Cisco Simulator – 4 Factors To Consider When Buying A CCNA Virtual Lab

It is now quite well known how important the simulation questions are in the CCNA. These are designed to test the hands-on configuration and troubleshooting skills of the candidate, which is a very important skill to have for the new network engineer. Because of this, it is crucial to have hands-on experience with Cisco IOS configuration before attempting the real exam. It is possible purchase used Cisco routers and switches and practice at home, but this usually costs a significant amount of money. A good alternative is to use a Cisco simulator. Here are 4 important things to think about when buying a CCNA virtual lab:

1. Guided scenarios – The best CCNA virtual labs out there have guided scenarios which will guide you step by step through the necessary lab exercises. This will allow you to learn in a very structured way all the necessary Cisco IOS commands you will need to pass the exam. This is as close as you will get to having a personal qualified and certified instructor beside you while you are doing the configuration. I always look out for this feature when choosing a Cisco simulator.

2. Companion to books – Many of the popular Cisco simulator packages have been designed to be specifically used with certain CCNA books. If you already own a particular book, do check to see if there is a suitable companion CCNA virtual lab package which you can use for the more hands-on aspect of the exam. Once you have both the practical as well as the theoretical knowledge, you will be in a good position to take and pass the CCNA.

3. Is the software established? – From a programming point of view, the command line interface of Cisco’s IOS is quite complex to simulate. Because IOS has grown to become such a complex beast over the years, it has become more and more difficult for the simulation writers to completely simulate the commands effectively. To increase your chances that you purchase a good simulation for your CCNA virtual lab, you should look for Cisco simulators which have established themselves in the market for several years.

4. Price – What is the price of the CCNA virtual lab? Generally the price of a Cisco simulator is quite affordable. Good CCNA virtual labs are available for $150 of less. This is a steal when compared to the cost of setting up your own home lab by purchasing used Cisco switches and routers.

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