all 9 comments

[–]CannibalAngelJNCIA-Junos 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Most people will recommend 1841 routers and 3560 switches (2960 if you are really tight on cash).

You can get the CCNA with Cisco's FREE Packet Tracer (link in sidebar). There really isn't much benefit in having a physical lab unless you have the cash to spare for the hardware and increase in your electric bill.

[–]SgtPackets 0 points1 point  (0 children)

To echo off of this. just use PT then GNS3 for CCNP+ studies.

if you're dead set on hardware, it can get expensive quickly.

avoid anything that can't run IOS15 3 routers & 3 L3 switches 3560s and 2811s just to give you an idea.

[–]zanfarCCENT 2 points3 points  (0 children)


2-3 routers, 2-3 switches for the CCNA. IOS15+ is good, but not essential. At least 1 L3 switch. 1800 and 2800 routers are good deals, many 2900, 3600, and 3700 switches will work well.

But, yes, as /u/CannibalAngel says, no real need for equipment until after the CCNA, although at the ICND2 level it starts becoming helpful to get a feel for physical devices. I'd recommend staying virtual through the ICND1 until you get an idea of what you want to play with.

[–]throawaac 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I bought a 1811w on Craigslist for $25. Then I bought (2) 1841 w/ IOS 15, T1 cards, and rack mounts + cables for $100 on eBay. That's all I'm buying for the CCNA. I just wanted physical equipment to play with. Whatever labs u can't do on those routers I'll do on my esxi server or packet tracer.

[–]anandsoftVijay 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Did you buy cables along with these routers/switches? What all interface cables are required?

[–]throawaac 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The 1841s I got on ebay came with serial cables for a console connection. For ethernet cables, I bought a 50 foot cat6a roll on Amazon with a small kit for terminating ethernet cables. So I learned how to make my own cables. Cheap in all. I think it's worth the physical experience of having to touch the equipment to actually do something and be able to visualize your network map, because you won't always have the nice looking map that packet tracer provides. You don't want your first time touching a piece of equipment be when you're prospective employer asks you to do a lab to prove you actually know what you say you do. Even if you can't afford buying a full lab, just get the cheapest router with IOS you can find on Craigslist and I think that would really help.

[–]kapache33 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Packet tracer does the job for the CCNA certification. I won't invest on hardware unless I plan on going beyond CCNA.

[–]-x86 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Just use GNS3 or PacketTracer. I spent money on a few routers and switches and I rarely use them. It's so much easier and convenient to just fire up GNS3/PT and lab something out.