I'm posting here in hopes to get some advice on the best possible course of action. So, right now I'm employed as a field service tech. Not going in a lot of details, I service semiconductor manufacturing equipment. It's 75% wrenching/calibrating and 25% software, networking and other configs. I have basics of networking down needed to do my part of the job and was thinking about learning more to obtain CCNA cert. Why do I need it? 1. It's related to my job function and will look good on my review, increase my chances of getting a raise and keeping my job during next round of layoffs. 2. And if I do get laid off, then I already have something in the works with an owner of a small IT company that I could get a job with. He suggested that CCNA would be a nice thing for me to have for starters and then they can train me on everything else I need after I begin. Don't get me wrong though, I like my current job and have no plans of leaving, but if I get that call from my manager saying I need to come to the office and bring my company laptop and tools with me, I need to be ready what's next.
My plan is to obtain the knowledge necessary for CCNA (Routing and Switching) efficiently, but inexpensively. I read on some other forums people suggesting building your own small LAN and getting Cisco equipment off Ebay and use that to get your hands-on. That sounds interesting, since I have a basement in my house I could dedicate this to, 2 desktop computers and 2 laptops and I could buy more on craigslist real cheap if needed. I could also pick up a study guide at a local bookstore and use that. Attending a Cisco academy is not an option. It's expensive, requires me to leave my house during my off time, even if I assume by default that the quality of their education is any good. So here's the items I would like to get input on:
1. Does this LAN setup at home sound like a good idea for me to learn? You're welcome to suggest any alterations or even a completely different plan that you feel will work better in my situation.
2. Would like to get input from experienced folks as far as what Cisco equipment units I'm gonna need as a minimum. I'd appreciate if you included model numbers as well.
3. Some clarification with associated costs of just running this equipment, electricity aside. Like, I mentioned before, I'm new to all this, so please, bare with my ignorance. I read there are subscription fees of some sort I need to pay for using Cisco equipment, firmware updates and features. What do I actually need out of all that and the ballpark of how much it's gonna cost.
You can run Cisco equipment without paying anything other than just for the switches. You would have to pay if you want the Smartnet which is their replacement and upgrade service.
I would get a couple 2950s and a 2600 series router. these should both be common enough that you can get them pretty cheap. We have about 15 of them sitting around right now.
There are software programs out there that will simulate networks pretty good. I have messed with the Boson software a little bit.
Learning from home will work if you can stay dedicated to it. The test for the CCNA is $125 bucks last time I checked.