Now that I've got that other big certificate out of the way, (BBA Management, Mcoy School of Business, Texas State) and have taken four short months to stare at the wall and figure out where to go next, I'm ready to dive back into the Cisco Cert path.
I worked crazy hours this last pay period to try to get us as caught up financially from my 3 months of short-term disability, and a full racing season. Adios Pig Pen, you were a blast last year. Pig Pen is the Black, 4 wheeled, money pit in the Pics at the left.
I'm setting the end of June as a finish date for the CCNP, starting semi-from scratch. I've already got a remotely accessible(2509 access server) 5 router, 3 switch, all purchased off of ebay, and upgraded where needed to run the IOS needed. I actually was pretty thrifty and have built the lab for right around $1k, and have a few routers not in the lab(3640, and a 2610)
As it sits, I have:
2 x 2620xm with 256mb ram, and 48mb flash., 1 WIC1-T, 1
1x 2621xm with 128mb ram, and 32mb flash
2x 2650 with 128mb ram and 32mb flash, 1 with 1 WIC1-T, 1
3x 2950 catalyst switches
1 2509 with an Ethernet tranceiver for network access server duties.
I'm thinking of making some videos for youtube on how I assembled all of this as there isn't a whole lot of info on how to get this type of home lab up and running. You can see a pic of the current state of the rack in the slideshow at left.
To those that haven't run across it, and don't have access to Visio, I've found the Online Software as a Service Giffy, that does a great job with network representations. I'll be making one of each of the lab topologies that are used in the CBT Nuggets CCNP Videos. So far I have the EIGRP basic configuration, and the first of the Advanced EIGRP config done, with Frame relay setup.
I'll also be posting the configs of all my routers in the topologies when the lab is completed, so anyone can see how I did it. Just found out today there is a more modern way to set up the Frame relay router/switch using the connect command instead of Frame relay route, so I wiped all the devices and started over.
that's about where I'm at now. I watched the vids quite a while ago and wrote everything down on paper and am now transcribing them as I hit each section in the Cisco Press book.
Tips of the Day:
Putty Connection manager: When you are going to wipe configs it's awesome to be able to do it on all routers with one command entry. That and just having all the routers up in tabs makes it pretty convenient.
Gliffy: keeps what you have in the lab in your head if you are using a live setup.(which I highly recommend)
The Cisco Learning Network: The discussion groups are worth their weight in gold, and being free, don't empty your pocket of any.
Books by Todd Lammle: He just has a knack for ordering things in a book in the way that ends up most useful for learning. I just picked up his CCNA IOS Command Survival guide to remember how to change confreg on a new router I picked up(one of the reasons to use a live lab), and am already finding other uses for it.
Good luck to all, and I hope this is useful to someone.