Challenge Labs #1: CCNA/CCNP Labs
This post contains some challenge labs to help with CCNA/CCNP or networking studying.
Below I will showcase 2 labs I have used in the past to study and learn. As you have probably googled and found plenty of guides elsewhere, I will take a different approach and simply explain the lab and provide some links to guides. This is to simulate a more real world scenario without any hand holding. You will have to research, create, and configure things in addition to using the Visio diagram as a reference. This would be similar to what you would have to do in a professional setting.
During the labs I would be sure to issue show commands and see how things behaved after shutting down an interface for example or how the OSPF database looked after configuring a summary route.
Here is the GNS3 install guide if you have not set that up before. However the intended audience for these scenarios are people who have likely already set GNS3 up.
I hope you enjoy the labs.
Lab 1: Multi-Area OSPF
This is an OSPF lab created in GNS3 using standard Cisco router images. The switches are just regular GNS3 switches which are essentially transparent bridges. The goal is to configure OSPFv3 with both IPv4 and IPv6 mimicking the logical topology (areas, summarization etc.). This lab could be completed with other vendor devices as well. I used this lab while studying for the Cisco Route exam 300-101 test.
At the middle top of the diagram you can see the prefixes to use with the x.x next to each interface. Be sure to look at everything on the diagram because there are specific items called out that need to be configured.
After completing this scenario you should be able to configure multi-area OSPF, area summarization, designated routers, and area filters. Furthermore, after completion you should understand how the OSPF database behaves after filtering and summarization along with the designated router/backup designated router (DR/BDR). It's recommended to learn and issue all show commands during and after configuring certain items to better understand behavior of the protocol. One gotcha on this is to not configure the designated router priority prior to each adjacency forming and having to restart the OSPF process to get the DR as the correct router.
Lab 2: CCNP TSHOOT Topology
This is a more advanced lab which covers all the routing in the CCNP Routing & Switching exam and will assist for the Cisco troubleshooting test 300-115. If you look closely you will notice there is frame relay which is still included in the CCNP curriculum, although it has been removed in the latest CCNA revision. The scenario includes multi-area OSPF, EIGRP, RIPng (ipv6), external BGP, tunneling, redistribution, and frame relay.
Ideally you'd create your own IPv4/v6 address scheme for practice but if you don't want to you can click the Cisco learning network link below and download the actual exam topology which has example IP addressing shown. The above topology does not include the switch section, but when I was doing this i connected my physical switches to my computer NICs and bridged the connections. Likely you don't need to do this and should only focus on configuring all the L3 aspects. I will add switching labs in future posts.
After completing you should be able to configure multiple routing protocols and redistribute between them. You should also understand the frame relay topology and behavior (e.g. DLCI are locally significant, broadcast etc.). The wildcard here is the IPv6 GRE tunnel between R4 and R3, this is because area 32 does not support ipv6, so you need to run a tunnel over v4 to transport the v6 routes. Moreover you should create a routing protocol adjacency between the routers over the tunnel, so be sure to check that after configuring.
I hope this helps you in your search for labs or study help.