How to Prepare for Cisco CCNP R&S

This topic is to discuss the following lesson:

Hey Rene, this is a very enlighting lesson. My question is: based on real job demands, would you say that a mastery on multi-area OSPF would seem much more useful than EIGRP, aside from the exam?

Hi Apostolis,

The short answer is that you will probably see more OSPF than EIGRP since OSPF is an “open standard” and EIGRP only runs on Cisco devices. Cisco submitted EIGRP to IETF to become an open standard as well so maybe in the future you’ll see it on other vendor routers and it might become a bit more popular…

You’ll see multi-area OSPF when you have larger networks that require summarization (since OSPF can only summarize between areas).

Also, keep in mind that it really depends on the job what you will encounter. If you work on the internal network of a company you’ll be doing mostly “switching” and some inter-vlan routing. If you work at an ISP you’ll be doing more routing stuff.


Great! Thanks for the feedback, seems quite useful. I got my CCNA r&s last June, with a little internship work experience, prospects in Greece for finding a job ranges from difficult to extremely difficult.
Anyways, I 've already started studying for CCNP r&s and I was wondering whether I should go straight for it, or pick a specific certification. My inclination lies more upon on SP, but as far as I can see, VoIP, Security and Wireless are very popular (I was thinking on taking a bite of VoIP/Video)
What would you advise on that?

oh, btw, your GNS3 labs seem like HUGE help, thanks for sharing them with the world!

Hi Rene… greetings from Venezuela:

i’m about to start the CNNA module 4 (wan technologies) and i want to buy some cisco’s equipment for me personal lab.

as you just said, i’m looking to buy 1 router C2950 and 2 switches C3640 but i can’t find a single web where it shows me which one is the last IOS version for those equipments.

where can i find that kind of information?


Hello Juan,

The Cisco website is where you can find this kind of information, look at the support section.


thank you very much for your prompt answer.

hi Rene
Great lesson about how to prepare…i passed my CCNA recently planning to go for CCNA SECURITY or CCNA VOICE or CCNP R&S…little confused few days but after googling i found CCNP R&S is good option then i can move to other specific tracks.What you think or any suggestion??
Another doubt i have that can i do CCNA security or voice labs in simulators (if yes, please mention).I heard that by using Dynamips we can do even CCIE all labs then why we cannot do CCNP switching labs by it?


After CCNA R&S it’s possible to move to another track like voip or security but I think it’s a good idea to do CCNP R&S first. You’ll have seen pretty much anything you can do on a router or switch that is required for any of the other tracks.

The problem with dynamips / GNS3 is that it doesn’t support switches…so CCNP switch is a problem but the switch topics from CCIE as well. You need real Catalyst switches for that. The Cisco ASA can be run in GNS3 so that makes the security track more accessible, for voip you’ll need some real equipment for sure.


Catalyst 3550 support private VLANs ?

Hi Sparky,

The 3550 doesn’t support private VLANs so you need a 3560 for that. There’s quite a price difference between a 3550 and 3560 so I wouldn’t buy the 3560 just for this feature. If you plan to study QoS then it’s worth getting the 3560…


Hello Rene thanks for answer.
So still you recommend 2x 2950 and 1x 3550 for beginning students of CCNA and CCNP ?
I want to buy real switch equipment but I don’t know 2950 and 3550 will be enough.
And last question will you modify your book about CCNA when will be new CCNA 200 - 120 ?
I want buy too.
Thanks :slight_smile:

Hi Sparky,

For CCNA, even 3x 2950 will be enough. For CCNP I would get 1x 3550 instead of a 2950. This is the cheapest lab you can build for CCNA or CCNP. The only feature that you can’t configure on a 3550 that you need for CCNP SWITCH is private VLANs, you’ll need a 3560 for that. I’m not sure what the price difference is now between the two but I don’t think it’s worth it…unless you have plans to study QoS or CCIE sometime in the future.

Oh and before I forget…the updated version of “How to Master CCNA” is now online :slight_smile:

Thanks for answers and for your blog/website.
Its great source for studying cisco :slight_smile:

I can fully recommend the three books for CCNP, I recently passed CCNP in large part thanks to these books. Building the switchlab and using GNS3 is a great help. I managed to get 2x 2950 and 1x 3550 for next to nothing. ( the 3550 for free and the 2950’s for less than 60 euros total.) Add some cables and you are good to go.
Good luck on your studies and have fun doing the labs !

Thanks Cas :slight_smile:

Greetings from Morocco.
On september, I passed my CCNA. Willing to continue the path to be certified as a CCNP R&S.
I have the intention to begin with the CCNP Switch.
I have bought your book :smiley:
My question is: what equipments (switches) I have to buy to complete my preparations.
Could you specify the reference of every one and why choosing them?
thanks for every topic u’re writing.

Hi Tarik,

Have you seen this article? Most of it applies to CCNP SWITCH as well:

If you are on a budget, get 2x 2950 and 1x 3550. The 2950s are the cheapest layer 2 switches and the 3550 is the cheapest layer 3 switch you can get. These 3 switches will let you practice vlans, trunking, spanning-tree and routing. If you have some more money to spend, take a look at the 2960 (replacement for 2950) and 3560 (replacement for 3550). These switches have a different QoS mechanism which is useful if you plan to study QoS someday. The 3560 is also great for CCIE R&S (version 4 not sure about version 5 which will be live in June 2014).


Hi René,

great explanation of how I should prepare myself to start with the CCNP.
Maybe your articel prevented me from sadness after starting the CCNP :wink: