Home <Span Class="caps">CCIE</Span> Study Lab

Read­ing Time: 2 min­utes

So, a lot of peo­ple who are work­ing towards their CCIE cer­ti­fi­ca­tions end up build­ing home labs for study­ing.  The rea­sons are many and var­ied, but mine boiled down to two pri­ma­ry ones:


(1) My study hours don’t always match well with what slots the online rack ven­dors have avail­able.

(2) I just like phys­i­cal equip­ment and the flex­i­bil­i­ty it pro­vides in both study­ing and in research.

Also, I just wan­na.

With that said, one of the next things peo­ple want to know is what gear it is that I have, and how do I have it con­fig­ured.  There­fore, with the recent post­ing fre­quen­cy here severe­ly lack­ing, writ­ing about my lab is a nice way to get some­thing fresh on the blog and hope­ful­ly it pro­vides some­thing use­ful to some­one out there.  I’m going to break this down into two gen­er­al cat­e­gories: equip­ment that I have pure­ly for my Cis­co CCIE lab, and oth­er equip­ment that I have either for my home net­work or for ran­dom rea­sons.

Ran­dom Non-Lab Spe­cif­ic Equip­ment List:

  1. WS-2950T-24 switch
  2. Two 1142N access points
  3. Wire­less Con­troller Mod­ule (NME-AIR-WLC6-K9) which is pret­ty fun, but breaks bon­jour and so is the bane of my exis­tence (see pre­vi­ous post here .)
  4. ASA 5505 with IPS mod­ule, run­ning bot-net fil­ter and some oth­er things.  This is also the main gate­way for the home net­work, con­nect­ing up to the cable modem.  It’s also the IPsec end­point for my always-on con­nec­tion to the office and seg­ments my home net­work, lab net­work, work net­work, etc.
  5. Com­cast Cable Modem, made by Motorol­la
  6. Ran­dom doohick­ey for my “Whole-Home DVR” with DirecTV
  7. Sun Sun­Fire v240 Serv­er with StorEdge 3300 stor­age array

Non-plugged in Equip­ment

  1. Sun Enter­prise 3500
  2. Two Cis­co 3550 switch­es
  3. Two PIX 501

Com­put­er stor­age:

  1. Sea­gate 750GB exter­nal dri­ve (USB)
  2. Iomega 1TB exter­nal (eSA­TA)
  3. Drobo S with 5 2TB dri­ves for 10TB raw (eSA­TA)

Cis­co Lab Equip­ment:

  1. Four 3560‑X switch­es, with four-gig uplink mod­ules (might still get the 10 at some point), ful­ly licensed with IPSer­vices and run­ning 12.2(53) SE2.
  2. Eight 2801 routers, all run­ning 12.4(22)T5 Advanced Enter­prise, and all with at least one Wic-2T smart ser­i­al card which pro­vides two smart ser­i­al con­nec­tions.  Four of the 2801 have two Wic-2T cards, and a cou­ple oth­ers have a mix­ture of 1‑Wic-DSU-T1 cards, FXO cards, and FXS cards (most­ly left­overs and hand-me downs, but there are some inter­est­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties.)
  3. One 2811 run­ning the same IOS as the 2801 routers, used as a back­bone router for inject­ing routes and some oth­er misc. stuff.
  4. One 2621 run­ning some­thing-or-oth­er and act­ing as anoth­er back­bone router.
  5. One 3845 run­ning the same Advanced Enter­prise as the oth­ers.  This has five Wic-2T cards and acts as the frame switch. It also has an HWIC-16A card and does reverse-tel­net to every­thing else (ter­mi­nal serv­er).  It also hous­es some ran­dom stuff includ­ing the wire­less con­troller men­tioned above.

All of this is cabled and wired almost iden­ti­cal­ly to the CCBoot­Camp lab topol­o­gy.  This is because I have all of their work­books and want­ed to be able to study with my own equip­ment.  A cou­ple of the details are dif­fer­ent, most­ly around inter­face num­bers and the specifics of the back­bone routers and such.  Also, the switch­es I have are way overkill but sat­is­fy the lab require­ments.  Giv­en the actu­al topol­o­gy from just about any main­stream train­ing provider, I can copy it with the equip­ment I have, and that’s exact­ly what I want­ed to be able to do.  As always, con­tact me here or on twit­ter with ques­tions and com­ments.

Pic­tures of the lab and sun­dries are includ­ed below.