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How do I make a Cisco lab for CCNP training?

Want to know how to set up a cost-effective Cisco lab for CCNP training? Learn from Cisco certification expert Dave Minutella in this response.

I'm looking at putting together a Cisco lab with an eye towards CCNP training (I already have a CCNA) and possibly CCIE training in the future. I want to select routers that will serve for today and still be upgradeable in the future to current IOS, and I don't want to break the bank so to speak. I believe that the 2610XM switches will be supported for the next couple of years, but what do you think? What router would you advise getting with this in mind? I'm also looking at a 3560 3560-8PC switch for Layer 3 training. What do you think?
I highly recommend the Layer 3 switch. It is essential for our CCNP rack as well as future CCIE practice. The 2610XM is ok, but I think you are not going to get as much mileage as you hoped out of that particular piece of gear. I know you will be able to support the SDM configuration and whatnot with that router, but you have to have a decent amount of memory. If you can stretch the wallet just a bit further, you might want to look into the integrated service routers from Cisco such as the 1841. This has all the bells and whistles (minus a WIC card for connectivity to some lower-end Cisco routers), but should last you for years and years.
This was last published in September 2007

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