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shin7772
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Would you recommend actual lab kit than packet tracer and gns3?

Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:15 pm

I am fairy new to IT field and trying to get ccna certification. I currently hold bachelor degree in IT and have comptia A+ and Network+ certifications. I am currently working as IT person in private company but I feel like I need this certifications and study more for my own good. I've been studying with cbt nugget videos and some youtube videos using packet tracers but many are telling me I should use actual lab kit rather than simulator/emulator. What would you say? I have my eye on some lab kits on ebay and they are going for $280 - $360. $280 one is 2 switches and 3 routers kit and $360 one is 5 routers and 3 switches kit. Which would be better you think? I don't think these lab kits are a must for the exam but I want to have actual hand on experience on this too.
 
Vhalidictes
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Re: Would you recommend actual lab kit than packet tracer and gns3?

Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:41 pm

It really depends on your work environment.

If you have access to Cisco gear at work, it's a luxury.

If you don't, you really need a physical lab. There's no end to the weird issues and problems that I ran into with even nice simulators.

Of course, the above advice is considering that you're intending to go beyond the CCNA and/or get specialized certs. If you're just getting your CCNA and not going further into certification you could probably get by with simulators.

Note: When you do take the CCNA, take the combined test, not the CCENT and separate second test.
 
TwistedKestrel
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Re: Would you recommend actual lab kit than packet tracer and gns3?

Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:55 pm

I think for CCNA Packet Tracer is good enough. Lab kit would be more accurate of course, but you can evaluate way, way more scenarios with PT. The curriculum is pretty much built around PT as well, so I don't think the esoteric quirks of PT or actual hardware will matter much.

(Also your virtual patch cables won't break from stress fatigue!)

Nothing is a replacement for hands-on experience, but you're generally not going to convince anyone that fooling around with a couple routers is equivalent to experience in a production environment
 
Kougar
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Re: Would you recommend actual lab kit than packet tracer and gns3?

Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:20 pm

Testout has a really good course for learning the CCNA, includes some basic sims, tests, and a lot of CBT nugget style videos. The amount of content to learn is rather large so I found it to be helpful, and you get to use it as a reference for a year. Not cheap though. Boson has some cheap exam sims that start at the basic level and upgrade three levels to where you really have to have an expert understanding of what's going on to answer.

If you don't plan to get into networking then packet tracer is good up to the CCNA level, it simply doesn't support advanced functionality that you would need to go beyond the CCNA. The older versions were free, not sure what Cisco has done with it recently.

Something that doesn't cost you money is http://www.sharontools.com/online-lab/ This site links to a live, real hardware network. It has linux clients, Cisco & Juniper routers and swtiches, Alteon load balancer, and some VMware stuff thrown in, etc. You have direct console access to the hardware, and the stuff gets reset every 24 hours incase someone breaks something.
 
Drachasor
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Re: Would you recommend actual lab kit than packet tracer and gns3?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:48 am

Vhalidictes wrote:
It really depends on your work environment.

If you have access to Cisco gear at work, it's a luxury.

If you don't, you really need a physical lab. There's no end to the weird issues and problems that I ran into with even nice simulators.

Of course, the above advice is considering that you're intending to go beyond the CCNA and/or get specialized certs. If you're just getting your CCNA and not going further into certification you could probably get by with simulators.

Note: When you do take the CCNA, take the combined test, not the CCENT and separate second test.


I got the CCNA just using GNS3, so I can confirm this is sufficient. You can add switch modules to routers which is enough to get the CCNA job done for practice.

Beyond that you should at least get switches, since GNS3 doesn't emulate Cisco Switches well. Personally I got switches and routers...then I got a job where 99% of our equipment is Juniper, so there you go.

One note, however, having Cisco Equipment at work is helpful for learning basic commands, but isn't helpful for studying unless you have equipment that you can reconfigure however you want.

Regarding lab kits, if you want to go all physical devices, then you'll need 3 routers. Make sure they have IOS 12+. You need 3 for properly practicing NAT and Routing Protocols, though GNS3 is arguably better since you can setup more complicated networks. A lot of people say you just need 2 switches, but I really think 3 is helpful for messing around with STP. However, not all routers and switches can do everything needed. If you plan on getting a CCNP, then you might as well spend a little extra and make sure you are getting routers and switches that can cover everything in there.
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Would you recommend actual lab kit than packet tracer and gns3?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:00 pm

Packet Tracer was enough for me over 3 years ago for my ccna. The book and that were more than sufficient. I got my ccna security after that and stopped there.

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