Acquiring Cisco equipment for hands on training
I am pursuing CCNP and want to acquire Cisco equipment for hands on training. Which routers and switches are recommended, and how many? Also I would like to pursue CCIE after CCNP.
I'm told that (a) 2500-class routers are all that's really necessary for the CCNA and that such equipment is readily available at low prices from e-bay (for a listing of what you might need to equip such a lab, visit the Network Liquidators site mentioned below and check their "Cisco Systems Product Special: CCNA Power Package." That said, you might want to compare and contrast pricing for acquiring and maintaining such equipment against the prices of signing up for hours at any of the various "virtual labs" on the Internet that make such equipment (and more) available online. For CCNP and CCIE you'll need far more capable, well-equipped labs, which may not be practical (or affordable) to install privately anyway.
See, for example, the offerings from:
Network Liquidators: www.networkliquidators.com (refurbished Cisco equipment, lab packages)
Netjam Online Store: www.netjam.net/store/customer/ (used and refurbished Cisco equipment sales and rentals)
RackStudy: www.rackstudy.com (online rack rentals for Cisco exam preparation)
Gambit Communications (www.gambitcomm.com) Cisco IOS simulator
Router Academy (www.routeracademy.com/resources.asp) Virtual online router labs
There are also software products from Sybex books, Career Academy
(http://www.careeracademy.com/.sc/ms/dd/1032987946/9/nc/ee/279), and other players that provide local simulations through software-only tools for CCNA prep. Visit Google and use "virtual Cisco lab" as your search string for a bunch more pointers.
This was first published in May 2003