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  1. Hi rene,
    I am preparing for my ccna and I have passed mt icnd1.

    So far I have been using packet tracer but I think its time for me to use real equipment.

    At the same time, I wanted to get equipements that will be valid for usage in both ccna and ccnp.

    Should I still get 2950 and 3550 ? I am not sure if they support ios15.
    Also, as I am getting reburbish unit from knowledgecomputer (local company) instead of from ebay due to electronic taxes and power concerns, the price are slightly more steep.

    How many of the switches should I get ? 3 x l2 and 1xl3 ?
    Also, for the router and firewall what should I get that will be relevant to the ccna and ccnp exam ?

  2. Hi Sze Jie K,

    Working with some real equipment is a good idea, it’s affordable and a good idea to get some experience with “real hardware”.

    Take a look at this post, it probably answers any questions you have about the switches:

    If you are on a budget, just get 2x 2950 and 1x 3550. That allows you to practice 99% of the topics. The only topics you can’t practice are private VLANs (you’ll need to get a 3560 instead of the 3550) and stackwise. For stackwise you will need 2x 3750. They won’t run IOS 15.x but you don’t need it for CCNA/CCNP.

    If you want real routers, take a look at the 1841 and 2811 routers. Those are affordable and very nice, I especially like the 1841 routers since they are small and don’t make a lot of noise.


  3. Hi Muhammad,

    I’m going to make sure everything is up-to-date for the new CCNA/CCNP exams. 90% of the content is probably the same though.

    For now, I would recommend to pass the current exams if you are already studying. If you are starting from scratch today then I would look into the new blueprints.

    My material will get you a long way to CCIE but you will also have to get some workbooks to prepare yourself for the lab.


  4. Hello Asim

    I’m not sure I understand your question, but I will attempt to clarify. Packet Tracer is a programme used to simulate Cisco networks including routers, switches, PCs (including configuration of the NICs) and their interconnection and configuration. You install it on your PC and you can do all of your labs for CCNA level learning on this simulator. You can find the software and more information at

    GNS3 is another suite of programmes that allows you to more realistically emulate Cisco networks. Rene has several labs available at his other web site that he mentioned, and you can use it to more fully take advantage of all of the functionalities of Cisco network equipment.

    Packet tracer is more than enough for use with the level required for CCNA.

    I hope this has been helpful!


  5. Hi Laz,

    Thanks for the quick reply. Currently my lab consists of
    1 X 2960 - 24 port switch
    2 X 3560 - 48 port PoE switches (they are actually 3560’s not 3550’s)
    1 X 2511 (as console server)
    3 X 1841 Routers
    1 X 2821 router

    Hopefully with the great material here I will get my CCNA by the end of the year.


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