CCNP SWITCH Home Lab

The CCNP SWITCH Lab is built off the foundation of the CCNA R&S lab. Most of the lab work  can be done with the old 2950 switches from the CCNA. 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 CCNP Switch

SDM templates, CDP, LLDP, VLANS, Trunking, DTP, VTP, STP, Etherchannels, SPAN, Stackwise, Port security, DHCP snooping, storm control, private VLANs, layer 2 switch security, AAA with TACACS and RADIUS, HSRP, VRRP, GLBP

Knowing this, lets look at some cost effective hardware that you can use to work with all these technologies for the test.

So from my research,  here are my recommendations :

Distribution Switches:

3550 Seriers-

untitledThis is the best option for those with a small budget. The 3550’s are end of life with Cisco which makes the cost on these pretty low. You can get them with Power over Ethernet (PoE) to also help with learning about how to configure access ports for wireless access points. All your exam objectives can be down with this switch. Also the small 1u form factor is small enough for your starter rack.

The upgrade and still relatively cost effective is the 3560 switch. These switches are still in support with Cisco until 2021.

Access Switches:

Catalyst 2960

This is the best option for those with a small budget. If you got this switch for your CCNA studies, then you are already set!

Image result for cisco 2960 switch

I recommend getting 2 of each. The SWITCH Lab uses a collapsed core model for the entire lab book.

2 core/distribution and 2 access

Here are some of the other items you need to get up and running:

Cables:

Ethernet (straight through & cross over) cables and a console cable.

Ethernet cables

You should also invest in the Cisco lab workbook.

CCNP SWITCH Lab Manual, 2nd Edition

As always do you research! Now that you have some experience under your belt, you are now re-enforcing your ability to research and procure the best hardware for you needs!

Places I buy equipment:

Ebay

Amazon

Cables and kits

 

My CCNP SWITCH Lab

IMAG0297[1]

3 x 2950’s  24Port Switches

2 x 3550 24 FE Ports, 2 GE Port Switches

Not in use:

2 x 2610 Routers with 2 WIC 1T serial cards

2 x 2610 XM Routers with 2 WIC-1T cards

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Posted in Uncategorized

Cake mix, icing, or both?

As I continue to gain experience and traverse the network engineering landscape, I have encountered many types of engineers and the varying  attitudes about certification. I sometimes have an internal struggle about them. (Am I up for the time commitment?) However, the issue for me is not doing certifications, more about when to do them and what they mean in value.

To get an idea of what I mean by when, think about baking a cake. We all know the steps: Gathering ingredients, mixing you dry ingredients, then you wet ingredients, making the cake batter, baking the cake, cooling and then icing the cake. The gathering, mixing and baking takes precision, patience and passion. The cooling and icing is simple, an art, and displays your final product in a intriguing (and tasty!) way.

icing

These look delicious!

As this relates to certifications, my experience is that when I was starting out, getting the CCENT/ CCNA certification was making the cake mix. I wanted to get my foot in the door and get an opportunity to show case what (little) I had learned.  Reading, lab work, and working in study groups were me gathering and mixing the ingredients. Working in the field has given me time to gather experience (baking) that will solidify my learning.

Working on my CCNP is a bit of icing and a bit of making cake. To do the work at the CCNP level, there has to be a mastery of CCNA topics and skills. This mastery has come through experience. This is like putting icing on the finished cake.At the same time, with new skills to learn,  it is again me working to get my foot in the door to more senior level engineering work. (Making cake mix)

In conclusion, network engineering like most careers, there is a circle of learning. In some cases you may need a certification to help you get started with new skills and access to new work (making cake mix) or you will using it to solidify your status as an expert(icing the cake!).

What is your experience? Do you agree? Sound off below.

Posted in Uncategorized

Shifting clouds…

6a0120a7fc3be9970b01bb08d49380970dAs businesses look to lower costs and increase profits, the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is becoming a more popular option. For the network engineer, this means cloud computing.

I see getting skills in cloud computing  as something vital to do no matter where you are in your network engineering journey. Working as an enterprise engineer myself, shifting our services to the cloud has become a reality.

I am personally looking into certification tracks and training tools to find what is going to  work best to help me gain and develop skills. Here is what I am looking at:

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Associate Solutions Architect Certification

Cisco CCNA Cloud Certification 

CompTIA Cloud Certification

I am just getting started with my research on what training is best for me. I will be weighing the positives and negatives and make a decision soon.

Posted in Uncategorized

CCNP SWITCH PASSED!

The title says it all.

For a complete list of my study tools click here -> CCNP SWITCH

On to the ROUTE!

Posted in Uncategorized

Making your startup configuration

I have a helpful tip for those of you in your final weeks of review for you Cisco test.

Creating a baseline start up configuration is helpful to speed up your labs and allow you to work on learning the specific technology at hand and spend less time doing introductory setup tasks.(Unless you need to learn those tasks for the test!)

Here are the following things that should stay in your startup config:

Device hostname

mgmt ip address

IP default-gateway

simple enable secret password

simple console and VTY logins

exec-timeout

service password encryption

no ip domain lookup

 

Once you get these items entered, do a copy running-config startup-config.

Now your start-up config is set. Now when you power off or reload your equipment, you will have this waiting and ready for the the next lab. Just remember not run the command again during your labs!

Posted in Certification, Skill Development, Uncategorized

Back for 2016! Where have I been?

Too busy doing work. It has been four months since I have made the transition from looking on the outside of network engineering to bathing in the waters of the life.

Baptism

Troubleshooting the network, learning the little quirks of each site. Research projects, work projects, certification preparation. This is my life now.

I looked back at 2015 and realized that I am in the early stages of a new journey. I have to be patient and persistent. I have to be hungry and seize opportunities. I have to take calculated risks. Here is the pedigree of all my other successful life endeavors:

I may fail, but don’t give into fear,  be at peace and achieve goals.

Fail =First Attempt In Learning

Fear = False Events Appearing Real

Peace = Positive Energy Activates Constant Elevation

Goals = Go Onward Always Learning Something

 

2016. Here we go!

Posted in Career, The Legend of Doug, Uncategorized

SWITCH Poll

Posted in Skill Development, The Legend of Doug
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