Overview: Buying Used Real Gear
- Buy/borrow used Cisco routers and switches
- Primary Purpose: To enable learning about CCENT and CCNA topics
- CLI: The real CLI, with real IOS, on real gear
- Scope: Primarily IOS routers and switches
- Lab exercises: None integrated; can search the Net
- IOS Licensing: Use IOS delivered when purchased
Analysis of Option to Purchase Real Gear
Historical Real Gear Details
- In 2000’s, few good CCNA lab options
- Real gear was best option
- This web site (and associated blogs) listed details about real gear for CCENT and CCNA labs
- Today, some great options:
- Pearson Sim: Great lab learning for not much $
- Packet Tracer: Free command practice
- VIRL: Robust virtualized routers and switches with current IOS
- This web site still has old real gear data
- No plans to update the data; use if you like
Links to Old Device Data
Analysis: Lab Exercises and Real Gear
Are Lab Exercises Included?
No lab exercises included.
Are Labs Easily Available on the Net?
Because of the many options, lab exercises on the net tend more towards VIRL, PT, and GNS3
Trusted authors of CCENT/CCNA labs?
Few source of labs for real gear, so few chances for labs from trusted authors
Overall Usefulness for Lab Learning
Real gear works great for learning on your own, but poorly for matching lab exercises.
Analysis: Time and Dollar Costs
Time Overhead: High
How much time does it take to learn the software, choose/buy/install the hardware, to be ready to learn CCENT and CCNA topics? Lower number, speedier start!
Initial Cost: Medium
A lab with 3 routers, 3 switches, and associated cables, with useful IOS versions, can run from $250-$400 or more.
Annual Cost: Zero
Once purchased, there are no additional ongoing fees.