Tuesday, July 31, 2012

FAQ


1. How long can I stay login to the switches and routers?

You can login for 80 minutes on each console line (actual time 80-90 mins). After that, your IP address will be blocked for 1 hour on that specific console line to allow others the chance to login. After that, your IP will be un-blocked, and you can log back in on that console line. Accumulated time will also be reset back to zero after 2 hours of inactivity. Each console line is timed and tracked separately, so you might be blocked on one line, but be un-blocked on other lines. This means you can login to multiple free devices quite often if the lab is lightly used. Refer to the Lab Details page for more information.



2. If I'm blocked on one switch, can I login to other switches?

Yes, go ahead and login to the other switches. Each console line is monitored separately, so even if you use up all your time on one line and get blocked, you can still try and login to the other lines.


3. How do I know which switches and routers are available?

To check which devices are available, go to http://98.169.34.136:8080/labstat.txt . This page will list those TCP ports (console lines) that are being used and those that are available. The information is updated every minute, but you must manually refreshed the web page.


4. Is this lab completely free? Do I have to pay any fees, register or make any reservations?

Yes, it is completely free to use. There are no fees, no reservations or registration required. You can login right now or at anytime. Of course, any donations, even a dollar or two, will be most appreciated and will be used to keep the switches and terminal console server running, replace GBIC's, etc.



5. Why don't you make a scheduling system?

There are several reasons. For one, I have to use this lab also. I don't want something where I have to disable or update everytime I use the lab. Another reason is that the intent of this lab is to maximize user access and ease of access. I don't want the lab to be over-engineered and under-utilized. Instead of a few people reserving the whole lab everyday, in this lab there is no limit as to how many people can login everyday. Anyone can login anytime to all lab devices immediately. I did write a script that enforces timing and access control to make user access reasonable.



6. Can the Layer 3 switches route with R1 and R2?

Yes, all seven Layer 3 switches can reach R1 and R2 for a total of 8 routable devices. Just turn on IP routing, manage the trunks on SW5 or SW6, and setup routing with R1 or R2. You can also route directly with R1, R2 and the Linux Lab Host using Fa0/15 (Fa1/0/15 on SW1). Go to the Routing Tunnel Lab page for additional information.



7. How many switches or routers can I login to?

You can login to as many devices as you want that are available. Feel free to login to 1, 2, 3 or all 8 devices. It's up to you. If no one is login to a switch or router, you can login to it.



8. I tried to login to a switch, but the screen disappears or nothing appears, what do I do?

Try to hit Enter a few times to see the Cisco login prompt. If nothing happens, either someone is using that console line, you're blocked temporarily, your firewall is blocking you, or that console line is down for some reason. Try to login to another console line.



9. If someone is logged into a switch, how long do I have to wait?

I recommend trying again maybe in a half hour or so. Their time might expire, they might idle and time out, etc. The serial line will close if the login is idle for 10 minutes. You can also try logging into other switches.



10. Can I login to all the switches at the same time?

Yes, you can login to all the switches if all the console lines are available. You can logon to as many as you want that are available. If someone else is already logon to a specific console line, you have to wait until they logout on that line, or that line times out (there is a 10 minute inactivity timeout).


11. Can I schedule or reserve the entire lab to myself?

No. But, if you're able to login to all six switches and both routers, you will have the entire lab to yourself.


12. I can login to some switches, but not others. What happened?

Maybe someone is login to the console of the other switch, or you could be blocked on that console line.



13. If someone else is login to other switches, how can I isolate my switches from theirs?

Just shutdown all your links to the other switches you're not login to, and that will isolate your switches. Refer to the network diagram or use "sh cdp ne" to check which links you have up.


14. How do I know which device I am on if someone changed the hostnames of the switches or routers?

You can use "sh cdp ne" to give you an idea of where your device is in the Lab Diagram. You can also look at "sh ver" or "sh inventory" to see the Serial Number of the device. For your reference, here are the Serial Numbers and MAC addresses for the Cisco lab devices:

SW1 = CAT0935Z20Q , 00:15:62:64:33:00
SW2 = FDO1123Z5D3 , 00:1C:58:23:64:80
SW3 = CAT1003N35U , 00:16:C8:31:90:00
SW4 = CAT0806Z1FL , 00:0F:24:B7:14:00
SW5 = CAT0802R1S6 , 00:0F:23:3B:8A:80
SW6 = CAT0826N2S6 , 00:11:92:97:EF:00
SW7 = CAT1023N4CK , 00:18:73:30:7E:00
SW8 = CAT0815Y0VD , 00:0F:F7:2C:C6:00


15. Will this lab help me to prepare for the Cisco CCNA or CCNP exams?


Yes, it will. For the CCNA level, practice on Dynamips/GNS3 and Packet Tracer is almost enough. But you still need to get hands on experience with real Cisco hardware, especially switches. That's where this lab comes in. For the CCNP level, you should have some experience with the features in the 3560, 3750, etc.


16. Do the Catalyst 3750 and 3560 support Private VLAN's?

Yes, they do.


17. Are all Cisco IOS commands available?

Yes, you will have access to enable mode. Depending on the device model, all Cisco IOS commands are available for you to explore and configure the lab. Because there are different models and IOS versions, some commands and syntax are different.



18. Can I change the topology, move cables around or shutdown any ports?

You can shutdown or enable any ports you like to reconfigure the topology. If you need any cables or GBIC's moved around, or a switch power cycled, please email me, and I will look into it.


19. Can I telnet or ssh from one switch to another?

You can do that if the switches are configured with trunks or access links, IP addresses on VLAN interfaces or routed ports, and the vty lines are setup for telnet or ssh.




20. The last person who used the switch did not clean it up. What can I do?

Run "wr erase" and "reload". Answer No when it asks if you want to save the configuration. This will wipe out the startup-config. Since you're on the console line, you can watch the entire reboot sequence, such as the interesting Cisco hardware and POST messages that will soon appear. It takes a few minutes for the switch to reload. Then, Cisco IOS will ask if you want to configure the switch, you can answer No (unless you want to answer more questions), then confirm that you want to end the Autoinstall feature. Now, you have a clean switch.


21. I think someone totally f---ed up a switch, someone set a password, or it's been wiped out. What can I do?

If something looks like it's out of control or hanging the switch, first try SHIFT-CTRL-6 or SHIFT-CTRL-6-X. If that doesn't help, you can try to find out what someone did by reading the log in the Console Log Page. You can also post a comment on this blog, or email me immediately. Thank you for alerting everyone!


22. Are these real Cisco switches and routers, or are they from Dynamips/GNS3?

These are real Cisco Catalyst switches and real Cisco routers. Dynamips/GNS3 cannot emulate the ASIC's of Cisco Catalyst switches. You can look at the POST messages and show version to see these are real devices.


23. Are these Layer 3 switches? Can they do routing?

Yes, all of them have Layer 3 IOS images, and you can enable routing, run RIP, EIGRP, OSPF, BGP, etc.


24. How do I turn on routing on the switches?

SW1#conf t
Enter configuration commands, one per line. End with CNTL/Z.
SW1(config)#ip routing
SW1(config)#




25. Why are some trunk ports mismatched, like fa0/1 going to fa0/2, or fa1/0/46 going to fa0/47?

Under some configurations, this can illustrate STP using the lowest sender port ID (prio.nbr) in the path selection process. Of course, you can also manually change the port priority values. Please email me if you want any of the cabling changed.



26. What do you use for a terminal server?

My home Linux machine is the terminal server and firewall. It is currently running Scientific Linux and ser2net. I might try different versions of Linux, FreeBSD or other Unixes. More information can be found in the Lab Details page.



27. In the Routing Tunnel Lab, why should users create their own tunnel (the Lab User Tunnel) to route with a remote lab site?

The Lab User Tunnel is necessary because the Linux host does not normally route with the lab, except for BGP. Users can configure routing on their own and route their own subnets, if they use their own tunnel. If only the Lab Management tunnel is used, users will need help to configure the routing on SW1-SW7, R1, R2 and on the Linux Host.

Please see the Routing Tunnel Lab page for more details.



28. Will you add some end devices?

In the future, I might consider logins into VM's or containers like BSD Jails to offer a client/server experience. There are obvious security and maintenance issues. For now, you can use the 2621XM routers or VLAN interfaces or routed ports on the switches to act as end devices.


29. Will you add devices from other vendors, like Juniper, Brocade or Dell Force 10?


I would like to add some Juniper devices in the future.


30. Where is this lab located?


In my home in Vienna, VA, right outside of Washington, DC.



31. I have some routers and switches also. Can I use them with this lab?

Yes, absolutely! You can either tunnel directly with me, or use another lab site, like FreePeerX.org!



32. Who do I contact if I have suggestions, questions or problems with the lab?

Please email Brendan , and I will try to respond as soon as possible.

79 comments:

  1. this is great... what a cool thing you are doing... i posted your link on my site... i get about 2000 views a month... check me out sometime...

    http://insearchofthecert.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great work .... good Job

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  3. what is enable PW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no enable password. Enable password is needed if you logon to a vty line.

      Delete
  4. Hi Brendan,

    Have you done some cabling changes recently?
    E.g:
    In the diagram:
    SW3 - Fa 0/16 --- SW4 - Fa 0/18

    Current cabling:
    SW3 - Fa 0/16 --- SW4 - Fa 0/16

    Could you please update the diagram?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I will look into it. I'll just move the cables.

      Delete
  5. This is a great service...you should consider throwing ads up to help with the revenue.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Brendan,
    this is really a great job!! thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brendan,

    Your site is totally AWESOME!!!. I did not think twice to donate.

    I'm glad I found your site and will definitely help me pass the Cisco certification.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yugten! Thanks, I really appreciate your help a lot! Login anytime!

      Delete
    2. Glad to help! If you think I may be of assistance please don't hesitate to email me anytime.

      Delete
  8. Brendan,

    First of all, I'd like to thank you for this AWESOME lab.

    Brendan, what are the name of the software that you have used for made this topology?

    Thanks one more time! =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, you are welcome! Please tell others also about this lab, especially people who do not have access to Cisco switches or routers.

      I use Linux and a free program called ser2net on a PC to manage the lab. You can also use a Cisco 25xx or 26xx terminal server, but I like playing with Linux.

      Delete
  9. Good Morning!

    This LAB is so great, especially for guys like me that are studying for CCNP Switch, so Thank you!

    Brendan, the topology diagram was designed with what software? Diagram Editor? Microsoft Visio? This topology diagram look so nice. So, if possible, I want to know that software that you have used.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Paul, come back anytime! Yep, I use the Dia drawing program. I use the Windows version and it comes with Cisco icons. I use Visio at work, but I like Dia because it's simpler.

      Delete
    2. For network topology diagrams I use LaTeX. You can see examples at blackrack.net.

      Delete
    3. Hi Stefan, thanks for letting us know! I put a link to your lab site on the sidebar.

      Delete
  10. Hey Mr. Brendan Choi,
    You are such a big champ. Your rack is really great I must confess. I am from Nigeria and heading in the CCIE Written direction.
    Well, I want to say a big THANK YOU and keep up the good works.
    I owe you ONE.
    Olugbenga Adesoba (adesoba@gmail.com)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to see you login! Please let others in Nigeria know about this lab!

      Delete
  11. Brendan,

    Thank you so much for this great lab.

    I live in Egypt where renting a rack for practicing is not actually possible. I believe you are helping a lot of people. Your open-access and time-limited policy is very practical and fair to everyone.

    Thanks again.
    Karim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming here, Karim! I've been to Egypt a couple of times. I hope all is well.

      Delete
  12. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
    Remote Power Gear

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi,

    This a great piece and i'll be practicing here when i'll be preparing for the ccnp r&s cert.

    Do you know of online labs with an ASA integrated for ccna-s practice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please come anytime! I think Black Rack and Packetlife lab have ASA.

      Delete
  14. Seems have some problems on router R1... the last user puts USERNAME : cola, but i dont know how discover password, CISCO don't works..

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  15. Hello Brendan

    SW1 and SW3 password protected .....

    ReplyDelete
  16. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
    Remote Power Gear

    ReplyDelete
  17. someone set pwd for 3750...tried "cisco" no use...pls help~~~thanks a lot

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  18. Brendan,

    3750 series switch showing " SWITCH : ". How to enter in user n previlege mode on this type of situation..

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Brendan,
    I just started looking into CCNP past week and I was doing my research into what I need for a lab for the CCNP Switches / TShoot section.The Layer 3 prices for switches were a real bummer since I have been unemployed past 2 years (Thank the economy). Finding your switch setup and having accessible to it has made my days so much brighter, I will be jumping into Switches in a few weeks after I'm done with Routers and looking forward to working with your switches. Thanks a million.

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  20. Can you please connect sw 1 and sw 4 . I need a single trunk between 2 switches

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  21. creating a lab to understand vtp pruning.need trunk links between sw1 and sw 2 .Sw 1 and sw 4 .Sw 2 and sw 3. sw 3 and sw 4. Currently trunk link between sw 1 and sw 4 is not there.Can you please connect the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there are 3 copper links and 1 fiber link between SW1 and SW4. Can you logiin to both switches, enable all ports, and use CDP to check?

      Delete
  22. Great post !! Thanks for sharing this information information about switches and router. Apart from this there are many companies which provides CCIE Rack Rentals and provide Access the most up to date rack rental equipment online to prepare for the CCIE Lab Examination. I personally thin that networking is really going to change the scenario of world technology.

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  23. How come people manage to force my console connection out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Paul, I'm not sure what you mean. Is your console session just dropping randomly? Within the 80 minutes?

      Delete
  24. Hello Brendan,

    first and important - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
    Great Stuff!!!!

    2nd (important for me):
    - Looks sw3, sw5, sw7 are password protected or enable password is not cisco. Can you please have a look on it?
    - Is it possible to have kind of password reset function.
    I know this is not easy to implement, so the short idea can be
    - change the config register value - to ignore the startup config
    - reboot all boxes in a scheduled time (midnight), by an script or by power off/on (if UPS permit so).

    Best regards,
    Andrei

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrei,
      Welcome to the lab! There are some ways to prevent the password issue. But all are complicated to implement. For now, I just reboot or fix the issue myself. The console logs also sometimes show what people type as the password.

      Delete
  25. Hi Brendan,

    someone erased the flash on SW1.

    switch: boot
    Loading "flash:c2600-adventerprisek9-mz.124-25d.bin"...flash:c2600-adventerprisek9-mz.124-25d.bin: no such file or directory

    Error loading "flash:c2600-adventerprisek9-mz.124-25d.bin"


    The password on SW5 need to be removed.

    Best regards,
    Andrei

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Andrei. SW1 will be up soon. SW5 is rebooting now after clearing the password. Password was "taco" but was done a few days ago so was not in the public console logs.

      Delete
  26. SW3 needs a password cleared

    -Paul

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  27. I believe you have one hung switch (5 or 6) and one where the image was deleted (7)

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is by far the best free switching lab that Google and I have been able to find. GNS3 is great for router emulation, and Packet tracer is useful for CCNA-level experimentation and learning. But sometimes I need to test some commands on real 3560s and 3750s. (All I have to play with at home are two 3550s and some older routers.)
    Thanks much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome man! Just login anytime you want. Spread the word!

      Delete
  29. Hello Brendan,
    another person put username and password to sw8 and after few minutes he removed it and log off. Therefore it is again unaccessible. could you please check also sw 6. I am not able to get in more than one week. I can still see black screen with description which switch is which type but no answer from the console, line is not moving after I hit enter. Thanks

    Milan

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  30. Some unreasonable F*** has messed SW8 please find out hi ip

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  31. i managed to sort SW5 but there are guys who do not value this service ...

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  32. Hi SW7 tunnel to sharontools is not working kindly troubleshoot. Even after successfully even after bringing it up no traffic can pass thru the tunnel

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi,
    One suggestion to avoid the all time happening password problem would be to configure set2net to log event the characters typed by the user at the password prompt, if this is feasible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be difficult to do. I will probably just make more console logs available for people to read.

      Delete
  34. Thanks you so much brendan.. Great Job

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  35. hello,
    there is a password on SW8.
    See U

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  36. Why I am always stuck at "Please press return to get started" when I access switch 1 (49001)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably someone configured the console line. I'll fix it when I get home.

      Delete
  37. Some one on lab 49004 locked the lab out and i cant seem to find its password with user name moe

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  38. hi...can i monitor my topology by using kiwisys log on this platform. if i can how .please inform me
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  39. It will be a good idea to remove the password configuration as the password hunting is taking the time for the lab

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi,

    How do I enter the enable mode on the swicthes ?
    sh run is not even working on the swicthes
    Is there a Password for the neable mode, I did try cisco , it is not working

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi Brendan.. Thanks for this excellent lab... i´m new here and this is great...
    My question is, Can download the configuration to my tftp server and when i need to continue with my specific lab re-upload this ?.. i think to no reconfigure all.

    Thanks for this and for your response.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Astral, welcome to the lab! Normally, you cannot do that. But if you tunnel your network to mine, then it is possible. You can go to freepeerx.org to tunnel your network.

      Delete
  42. Hi, some idiot has put passwords on most of the console ports for the layer 3 switches unable to access them, any chance of disabling the ability for people to do this? it seems to happen a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just power cycled the switches, hope that helps.

      Delete
  43. Hi just spent 40 minutes setting up a practice lab with 4 layer 3 switches for a ccnp test I have tomorrow when suddenly one of them got bumped and taken off me!? im pretty sure I have not gone over 90 minutes on any of them! any idea what's happening here? is it because im using putty over telnet and the connection is not secure enough?

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  44. this could be due to the inactivity timeout of 10 minutes

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  45. none of them were inactive for that long.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi,
    If I'm correct somebody has deleted the IOS file from switch2.
    Also, SW1, 5, and 6 have been conf with passwords and no log is there in the available Console log files. Please help.
    TIA, God bless you for ur awesome work!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I would like to share a list of Cisco exam-related articles and tips, at 100Questions Exam Portal (http://www.100qns.com) . CISCO 640-822 CCENT (100 Questions) is the Cisco Certified Networking Entry Technician exam, and covers the skills required for entry-level network support positions, and is the starting point for many networking careers. CCENT is the first step towards CCNA, and our exam volume prepares you to ace your exam.

    CISCO CCNA Exam (100 Questions), or the Cisco Certified Network Associate validates the ability to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks. This includes basic mitigation of security threats, introduction to wireless networking concepts and terminology, and performance-based skills.

    The other good thing is that you can test your Cisco knowledge and prepare for the exam via the exam library, which contains free-to-try exam questions. The Cisco reference section could be accessed from the drop-down menu, and because the portal covers several topics, it could be confusing initially due to the enormous amount of data, but if you spend some time navigating the contents you might be well-rewarded!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I would like to share a list of Cisco exam-related articles and tips, at 100Questions Exam Portal (http://www.100qns.com) . CISCO 640-822 CCENT (100 Questions) is the Cisco Certified Networking Entry Technician exam, and covers the skills required for entry-level network support positions, and is the starting point for many networking careers. CCENT is the first step towards CCNA, and our exam volume prepares you to ace your exam.

    CISCO CCNA Exam (100 Questions), or the Cisco Certified Network Associate validates the ability to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks. This includes basic mitigation of security threats, introduction to wireless networking concepts and terminology, and performance-based skills.

    The other good thing is that you can test your Cisco knowledge and prepare for the exam via the exam library, which contains free-to-try exam questions. The Cisco reference section could be accessed from the drop-down menu, and because the portal covers several topics, it could be confusing initially due to the enormous amount of data, but if you spend some time navigating the contents you might be well-rewarded!

    Another good site (if you need another one) is Exam Fight, at http://www.examfight.com

    Hope this helps!

    Susan

    ReplyDelete
  49. It appears somebody has set a password to the 49001 machine, and it is not "cisco". Nor is the username known. From looking at the logs, I am not the only one running into this issue today.

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  50. It seems that all the putty windows to all the IPs close immediatelly after being open , I am conneting behind a proxy server , could this be an issue ? please tell how can i get over it

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  51. Hi there, it seems someone change the console passwords of most switches. The only accesible one was SW7.

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  52. hello guys, any ideas how i can add end device, to do some test, thx

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  53. brendan u r doing a great job,thanks
    please guys can u remove passwords when u r done,if u want to not lose ur conf ,write it in notepad first,then copy paste

    ReplyDelete