Best CCNP Lab? Part II

The corner-stone –in my opinion that is– of the CCNP track is the BSCI course. It’s probably the most important and difficult material you will experience in the CCNP track. This is probably a lot of the reason for why it really hasn’t changed much at all over the years. So regarding the new CCNP changes, it’s pretty much the same as it has always been.

Take a look at the exam objectives here

People are always worried about what they will be tested on. My best advice would be to always check out the exam objectives, as they clearly outline the different areas you’ll be tested on.

As you can see from the objectives, you really won’t be getting into SDM (aka “the GUI tool”). The biggest changes you want to be aware of are IPv6. I would say there is a lot of new content covered on IPv6 (esp. with routing protocols i.e. OSPF)

The new BSCI self-study guide is the way to go for this test, as it’s what I used when I taught the class.

Anyways, lets get into the hardware needed.

If you want to use the BSCI self-study guide, there are plenty of labs you can follow along with (and you will be golden for doing so!). Beware you will probably want to make sure you have enough routers to do them. I wouldn’t advise setting up both pods as mentioned in the book. All you need is one pod and the two back-bone routers.

If you didn’t notice, the hardware needed really bleeds-through for all the tracks. Meaning, you can use hardware you bought for the Switching test, for the BSCI test (aka “routing test”).

I wanted to start off first with a recommendation for those buying routers. If you can afford to, I strongly suggest going with routers that can support 12.4 IOS versions (not that it’s required for this test). You can get 1760 routers for less then $300 nowadays. They will run 12.4, you can use SDM with them, and they natively support voice cards and DSP modules (you won’t have to buy a Voice Network module for your 2600s). This is important if you’re looking to get into the voice track. For what you pay for 2600 stuff, you can get a 1760 for a bit more and it’s far more scalable for your cert. studies! 2600xm series support 12.4, but they don’t natively support voice cards, so you’ll need something like a NV-1V. Again, this doesn’t apply to everyone, just wanted to throw it out there…

To sum things up, here is a list of recommended hardware for BSCI:

-Bronze- (It’s good to be thrifty!)

Dynamips (software emulation)- While I prefer to have my hands on real devices, dynamips works wonders for this test because all you really need are a bunch of routers to play with. I actually have a dynamips config file that goes along with the new BSCI book too if anyone is interested…

7x 2620 routers
1x 2950 switch-12 port version (break it out into vlans to create multiple switches)

-Silver- (stole the wife’s credit card a?)

2x 1760 router
5x 2620 router
2x 2950 switch

-Gold- (Hurt me plenty!)

6x 1760 router
1x 2620 (FR switch)
2x 2950

If you’re looking into using the BSCI self-study book, you’ll need 6 routers and a FR switch. So keep that in mind when looking at these. If you need help with the FR config on the router just see the Q&A tab

Don’t forget about all the necessary cables/WIC cards you’ll need. See my CCNA lab for help.


Cisco Doc CD:

BSCI self-study book (self-study = labs, certification guide= more sample tests then labs)

Special thanks goes out to Omer for helping to inspire me to keep blogging. It’s good to know people actually read this stuff!

Happy programming,


3 Responses to “Best CCNP Lab? Part II”

  1. Chris O says:

    Just wanted to note that people are still reading and finding help here. I’m working through CCNP right now and find your lab and resource suggestions helpful. Thanks for putting in the time to publish them.

  2. Mark says:

    I ditto that. i’m looking for a clear concise guide to what I need for CCNP and this is excellent. Thanks for the info, i’ve bookmarked and will check regularly for any updates 🙂

  3. duckdammy says:

    Hi Ted, I came across your website while I was doing online research for my study last month. Current I’m studying for BCSI and I would like to try Dynamips, and I saw your offer at this page. If possible, I would like to request the dynamips net file for the lab as you mention here.
    Thank you for all the source of information.

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