Home lab for CCNP and beyond?


Oct 31, 2005
Hey guys,

I'm looking to build a lab to learn and get more experience with. I've got my CCNA and CCNP and am just looking to build a lab to keep my skills up and have fun with. I have no plans of getting my CCIE, but delving into some of the CCIE topics would be interesting.

The lab that I have been using for the last 2 years is my school lab, and now that I've graduated I no longer have access to it. They had very new equipment in the lab, so I'm used to the new 12.2-12.4 IOS. There was mainly 3500 and 3700 series switches and 2800 series routers for the last year in there.

I know I can't afford that kind of equipment, or even close. I need a little help picking out some routers and switches for my home lab that will do me good. I would like to spend under $200 for each unit (maybe 3 routers and 2 switches right now). Does anyone have similar equipment in their home lab that is doing well for them?

I've heard a lot of things like "Don't go for the 2500 series" and "Make sure you get 64/16 in your routers for the latest IOS's", but besides these does anyone have some specific advise on what I should be looking for? Thanks so much for any help.

I have no Cisco advice. But you are in the wrong forum. This is the Networking Gallery. It should be a forum up. Good luck with your find. I am working on my CCNA myself... its been slow.
Damn, I'm sorry. I accidentally placed it in this forum and not the one above it, but I figured I should leave it and see if anyone replies before moving it. I'll move it right now, thanks guys.
As long as you stay within the 2940/2950 for switch's and 2600's for routers you should be ok. Just know that, 2600's don't support voice (dsp's that is), and 2940's don't support auto-qos. Although, i'm sure you know that.

Good luck in your search!
How did you pass CCNA & CCNP, i am doing CCNA any advise would be really appreciated ?
How did you pass CCNA & CCNP, i am doing CCNA any advise would be really appreciated ?

Sorry, after I posted this in the Networking & Security section I didn't really keep an eye on this topic.

I studied hard for 2 years. I studied a lot more than just CCNA and CCNP though(Computer Science including wireless courses, programming, and databases).

Just study hard and get some good lab experience. The labs are what tie everything together and make you REALLY understand it all. If you can get access to a solid lab environment you'll be set. With that said, many people have passed CCNA with only textbooks and simulators.

Good luck!
I was at a tech school 3 years ago and bought my CCNA stuff before I left, but never really got into it. I did leave with my A+ and Net+ though. I've thought about buying some routers and switches off of eBay but I have no clue as to where to start. Any suggestions? I'm on a budget too so cheap is good. :D
if you get 2600XT or XP... Xsomething with max ram you can run 12.4 ios and do some of the new stuff that the 2800s do.
So I found a brand new 24-port 2950 switch on eBay for $250 out the door, thinking about grabbing that soon. I'm also still looking for a good router for around the same price or lower, especially one that isn't missing pieces or has been heavily used to the point of wasting my time.

So which is a good and cheap router model? Also, what should I do after my CCNA? What cert comes next?
Just ordered the 2950 24-port switch, 2503 and 2620 routers today. Hope to get them soon!
So which is a good and cheap router model? Also, what should I do after my CCNA? What cert comes next?


Actually having the CCNA enrolls you to do pretty much any of the other certifications, DA, SP, etc.

When I built up my CCNP lab, I picked up 5 3640As for about $230 /per w/ 4 serial, 1 BRI, 1T1, and 1Ether.

You'll probably want an ISR router as well, so look for a cheap 800 series. One model has 2 Ethernet ports.
For my lab, I got a 2950 24-port switch, 2503 router and a 2620 router. I haven't really touched the 2503 yet because I have finals this week and next week. The switch works really good so far and the router only has one 10/100 Ethernet port so I can't really use it in my home network. I don't have a transceiver either.