Preparing for the CCNA in one week
Since my company has been purchasing more Cisco network equipment as our other equipment either fails or gets replaced as money is available, I think it is best that I get my CCNA certification. I understand the exam isnt one that you can pass by just reading a book and taking a test. One question that I haven’t gotten answered is which is the best way – router simulator or buying some used gear and putting my own lab together?
— Via the Internet
If you have several years experience with Cisco gear, using a router simulator may be just the ticket for you. There are several router simulators available for purchase. Talk to others that you know that have studied for their CCNA Training to see what they have used. Most of them have some type of demo or eval mode to give you a chance to try them out and see what works best for you.
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Note that these simulators aren’t perfect – they won’t teach you what happens when a cable connector isn’t attached correctly or recovering a router when a firmware upgrade fails, for example. That’s a reason to consider setting up a lab.
I would get a couple of routers and at least one switch. While a 1900 series switch would probably be OK, if you have the money, look for a 2950 series switch, as it is a 10/100 switch and has a few more commands for you to go over in preparing for the exam. One advantage to having your own home lab is that you can try new things out before doing it on the company network. Hopefully your boss will appreciate what you are doing and maybe help cover some of the cost of your getting your CCNA.
One common complaint that I have heard is that buying Cisco gear is expensive. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cisco 2501 routers go for well under $100 (half that for the right auctions such as eBay). You may find that your employer may have some old gear in a closet some where that might be just enough to help you study for the test.
Depending on the type of Internet connection you have, purchasing a Cisco 2514 can give you the chance to work with the firewall features in Cisco IOS and have a firewall in the process. Although not the same as a PIX, it gets you started on a possible additional certification path and more experience with Cisco equipment. Take a look at the Cisco Networkers conference. This is another opportunity for you to learn more about how to best use Cisco equipment and meet some of your peers. A review of some of the Cisco orient ed websites on the Internet will give you some good ideas as to what type of equipment you may want to consider for your home lab, and go to http://www.certkingdom, and http://www.actualkey.com. Good luck!