How to build your CCNA Routing and Switching lab on your own?

Certification: Cisco CCIE Routing and Switching - Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Routing and Switching

CCNA Routing and Switching certification is one of the best certifications in the field of networking. In fact, it is one of the highly admired certifications in the world. However, you should keep in mind that it is an advanced level certification which caters to a technical domain. In this regard, those who possess a considerable amount of experience in this field should opt for this certification. This certification will not only evaluate your knowledge, it will assess your abilities to see if you can implement this knowledge in the practical domain.

It is important to note that the CCNA certification has moved towards a more practical domain where the ability of the candidates to implement their knowledge in the practical domain will be checked. This means that now it is not enough to study a number of books and resources to clear this certification. You now have to ensure that you also do a considerable amount of practice implementing your knowledge. This means that you should work with cisco devices, configure them, set them up, troubleshoot them etc. However, in order to do this all you need to have a complete lab!

In order to assist you with the preparation of CCNA routing and switching preparation, it is very important that you set up your own lab in order to practice the concepts you learn during this certification. However, building a lab is not an easy task. You need to accumulate a number of devices and programs which will assist you to build your lab. In this regard, you will basically need a number of routers and switches as well as a number of wires to connect them. Following are details regarding the equipment which you could use in order to build your own lab.

Cisco Switches

The first step which you need to do is to buy a number of switches. You will be well off with 2 switches, but it is recommended that your buy 3 switches to ensure that you do not have any issue later. However, the more important decision to make is that which switches you should buy. There are a number of switches available from which you can buy the one you need. However, which one to buy is the important topic.

You should basically consider the 2950 and 2900-XL switches to buy for you lab. While the 2900-XL switches will cost you less as they are a bit old, it is recommended that you buy the 2950 switches. The 2950 switches are more desirable and are made on modern grounds. Hence you will not have any problem connecting it with various other devices and configuring them according to the methods you learned. If you are short of money to buy the latest switches, you can also consider buying one 2950 switch and the remaining two 2900-XL switches. You should avoid thinking about any other switch as these two will serve your purpose quite well. Once you get hold of these switches, you have surely taken an important and significant step towards building your own lab.

Cisco Routers

Other than switches, the most important components to buy for your lab are Cisco routers. These routers are necessary to let you practice various tasks including configuration, troubleshooting etc. It is important to buy a considerable number of routers. It is recommended that you get hold of almost 4 routers with different characteristics. However, the main the question is that which routers should you buy for your lab?

You should get hold of 3 routers which have Ethernet transceivers. In this regard, you can consider buying 2501 routers which have Ethernet transceivers built into them. However, if you find any other routers with these features you can also go for them. Once you get hold of these routers, you also have to buy one more router which has got 4 serial interfaces. These 4 serial interfaces are important to assist you in your frame relay labs. In this regard, you should do your research to look for routers which support this feature.

However, you do not need to do much research in this case. Just go for the routers mentioned above as they surely will be perfect for you. Once you get hold of these routers, you are not away from building your own comprehensive lab!


Cables are essential in order to connect various routers and switches which you buy and build up a network. These cables are important components of your lab. However, you should be aware about the particular cables which you will need for your lab. You should consider getting the following cables for your lab:

  1. 3 Ethernet Crossover cables
  2. 1 Cisco rollover cable
  3. A number of Ethernet cables sufficient enough to connect your routers and computers to the network
  4. 3 serial crossover cables

Once you get hold of these cables, the next step is to connect these with the devices in order to form a complete network.


Although you have collected all of the devices which you will be using to create you lab, you will also need to get hold of some software. If you have the right software, your lab performance will improve to a great extent. If you are using a windows operating system, then you should get hold of Hyperterm, which is a good program and will serve your purpose.

You should also consider getting DNS system and TFTP server as these packages will work well with your system. In addition to this, they are also free for you to use.

Once you have got all of the hardware and software, the final step is to join them in order to build your own lab. Once you have joined them in the appropriate way, you will have your own complete lab!

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