I am currently working on my CCNA (ICDN2 test in 1 week!) and wish to
move to the CCNP track.
I really need help with the lab! I have done due diligence by
researching but just ended up more confused: I have been Googling for
the past 3 days.
I do not want to cut many corners on the lab. I have a reasonable
amount of cash to spend (up to $1000 is my target) and my lab has a
good start already.
Currently my lab looks like this:
2610XM, 1 CSU DSU WIC
2651 <-----I plan to convert this to an access server with 16 port (2
x8)octal using the correct NM module.
3640, 2 FE NM, 1 CSU/DSU
Aironet Access point 1100
Thanks in advance.
Let me start off by telling you congrats for your achievements thus far. CCNA is no easy task nowadays. This is probably one of the most common questions regarding Cisco exams. It can be very confusing to try and figure out exactly what hardware is needed for each test.
To start out with, have a look at the links below which covers the exam objectives for each test (stay away from the composite tests).
BSCI- Exam Objectives
BCMSN- Exam Objectives
ISCW- Exam Objectives
ONT- Exam Objectives
Starting with BSCI, this is basically the routing exam. You want to make sure you have 3-5 routers with interfaces you can use to connect them. The Cisco Press self-study book for this test is great, and I used it when I taught the course. There are hands-on labs for each chapter. Keep in mind, the book made use of quite a few routers. I’m not sure how familiar you are with Dynamips, but you probably want to use it for this test. It basically allows you to emulate routers without spending the money on hardware. It works great so don’t worry about cutting any corners by using it. It takes some time to figure it all out, but it’s worth it! If you don’t want to go the Dynamips route, you can scale down the number of routers and just be creative. Just make sure you get the concepts.
See this link for the dynamips config that goes along with the BSCI self-study book:: Dynamips config
For the BCMSN, you have two 2950s, so you should be good there. Also have a look at a 3550 switch (you can also use the ether-switch module in Dynamips). If your 2960 will do inter-vlan routing and private vlans, you can use it (I haven’t used 2960s much). There is also a self-study guide for the switching test as well (BCMSN). Again, self-study will get you more hands-on practice vs. an exam certification guide. You don’t always have to try to build exactly what they have in the books, just make sure you can test the concepts in your own way. You have a wireless AP, so you should be able to do the wireless labs as well. It isn’t really worth buying a wireless lan controller for LWAPP, so make sure you get the concepts. If you had a Cisco wireless adapter card, that would be good so you can play with the ADU software. Wireless isn’t a heavy portion of the test, but you still need to know the concepts well.
For the ISCW (aka security), you really only need two routers for most of the content tested (directly connected). You have an XM router, so you will be able to install the Cisco SDM (secure device manager) software. I think the 3640 also works with the SDM–worst case use Dynamips. Make sure you know how to use the SDM (gui) to configure everything outlined in the exam objectives (also know CLI). The Cisco ISCW book is also decent for this test.
The ONT exam is basically just QoS with minor touches on VoIP. Your XM router or 3640 will be fine for this. The Cisco Press book works for this, but I would also recommend buying the Exam Cert guide for QoS by Wendell Odom (awesome book). Also play with the SDM for this as well as CLI.
See my previous posts below for some additional info ::
Hope this helps,
P.S. Ebay is good for finding hardware, but use Dynamips if you can!
CCIE No. 21785