One of the biggest challenges Cisco Certificate learners face is the lack of funds for setting up Cisco Lab equipment (including switches) for practice. Many entry-level workers do not have sufficient money to set up expensive labs. And if they don’t have an employer with suitable lab resources, passing the Network Associate course becomes a hurdle.
Do not worry. We have put together a list of low-cost Cisco Lab switches that can be used for practice at the home or in the office environment.
Cisco Catalyst 2950 Series
Although they are an older line of switches, they are well-equipped to manage basic functionalities of a network. This switch has adequate features to pass an associate level exam. The 2950 Series of Cisco Switches is further expanded into standard and enhanced versions.
The standard version of Cisco Catalyst 2950 switches offers common Layer 2 functionalities for basic operations. However, added in the enhanced version is the additional support for Quality of Service (QoS) and security filtering.
One thing to note for Cisco Catalyst 2950 switches is that they are in the End of Support (EOS) mode. There will be no further upgrades available for them in the future.
The starting price for Cisco Catalyst 2950 switches is around $25 to $30 with the standard software version. However, the price of the enhanced version can go up to $65. These enhanced Cisco Catalyst 2950 switches have two-gigabit interface converter (GBIC) slots.
Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series:
The Cisco Catalyst 2960 switches are an advanced version of the Cisco switches offering basic switching and IP addressing features. Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series have still not reached the End of Support (EOS) mode. Just like Catalyst 2950 series, Cisco Catalyst 2960 series is further split into two categories: the LAN Lite and LAN Base. The LAN Lite switches are focused on small businesses and smaller offices while LAN Base switches target entry to mid-level enterprises.
Even though they are a little more expensive, Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series provides the best Return on Investment (ROI) when building a CCNA Lab.
One of the most common types of Cisco 2960 series switches is Catalyst WS-C2960-24TT-L. The switch is available with 24 ports and two GE ports. It has a starting price of about $65 to $70.
The Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series switches are available on our ecommerce store.
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