connections as well.
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  20. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #19
    Alright, I'm a hard-boiled geek and all, so I thought I'd ask. . .

    I stumbled across a Catalyst 4006 with 3 WS-X4148-RJ 24 port switches and 3 power supplies for about $300, and I can't seem to justify the purchase. (Like I need a good reason, right?) I know I'm probably going to stop geeking out and regain my sanity in the morning, but I thought I'd see if there's anything fun I can do with this puppy. Anyone got any suggestions for uses in a lab-environment, some tips on features, or any other uber-geeky thing I can make this thing do that might not be obvious from the data sheet, if I should get something crazy in my ear and shell out the money?

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  21. APA
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    #20
    dude I'm so envious you got ahold of the PIX 501....... Can you ransack your other clients cupboards to see if your predecessor left any other ***Cisco-Rinky-Dink*** devices around??? PIX 515E or an ASA would be awesome....

    thanks

    hehehe
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  22. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #21
    Looks like my little lab is growing. Today I spirited away a couple of pieces of Cisco equipment from our company's "junk pile", which consists of hardware which is going in the dumpster at the end of next month.

    1x 1720 Router (w/ WIC 1DSU T1 card)
    1x 1721 Router (w/ WIC 1DSU T1 card)
    1x 1605R Router
    1x 2501 Router
    1x 3620 Router

    Haven't checked out what IOS versions, how much memory, etc, these guys are running, but the price was right.

    I've tested the 2501 and the 3620, they both power up and POST just fine. I need to get new power cords for for the others, but they seem to be in good shape. Don't you just love it when a company is willing to tear out equipment in favor of selling their clients something new? In this case, my company has an affinity for telling their customers that they need to throw away Cisco and Juniper equipment, new or otherwise, in order to sell them on the company that gives us the biggest mark-up: SonicWall.

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    #22
    Sounds good. Do you plan on using those T1 cards? those can get expensive in a homelab.

    You know you could always save your mula for that 3550 and do the rest of your routing on dynamips.

    You have enough gear to not be classified an emulated CCNA/NP.

    I just recently got a brand new ASA to play with from work.
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  24. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Netstudent
    Sounds good. Do you plan on using those T1 cards? those can get expensive in a homelab.
    I was thinking about using them just for the purpose of emulating point-to-point T1 connections, and then seeing what other trouble I can use them to get into.

    Quote Originally Posted by Netstudent
    You know you could always save your mula for that 3550 and do the rest of your routing on dynamips.
    That's exactly the thought I had. I was thinking of putting together decent server to run Dynamips on, along with a few other things for lab-purposes. I've got a TechNet subscription, so software isn't an issue, (or I could buckle down and run FreeBSD or Linux on the thing.) I quoted out a 1U rackmount server sporting an MSI board with a built-in Gigabit NIC, running a 2.6GHz Opteron M2-chipset CPU, 4GB 667MHz DDR2 ECC RAM, and a pair of 500GB SATA hard drives running RAID1 for a little over $1,000. With the money I'd be spending on routers, I can use those savings for the server and a couple of 3550s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Netstudent
    You have enough gear to not be classified an emulated CCNA/NP.

    I just recently got a brand new ASA to play with from work
    Heh, I'm hoping to have a nice little lab-rack set up sooner than later. I was planning on accumulating a router here, a switch there, while I was finishing off my MCSE cert and upgrading to MCITP: Enterprise Administrator. Now I guess I'll just have to get the equipment up and running, and then either leave it alone or start working my way through Routing TCP/IP Volume I, Second Edition. . .

    <sigh>What's a networking-geek to do?</sigh>

    You'll have to give a review on those ASA devices. I've been beating my head against my PIX 501, running familiar router-commands and ending up seeing the help-function all too often. I'm curious to see if the ASAs lean more towards the standard IOS with more security functions, or if they run their OS by the beat of their own security-drum.

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  25. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #24
    Well, I finally pulled the trigger. In addition to the two books I already own, (Routing TCP/IP Volume I, Second Edition and Cisco LAN Switching,) that are beyond the scope of the CCNA, I purchased two items from Amazon earlier this afternoon:

    CCNP Official Exam Certification Library (5th Edition)

    Routing TCP/IP, Volume II

    Yeah, I know, I'm hopeless. The MCSE studies are beginning to drag a bit, so I'm going to begin reading up for BSCI as well, as a change of pace. The primary focus will be 70-293, 70-298, then 70-294, with the CCNP material as side-study. After the MCSE is done, it's time to hit the CCNP exams full-blast. (A little changeover from what I'd originally planned, my current job has no plans to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 anytime soon, so I've decided to wait a bit with the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator stuff.)

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  26. Senior Member
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    #25
    How long ago did you get your CCNA? It's nice to keep going, so all that knowledge doesn't go stale. Good luck with all of that!
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