What Are The Physical Cisco Device Advantages?? (for studying)

Hi, I've recently gotten into networking and am trying to get my CCENT. I currently have a 3750 Catalyst Switch for learning about the Cisco IOS, and I have a newbie question about it.

For studying, what are the uses for owning a physical Cisco device, rather than one on GNS3 or Packet Tracer, if any at all?

I don't want it to gather dust in my room. I feel like it could be used in some way for studying, I just can't think of one.



Best Answer

  • 36lima36lima ✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    This is purely my opinion based on experience. There are some advantages to having the physical equipment but, you can learn 95% of what you need to learn from GNS3 (haven't used packet tracer so I can't speak to that).

    Having a physical switch is useful as GNS3 has limited switching functionality so, if you want to learn more than the switching basics and get hands on, there's no good substitute for access to an actual switch.

    Some of the general benefits of having physical devices are: gaining familiarity with the various interface and connector types, practice making AND TESTING your own cables, learning the very basic but always relevant skill of connecting a device via console and, of course, doing password recovery hands-on.

    So, my summary, there are benefits but, aside from having a switch or two to practice on (or using INE rack equipment), it's much cheaper to use GNS3 or other virtual environments and you'll have the vast majority of the functionality you'll need to learn.

    Hope that helps and, as always, this is just my opinion and others will have different perspectives and preferences.


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