Recommended Lab equipment for Cisco CCNA

his topic is to discuss the following lesson:

Useful Info…

FWIW, I highly recommend getting 8 port switches. The fans on the 24/48 port switches can be LOUD, besides being heavy and taking up more desk space.

Thanks for the lesson. This confirms the purchases I have made. Studying for the CCNA now. Wish me the best!!

That is a good idea for sure, the 8 port models are pretty quiet.

Good luck!

Good post, I like the “don’t buy these section” the most. Also wanna highlight that as far as I know 3550 doesn’t support auto-MDI/MDX either. I ran into that issue then I tried the same cabling with a 3560 which than worked perfectly. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

That’s correct, for the 3550 you need to make sure you have your straight-through and crossover cables in the right place.

can i connect gns3 router to cisco 2950 to study ccna.?
i am sorry for my bad english…

Yes that’s no problem. Just use the cloud icon in gns3.

with 3 x c2950 12 port, quad nic for gns3 (router). this enough for ccna labs.?

Hi Rene, I noticed you originally posted this lesson before the introduction of the new Cisco CCNA R&S (100-101 or 200-101). Do you still recommend the 2950 and 3550 for CCNA students even though they can’t take the 15.x IOS?
Btw I have routers 2811, 2621XM and 2611XM. What do you think of those?

Hi Mo,

Yes as far as I’ve seen this is still valid. Using IOS 12.4 is still fine for CCNA…haven’t seen any features that require IOS 15.x

Your routers are great to use. the XM series run pretty much everything for CCNA, CCNP and even CCIE (except MPLS). The 2811 is also nice to have :slight_smile:


Awesome! Thanks for all your work, Rene. Really appreciate it. If you lived in Seattle, I’d look for you everyday asking you CCNA questions. haha :slight_smile:

Hi Rene. Your blog helped me allot. Thank you.

I have been doing allot of research and came up with this LAB for my studies. Please give me your input, I think I have everything that is needed for the new CCNA exams. If i am missing anything please let me know. Here is my set up;

Access Server:



Network Modules:

1 NM-4A/S for frame relay

Serial Cards:

6 WIC-1T or 3 WIC-2

Perhaps having 3 CISCO2621XM 's is over kill?

Hi Mike,

This is a great lab to have. You can also use your switches for CCNP SWITCH because you have a 3550 (layer 3 switch). You don’t really need the routers nowadays because you can use GNS3 but it’s still great to have them. You can connect them to your switches and use them as hosts, and if you ever want to study Quality of Service they are also very useful.

Good luck studying!


I bought the new version of your ebook “how to master ccna” and i found it great. I ´ve been reached the half of the book, i plan to finish it this weekend.
Also i bought 2 x Catalyst 2950 24 ports, and i´ll buy a catalyst 3550 because i´m interested in CCNP too.
The problem with the Catalyst 2950 24 ports is their fans are too loud ! (i live in an apartment :slight_smile: So, is there anyway to change the fans to a quieter one ?
or just turn off the fans will be a good or bad idea ?

Hi Juan,

I’m glad to hear you like it :slight_smile: I think the fans are a standard size so if you look for a (web)shop that sells casemod stuff then I’m sure you can find a replacement fan. Never tried it but it’s worth a shot. The switch might even work without a fan but that’s “don’t try this at home kinda advice” :wink:


Hi Rene, THANK YOU for this information. Am from the phils and the price here for cisco switches/routers are kinda expensive (even 2nd hand).

Will go buying 2 pcs cisco 2960 and 1 pc cisco 3550. But my concern is, do i have to buy a certain NIC so I can connect to these switches using GNS3? Or any NICs that support 802.1q? Or something?

Thanks and really appreciate for this information and more power.


Hello Mr. Molennar i did take your advice and bought the 2 x 2950 and 1 x 3350 Cisco switches so i could study for the CCNP exam. I though i only needed crossover cables to connect all three switches. Could you please explain where to connect the straight through cable on the 3350? Thank you for your support.