New Cisco IOS Requirements for Certification Exams
Are you preparing for Cisco certification exam and need lab equipment? If so there are a few things you need to know. The new CCNA and CCNP exam is based on the latest Cisco IOS revision 15.0 this limits the number of Cisco routers model available to use in your practice labs. The Cisco 2800 series router is the most affordable model that supports the necessary IOS version. Older router models are still useable but should have at least Cisco IOS revision 12.4 installed. But in any case your lab should contain at least one router model that supports the latest Cisco IOS revision 15.0.
If you plan on using Cisco’s Packet Tracer, this is an excellent choice for your CCNA practice labs but you must use Packet Tracer revision 6.0.1 as the older revision do not support Cisco IOS revision 15.0 additionally there are three new router models, included in the latest version of Packet Tracer, the 1941, 2901 and 2911 these are the only routers within the new version of Packet Tracer that support the latest Cisco IOS. Cisco’s Packet Tracer is a great simulator for CCNA practice labs but the lack Cisco command set support needed for the CCNP Labs.
If you are pursuing the CCNP you may wish to use GNS3 to practice your CCNP labs. This application requires an official Cisco IOS, additionally this application has only one router model that supports Cisco IOS revisions 15.0, the 7200. This router supports six modules the include Ethernet, FastEthernet, GigabitEthernet, ATM, Serial, and POS-OS3 interfaces. The remaining router models 1700, 2600, 3600, and 3700 all support Cisco IOS revision 12.4 except the 3620 which only supports revision 12.3.
Practice labs are a very important part of your preparation for any Cisco certification exam and both Cisco Packet Tracer and GNS3 are great alternatives to real hardware for your CCNA and CCNP labs, but neither of them has all the necessary switching support needed to study CCNA and CCNP topics such as private VLANs for these topics you will need to ether wing it or acquire a couple real switches, one level 2 and one level 3 Switch models such as the Cisco 3500 series will work fine. These switches can also be integrated with your GNS3 practice labs which is a great additional feature of GNS3 over Packet Tracer.
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