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Old 12-04-2004, 08:10 AM   #1
siawash
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Cisco 1600 routers


Hello guys, I am doing the CCNA and finding the 2 hour per week college labs not enough practice. Recently realized there are inexpensive Cisco 1600 routers on ebay, which I am lead to beleive can download the latest IOS identical to 2600 used at my college labs.

I am also told to make sure the routers can support VLANS prior to purchase.

My question is how much memory should I purchase with these routers in order to be able to download latest IOS. Keep in mind these are meant purely for training practice. No other use for them at the moment. So, do I need to go for highest ram???

Do the CISCO 1603 support VLAN?

I have talked to Cisco and they did not give a definitive answer, since they do not make the routers anymore. The Cisco agent did say that as long as I use a switch I SHOULD be OK but he would not vouch for it.

If that is the case, would I be correct in assuming the switch is doin the job of the patch panel.???

If that is the case I know that the patch panel at college has to have 2 ports for every router to accommodate a "cross over" cable and a straight through. If I am purchasing 3 routers, I should make sure the switch has 6 ports, right and does not have to be a Cisco switch???

Please clarify.



Please let me know as I need to make a purchase decision soon.

Regards
SS

Last edited by siawash; 12-04-2004 at 08:44 AM.
 
Old 12-04-2004, 11:42 AM   #2
Clark Bent
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Have you examined the various software based router simulators out there? Boson has one that Cisco repackages and sells for the CCNA. It's really quite impressive. Runs for about $125...called Netsim if I recall. I have been studying for the CCNA myself and have found this software to be quite good.

To answer your question regarding VLANs on that router, I can't say for certain...but I bet it does. When you talk about routers supporting VLANs what are we really talking about? We are talking about their ability to support either ISL or dot1q trunking. Outside of that, the router doesn't care about VLANs because that is at layer two. You do need a trunk segment between the switch and the router.

But really, you need to practice switching too...not just routing. And that is another way this software is quite nice as it includes 2900 and 1900 series switches that you can configure as well. You can add VLANs and configure trunks in the switches, configure LAN interfaces for dot1q encapsulation and create subsequent subinterfaces for your various VLANs on the routers. You get more for your money with the software in my opinion.
 
Old 12-04-2004, 03:59 PM   #3
siawash
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siawash

Thanks for that reply. Actually as part of my CCNA I do have access to something similar to what your referring to. These are official Cisco e-labs. I agree these are fairly good, however they cannot be as good as real world practice. I.e. trouble shooting layer one issues (loose cable etc), or layer 2 or 3 (putting in the wrong subnet mask etc). But maybe the e-labs I use is not the same thing to what your talking about. Maybe you can provide some detail or link I can follow up on.

But I feel real world practice is where the learning takes place. The 1603 routers I am referring to are being offered at $40 a piece on e-bay with 8 mb ram and $50 for 16 mb memory. So even
$200 for 3 routers might represent a better learning opportunity than $120 simulations.

I have found various switches for $40.

Having said all that I still have make sure I understand what is needed. But from your last message I must have the wrong idea regarding switches.

I thought switches take the place of a patch panel. So one switch required to connect all routers.
At my labs we connect our NIC via rollover cable to our desk output. This connects to one of the ports using crossover cable to conole port of the router. And a straight through cable from ethernet port of the router back to other port of the patch panel.

Please tell me if the swith does the job of patch panel.

What do you mean I have to learn switching. Are you saying I am going to need more than one switch to simulate a real world WAN???

As I said, switches seem to be relatively inexpensive. Unless I am going to have to purchase very expensive CISCO equipment.

For the sake of clarity, please address above issues in the same systematic fashion.

Regards
SS
 
Old 12-05-2004, 02:46 AM   #4
Clark Bent
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Here is a link to the software I was referring to:

http://www.ciscopress.com/title/1587201313

"I thought switches take the place of a patch panel."

They do a heck of a lot more than that. WAY more. Switches have intelligence just like routers do.

"So one switch required to connect all routers."

Not really. Your going to find one per LAN segment though. You don't always have a LAN on the end of every router. Most often...but not always.


"What do you mean I have to learn switching. Are you saying I am going to need more than one switch to simulate a real world WAN???"

If you do not study LAN switching you will fail the exam period. If you don't understand LAN switching, don't even consider taking the test until you do. Seriously man. You'll fail for sure. And in order to understand topics on the CCNA, yes. You will need more than one switch. I'll give you a example. One thing you need to know how to do on the exam is to configure a switch to act as a VTP server. You then have to configure another switch that is over a WAN link as a VTP client. You need to be able to build VLANs in the VTP server and have your VTP client (switch) be configured by them. With one switch, your never going to know that this works for sure or how to troubleshoot your mistakes.

"As I said, switches seem to be relatively inexpensive. Unless I am going to have to purchase very expensive CISCO equipment."

Really? What swtiches? Are they Cisco switches (if not don't bother)? What model? What IOS is loaded on them? These questions I just asked you are things you need to be thinking about. There are different IOS images. And some old cheap switch that runs the Cat OS instead of the Cisco IOS is going to hurt you on the exam because you are expected to know the Cisco IOS. Old 1900 series switches for example, run on the old Cat OS. You need to be careful. Yes...your right. Real hardware is the best route. However, you are going to spend a fortune to get where you need to be. Well, over a $1000 for sure. No question about it. If you want to invest that kind of money, that is cool. But I would advise you to wait to do so until AFTER you pass the CCNA. Make it through the first hurdle, then make the investment when you know for sure it's going to work out like you want it to.

If you really want real experience, sign up for one of the many free labs over the internet using real equipment. They are out there.
 
Old 12-05-2004, 09:10 AM   #5
siawash
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CISCO 1600 ROUTERS

Wow that was a very detailed reply regarding CCNA.

I am aware that I have a lot to cover before I am ready for the exam. I am only on CCNA part 1. This has covered layer one setup, basic IOS commands, subnetting, standard and extended Acess Lists.

It was in relation to future CCNA part 2 covering VLANS which my lecturer was referring to. Otherwise 1600s seems to be able for all we have done thus far on CCNA 1.

I am definitely not ready for the CCNA exam. I am meant to be ready in June. But the way things are going ( two hours per week, sharing one router between two student etc along with technical down time.) I will never be ready for the exam.

To get real hands on experience with routers AFTER the exam, to me seems like putting the cart before the horse. To reiterate, for me "hands on experience" is where confidence is derived.

The bottom line is if you are a Cisco professional, or one who has gone through the course, then I will have to accept what you say regarding costs involved to get a home system going. On the other hand you could be a regular professional with your own opinion. I would appreciate it if you say which catagory you fall in.

But my superficial understanding ( from visiting Cisco site ) seems to indicate that by updating the IOS on the 1600 one can implement VLANS. However, the Cisco site is a bit of jungle I am picking up bits and pieces here and there. This one of them;

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/...801e1e46.shtml

Last edited by siawash; 12-05-2004 at 09:18 AM.
 
Old 12-05-2004, 12:31 PM   #6
Clark Bent
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I am a Sr. Telecommunications Engineer. I myself have taken some of the tests in question. Go whatever route works best for you. I am just telling you that I have worked with real routers and real switches. I don't feel that you get a whole lot by purchasing them yourself. Ask your instructor. I bet he/she will tell you the same thing. It's all software based. Half the routers you work on in the real world, you most likely won't even see. If you want real world practical experience that is useful , learn how to build a straight cable. Learn how and when to use a cross over cable and a straight cable. Most people who use routers and switches are dumb as a post when it comes to managing anything other than the router. They don't understand concepts like cable managment. If you have a 100 LAN cables coming into a data room, it's nice to have them laid out correctly. With lables showing which cable goes where. Nice and neat. Bundled all together into a patch panel. Tied up nicely on ladder rack. This is what seperates pros from people who just happened to get the job.
 
Old 12-05-2004, 12:36 PM   #7
Clark Bent
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Here is something for you to consider. In the actual exam itself that you will take, the labs you will have to do in the exam are done on simulators. They are not done on real routers. If the simulator did not hold the same value, then why do they use it on the test?
 
Old 12-05-2004, 12:51 PM   #8
siawash
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CISCO 1600 ROUTERS

I know where your comming from, but the CCNA is part of larger Computer Science degree program. Apart from the Certificate I am looking for knowledge and experience. That's where my confidence kicks in. I am terrible at faking confidence by memorizing a bunch technical terminlogy.

The accedmic program does have lab exams as part of the overal grades accessment. Ironic since they don't facilitate better lab exposure. Such is life...

I have just learnt that the 1711's do offer 802.1Q Trunking.

Now I have search for it on ebay. Hopefully two 1603 and one 1711 will be adequate.

Thank you for the input
 
Old 12-05-2004, 02:15 PM   #9
scowles
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clark Bent
Here is something for you to consider. In the actual exam itself that you will take, the labs you will have to do in the exam are done on simulators. They are not done on real routers. If the simulator did not hold the same value, then why do they use it on the test?
Agreed! In fact, I agree with every suggestion you have given to the OP in this thread. But I don't think any of the simulators you mention can simulate something like the IOS protocol debugger (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Case and Point: Back when I took the CCNA exam, there was a question that showed a network diagram of three routers in a fully meshed configuration. Below this diagram was the output from the protocol debugger on R1. i.e. The RIP updates received from the other two routers. The multiple choice question went something like "Based on the RIP updates shown above, what is the most likely cause of why R1 cannot communicate with the LAN behind R2?"

Without a real LAB environment (or renting rack space as you mentioned in your other post) I would not have known how to interpret the debug (RIP updates) output shown in the question, and thus, my answer would have been nothing more that a crap shoot. Again, I don't remeber if the Boson NetSim product can simulate the above scenario.

Finally, if I had to prepare for the CCNA exam again from scratch, I would not buy a 3-router/2-switch package from EBAY (which I did BTW), but rather rent rack space at one of the many sites available on the internet. Most of these sites use frame switches, which more closely mirrors config examples/scenarios shown on the exam. In contrast, in a LAB environment like what you can buy from ebay, you need routers with two serial ports (with DCE/DTE cables) so that you can simulate a fully meshed environment. But the commands you use to configure the serial interfaces in a lab environment are not the same because there is no frame swith (like at the telco end). So my vote is for renting rack space to prepare for your CCNA exam instead of buying a package deal off of ebay.

Just my two bits!
Good Luck
 
Old 12-05-2004, 02:52 PM   #10
Clark Bent
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I think confidence comes from experience. Not from passing a exam. That is a nice perk. You work hard for something, and now the opportunity will come to work for more. But anybody expecting to have confidence from passing a Cisco exam isn't being real. And really, you shouldn't expect to! You should expect to have confidence from YEARS of experience! Trying to make up for that by purchasing some routers to play with on your own would just be a waste of money and generating a false sense of security. You can't predict what problems you will face in the real world. That is part of what makes them real. People need to remember, this is a introduction. It's a way into a industry. It's not a end all be all by any means. The exam shows you are ready to do it in the real world. Not that your a expert at it.

If it were me, I would tackle things one step at a time:

1. Right now you need the confidence to pass the exam.
2. After that, depending on what your goal is, proving yourself will only come with time. Work at it on a regular basis. And you will. Period.

But it's up to you. And I wish you well!

Last edited by Clark Bent; 12-05-2004 at 02:53 PM.
 
Old 12-05-2004, 02:57 PM   #11
Clark Bent
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Think of it this way guys. Lets say you run a big company and are hiring a systems administrator. Your interviewing people and a guy comes in who has no direct experience. So you ask him about his lack of experience. He tells you "But I have servers I maintain at home! I can maintain anything you want!" But you know he has no exprience in a produciton environment where you face real issues. It's not the same. You get experience and confidence from real experience and solving real problems in the real world.
 
Old 12-05-2004, 02:59 PM   #12
Clark Bent
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Quote:
Originally posted by scowles
Agreed! In fact, I agree with every suggestion you have given to the OP in this thread. But I don't think any of the simulators you mention can simulate something like the IOS protocol debugger (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Case and Point: Back when I took the CCNA exam, there was a question that showed a network diagram of three routers in a fully meshed configuration. Below this diagram was the output from the protocol debugger on R1. i.e. The RIP updates received from the other two routers. The multiple choice question went something like "Based on the RIP updates shown above, what is the most likely cause of why R1 cannot communicate with the LAN behind R2?"

Without a real LAB environment (or renting rack space as you mentioned in your other post) I would not have known how to interpret the debug (RIP updates) output shown in the question, and thus, my answer would have been nothing more that a crap shoot. Again, I don't remeber if the Boson NetSim product can simulate the above scenario.

Finally, if I had to prepare for the CCNA exam again from scratch, I would not buy a 3-router/2-switch package from EBAY (which I did BTW), but rather rent rack space at one of the many sites available on the internet. Most of these sites use frame switches, which more closely mirrors config examples/scenarios shown on the exam. In contrast, in a LAB environment like what you can buy from ebay, you need routers with two serial ports (with DCE/DTE cables) so that you can simulate a fully meshed environment. But the commands you use to configure the serial interfaces in a lab environment are not the same because there is no frame swith (like at the telco end). So my vote is for renting rack space to prepare for your CCNA exam instead of buying a package deal off of ebay.

Just my two bits!
Good Luck
You can debug RIP or OSPF or IGRP or EIGRP on simulators. I have done it.
 
Old 12-05-2004, 03:37 PM   #13
siawash
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CISCO 1600 ROUTERS

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your valuable input, each very valid.

I am being seriously persuaded against going the ebay/home lab route in favour of the RACK RENTAL. I would really be grateful to learn more about this solution. Is this is an expensive per hour solution.?

Some links would be useful.

Going back to the entry job levels, I think an employer would prefer someone who has played around with real systems than one who is going to use the employer's customer equipment to learn. After all mistakes are an essential part of learning.

I learnt about windoz using my own PC, albeit a desktop as opposed to a server. I can install and use a server too.

My apartment is full old hardware accumulated over the years. That was how i learnt about hardware initially. But I have since had a good bit hard ware support experience. The formal class experience is definitely a joke. Some are sharp enough to pick up on concepts quickly without the need to revisit the subject. I do not fall into that catagory. I don't feel this makes me any less capable to become a good technician given the right learning environment.

Once thank you for your help.
 
Old 12-05-2004, 04:04 PM   #14
scowles
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clark Bent
You can debug RIP or OSPF or IGRP or EIGRP on simulators. I have done it.
That's good to know. Thanks for the update.
 
  


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