I’ve spent the past few weeks furiously updating the CCNA content on my websites to match the new exam topics. I also hired a CCIE to create a number of lectures and labs including 80 minutes of challenge labs.
When I came to review them, I found that all the challenge labs had been done in Packet Tracer. At first, I was a bit surprised, but while I was going through everything, I began to change my mind. Previously I thought live equipment was the only way to go.
The 80 minutes of challenge labs included IPv6 access lists, BGP, interVLAN routing, port security, HSRP, PPP, GRE and much more. I realized that PT had come a long way from the first version. It’s currently on version 7 and Cisco have finally released it to the public. Here is the link:
The advantages of PT are that you can quickly fire it up and build small to large networks as well as adding end devices such as servers, IP phones, wireless access points, etc. You can save the entire topology and use it over and over as well as share files with friends.
It can help you with CCNA for sure and some CCNP labs. There are still some drawbacks, though. Not all commands and technologies are supported. Some are supported but in a limited format (such as LACP). Novice students can get frustrated trying to follow labs created using live equipment and find that the outputs, debugs and results just aren’t the same.
Remember also that you still aren’t getting your hands dirty with actual equipment. There is nothing like cabling up your own rack and making mistakes that way. However, if you are on a budget and also use GNS3 which is free you can get more than ready for your CCNA exam.
Most of the labs for the brand new version of 101 Cisco CCNA Labs were created using PT. I’ve set 250 coupons for half price if you use the below link. That’s ten bucks instead of 20 which will buy you two coffees!
What do you think of PT? Good or bad? Drop a comment and let me know.