Blog Archives

Home Lab vs Emulator/Simulator

Oh a question that has been asked time and time again….What should I use for my Cisco certification studies? Should I buy a home lab or use packet tracer/gns3? I am going to come right out and say this. If you are NOT in the networking field and are pursuing Cisco certifications you need to get a home lab. Period. The troubleshooting experiences that you will experience through your home lab is something no emulator/simulator can teach you. I can honestly tell you this because I am speaking from experience. I am someone that started out as a desktop engineer and have worked my way up into a networking position within a year. Not only does a home lab make you a better engineer but it will also impress employers during your interviews. Again, I am saying this from my own experiences. Why would employers want to give you a shot at becoming a network engineer if you have never even touched Cisco equipment? Think about that. Would you rater hire someone that has a year of hands on experience in a home lab environment or someone that has a year experience messing around in GNS3. Having a home lab shows your potential employer that you are dedicated to your studies.  
I am not trying to knock GNS3 because I do use it often when I am traveling. It is a very useful tool to have in your arsenal. However it should not be your means of getting “hands-on” Cisco experience. Yes a home lab may be expensive, but truthfully the experience you will gain from it will pay itself off. Also do not go out and spend a ton of money on a home lab if you are just starting out with your CCNA. Start off with 2x switches and 2x routers. Add things to your lab as you find necessary. 


(My CCNP home lab)

Caught between a Rock and a Hard place

Caught between a rock and a hard place…an expression I never fully understood until I began my Cisco Certification journey. I often find myself having to make tough decisions, for example, going to the bars with my friends or staying in for the night and working towards my CCNP. Just a little over a year ago I wouldn’t have even thought twice about the answer to this question; I would be out having a good ol’ time with my friends.  However since graduating college I feel that I have changed, and personally I think it is for the better. Most of my free time now is filled with studying/labing various Cisco topics. I usually give myself one free day a week to go out with friends, sadly though going out to the bars is no longer as appealing to me. People always tell me that I spend to much time in the books and that I need to go out and “enjoy” life. Why does going out to bars and drinking mean your enjoying life? I just don’t get it.  I want to make a good life for myself and for my future family (I am still young, 23).  I want to be able to travel and visit beautiful parts of the world, which thankfully I have been able to do once a year for most of my life. I need to push through with my studies, the results are already showing everyday.  Job calls are coming in daily, and without my determination and motivation I know for a fact I wouldn’t have half the success I have now. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to