I wanted to introduce myself. I have recently achieved my CCNP certification and working towards the CCDP since it only requires a CCDA + ARCH. I figure I can knock that out this year and have a good foundation to start the CCIE studies. There have been some shortcomings I have run into with the CCNP certification since I don't have actual equipment lying around for testing purposes. I am interested in acquiring equipment because I believe that it is not possible to get confortable with CCIE advanced topics on simulators only. I want to start putting together a rack of equipment for personal, testing purposes and I had a few questions.
- Is the Catalyst 2950 sufficient for Layer 2 analysis and testing? Will it perform all the necessary functions to test topics like PACLs, Voice VLANs, port security, etc... The Catalyst 2950 line is considerably cheaper than the Catalyst 2960 line. Does anyone have any thoughts on the Catalyst 2950 line for layer 2 examination purposes?
- Is the Catalyst 3550 sufficient for Layer 2/3 analysis and testing? Same question as before but now I need to make sure I can support all major routing protocols, security and commands needed for the CCIE training. Again, the Catalyst 3550 is considerably cheaper than the Catalyst 3560 so I am reviewing it for a Layer 3 switching option.
- Is the Cisco 3725 router sufficient for routing testing? I own a Cisco 1841 that I love but sometimes those can run a little expensive. I purposely chose that model for it's dual fast ethernet interfaces and expansion memory upgrades. I want the 3725 for the same reasons. The 3725 router line up also looks like a good candidate for it's expansion capabilities (memory, line cards,etc...) and they seem to be sold in bulk which I may be able to negotiate down the price a little.
- Frame Relay - this protocol/technology has been present in both the CCNA and CCNP so I assume that it will still be a hot topic for WAN examination on the CCIE (incorrect?). I have been able to configure a Cisco router to operate as a Frame Relay switch for practicing OSPF. Does the Cisco router have the capability of performing Frame-Relay based QoS? Should I look into getting a legitimate FR switch for analysis?
- Any other helpful devices? I don't want to have to buy a ton of devices. Just enough to build labs to practice concepts.
Thanks for your time and I look forward to discussing more things in this forum