Recommended Lab equipment for Cisco CCNA

Hi Raul,

You only need the crossover switches in between the switches. The straight-through cable(s) are just for connecting hosts or routers to your switches if you want to…


Hi Sugatang,

90% of the NICs should work. If you want to try router on a stick or something then you need a NIC that supports 802.1Q.


Quick question for you here. I have an older CCNA cert and i want to retake it just to continue with CCNP.

I do have access to a lot of equipment at work from the datacentre, some of the parts i just grabbed home with me are 2x2960-S 24x PoE+ with 4 fibre modules in each of them. I’ve heard that these are limited on IOS versions?

I might also be able to grab with me a 3700 router but i do already have tons of 2600’s

Thanks for any assistance:)

Hi Rune,

Kinda a late reply here but maybe it’s still useful for you or others.

The 2960 has different IOS versions but even the base image should be enough for CCNA or CCNP for the layer 2 stuff. The 3700 and 2600 will still be useful for CCNP and if not, just use GNS3 for the routing.


Hi Rene,

Currently studying for CCNA and have purchased 2 x 3550 (came with EMI image).

The 3550’s are running 12.2 (37) SE1

Should I look at upgrading IOS on the devices or will the versions of IOS be OK and have the same set of commands available??


Hi Steve,

I think you will be fine with this IOS version. It should support all the commands.



Rene very nice guide, got one question are there setup still valid for new CCNA exams?

2x WS-C2950C-24
1x WS-C3550-48-SMI

  • maybe some router or GNS3

Thanks for reply in advance

Hi Patryk,

I can still recommend to buy those, even for the new CCNA exams. You can also replace the 2950 with a 2960 and the 3550 with a 3560 or 3750 if you can get them cheap.


Thanks for fast reply, those which u wrote i got at work, i just want setup some lab at my home ( not expensive one, since i cant take stuff from work to my home :(( ), u got any sugestions if i should buy router ? they are needed for CCNA ? and later CCNP ?

Thx in advance

Hi I need help,

I really want to build a lab, I am willing to spend money, I just dont like the kits these people are offering on ebay. I dont mind using GNS3 but i want to have hand on training.

My end goal is going to be ccie, even if i dont get it I still want to study like i am studying a ccie. if soo i just dont want to waste money on ccnp lab then i have to replace it all… I just want to keep adding on to it, until it becomes a ccie lab,

I am looking at ebay right now, and i see cisco 3560 for 142, should i get three of them? I am looking at your Recommended Lab equipment it looks basic.

Please help me understand, My budget is $500.00, what would you buy with that? also, i want to add some firewall security

Hi Omar,

Before Cisco switched the CCIE exam from version 4 to version 5 I would have advised to buy the 3560 switches. However since the changes, the entire lab uses IOU (IOS on Unix) so I would advice to take a look at that. It probably allows you to study for CCIE without buying any hardware.

If you want a Firewall, look for the ASA 5505…it’s the cheapest firewall you can get that still run ASA 9.X.


Very useful info. thank you

Hi Rene, I am considering on taking the CCNA exam. I was wondering what do you think about using Cisco Packet tracer as an aid to help study for the exam. What do you think?

Hi Jeremiah,

Packet Tracer is fine for CCNA R&S, that’s what it was created for so go for it. The only downside is that whenever you want to try a command that is outside the scope of CCNA that it might not be supported. It’s a simulator so it doesn’t simulate everything.


Hi Rene,

I appreciate you shared your experienced with us. My own concern is this, will c3560 or 3750 do switch port security and any other advance switch commands?

Hi Sam,

The 3560 and 3750 are both perfect for this. You can use them for CCNA, CCNP and even CCIE.


I have a question. I have access to build a lab using 3560G-24 PoE switches or 3750x PoE series. I have some 1700 routers already setup in a lab at work with VPN access to use from my house. I am wondering what model are they testing you with on the tests today. It used to be 2950s , but I am hoping they are testing with a little more current models. I am running 15.02 code , but can set them up with 12.2 if need be. Can you let me know as I prepare for the exams ?

Hi Mark,

The CCNA exam is now focused on IOS 15.X but they don’t focus much on one particular model. Running IOS 15 is nice so you can check the new the licensing methods and some other small features but not really required. Even an old 2950 switch running 12.X will be fine for 99% of the CCNA topics.


19 posts were merged into an existing topic: Recommended Lab equipment for Cisco CCNA

Hey Rene,
I’ve just joined and 'am unable to find the comment section, so writing here in the reply section. I am preparing for CCNA and building my home lab, can you please advise on lab kit below;
Router: 1x 2611xm, 1x 3725, 1x 3745
Router: 3 x 2611xm
* My question on router - Shall I go for 3 x 2611xm or the first set of 3 different routers?

3x WS-C2950-24
3x WIC-2T
1x WS-C3550-48-SMI
3x DTE/DCE cable
1x Console Cable
3x Ethernet Cables
2x Crossover Cables
7x Power cables
7x Rack kits for the above routers/switches
1x 12 U rack kit

I understand you’ve suggested using GNS3, but I can afford to practice on live equipment so why not have the gear. Your suggestion on above items are much appreciated, especially with router I am unable to make a decision. This lab kit is for someone who has beginner-intermediate level of IT background and is preparing for CCNA.