Finally! A product to help me practice for the Cisco CCNA without buying routers and switches!March 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Cisco | 4 Comments
Tags: ccna, CCNA Simulator, Cisco virtual lab
One of the biggest challenges for Cisco newbies (and sometimes not-so-newbies) who are preparing for the CCNA exams (640-822, 640-816, or 640-802), even those who take a class, is preparing for the simulation items on the exam. When I first decided many years ago to expand my knowledge from Microsoft and CompTIA to to the Cisco world, my only option was to scour eBay for some used routers and switches and the required accessories, such as console cables and v.35 cables. This cost me thousands of dollars, even second-hand.
At the time, you could buy so-called “simulators” to practice on, but they were programmed to do a limited number of things and that was all you could do with them. If you wanted to color outside of those lines, you were out of luck. There’s been some improvements to simulators introduced the past few years; there are even some that will allow you to practice whichever commands you want, and have flexible configuration abilities.
But even with a competent (and affordable!) software-based simulator, there are two real questions:
- “Of all the hundreds of possible commands, and the thousands of possible tasks Cisco could ask me to perform on the exam, which ones should I really practice and expect to see?”
- Moreover, “How do I know that I’m doing them correctly when I practice?”
Well… DRUMROLL PLEASE…now you can get the best of worlds in one package! We’ve rolled out the Kaplan IT CCNA Simulator and its accompanying set of scenario-based exercises. The Kaplan IT CCNA simulator is not only a fully functional network of routers and switches large enough to practice any useful scenario, it also comes with a set of exam-focused exercises and solutions that cover the tasks you will most likely see on the exam.
Best of all, you are not limited to these exercises in any way. Except for a very small set of rarely-used commands, all Cisco IOS commands are supported in the simulator. This allows you to use the simulator as a self-directed lab. Now you can finally purchase a simulator product that you can use to practice any task as you continue to go beyond the CCNA — to CCNP and onward.
Pictured above is the KaplanIT CCNA simulator with seven devices, all various models of switches and routers, which are pre-connected with cables and networks, including an ISDN link, WAN links, and LAN links. You can move the connections and create new cable connections, start or stop devices, configure device IP addresses, the works. The back panels of the devices are shown and you can zoom in on the back of any devices as I have done here:
Whenever you want to connect to a device, you can start a console and connect in, as shown below:
Yeah, yeah, I know all of this is very cool, but the real clincher is the exercises that come with the tool. There are other simulators out there, but none with our exclusive set of twelve detailed scenarios. The scenarios are read from an attached PDF document; after you’re finished working one, you can read the step-by-step explanation of the correct steps and the commands involved. Just as you have come to trust us to provide questions that fully prepare you for the exam, you can also rely on the exercises provided with the simulator to be exam-focused and technically relevant. I just wish this had been available when I was studying for my CCNA. I could saved a ton of money (and some space in my garage).
So when you finally decide to get serious (though you are probably at that point if you are reading this), get our practice test AND the simulator and get yourself ready for the exam!