CCIE R&S Lab Equipment

31 Mar 2011 - Lab-Rat

According to Cisco, here’s the CCIE R&S (4.0) equipment.

* Cisco 1841 Integrated Service Router, running IOS 12.4(T) Advanced Enterprise Services
* Cisco 3825 Integrated Service Router, running IOS 12.4(T) Advanced Enterprise Services
* Cisco Catalyst 3560 switch, running IOS 12.2 Advanced IP Services

There’s also a new online interface- you can see a demo here.

You have to have a lot of hands on time with IOS to get good enough to handle the CCIE lab. I’ve seen everything from 1000 hours down to a minimum of 400 hours- but it all boils down to you needing rack time. So how do you get it?


Well you can try simulators- I had pretty good luck with the Boson simulator for CCNA, but I outgrew it by the time I was working the CCNP, although they do make a version that supports the CCNP. You can also try GNS3/Dynamips, but you have to *acquire* the IOS image, and from what I’ve read (haven’t used it, so take this with a grain of salt), it can be a bit of bear to configure, and you run into limitations as you scale up routers/switches in your virtual environment. I have a hard enough time getting the network gear talking- I don’t want to spend my study time troubleshooting why the loopback isn’t being seen in my desktop so I can lab up OSPF…

Buy a CCIE Rack

One of the ideas a new CCIE lab rat invariably has is building a lab with you own equipment. Yes, you can do it. Yes, it’s more expensive than you’d think - anywhere up to about $7000 with used equipment from eBay. Yes, a large part of that is the 3560s, and yes you can make do with the 3550s, but you’re going to miss out on a lot of QOS and private vlans (see INE’s 3550 vs 3560 and my 3550 vs 3560 article.) Here’s a snapshot of what’s available on eBay right now:

| | <form action="" method="post" style="margin:0;padding:0;height:26px;"> </form> | <form action="" id="sort_ccielab" method="post" name="sort_ccielab" style="width:100%;margin:0px;padding:0px;text-align:right;height:26px;"> </input> </form> | |—|—|—|

| Ebay has returned a malformed xml response. This could be due to testing or a bug in the RSS2 Generator. Please check the support forums to see if there are any posts regarding recent RSS2 Generator bugs. No items matching the keyword phrase "ccie lab" were found. This could be due to the keyword phrase used, or could mean your server is unable to communicate with Ebays RSS2 Server. CURL error code = 6. (Could not resolve host: | |:–|

Rent CCIE Rack Time

When I did the math, and accounted for some other items many people don’t think about right out of the box (cooling a rack of network gear, noise, space, increased power bill, will your circuit breaker handle 10 more network devices, octal cables, etc), I figured out I could get all the time I needed, more cheaply, by renting rack time. Like everything there’s tricks to it.

Bottom line is, regardless of which option you choose, you need rack time on the real IOS. Which you choose depends on your budget, patience, and possibly floor space…