It’s hard to believe that I wrote the first edition of this book in 2009.
Back then, the CCNA exam was mostly theory with a couple of labs thrown in. Scroll forward eight years and the exam is mostly hands-on labs and practical questions with some theory thrown in.
A hands-on lab manual was needed because there was a huge gap in the market for a practical manual. Most CCNA books are very theory heavy with a few labs thrown in. My CCNA study manuals Cisco CCNA Simplified and Cisco CCNA in 60 Days addressed this problem by being very lab heavy. After feedback from my students, I felt that most people would need an extra boost of practical experience for the CCNA exam.
In the CCNA exam, you can expect to be tested on the following hands-on scenarios:
Configure a lab according to specifications.
Troubleshoot and resolve a broken network or technology (e.g., ACL not working).
Use show commands to determine an issue or configuration and answer questions.
It gets even harder when you realize that you are not familiar with the topology and IP addressing scheme, and you will see the clock counting down before your eyes. You will be working on a router or switch emulator that only runs a limited number of IOS commands so some of your shortcuts may not work, such as sh ip int brie instead of show ip interface brief.
The goal of this lab manual is to get your hands-on skills way past the level required for the CCNA exam so when it comes to exam day, you will find the lab scenarios a breeze. I’ve had many of my students finish their exam with 30 minutes to spare because they solved the scenarios so quickly! This is where you should aim to be.
The fact that you have this book in your hands means that you are studying for your CCNA or CCENT exam or perhaps just want to polish your hands-on Cisco skills. Whatever your reason, we admire you for putting the effort into improving your hands-on ability.
We have marked the labs as either ICND1, ICND2, CCNA, or CCENT, but please do double-check the syllabus before you take the exam. We have also rated each lab on a scale of 1 to 10 for difficulty and have given you timings so you will know when you are ready for the real thing.
Best of luck with your studies.