Looking to self study? Building your own home lab from the ground up?
Here is my input on finding the right hardware. I should note that these recommendations are based on my experience and outcomes.
Lets start with all the technologies that you must master for the CCNA R&S v2
ICND1: IPv4 & IPvVLANS, Trunking, Port Security, interVLAN routing, static routing, DHCP, NAT/PAT, licensing, basic device hardening, syslog, device troubleshooting
ICND2: VLANS, DTP, VTP, STP, Etherchannels, intervlan routing, OSPFv2, OSPF v3, EIGRP, EIGRPv6, PPP, PPPoE, GRE, eBGP, HSRP, VRRP, QoS, SNMPv2 & v3, IP SLA, layer 3 troubleshooting
Knowing this, lets look at some cost effective hardware that you can use to work with all these technologies for the test.
I use Cisco Feature Navigator and you should become friends with it. Great tool to understand what technologies are on the IOS images.
So from my research, here are my recommendations :
This is the best option for those with a small budget. You can get up and running quickly and have all the features you need to ace your CCNA R&S, CCNP R&S and CCNA Security! Also the small 1u form factor is small enough for your starter rack.
This is the best option for those with a small budget. A 24 port switch is great if you want to simulate multiple devices such as phones, PC and servers on your test network.
I recommend getting at least 3 of each. You can setup the following topologies:
Router pair, Switch pair
Router triangle, switch triangle
You can understand and see elections in STP, OSPF, and EIGRP. Also you can setup a Frame relay cloud!
Here are some of the other items you need to get up and running:
WAN Interface Cards (WIC)- For your routers to make serial connections like PPP, and Frame Relay.
WIC -2T will give you enough connections for your router triangle. Get 3 of these.
Ethernet (straight through & cross over) cables and serials (DTE/DCE) cables, and a console cable.
A 12 u rack for all your equipment is a good starter.
I also recommend a power strip so that you can control the power for your lab with one button!
You should also invest in a lab workbook.
Here are some of the ones that are out on the market. Review each one and choose the one that fits your needs.
It is important to research! This helps with the learning process, understanding lingo, hardware configurations, and how to do equipment research for future customers!
Places I buy equipment:
Cables and kits