10 Replies Latest reply: Aug 28, 2013 6:48 PM by Chris RSS

    Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam


      Quick background - I work in a large Enterprise Gov't environment. 


      Supporting over 25k Users in a Multi-Site Cisco Environment.  (ACS 5.4/WCS/44xx/AD/EAP-TLS in the (slow) process of migrating towards ISE/NCS/MSE/55xx/AD/EAP-TLS/BYOD/Guest)   No VoWLAN/Multicast currently, but after forklift upgrade likely.


      So I have some experience in a day to day operations understanding of most of these devices, save the MSE/Loc2710.


      Finishing up my CCNP-W exams, (IAUWS/IUMWS - sitting IUWVN later this month and CUWSS shortly thereafter) and then off to the Written. 


      Using the below lab setup to a) start prepping scenarios for exams/lab per config guides b) more realworld survey analysis (Cisco Adv. Services was contracted for the previous analysis/equipment buy list)


      Using the available information provided from Cisco, I've created an extensive spreadsheet that includes TechNotes/Configuration Guides/etc (along with a who's who of blogs with most of the industry "big names")


      I *think* that this should hit 95% of the scenarios on the v2.0, but looking for some feedback from those whom have taken the Lab or close too it.


      Still adding some components for prep for v3.0/Work environment.  (see MSE 3310 to replace Demo VM image).  Suggestions/Feedback appreciated.


      ** CCIE Wireless Home Lab **


      1 Windows 2003 AD Server (PowerEdge 2650)

      1 VMware Server (MSE, WCS) (PowerEdge 2950)

      1 Cisco 1113 Secure Access Control Server (ACS 4.2)

      1 Cisco Catalyst 3750 (Layer 3)

      1 Cisco Catalyst 2960 (Layer 2)

      1 Cisco 2504 Wireless Lan Controller (7.2x and above code - Foreign Controller)

      1 Cisco 4404 Wireless Lan Controller (Anchor Controller - Guest/BYOD)

      1 Cisco 3502e Access Point (Clean Air)

      5 Cisco 1131 Access Point (LWAPP, Autonomous, Mesh)

      1 Cisco 2811 Router (Main Router w/ Unified Communications Manager Express 8.6)

      1 Cisco 7921g Wireless VoIP Phone

      1 Cisco Mobility Services Engine 3310 *New*

      1 Cisco 6509 Chassis *New*

      1 Cisco 6509 Supervisor - Sup720 *New*

      1 Cisco WiSM *New*

      1 Cisco Spectrum Expert

      1 Fluke AirMagnet Spectrum XT *New*

      1 Metageek Wi-Spy DBX w/ Chanalyzer Pro - *New*

      1 AirMagnet A5225 Sensor *New*



        • 1. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam
          Pete Nugent

          From what I understand the I would upgrade your ACS to 5.2, and stay with all 7.0 codes for the WLAN.


          There won't be any BYOD and I do not think there is any WiSMs but VSS may be there.


          I would love to know more aout the expectations re CUCM as that will be my weakest area along woith QoS.


          You also want to add Anyconnect client


          See here for details of software and hardware



          • 2. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam

            Agreed on the ACS.  I do have a VM Demo image spun up for 5.4, but the 4.2 (1113) was cheap.  The 1120/1121 are pretty pricey at this point.  Even on ebay.


            I understand that there won't be any BYOD at this point, but a) we're implementing it at work b) I've read early v3.0 roadmaps which include ISE/NCS/etc.


            The WiSM is just an extra controller at this point.  (I also believe that the Written test still has WiSM/Service Port/yada in the exam)  Looking into the 2800 NM-Air-WLC for the same reason. (I also like to explore hardware that may not be as common in working environments, so there is that..)


            As for the VSS piece, Sup2T's are ungodly expensive... but we just implemented this at work, so I have experience in that.


            Really, I expect a fair amount of QoS within the 6509 chassis and markings will be one of the troubleshooting tickets.  From what I've read, the CME setup won't be tested... but the various wireless configs for the VoWLAN network/QoS (again) will be very important.  I'm expecting upstream and downstream markings being an issue.


            As a side note, I also have the latest AnyConnect client.. just didn't think of listing it.  Also picked up a laptop with an Intel chipset that provides CCX4 support.


            I have a pretty extensive spreadsheet, but will need to clean it up a bit before posting.  The link provided is just one of 17 worksheets.  =)

            • 3. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam
              Pete Nugent



              I didn't see a link to your spreadsheets. I really need to knuckledown and get labing for this but work and life get in the way.


              I would be interested to see the v3.0 stuff you mention if it is in the public domain.

              • 4. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam

                I'll have to go back and lookup where I found the v3.0 information.  I don't think it was "cisco official", but maybe one of the blog attendees of CiscoLive Orlando CCIE Wireless Techtorial?  I'll have to go look.  End of 2014 I believe is what was being said for 3.0 (Still a long ways away, but then again, right around the corner..)


                Here is my spreadsheet (cleaned up a little for public consumption, but still needs work) I've compiled.


                Some are links, some are notes gathered from presentations or OnlineStudyList... Still very much a work in progress.

                • 5. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam
                  Jeff Rensink

                  That is definitely an adequate amount of equipment for studying for the IE lab.  As others have mentioned, you'll want to settle into code on the controllers and 5.2 for ACS.


                  One small thing that you won't be able to do with your equipment is root/non-root bridge in autonomous.  The 1131 APs don't support that.  A pair of 1242s would serve you well for autonomous APs for not too much money.


                  If you are spending your own money, you may want to skip the 6500 and WiSM stuff.  WiSMs are no longer in the lab and the amout of 6500 specific configs are not worth dropping thousands of dollars.  If you have a 6500 somewhere available to you that you can practice on a couple of times, that should be plenty. 


                  Again, if you are spending your own money, skip the MSE appliance.  It's not worth dropping thousands of dollars when you could just rent some rack session time and get all of the MSE practice you would need for less than 1/10 of the price.


                  I'll actually be publishing a blog series on building a home lab for the CCIE Wireless very soon over at http://blog.ipexpert.com/ if you want to keep an eye out for that.

                  • 6. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam

                    I definitely appreciate the feedback.


                    Really, it sounds like one of the most important things I need to focus on is utilizing the 5.2 ACS software.  For me, this isn't such a big deal as I work with 5.4 on a daily basis... and since Cisco has a trial version (with seemingly infinite refreshes - albeit as fresh builds each time, then copying over configs) might as well just keep the VM machine spun up and using the 4.2 as a secondary Radius or TACACS box.


                    To hit some of your other points, yes I'm doing this with my own money.  You'd be surprised, but (over time) I've built that entire list for under $7k.  Almost all the purchases were off Ebay, so there were plenty of deals to be had.  The 6509 (non-E) chassis/Sup720/WiSM combo cost me less than a new 2504.  And given that I'll reuse this for R&S one day, I'm fine with the cost hit.

                    The MSE was by far the most expensive item I've purchased.  Again ebay had it for $1500.  As they are going for ~$5k on CDW/Amazon/etc.. normally I'd agree with you and just go with the 2700 Location Appliance. 


                    However, the org I'm working for has the BYOD/ISE/MSE/NCS upgrade going on right now and in their wisdom assigned the task to the security group (vs wireless team that I run).  As such, I know I'm going to need to know this box inside and out in the near future, so its not just about the CCIE Exam/Lab for me.


                    I have you guys (IPExpert) in my tab list and the blog is something I regularly go back to look at... but there hasn't been much over there for awhile, so normally I'm on the OnlineStudyList. 


                    I've picked up Vol 1 of the Lab workbooks fairly recently, but haven't put any time into that as of yet.  My thought process is to go through the configuration guides first and then dive into workbook.  (And of course once done with that, hit the Vol 2 Mock Lab workbook and probably pickup FastLane's under the same idea).  Part of the home lab problem is of course ensuring that I have the equipment in the configs.  I understand that rack rentals alleviate this from a cost perspect... but its worth it for me.


                    Again, appreciate the feedback as its those in the community that truly drive and feedback off each other.  (OSL appears to be great for this.  Going back and reading the archives is a must for anyone aspiring to take this route).

                    • 7. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam

                      Hi Chris,


                      I would suggest you to have at least one 5508 in your lab set up.(if money is not an issue). In the current version (2.0) of the exam all 4 controllers are 5508. Even in v3.0 , I do not think this will go away.


                      I would say you have more than enough equipment to practice for wireless lab exam. Also your excel sheet is comprehensive & include everything if someone need guidance what to look at.


                      I would suggest to have a time plan develop & have a clear idea how many hours you spend in each of these (technote, config guide, lab config, video material/ect) & see how you progress with time. Otherwise there are so much information & you will never cover all of these before your exam. You need to refine your plan as time goes.


                      Good luck with your studies


                      Rasika (www.mrncciew.com)

                      • 8. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam

                        Hi Rasika.


                        Thanks for the feedback.  The 5508 would definitely be stretching the budget.  Lowest ones I can find are still $2,500.


                        I understand the need to run 7.2 code, but what features does the 5508 have over the 2504, aside from High Availability (7.4 fixed), FIPS, Per User BW, Wired Guest (at least those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head)?


                        I need 4 WLC for my lab and know I need to pickup at least one more to run the IPExpert labs.  But if HA is only going to be the main driver, 2 5508s are out of the question at the moment.  (Although 1+1 over time might be a possibility)  (edited - Just realized that 7.4 has HA code for 2504, seems more reason to pick another one up - should be a similar config)


                        I do understand the need to tighten up and focus a bit.  For now the glue that keeps it all together is my need to finish the IUWVN and CUWSS tests.  I need to organize my spreadsheet better, but the plan is run each config in my lab, break it down (debug) and run it all again.  Honestly, I think its short in the R&S components that I understand are a healthy factor.


                        Appreciate the kind words.  Your blog is one I've followed regularly in my studies.  Pete's and IPExperts as well (along with countless others, Blake/Jennifer/my802.11/etc..etc..)  Devoted most of my Cisco Live 2012 to wireless and 365 has been an excellent resource as well.

                        • 9. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam

                          Study for CUWN 7.0.

                          WLC 2504 does not have HA yet, just N+1 deployment possible (primary, secondary, tertiary controllers).


                          Will you be able to share your lab equipment in future? To help study for others?

                          • 10. Re: Home Lab setup for the v2.0 Lab Exam

                            Some tough pills, but a well written series.