CertificationKits CCNA 200-301 Lab Recommendations

The big Cisco certification update is coming at the end of February 2020!  Run! Hide! What will we do!?! Have no fear! We are here to help with the information you need to make an informed decision on the lab equipment you need to be prepared!  We have worked in partnership with Cisco NetAcad instructors and CCIEs to keep our kits current and set so they will not only going to cover you to hustle to beat the 200-125 before the exam update, but also be primed and ready for the CCNA 200-301 exam update  With CertificationKits, we did the hard research for you and you are completely covered!  We have been doing this for over 20 years strong and are working around-the-clock to make sure we continue to offer nothing but the best!

First off, we want to stress that we feel that this revision to the Cisco Certification Program is very exciting and positive!  With this, CCNA is hotter and trending more than ever!  Updates like these are what prove to companies, HR representatives, IT recruiters, etc. that Cisco Certified Network Engineers are at the top of their game.  That nothing compares to the knowledge and skill that a Cisco Certified Engineer can add to your IT department. That when you hire a Cisco Certified Engineer, you know exactly what you are getting and their worth.  On top of that, always remember that as the CCNA certification progresses, it proves more and more that you know your stuff! With this, so does the amount of money you can expect to make as a Cisco Certified Network Engineer!  Networking is one of the fastest growing fields in the world and with that comes the rewards. Anyone can do this, all you need is the drive! 

We still advise you to read our current CCNA 200-125 Lab Suggestions Page, as this is an extension to that.  The vast majority of that information is still very relevant and will carry over to the new exam!  There is a lot of overlap between the 200-125 and 200-301.

Since a lot of that information is already on the 200-125 CCNA Lab Suggestions Page and also covered in our CCNA 200-301 FAQ article, we are going to get right into the “nitty gritty”.

So, what equipment is Cisco recommending this time around?

CCNA 200-301

This time around, Cisco has released a couple topology options covering their minimum hardware topology/hardware requirements and their recommended requirements for the optimal learning experience. To satisfy the minimum requirement, Cisco has a minimum requirement of two routers and two switches.  However, our recommendation and Cisco’s recommendation for a full toplogy is to run a three router and three switch lab. This is also the topology we write our lab workbook for because we know this is going to best prepare you to pass the CCNA exam! If you don’t want to go with a three router and three switch setup, don’t worry, you can still do all the labs by scaling back a two router and two switch kit.  Cisco does have a small wireless component that will be part of the new exam, but this is simply a generic wireless router that you already have at home. The best part about this is that these labs will also work exceptionally for the current 200-125 exam!  


Official CCNA 2 Router and 2 Switch Topology:

     (2) 4221 Base Licensed Routers

     (2) 2960 Switches

     (1) Generic Wireless Router


Official CCNA 2 Router and 2 Switch Topology:

     (3) 4221 Base Licensed Routers

     (3) 2960 Switches 

     (1) Generic Wireless Router


So, let’s remember that these are the exact specs from Cisco and not a direct requirement for what you must have to be able to study for and pass the CCNA.  Most of us are on much tighter budgets and want to do thi2 as affordably and effectively as possible.  We’re with you! After reviewing the new curriculum for CCNA, on the higher end level, we still recommend the G2 series routers (1941 and 2911) as giving you close to the same capability for a price that is a lot easier on your budget.  Since the 4000 series routers and accompanying NIM-2T add so much to the cost of a lab, we are currently suggesting the the XE kits towards the most ambitious of students, educational institutions or training academies that must have a direct match to Cisco’s specs.

To help out here, if you really want the 4000 series routers we have created our hybrid kits that “meet in the middle” by combining the 4000 series routers with the G2 series. This alleviates some of the expense and makes entry into the 4000 series a much more financially reasonable solution.  This will give you the best of both worlds by allowing you to experience what both series of routers has to offer!

Please click here to check out our new XE Series Kits.   

So, if XE routers are out of the question, we have several other more cost-effective options that will still do an incredible job of getting you on your way to certification success.  To make this easy, we can divide them into three groups:

G2 Series Routers 1941, 2911
G1 Series Routers 1841, 2801, 2811, 28211

G2 Pro – These kits will be outfitted with all generation two routers.  These will get you very close to the capability of the 4000 series and can do the vast majority of the exact same lab work for less than half the cost.  

G1/G2 hybrid – Just like the G2/XE hybrid kits, these are designed to get the experience of the G2 series, while still keeping the cost down by supplementing with the G1 series.  This is an excellent solution for most students and one of our favorite options!

G1 – This is going to be the best place to look for most students.  These are our most budget friendly solutions.  The G1 series routers are still very affordable and boast amazing capability for most lab work.  This means less money out of your pocket while still having the power to obtain your CCNA Certification.

Let’s change gears from routing now and talk a little bit about switches.  If you recall the official recommendations from earlier in this article, Cisco recommends (3) 2960 switches.  We made this easy because all of the kits come with 2960 or better switches by default. So, no matter which kit you choose, you hit that spec right out of the gate.  Now you’ll notice that many of our kits come with 3560 or 3750v2 switches or both. These models actually take things a step further and exceed Cisco’s recommendations.  We felt that as the kits got more advanced, that these make great additions because they give you fully dynamic, true layer 3 capability. Layer 3 switching is becoming more and more common-place and this has you prepared to explore this in a capacity beyond the scope of the CCNA.  Another benefit here is that the switching end of CCNP is going to be (2) 2960 swtiches and (2) 3560-TS switches. So, if you choose a kit with 3560 or 3750 mixed in, in any capacity, you will be primed with an even easier transition when you are ready to move up the certification ladder!    

The important thing to take away from this is that you can absolutely conquer the CCNA exam using any of these options!  These are all just different paths to success, only separated by your budget. Even with the cheapest kit, your ambition and drive can fill in the minor capability gaps while also building real world experience.  

We can tell you companies are screening new engineers to make sure they have worked with real equipment.  They know that nothing can ever top using the real thing! Network engineers that use simulators will simply never match those who learned using real equipment.  You wouldn’t train a surgeon using a simulator, so why would a network engineer responsible for sensitive data be any different? Be cannot stress enough that using real equipment is the right way to do things and be prepared, “What does your home lab look like?’ is becoming a favorite interview question for HR departments across the board.   

We have over two decades of experience being the premiere source for Cisco labs.  We have helped thousands of students obtain CIsco Certiications, Universities outfits their best lerning environments and businesses get their staff trained.  We work just about around-the-clock to provide the support you need if you have any questions. We know all of this can be confusing, so always feel free to reach out to us via phone or email.  Our techs are always happy to help and IT geeks, just like you!


Phone:  866-950-247-

Email:  Sales@CertificationKits.com