CCNP Lab Part 1 – Overview and Budget Survey

Well, way back around new years, I posted a survey about what certs you wanted to pursue as a new years resolution. CCNA and CCNP basically tied, with a little more than 25% of you wanting to pursue CCNA, and that same percentage pursuing CCNP. So, as promised, I'll spend some time talking about labs for CCNP preparation.

The CCNA lab series was greatly improved by your feedback - please keep it coming. There's no way I can find all the nooks and crannies on the gear and features without spending a ton of time, and getting one each of everything - which is a bit of a stretch for a volunteer gig. As with CCNA, I'll toss our some thoughts, and adjust based on any feedback I get.

So, first, a quick overview of the topics requiring hands-on skills on the 4 CCNP exams, and then, I want to get your opinions in a survey. There are 4 exams - BSCI, BCMSN, ONT, and ISCW. The main topics requiring hands-on skills are as follows:

  • BSCI: OSPF, EIGRP, VLSM, summarization, IS-IS, route redistribution, route maps, DHCP, BGP, multicast IP, IGMP, IPv6, OSPFv3 (IPv6)
  • BSMSN: VLAN, VLAN trunking, Etherchannel, STP, RSTP, MIST, RPVST, L3 switching, switch security features, LAN QoS, wireless clients, voice support
  • ONT: NBAR, PQ, WRED, policing, shaping, compression, LFI, QoS Pre-classify, AutoQoS, SDM QoS config, Wireless security (clients/APs), WLAN QoS
  • ISCW: PPPoE, PPPoA, frame-mode MPLS, IPSec VPN/GRE tunnels, EasyVPN, Autosecure, AAA, ACLs, miscellaneous management security, IOS firewall, IOS IPS

I'll probably start with BSMSN, and then look at the other three tests as a group, because BCMSN is the only exam with switch-specific topics.

Now, for the budget survey. I'd like to get an idea as to how much money you'd spend to build a lab that allows you to practice at least 90% of the topics you'd want to practice for CCNP. That'll help me start getting an idea of my really cheap/kinda cheap/medium budget categories, like I did for the CCNA lab study. So, let's make some assumptions:

  • You already have 2 2501's and 1 2900XL from your CCNA studies
  • You want to pursue and complete CCNP in this calendar year, so you intend to go ahead and but all the gear in the next few months.

Under those assumptions, tell me how much you think you'd want to spend, in US $$:

Thanks for the input - I'll start getting into the technical details next week!

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