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This topic contains 19 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  greg@ward 5 years ago.

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    Hey All!

    Studying for my Network+ exam but wanted to put together a lab with a cisco box so that I already have the hardware to go after CCNA next. My question is what is a good router to purchase that has the current version of the IOS command-line interface? I figure I can use this setup to learn the N+ concepts by sniffing traffic with Wireshark and doing analysis while learning a bit of the syntax for the CCNA.

    Thanks in advance!



    I understand you’re looking for recommendations for actual hardware, but have you heard of GNS3 ( It’s a Free network simulator suite that is almost as good as the real thing. It even allows you to access the ‘routers’ and ‘switches’ via command console and input real IOS commands.

    I’m afraid that I don’t know much about Cisco hardware so I can’t make any recommendations on that front :(.




    @stark, I hadn’t heard of that particular website but I’ve used things like PacketTracer in school. Personally for me, I learn best hands-on so that’s why I want to get a physical box in addition to adding it to my networking setup for my house.



    I can’t recommend any particular hardware but keep an eye on ebay for good deals on gear. I’ve also seen some people selling “CCNA in a box” type setups with all the equipment you need in one purchase. Not sure if they’re good prices or not but probably worth looking at.


    Hamilton Douglas

    I would tell you to use packet tracer first,Packet tracer has a number of pre-configured labs.Packet tracer also has a timer and rest buttom.You can even time yourself,this would be helpful.Ive heard that GNS3 doesn’t emulate switches.



    Okay, thank you for the information everyone! I already have Packet Tracer on my laptop. Will keep playing with that and look for some “CCNA in a box” type setups. Trying to replace the crappy Verizon router that we have as it has a very poor implementation of UPNP which makes multiple console gaming on Xbox Live difficult due to NAT.



    thanks for the link to GNS3 @stark.
    I hadn’t heard of it before. Something new to take a look at (and it has a linux version, yay!)



    Only issue I found with GNS3 is that you need to get a copy of the IOS for it to work.

    Take a look on Ebay and see what’s being sold in the kits/all in one labs…then look for a cheap single unit.



    See instead of buying real equipments without having the knowledge for which purposes you are buying them will be a real waste of resources, since every other router will have something or the other different from the previous one.
    If you wanna work on IOS then use Cisco PAcket Tracer 6.2.It has all the latest IOS version(v15) and all the devices preconfigured with IOS and interfaces.
    With GNS3,you will have to put in extra time loading the IOS image of routers yourself and though it is better than Packet Tracer in many ways,It is a bit difficult to configure especially if you are just starting off.
    My advice would be to use CISCO PACKET TRACER 6.2 and for labs like vrrp,glbp,frame relay etc,,use GNS3 since they are not supported by PACKet tracer.

    Best Of luck.
    CCNA Routing & Switching ( 200-120 )



    ^ Playing devils advocate here @harshi!! …but where does one readily get a copy of packet tracer, and or the IOS for GNS3?

    I agree using one of the two major software options is helpful to start. I got a copy of PT from a friend, but it’s not readily available to the public.



    I agree with @dagues. My copy of PT is super outdated and I’m not sure how to get myself the latest copy without shelling out more money. I took the few Cisco classes at college back in 2010. I also want to incorporate the hardware into my setup though so it’s not only for testing/learning purposes. I want to have something a little bit more robust than what Verizon gives me as their default router.


    Samuel Wong

    I wonder cisco 871 router is suitable for the CCNA lab environment?


    But i believe cisco packet tracer is more favourable than GNS3



    Not sure if it’s against forum rules to post this so feel free to delete it (Mods).

    CCNA Lab Kits

    This is a site I found while Googling. It looks like it can be expensive but there is an informative article about what to buy and why. Gives a good, better, best scenario as well and talks about limitations. Once I finish my N+ I think I’m gonna go for either this or Security+.

    Cisco Lab Building Suggestions



    All you need for CCNA exam is free packet tracer, however cisco network simulator did a great job! 🙂


    Nilesh Soni

    Packet tracer software good



    Hey folks, check this out, it’s free!
    Cisco LABs Training with Advanced GNS3 Features



    @amir — thanks for this link. Exactly what I am looking for. 🙂



    @sleemoslimz, I would prefer IOS hardware as well. However, is one piece of Cisco hardware enough? If not, you’ll need a big budget. I used Packet Tracer and it worked quite well. It allowed me to configure oodles of routers and switches without me having to shell out 10’s of thousands of dollars to create my Lab networks IRL.



    i own or have owned cisco 1720,1721,1751,1760,2691,2801,2811,827,837,857,877w,887 and 881srst and some switches.
    I set them up for use with my home broadband and use/d them for my phone.

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