I am currently studying for the CCNA certification and have found that it would be most useful to be exposed to a lab environment for most of the curriculum. Unfortunately, I work 40+ hours a week in a field that does not deal with routing or switching currently and do not have the time for a class room setting. I am using the Cisco CCNA ICND 1 and 2 Cert Guides as study material and have am nearing completion of studying them. I have heard of routing and switching simulators that allow you to do a mock setup of a network. Looking around, it seems the average price is around 300-400 hundred. I'll pay the price, but do want to know which one is going to help me the most in my circumstance.
I am also currently working as a broadband technician for a Cable company, but am wanting to transition into a networking career. I currently do not have a degree. I would like to land an entry level networking job so I can acquire on the job experience, but it seems most places want someone with a degree or 2-3 years experience. Has anyone else been down a similar path?? I'm not afraid of contract work or traveling either, my wife and I are in our 20's with no children, and would love the opportunity to travel. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Check out GNS3. This uses Dynamips to emulate the MIPS processor that some Cisco routers run. THen if you have access to an image file, it will run a virtual IOS. You are limited in what kind of interfaces you want to use (basically Ethernet and serial). but it can get you familiar with routing protocols and basics. Since it runs real IOS the experience would be identical to any similarly configured network. It will not emulate Cisco switch IOS, but it can create a virutal switch device (unmanaged) that can connect your various virtual routers.
Thanks for your help Ryan. Downloaded GNS3 and opened it up, then read your post again and realized I don't have any access to any IOS images. Is there a place where those are readily available or must you get them from an actual router/switch??
Yes, you can doinload them from CCO (Cisco Connection Online) if you have an account with a valid service contrct. You can also get them off of a router that has one already.
I want to be careful here as this gets into an area that can be legally dubious. I think this software is great for studying, but I am not sure if Cisco has weighed in as to the legalities of utilizing thier IOS in this way. For this reason I advise against sharing the actual image files with anyone, as they are copyrighted.
according to Cisco's EULA, running IOS on something that isn't Cisco hardware is illegal. i truly wish that Cisco would release even a single IOS version that has all the features necessary for CCNP preparation and that will run only in a simulator.
if you're trying to stay within the rules, your options are:
1) a simulator like Boson's NetsimX
2) online rack time rental
3) purchase your own hardware
honestly, i think a combination of the three is the best solution. each has its pros and cons, but all are useful toward your goal.
GNS3/dynamips is an excellent solution and even though Cisco has given presentations in tandem with the GNS3 team, they refuse to acknowledge it as a viable exam prep option. Perhaps, if enough interest is generated within their own discussion boards, Cisco may finally turn its eye toward this community and see the true demand for this option.
incidentally, it has been posted in other boards that CiscoPress will be releasing its own router/switch simulator in the near future as well.
GNS3 is an excellent one and can be usful to bulid up a CCIE level lab.
But in CCNA many other simulators are also available like RouterSim and many others, so get one and practice labs dude.
Best of Luck
I can recommend the CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide, 6.th edition by Todd Lammle.
With the book you get the CCNA Virtual Lab, Titanium edition. All of it worked great for me. Read more about the package here: http://www.sybex.com/WileyCDA/SybexTitle/productCd-0470110082.html
I know of two good choices for you, Packet Tracer 4.1, this is used in the Cisco Network Academy. The other is from Boson they actually have two CCNA and CCNP I would recommend the CCNP. The reason is you get all the CCNA simulations plus all the CCNP simulations. I have used all three and they work pretty good, but to tell you the truth nothing bets the real thing. If you plan to go all the way to your CCIE like I am. I would start looking at ebay and start building your own rack of equipment. I resently have to give my equipment of because it was borrowed from I place I worked and I changed jobs. So, I am starting over again but this time the equipment wil be mine.
I would like to know whether the Boson Netsim 7.0 can be used to configure the wireless part as shown in the Sybex CCNA study guide by Todd Lammle.
If not does any one know how do I go about it?
No it doesn't, I talked with Boson about wireless and voice at a conferance. They told me it is to difficult to create this in a program. The white papers from Cisco are great for this and if you can find a few 1231 series AP's not 1242 (these are LWAPP). You should be able to do the scenarios needed. Good luck hope this helps
I'm pretty new to networking, but I've been playing with GNS3 for a couple of days, and it works great, from what I can tell. Although it doesn't inherently emulate Cisco switches, one of the network admins where I work pointed out to me that you can use a router configuration with a 16-port switch card to simulate/emulate an IOS-based switch. GNS has an emulation for a 3725 which can accept an NM-16ESW. You would just need to get the appropriate IOS image for it, and then you theoretically can do the swtching labs/exercises.