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Home network for practice

Level 1
Level 1

What products can I use to set up a simple home network for practice purposes.

Background info: I have some knowledge and mostly hands on training. I’m looking to build my fundamental knowledge. The system I work on at work has been set up and it has routers, switches, servers, VMs, firewalls and honestly it’s pretty complex. I know the ins and outs of my system I’m a pretty good sys ad and net ad and have fixed some pretty complex issues however, this is just because I have learned this specific system. If I were to be asked to set up a simple home network from scratch I would struggle. I’m trying to brush up my fundamentals and my wife mentioned interest in pursuing a cyber career.

What I want: A simple network with Cisco devices that we can practice on. Only looking to hook up a printer a laptop and maybe eventually connecting it to my home internet router to hook up my device’s wirelessly but I’m more concerned about practicing and learning.

Any device suggestions, tips, and starting points would be appreciated.

7 Replies 7


 Start with a virtual lab with PacketTracer or GNS3 or Eve. You dont need physical device  to learn concept.


Hello @hiroshi87,

Packet Tracer, GNS3, and EVE-NG are all excellent choices for setting up a virtual lab environment to practice and learn networking concepts with Cisco devices.

Packet Tracer is a network simulation tool developed by Cisco. It provides a user-friendly interface and is specifically designed for educational purposes. It offers a range of Cisco devices, including routers, switches, wireless devices, and end devices. Packet Tracer is ideal for beginners and those looking to gain hands-on experience with basic networking configurations.

GNS3 is a powerful network simulation and emulation tool. It allows you to build complex network topologies using real Cisco IOS images. GNS3 supports a wide range of Cisco routers, switches, and other networking devices. It offers a more advanced and realistic simulation environment compared to Packet Tracer. GNS3 is suitable for individuals seeking a deeper understanding of networking concepts and advanced configurations.

EVE-NG is an open-source network virtualization platform. It enables you to create complex network topologies using a variety of virtualization technologies, including Cisco, Juniper, and other vendor devices. EVE-NG offers a highly customizable and scalable environment for practicing and testing networking configurations. It is popular among network professionals and individuals seeking real-world network emulation.

The choice depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the level of complexity you want to work with. For beginners or those focusing on basic networking concepts, Cisco Packet Tracer is a good starting point. If you want more advanced features and realistic simulations, GNS3 and EVE-NG are suitable options.


Best regards
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Martin L

2 ways to go: virtual lab like network simulator for CCNA (Free Packet Tracer, see or real used and cheap gear from ebay. You can start with PT from netacademy for free right now; just login, watch PT training for 10 minutes till u see option to download it. Get it and install. But I would go thru and watch all videos in PT course they have; very useful!   

GNS3 runs on real router IOS but only few selected models; 7200 IOS is the only one that can be run as IOS 15.0. Cisco virtual lab simulator is called CML.  You can try free online version of CML (instead of purchase) from Dev Net Sandbox. In both cases, you need to watch some utube videos about using those at home.

IF you want real gear I would recommend Ebay.  I started my voice cert with old 2800 voice router with IOS 15;  Look for IOS 15 as originally those came with 12.x.  Or newer, next model, 2900 should be cheap as well.  If u can, go with 2900s.

For switching c2950, or c2960 are dirty cheap but I would recommend c3750 and c3850. My favorite was 3750 switch but c3650 are not too bad as well.  c3850s are upgrade models with different OS and different options to run it (bundle and install modes), so those could be useful down the road if u decide to go with Cisco certs.  Latest c9000 and 9200s switches are probably still very expensive.

Note that it is possible to run routers in GNS3 and connect them to real switches. Simulators like GNS3 and CML, are good for routing but they cannot replace switching as switches use hardware ASICs to do most of its switching traffic. 

Regards, ML
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Level 1
Level 1


I have a small issue with connecting my (virtual) devices into the Remote server. I have used a Server(1) IP Address in the DNS service and I have set all the devices (e.g Coffee maker) into "Remote Server" in the IoT Server, but for some reason the devices does not connect

and I am not sure where to find the URL of my file


I hope that makes sense

Thank you

Hi @bi30mi 

 Is it  a PacketTracer Project?

Yes it is

Create a new post and attach your Project. I can help you

 Just zip your file to attach

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