Cisco CCNP Switch Lab Equipment

This topic is to discuss the following lesson:


Should i go with the latest VIRL or should i purchase actual switches like u suggested?

NVM… I think i’ll just go with VIRL. Don’ want 3 big loud equipments in my office. LOL

Hi Raymond,

I’m not 100% sure if VIRL supports all L2 commands but I think you will be fine. Most catalyst switches are pretty noisy…:slight_smile:


What about this one?
30 bucks on ebay… i can get 2 of this and a 3560 8 ports… i read that its less noisy
Cisco Catalyst 2950 Series LRE WS-C2950ST-8 Ethernet Switch Network

ok. ill buy the switch instead… just bought
1 Cisco Catalyst 2950 Series LRE WS-C2950ST-8 Ethernet Switch Network
now looking for two 3750 or 60… can i mix a 3750 and a 3760 ?

Hi Raymond,

For stackwise I would recommend to get 2x the same 3750:


Btw the LRE model (Long Reach Ethernet) only has 2x FastEthernet ports, the other ports are LRE ports.

Isn’t the iOS version the most important fact…rather than the switch model?
I have played with all iOS (iOS 12.2,12.4, 15m&T) and they all offer differing CLI commands and functionality e.g. in iOS 12.2 there is no SDM, UDLD etc.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I can ascertain, if you want to practice with ALL the commands, the only iOS that provides ALL commands is iOs 15.x.x.

Hi Seamus,

That’s right but the IOS is easily replaced on these switches.

For CCNA/CCNP, using the latest 12.2 IP services image on the 3560/3750 supports 99% of the commands. Of course the 15.X images support everything but those switches are also a bit pricier.


It can be so frustrating with both Packet tracer and GNS3. Packet tracer 6.2 uses 12.2 with 2960 and 3560 but lacks commands. You can use iOS 15x in GNS3, but with GNS3 it is a nightmare to set up a fully functioning L2 or L3 switch lab (without adding modules and using Virtual appliances). It’s a complex task. Maybe I’m wrong about GNS3 but I’ve read everything that GNS3 has to offer in building a CCNP capable switch lab and to tell you the truth, I’ve failed.

It would be absolutely invaluable if "somebody " created a fully functional GNS3 L2 & L3 topology or showed a simple and straightforward way to do so and shared it with us students…like somebody with a CCIE that provides great training on a great site :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :)…


Hi Seamus,

It can be for sure, it’s also time consuming which is better spent at actual learning :slight_smile: GNS3 has always worked very well for routing but not for switching. The only thing it could do is emulate the switch module in one of the routers, it works but it’s very limited compared to a catalyst switch. Nowadays GNS3 also supports IOU which has L2 images. If you can get it working then most of the switching commands are supported.

Packet tracer is nice but it’s a simulator, you’ll always have some unsupported commands or differences with show/debug commands. I’ll give GNS3 with IOU a try, haven’t used since I have some 3560/3750 switches that I use for labs :slight_smile: VIRL is also a good option btw.


Hi rene, i just finished my CCNP ROUTE and passed the exam! :smiley: now im studying for the switch.

i think i will go for the normal lab.


2 x 2950

1 x 3560


in ROUTE, i only use GNS3, so in SWITCH, its all switch? theres no need of router?

Good job John!

You will be fine with the 2x 2950 and 1x 3560. There are some “router” related topics but you can practice them in GNS3 if needed.


With real switches setup in the triangle, where would I get all the practice labs that I would need to implement on them for practice?

Hi Ken,

You can follow along with the examples I have in my lessons or try some of the GNS3Vault labs:


Rene, just want to ask. In order to practice in CCNP Switch you need switches but also it is good to have routers which they will work as Client/PC or DHCP Server for example. What model of routers you recommend to buy and build in home lab? Thanks for your suggestions and respond.

Hi Peter,

You could use some routers as clients/servers but some (old) computers/laptops will also do the job. If you want real hardware, take a look at the 1841/2811 routers. Those are great and cheap nowadays. Just make sure they have enough RAM + flash so you can run IOS 15.x


Can we use 2 3750’s and 1 3550?

Hello Tim

Sure, the 3750s and the 3550s are a good fit for CCNP switch. It should be more than enough for your studies!