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Gearing up for the CCNA

Gearing up for the CCNA

Gearing up for the CCNA

Hey everyone,
I have a question regarding preparing for the CCNA exam.
This is my background in a nutshell. I'm a tech thats been working at a company for 5 years on the Helpdesk. I've got my A+ and my network + cert. I want start preparing for the CCNA exam and want to set up a small lab at home. We have some spare equipment in our server room that I will have access to i'm sure.

We have: Cisco 515E Firewall
         Cisco 2600 x 2 Routers
         Cisco 2500 Router
         Cisco 2801 Router

What do ya'll think I can use as a set up that will be optimal and how many systems will I need?


RE: Gearing up for the CCNA


As for the equipment you have - forget the PIX 515, CCNA does not cover the PIX in any way so it will only confuse you, Use the 2500 as a Frame Relay switch and connect (if it only has 2 serial) the 2801 and 2600 through the 2500 FR Switch, you will need WIC 1Ts for the 2801 and 2600 as well as DCE/DTE cables. The DCE end goes to the FR Switch.

If you are lucky enough to have a 2500 that is a 2520/21 or 2522/23 you will have plenty of serial ports to attach the 3 routers, if not just get another 2 WIC 1Ts and connect the 2801 to the 2nd 2600, that way you can route to a 3rd router accross the Frame Relay switch.

You will also need at least 2 2950 switches, you can get them on eBay, don't expect work to supply EVERYTHING !!!

Read the info at Networkworld on setting up a home CCNA lab - the link is below.

As for study, I would get 2 books, Sybex CCNA Study Guide by Todd Lammel and one of the Cisco Press CCNA books, Wendell Odom is one of the better.

Between the 2 books the Lammel book will give you what you need to know for the exam and the Cisco Press books tend to go into more detail so you understand it a little more and can work with it.

It also helps to have 2 different perspectives.

The CCNA is a lot about troubleshooting - a sim like Cisco's Packet Tracer is good, an emulator like GNS3 is better and a home lab of real equipment (3 routers and 2 switches) that you can do end to end networking is the best, a place where you can try all the different commands and labs!! Using all 3 to get hands on PRACTICE,PRACTICE and MORE PRACTICE is the BEST !!!!!

HANDS ON PRACTICE, as you read about it get in the lab and try it. Here is a link to Wendell Odom's blog at Networkworld about setting up a home CCNA lab -

Study the material, take practice tests and use those to determine where you are and go back to the areas that you don't do well in. DO NOT JUST LEARN THE PRACTICE TESTS !!!! Use them to understand where you are at in your study!!

As far as how long it should take depends on how much time you have to put towards study, it could take a few weeks or almost a year, when you know the stuff in the books and on Cisco's CCNA exam blueprint like the back of your hand - take the exam !!!

Good luck and I hope this helps !!

E.A. Broda
CCNA, CCDA, CCAI, Network +

RE: Gearing up for the CCNA

Acer 1608

You will need some DCE/DTE cables to connect the WIC 1Ts to the 2500 serial ports, you can get these on eBay or at www.anthypanda.com or www.cableandkits.com  You can get these in 3ft lengths for about $8 to $12.


Router 1               Frame Relay Switch              Router 2
2801 (WIC1T)DTE-----------DCE 2500 DCE-------------DTE(WIC1T)2600
                        Router 3

As for the switches, 2950's should be fine as long as you can do VLANs, STP, VTP, trunking etc.   you just will need straight through Ethernet cables to connect your routers to them and any PCs you use and you will need crossover Ethernet cables to connect the switches for trunking depending on the age of the switch, most new switchs auto detect the cable now.  

I hope this helps, check out the link I listed for the FREE CCNA Lab, you can get some ideas how to setup and use a Frame Relay Switch.

Good luck in your studies!!

E.A. Broda
CCNA, CCDA, CCAI, Network +

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