Config Labs - The Basics

To help you navigate the 600 plus (and growing) blog posts at this site, the blog categorizes the content in two significant ways: Based on the outline of the Official CCNA Cert Guides and the type of content.

One type, Config Labs, each detail a self-contained CCNA lab exercise. All you have to do is find a Config Lab post that you like and then use the lab. You’ll see a logo like the one shown here at each post. Each post has these features:

    • One Lab Per Blog Post: Each Config Lab exists as a single post. The answers and related explanations sit behind buttons and accordions, hiding details to avoid spoiling the answers.
    • Configuration Focused: Most labs focus on configuration, with a topology and set of requirements. Your job: Add to the device configurations to meet the requirements.
    • Verification Skills: For each Config Lab, verify that you met the lab’s requirements. The lab post also emphasizes additional items to verify.
    • Configuration Solutions: The post includes the suggested solution.
    • Lab Commentary: Each lab includes a little text to anticipate common questions and further explain what should occur in the lab.
    • Scope:  By design, Config Labs focus on a small feature set with a small number of devices to configure.
    • Time: 10 minutes to understand the initial state of the lab, plus 10 minutes to configure the lab, on average – assuming you have already learned the fundamentals of the topic and are now practicing what you already learned.
    • Audience: Learners who have already read about the topic and are ready to practice.

Lab Tools: Packet Tracer, CML, or Pen/Paper

Most people implement the lab using Cisco Packet Tracer (CPT), beginning by opening the supplied .pkt file that shows the lab’s devices and topology. Once opened and started, you have a starting point that matches the initial configuration shown in the Config Lab post. Your workflow should run like this:

    • Read the lab post and understand the initial state
    • Download and open the supplied lab file for CPT
    • Review the lab again and plan your configuration
    • Implement the configuration in CPT
    • Verify that your configuration meets the design goals
    • Check your configuration versus the Lab Answer in the Config Lab post

You can do these labs on paper as well. The original Config Lab posts required no lab tool, so everyone could do these labs. You can still do these labs on paper or using a text editor. Read the lab and record your configuration on paper or in any text editor. Then, check your answer versus the lab post. Simple enough.

Navigation to Config Labs Only

To find Config Labs, click the blog top menu “Lab” item to reveal a menu similar to the following figure. The choices in the Config Lab menus launch an advanced search page with a list of Config Labs. Your menu choices allow you to list all Config Labs related to either of the two CCNA Official Cert Guide Volumes, or all Config Labs in one Part of one of the books.

The next page displays an advanced search page with a list of Config Labs. You can just scroll down to look at the labs, pick one, and start using it! But if you want to search a little more, use the advanced search options at the top of the page. For instance, you can drill down further into the books’ organization to choose different parts, or to choose an individual chapter. (Each book is organized into parts, with each part containing about four chapters.) The following figure shows some of the expanded search options in the center of the figure, where you could choose a book part or a specific book chapter.

Packet Tracer Labs - 200-301 OCGs

Want more labs? Using my CCNA 200-301 books? Then check out the Free Play Labs for CCNA, also here at the blog. This other set of labs requires you to use the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide books, while the Config Labs do not.

Free Play Labs for CCNA – The Official Cert Guide books have a large number of examples. Some students like to recreate the examples in a lab tool like Cisco Packet Tracer (CPT). To help, the blog has one post per book chapter. That post includes .pkt files for CPT for most examples, along with notes to help you to recreate the examples in CPT. These labs do not have specific goals or steps, or a set of requirements. Instead, you recreate a book example to create a familiar scenario, after which you can experiment (free play) with the commands and command options.

Config Labs – Self-contained lab exercise posts that list a topology, initial configuration, and requirements. Your job: determine the configuration to be added and then verify that your configuration meets the requirements.

Want to know more? Then check out the page about the Free Play Labs for CCNA.

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