In this article, we will cover the hardware you will need to build your own CCNA Security 640-554 lab. There have been some major changes to the 640-554 Security lab environment from the old CCNA Security exam. So without further ado, letís
start to figure out the best way to build our CCNA Security Lab.
We should probably open up by covering some of the differences between the CCNA Security 640-553 and the CCNA Security 640-554 exam. First and foremost, the new 640-554 CCNA Security exam has replaced SDM(Security Device Manager) with CCP (Cisco Configuration Professional) and it also has less emphasis on the CLI(Command Line Interface). Next, the CCNA Security 640-554 exam covers many topics only from a CCP perspective. So get very comfortable with CCP! All that said, if you made it this far in your Cisco career, I think you will find the CCP GUI interface quite easy to use compared to remembering all the levels and syntax of the CLI interface.
How Many Routers for my CCNA Security 640-554 Lab?
The lab kits we offer for CCNA Security uses three routers and the same number of switches. In our Premium CCNA Security Lab Kit we use three routers and three switches. In building your CCNA Security lab, the first thing you need to consider is picking up a router that can support the IOS with the feature set to cover the exam objectives. Many students assume that the older 2500, 2600 or even some of the 2600XM 12.4 series routers which support IP/FW/IDS Plus or IPSEC 3DES will do the job. Although they can cover some of the CLI topics, the first issue is that they do not support zone-based firewalls or IPS. The second issue is that they do not support CCP. This is a change from the older version of the CCNA Security exam as the 2600XM series used to be fine since it supported SDM. But now since it does not support CCP, it is no longer relevant. Since much of the exam covers CCP, none of the above routers are really a viable option.
Premium CCNA Security Lab Topology
What Routers Will Work and Why?
So what routers will work? The most economical router we suggest is the 1841 series router. These routers will support the 12.4 Advanced IP Services feature set which supports zone-based firewalls and IPS. They also support CCP which is the key. You are also going to want to make sure they have 256MB DRAM and 64MB Flash so you can run the proper IOS and CCP. Otherwise you will find out that you canít run both as you donít have enough memory. So it looks like we have a winner!
What About Switches for my CCNA Security Lab?
Finally from a switch perspective the 2950 switches are the way to go for most people. The 2960 switches are what are suggested by Cisco, but the 2950 covers all the test concepts and commands except the Dynamic ARP Inspection feature is missing. We include a standard 2950 in our kits which you can upgrade to an enhanced 2950 or just exactly match the Cisco topology with a 2960. It is all up to you and your budget.
What About ASA(Adaptive Security Devices) Like the ASA 5505?
I am glad you asked. Another major change to the CCNA Security 640-554 exam is they have included a slew of questions on their security devices. Specifically you will need an ASA5505 to complete many of the CCNA Security lab exercises in the lab workbook. We also have created another lab workbook focused specifically on the Cisco ASA 5500 devices(this lab workbook will also work on the PIX firewalls too!).
ASA 5500 Lab Topology
So your next logical step would be to check out our ASA 5500 & PIX Firewalls Demystified! Lab Workbook. It covers 25 different real world PIX and ASA 5500 series scenarios. How to setup ASA Security Levels, a DMZ with multiple internal zones, site to site VPNs and much, much more! This is where you really start to have some fun in your CCNA Security Lab!
That about wraps it up from an equipment perspective. The Cisco CCNA Security 640-554 is one of the more expensive labs. There is good and bad about that. Cisco has finally started to upgrade the lab requirements beyond that of the 15 year old 2500 series routes and are getting into some of the more real world units you will see in the workplace that support some of your advanced features like CCP. But I am sure you will agree that it is definitely a major improvement and enhances your learning experience.
For many more CCNA Security articles and videos, we highly suggest you subscribe to our Premium CCNA Content section of our website. Here you will find access to over 350 CCNA, CCNA Security and CCNA Voice articles explaining the most difficult concepts to master. That is not it, you will also have access to over 100 CCNA, CCNA Security and CCNA Voice labs found no where else. Not even in our lab workbooks that we sell. They are only available to our CCNA Premium Content subscribers. But there is more! You also get access to over 60 videos and tons of games to make your CCNA studies fun such as exam questions, flash cards, CCNA Hangman, Jeopardy, Million Dollar Question and much more!
Also please take advantage of our Test Question of the Day service. Have a CCNA, CCNA Voice or CCNA Security exam question sent to your inbox daily with detailed explanations on why each answer is right or wrong.
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