A candidate for the CCNA or CCNP certifications that wants to be completely prepared for their exams will want to put together a home lab to practice on. With used Cisco equipment such as routers and switches being more affordable and plentiful than ever before, there is absolutely no excuse to not have a home lab these days.
A Great Deal of Confusion With the Many Types of Used Cisco Equipment in Toronto, the GTA and Canada
With the many different models that are available, there is understandable confusion among future CCNAs and CCNPs on which routers to buy and which ones to avoid. One can take almost any set of Cisco routers and put together a home lab. Part of the learning process involves taking what used cisco equipment you have available and self-assembling your own lab. For those that are preparing to start ones home lab or add to a current one, this article will list the routers I use in my Cisco pods. You certainly don’t have to have all this equipment, but this will give you some good ideas on how to get started.
Used Cisco Equipment and Router Recommendations for People in Toronto, the GTA and Canada
The most versatile router you can get for your CCNA / CCNP home lab is a 2621 XM MultiService Router (https://www.netnit.com/cisco-routers/cisco-2600-series/cisco-2621-multiservice-platform/). These dual fast ethernet routers come with 2 WAN Interface Card (WIC) Slots and 1 NM Slot. In addition, they have memory upgrade options for both Flash (32 MB) and DRAM (128 MB). My pods consist of five routers and two switches, and three of the five routers are 2520s, due to their versatility. A recent eBay search showed these routers selling for $130, an outstanding value for the practice you’re going to get. However, Netnit sells these for cheaper.
With a few routers to work with, you’re probably going to get tired of moving that console cable (https://www.netnit.com/cisco-cables/) around. An access server (which is actually a Cisco router (https://www.netnit.com/cisco-routers/), as opposed to the huge boxes we tend to think of when the term “server” is used) will assist you with that. An access server allows one to set up a connection with each of your other routers via an octal cable, which prevents you from moving that console cable around continually.
Used Cisco Equipment and What Routers to Buy in Toronto, the GTA and Canada
One question CCNA / CCNP candidates often ask is “What routers should I buy that I can still use when I’m ready to study for the CCNP?” The CCIE lab requirements change regularly and sometimes drastically when it comes to the equipment one will require. We found that, either renting time from online rack rental providers was one good option, but at the prices Netnit offers, you can also buy from us at a comparable price and resell it when you are done.
Don’t hesitate when putting your CCNA / CCNP home lab together, wondering what will be acceptable for the CCIE lab a year or so from now. The short answer is, we don’t know! None of us know what’s going to be on that equipment list, so get the CCNA and CCNP first – by building your own Cisco home lab with used Cisco equipment from Netnit!