Network Engineers Unite!

KrikeeKrikee Registered User regular
After working at a data center for a couple years I have finally made the move to a network provider that resells bandwidth on their Tier 1 circuits to corporations to make private network interconnect between their offices around the globe. I have been toying with the idea of getting my CCNA for a while and have finally decided to go for it. Anyone have suggestions for final preparation purchases such as practice exams or something else that will help with review? I am keenly aware that Cisco is not the end-all-be-all of networking but, considering my lack of experience in the job market I see this certification as a statement of a certain level of conceptual knowledge.

Additionally, has anyone found posters or "cheat sheets" for network protocols? I have looked for a TCP/IP & PPP poster to no avail.

Slightly off topic but,
Does that make us a Tier 1 provider? We buy dedicated pipes to connect all of our POPs so our customers traverse our network only when doing site-to-site communication.

Krikee on

Posts

  • fodderboyfodderboy Registered User
    edited June 2009
    I took the first test for the CCNA last year and past, so i'm an official "CCENT." I never took the 2nd one just do to time constraints and there was no real benefit. With that said....


    What helped me the most was getting 2-3 routers with 2-3 switches and practice configuring them via CLI. Basically i would get an idea for a 'network', white board it out with all the needed information (IPs, scopes, etc) and then implement it. Rise and repeat changing it up a little, different routing protocol, different logical layout, etc. Maybe add a new requirement, like make switch X accessible via telnet or having to add an ACL between to routers. Backup the config file via telnet and TFTP.

    I'd also come up with 'broken' network design, implement it, and then troubleshoot it.

    Just try to do real world stuff. There will be sim questions on the test. They are very in-depth and not just a simple "Turn on this interface." The more comfortable you are working and understanding the Cisco CLI, the better you can handle the sims (and in less time).

    Oh, and know how to reset an enabled password.

    fodderboy on
  • underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2009
    Cisco gear may not be the best stuff on the planet, but it's what pays the bills (you're going to find it everywhere). Best way I've found to study for the Cisco certs is to have someone who knows Cisco gear (whether they are certified or not) setup small networks, break them in some confusing way, and then you try to identify and fix the issue. Also, read lots.

    underdonk on
    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
  • ch40sch40s Registered User
    edited July 2009
    I'm currently studying for my CCNA, its going pretty well but I have a few questions.

    Any good blogs or forums with updated new-technology information that would better my ability to find work upon completion of this exam?

    Is the CCNA certification and a year or two of computer hardware repair, simple network setup and troubleshooting enough to land me a good entry-level network associate possition?

    I'm afraid I don't have enough money to pay my bills and pay for school so this is all with the assumption that I don't have a bachelors degree.

    Edit: Valuable information here, sorry
    fodderboy wrote: »
    I took the first test for the CCNA last year and past, so i'm an official "CCENT." I never took the 2nd one just do to time constraints and there was no real benefit. With that said....


    What helped me the most was getting 2-3 routers with 2-3 switches and practice configuring them via CLI. Basically i would get an idea for a 'network', white board it out with all the needed information (IPs, scopes, etc) and then implement it. Rise and repeat changing it up a little, different routing protocol, different logical layout, etc. Maybe add a new requirement, like make switch X accessible via telnet or having to add an ACL between to routers. Backup the config file via telnet and TFTP.

    I'd also come up with 'broken' network design, implement it, and then troubleshoot it.

    Just try to do real world stuff. There will be sim questions on the test. They are very in-depth and not just a simple "Turn on this interface." The more comfortable you are working and understanding the Cisco CLI, the better you can handle the sims (and in less time).

    Oh, and know how to reset an enabled password.

    Where would I go about getting 2-3 routers and 2-3 switches fairly cheap. I believe I have an older cisco 12 port switch, other than that just my home network wireless router and modem.

    Do you have suggestions for specific models with relevance in todays market?

    ch40s on
    Steam - fr0mch40s
    XBL - Clarke Ch40s
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I've found This Blog has given useful advice on what hardware to get.

    I had started studying for my CCNA but put it on hold until I can get some hardware and room to play with it, I am looking to start studying again in 2-3 months (after I can move into an apartment). I tried doing some things with a simulator but it wasn't the same. I think sims would be more useful after I get some hands-on experience.

    Tomanta on
  • mojojoeomojojoeo A block off the park, living the dream.Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    As a person who just passed the CCNA this past year: Go for it dudes!

    The only help I can give you is this- study the books hard. You need to know what the F' you are doing. You need to know why you do what you do.

    You should be able to subnet in your sleep. If you can't the simlets testlets and sims will kill you. In general multi answer questions start with subnetting so if you cant do step one you are wrecked. There's 8000 methods (i draw a chart :p ) so find one that makes sense to you.

    Working on hardware is nice but you can virtualize/emulate any hardware you need. There are free and commercial ones. You should work only in command line - evey sim is command line only, but there may be some gui questions. Working command line is important and will help you understand commands better anyways.

    Be prepaired for the wording that cisco will ask. Cisco press's own study guides even kinda of skirt the wording and the "how they ask" of the test questions. I can't stress enough that they have a method of asking in the 'testlets' and general questions; its designed to make you question your answers. Also drill sims. Over and over. There is no time during the second test to not know what you need to do in a sim; you will need to be like a robot on them.

    I nailed both first shot. And you can too.

    mojojoeo on
    Chief Wiggum: "Ladies, please. All our founding fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine."
  • ch40sch40s Registered User
    edited July 2009
    mojojoeo wrote: »
    As a person who just passed the CCNA this past year: Go for it dudes!

    The only help I can give you is this- study the books hard. You need to know what the F' you are doing. You need to know why you do what you do.

    You should be able to subnet in your sleep. If you can't the simlets testlets and sims will kill you. There's 8000 methods (i draw a chart :p ) so find one that makes sense to you.

    Working on hardware is nice but you can virtualize/emulate any hardware you need. There are free and commercial ones. You should work only in command line - evey sim is command line only, but there may be some gui questions. Working command line is important and will help you understand commands better anyways.

    After that schedule a test for a month out and study this - http://www.how2pass.com/
    They constantly update with q's and have fully working sims online for you to play with (multiple switch and router setups are available to you anytime to hack away on).

    What they do is ask you questions in the wording that cisco will ask. Cisco press's own study guides even kinda of skirt the wording and the "how they ask" of the test questions. I can't stress enough that they have a method of asking in the 'testlets' and general questions; its designed to make you question your answers. Also drill sims. Over and over. There is no time during the second test to not know what you need to do in a sim; you will need to be like a robot on them.

    I nailed both first shot. And you can to.

    Wow, some serious good advice, and quick. Thanks a lot guys. I'm sure I'll ask some more questions though =]

    ch40s on
    Steam - fr0mch40s
    XBL - Clarke Ch40s
  • bigwahbigwah Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Beware of braindump websites, like the one that was just posted. Check out CertGuard's braindump list.

    While some IT certification organizations do not specifically ban braindumps, many do, including Microsoft.

    But since its hard to go after the individual, it boils down to, do you want to pass the test or learn actually learn the material?

    Working with people who have used braindumps is easy to identify so don't think you'll easily be able to fool an employer.

    bigwah on
    LoL Tribunal:
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    "Hope he dies tbh but a ban would do."
  • MrIamMeMrIamMe Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I concur with the braindump however you might want to read a tad more closely

    The only help I can give you is this- study the books hard. You need to know what the F' you are doing. You need to know why you do what you do.


    You need to know what the hell you are doing, but examples of questions asked are a good way to test ones knowledge.

    MrIamMe on
  • mojojoeomojojoeo A block off the park, living the dream.Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    MrIamMe wrote: »
    I concur with the braindump however you might want to read a tad more closely

    The only help I can give you is this- study the books hard. You need to know what the F' you are doing. You need to know why you do what you do.


    You need to know what the hell you are doing, but examples of questions asked are a good way to test ones knowledge.

    This is what I meant.

    I have test stuff from Global Knowledge, Cisco press and the site listed. The language, the "how they ask," of the Q's was not even close in the prior two.

    So I pulled the site from my post if its a grey area. I had no idea at the time.

    It's only a piece of paper, you have to have the knowledge to back it up.

    mojojoeo on
    Chief Wiggum: "Ladies, please. All our founding fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine."
  • ch40sch40s Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Any suggestions on cheap cisco hardware? I confirmed that I do have a small 12 port cisco switch. But, I probably need another switch and router.

    ch40s on
    Steam - fr0mch40s
    XBL - Clarke Ch40s
  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    The best answer isn't always the 'Cisco' answer. On all certification exams you need to know what the certifying group thinks is the correct answer, not the real world solution. This is more problematic on MS exams than Cisco ones, but still applicable. I used the Exam Cram books and liked the fact that the practice tests explained why wrong answers were wrong.

    No where have you mentioned what exactly you do. Ok, you worked in a data center and now a network provider. Doing what? Mopping floors? What experience do you have, what other certs do you have, what are your duties now? This is important because it frames your goals and expectations at this job and provides insight on how to proceed. Just taking a cert exam may not be the best course of action at this point in time.

    Lastly, Tier 1, check the wiki for a better explanation, but basically Tier 1 are the really big boys that handle internet backbone type stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tier_1_network

    travathian on
  • KrikeeKrikee Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    ch40s wrote: »
    Any suggestions on cheap cisco hardware? I confirmed that I do have a small 12 port cisco switch. But, I probably need another switch and router.
    Ciscokits.com is not the cheapest place to get gear but they have good information on picking out gear. You should get at least 3x routers so you can play with routing protocols and you can get by with 1 switch if you VLAN it (which you should be able to do anyway). Gear selection really comes down to 2 options as far as I can tell: Do I have enough RAM for IPv6 support? Do I have enough RAM & current enough hardware to support the GUI? You don't want to use the GUI anyway so it's a matter of supporting IPv6.

    My home lab consists of the following:
    2x 3524 w/ 1000baseT GBIC
    2x 1760
    1x 2501

    To give you an idea, the 2501 is somewhere around 15 years old and it still supports all the routing protocols needed for the test. It's by no means something you can use outside of a lab because it's 10Mbps/half-duplex but, they just about give them away on ebay.

    Krikee on
  • KrikeeKrikee Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    travathian wrote: »
    The best answer isn't always the 'Cisco' answer. On all certification exams you need to know what the certifying group thinks is the correct answer, not the real world solution. This is more problematic on MS exams than Cisco ones, but still applicable. I used the Exam Cram books and liked the fact that the practice tests explained why wrong answers were wrong.

    No where have you mentioned what exactly you do. Ok, you worked in a data center and now a network provider. Doing what? Mopping floors? What experience do you have, what other certs do you have, what are your duties now? This is important because it frames your goals and expectations at this job and provides insight on how to proceed. Just taking a cert exam may not be the best course of action at this point in time.

    Lastly, Tier 1, check the wiki for a better explanation, but basically Tier 1 are the really big boys that handle internet backbone type stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tier_1_network
    I didn't ask "Am I ready?" I have an Exam Cram book I haven't looked through yet (just finished all my initial reading a few days ago so I haven't gotten to it yet) that I bought after briefly skimming through it at the store and it seems like it was a good buy. As for the Tier 1 provider question, we are a Tier 1 provider since we have dedicated pipes (un-metered from T1 providers) that build a private, global network.

    Krikee on
  • ch40sch40s Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Krikee wrote: »
    ch40s wrote: »
    Any suggestions on cheap cisco hardware? I confirmed that I do have a small 12 port cisco switch. But, I probably need another switch and router.
    Ciscokits.com is not the cheapest place to get gear but they have good information on picking out gear. You should get at least 3x routers so you can play with routing protocols and you can get by with 1 switch if you VLAN it (which you should be able to do anyway). Gear selection really comes down to 2 options as far as I can tell: Do I have enough RAM for IPv6 support? Do I have enough RAM & current enough hardware to support the GUI? You don't want to use the GUI anyway so it's a matter of supporting IPv6.

    My home lab consists of the following:
    2x 3524 w/ 1000baseT GBIC
    2x 1760
    1x 2501

    To give you an idea, the 2501 is somewhere around 15 years old and it still supports all the routing protocols needed for the test. It's by no means something you can use outside of a lab because it's 10Mbps/half-duplex but, they just about give them away on ebay.

    Sweet deal, sounds like I got some work to do.

    ch40s on
    Steam - fr0mch40s
    XBL - Clarke Ch40s
  • ch40sch40s Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Ok so I found out the switch I have is a 3com Superstack II Switch 1100. Will this be ok to add to the list or should I still consider getting a cisco switch?

    ch40s on
    Steam - fr0mch40s
    XBL - Clarke Ch40s
  • KrikeeKrikee Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    ch40s wrote: »
    Ok so I found out the switch I have is a 3com Superstack II Switch 1100. Will this be ok to add to the list or should I still consider getting a cisco switch?
    If it's a managed switch it might be ok. It really depends on what you can configure on it (VLANs, 802.1q VLAN tagging and the various spanning tree protocols would be good). Wouldn't hurt to connect to it and poke around the interface though. If it doesn't work out, you can get switches for dirt cheap on ebay (2900 series would run you about $20 per switch). Also, know subnetting and know it well; the test seemed to boil down to 70 percent of the questions asking, "Can you subnet?" in one form or another.

    Krikee on
  • KendrikKendrik McKinney, TXRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Krikee wrote: »
    Also, know subnetting and know it well; the test seemed to boil down to 70 percent of the questions asking, "Can you subnet?" in one form or another.

    This. Subnetting is the most basic and most vital skill you can learn. You need to be able to calculate CIDR blocks without thinking.

    Also, someone mentioned a lack of a degree...don't let that bother you. I've been doing this for almost 15 years and I'm a college dropout. Experience and skill counts for WAY more than degrees or even certifications. Certs are very useful for getting a foot in the door, though, and providing the basic training for experience to build upon.

    Kendrik on
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  • KendrikKendrik McKinney, TXRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    ch40s wrote: »
    Ok so I found out the switch I have is a 3com Superstack II Switch 1100. Will this be ok to add to the list or should I still consider getting a cisco switch?

    Frankly, you might be better served by buying time in an online lab. That way you have access to all the hardware you need that might be otherwise out of your price range.

    Here's one I found with a quick google search:

    http://www.cconlinelabs.com/index.shtml

    Kendrik on
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    Guild Wars 2: Kendrik.5984
  • mg78mg78 Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Do you really need to toy around with lab setups etc.? Or would it be possible to do the whole exam just from "theory"...?

    mg78 on
  • MrIamMeMrIamMe Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Considering 2 of the exams is you on a network with a command line - you can't go by theory alone.

    I suggest emulation on a half decent pc rather than buy stuff though.

    MrIamMe on
  • nessinnessin Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    As MrIamMe stated, go with emulation. When I was digging around a couple years ago, I found a couple different pieces of software that will emulate network devices, even multiple devices to act like a functioning network. Saves you the cost and hassle.

    Otherwise, don't sweat the test. The CCNA isn't all that extensive or difficult if you take your time and don't push yourself through it, its more just knowing the Cisco way of doing basic networking.

    nessin on
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