First time poster, I know a lot of people ask this question about what to get and so on and so forth,
But currently I have a new job and am looking to get to a CCNP for routing and switching, in the path of CCENT >CCNA > CCNP. I have at home a 3750 Switch, two 2811 Routers(Both from work, and could get a third if needed). What else do I need? On top of that I live in a small apartment, so I would like to get a nice Rack mount for not to much money if possible. I don't want to spend much more than 400 on everything else from here.
why don't you use just the switch for switching labs & use GNS for practicing your routing & some switching labs as well ?
Both GNS are virtual & open source and you won't need anything but a good Laptop with some RAM ( RAM more is better - always) & may be i5 or i7 processor.
Also use https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/index.jspa for more training help.
I just hate GNS3. I always seem to have issues with it. And it seems like once one of the routers has something go wrong with it the whole thing breaks. I would prefer to work on the hardware just as more of a intro of getting used to everything.
If you dont like GNS3 than try Web-IOU ( search online for more info on it) and of course Real equipment is always good.
But for switching if you are going to practice upto CCIE level you will need at least 4 switches to lab up VTP3 , VRF-lite etc
GNS3 is a good tool for CCNP; I guess it's better to spend one evening to tune GNS, then to spend 400 for equipment.
IOU is a great tool as well (for CCIE preparation).
If you ave 400, I would suggest to review an option of rack rental.
try to get at least 2x more routers and 3x more switches: 2x L2 switches and 2x L3 switches, if your budget permits it.
i always refer to this site for any lab setup/kit.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is an intermediate-level certification in the Cisco certified professional program. This certification is aimed at full-time network or system administrators, or those who work with local and/or wide-area network (LAN/WAN)infrastructure.
Its becoming increasingly harder to have a physical lab , mostly down to expenditure and although the likes of gns3, virl are very good to work with I would personally always go for physical hardware if I could.
if your thinking about doing you ccnp R&S,having the physical hardware you will know for sure that what you see regards the output is correct and not a bug of the virtual software and you also get to see/touch the devices, instead of visualizing them, Anyhow their isn't nothing to stop you having a physical lab and also using virtual stuff.
For the ccnp R&S I would say this would be most applicable (latest software on all)
2 x 2811
2 x 1921 ( inc serial wic cards) This would be for the likes of PPP, eigrp/ospf authentication)
2 x 3750
2 x 3650
1 x terminal server ( for console connections to the the above)
Good luck with your studies..
For CNNP R&S