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Cisco CCNA / CCNP Home Lab Setup: How To Configure Reverse Telnet

Many CCNA and CCNP candidates hear about “reverse telnet”, but aren’t quite sure what it is. Learn what it is, how it works, and how to configure it in this free Cisco tutorial from Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933.

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Occasionally, during your CCNA and CCNP studies, you'll run into a term that just doesn't quite make sense to you. (Okay, more than occasionally!) One such term is "reverse telnet". As a Cisco certification candidate, you know that telnet is simply a protocol that allows you to remotely connect to a networking device such as a router or switch. But what is "reverse telnet", and why is it so important to a Cisco CCNA / CCNP home lab setup?

Where a telnet session is started by a remote user who wants to remotely control a router or switch, a reverse telnet session is started when the host device itself imitates the telnet session.

In a CCNA / CCNP home lab, reverse telnet is configured and used on the access server. The access server isn't a white box server like most of us are used to; an access server is a Cisco router that allows you to connect to multiple routers and switches with one session without having to move a rollover cable from device to device.

Your access server will use an octal cable to connect to the other routers and switches in your home lab. The octal cable has one large serial connector that will connect to the access server, and eight rj-45 connectors that will connect to your other home lab devices. Your access server then needs an IP Host table in order to perform reverse telnet.

An IP Host table is easy to put together (and you better know how to write one to pass the CCNA!). The IP Host table is used for local name resolution, taking the place of a DNS server. A typical access server IP Host table looks like this:

ip host FRS 2007 100.1.1.1

ip host R3 2003 100.1.1.1

ip host R1 2001 100.1.1.1

ip host R2 2002 100.1.1.1

ip host R4 2004 100.1.1.1

ip host R5 2005 100.1.1.1

ip host SW1 2006 100.1.1.1

interface Loopback0

ip address 100.1.1.1 255.255.255.255

no ip directed-broadcast

This configuration will allow you to use your access server to connect to five routers, a frame relay switch, and a switch without ever moving a cable. When you type "R1" at the console line, for example, you'll be connected to R1 via reverse telnet. If you have a smaller lab, an access server is still a real timesaver and an excellent investment. And by getting a static IP address to put on your access server, you can even connect to your home lab from remote locations!

 

Cisco CCNA Exam Tutorial: How To Spend Your Study Time

Making the most of your CCNA study time is vital! Learn how to maximize your study efforts from Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933.

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To pass the CCNA exam, you've got to create a study plan. Part of that plan is scheduling your study time, and making that study time count.

You’ve scheduled your exam you’ve created a document to track your study time you’ve planned exactly when you’re going to study. Now the plan must be carried out, without exception.

What exceptions do I mean? Cell phones. Televisions. IPods. Significant others. The list can go on and on.

It’s one thing to have a plan, and an important thing now you’ve got to make sure you carry it out to its fullest potential. That’s easy to say until you’re studying and a friend calls, or you remember that TV show you wanted to watch is on tonight, or you start surfing the Web for Cisco information and end up playing a game.

You MUST make these small sacrifices in order to achieve your main goal, the CCNA. Any worthwhile accomplishment requires some small sacrifice.

TV will be there when you’re done studying. Your significant other will be there when you’re done studying. And believe it or not, people once existed without cell phones! Turn the phone off. Turn your instant messenger service off. Turn your text pager off. Despite what we think, the world can do without communicating with us for 90 minutes. Remember, it’s better to have 90 minutes of great study than 180 minutes of constantly interrupted study. Studies show that while a single phone call causes an 11-minute interruption on average, it takes well over 20 minutes to get back to what you were doing with the proper mental focus. This is true at the office and at your home!

How To Spend Your Study Time CCNA candidates generally spend their time split between book study, practice exams, and lab time on real Cisco equipment. The best study is done by a combination of these, not by overly relying on one. Let’s take a look at each method.

Book study – I’ve never understood why some people (usually the trolls we were talking about earlier) talk about book study like it’s a bad thing. "You can’t learn about technology from books." What a load of manure. You have to learn the theory before you can understand how a router or switch operates. The best way to learn the theory is to read a good book.

At the CCNA level, you doubtless know that you have dozens of choices when it comes to books. Some of the better-known books really do gloss over some important topics, such as binary math and subnetting. Make sure to pick a book or books that go beyond just explaining the theory and that give you a lot of explanation of router configs and real-world examples as well.

Practice Exams: Practice exams are good in moderation, but don’t use them as your main focus of study. Occasionally, I’m asked for study tips by candidates who have taken the exam a few times and not passed yet. I ask them what they’re doing to prepare, and they give a list of companies they bought practice exams from. (You see a lot of this on Internet forums as well.)

Don’t fall into this trap. Practice exams are fine if used as a readiness check, but some candidates just take them over and over again, which renders them basically useless.

On top of that, some of them cost hundreds of dollars. That’s money you’d be much better off spending on Cisco equipment to practice on.

Again, I’m not against practice exams as a supplement to your studies. Just don’t make them the main focus of your study. Taking practice exams over and over and hoping the exam will be just like the practice exam is a recipe for disaster. As I tell my students, when you’re in front of a rack of routers and switches during a job interview (or at 2AM when you’ve been called in to fix a problem), the correct answer is not "D". You’ve got to know what to do.

And how do you learn these skills? Funny you should ask.... Lab Time On Real Cisco Equipment. Again, speaking from experience: This is the most important part of getting your CCNA, succeeding on the job, and going on to get your CCNP.

Getting hands-on experience is critical to developing your networking skills, especially your troubleshooting skills. Although simulators are better than they used to be, they’re still not Cisco routers, and they never will be.

You do your best learning not only when you’re configuring your routers, but when you screw something up.

That’s so important, I want to repeat it – loudly: You do your best learning when you screw something up. Why? Because then you have to fix it that’s how you develop your troubleshooting skills. You can read about all the debug and show commands in the world, but you don’t really understand how they work until you’re figuring out why your Frame Relay connection isn’t working, or your RIP configuration isn’t working.

This is true at every level of the Cisco Learning Pyramid. I can show you the show ip protocols output or what you get when you run debug ip rip, and you might remember it for a little while. But when you use it to troubleshoot a lab configuration, you WILL remember it.

Putting your own practice lab together will also help get you over what I call "simulator question anxiety". If you spend any time on CCNA Internet forums, you’ll see discussion after discussion about these exam questions. To a certain point, this discussion is justified. The simulator questions carry more weight on your exam than any other question while you can earn partial credit on them, you’ve got to get them right or you will most likely fail the exam.

There’s no reason to be anxious about them if you’re prepared. You don’t want to be the person who walks into the testing room that’s scared to have to create a VLAN or an access list you want to be the person who walks into the testing room confident of their ability to perform any CCNA task. The best way to be that confident is to know you’ve done it – on real Cisco equipment.

There are several vendors that sell routers and switches on ebay most of them sell CCNA and CCNP kits that include all the cables and transceivers that you’ll need as well. (And how is a simulator going to help you learn about cables and transceivers?) Keep in mind that you can always sell the equipment after you’re done with the CCNA, or you can add a little equipment to it to go after your CCNP.

Whichever of these methods you use (and I hope you’ll use all of them), make sure to keep them in balance with each other. Don’t depend too much on just one.

On the topic of learning how to troubleshoot… as you run labs on your Cisco equipment, you’ll run into questions or problems that you don’t know the answer to yet. Get used to using Google (or your favorite search engine) to find the answer to these problems - but try to figure it our yourself first!

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions of someone else if you’re not able to find the answer yourself. Trying to find the answer yourself is another important troubleshooting skill you need to start developing today. Don’t be one of these people who posts a simple question on a forum without trying to find the answer on your own. Besides, you get more satisfaction and build more confidence when you determine the answer yourself.

 

How To Become a Cisco CCNP

Thinking about earning your Cisco Certified Network Professional certification? Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, offers valuable tips on how to earn this prestigious certification.

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Congratulations on your decision to earn your CCNP certification! As a CCIE, I can tell you that Cisco certifications are both financially and personally rewarding.

To earn your CCNP, you first have to earn your CCNA certification. Then you're faced with a decision - take the three-exam CCNP path, or the four-exam path? They're both quite demanding, so let's take a look at each path.

The four-exam CCNP path includes the Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks exam (BSCI), Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks exam (BCMSN), Building Cisco Remote Access Networks (BCRAN), and Cisco Internetwork Troubleshooting (CIT) exam.

The three-exam path combines the BSCI and BCMSN exams into a single exam, called the Composite exam.

I'm often asked what order I recommend taking the exams in. After earning your CCNA, I recommend you begin studying for the BSCI exam immediately. You will find the fundamentals you learned in your CCNA studies will help you a great deal with this exam. You're going to add to your CCNA knowledgebase quite a bit when it comes to OSPF and EIGRP, as well as being introduced to BGP.

I don't have a preference between the BCMSN and BCRAN exams, but I do recommend you take the CIT exam last. You'll be using all the skills you learned in the first three exams to pass the CIT. It's a very demanding exam, and it's a little hard to troubleshoot technologies that you haven't learned yet!

The CCNP is both financially and personally fulfilling. Once you complete your CCNA studies, take a little breather and then get started on your CCNP studies. The more you know, the more valuable you are in today's ever-changing IT job market.

 

How To Become a Cisco CCNP

Thinking about earning your Cisco Certified Network Professional certification? Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, offers valuable tips on how to earn this prestigious certification.

Ccnp,pass,exam,certification,bsci,bcran,cit,order,what,cisco,certified,network,professional,router,switch

Congratulations on your decision to earn your CCNP certification! As a CCIE, I can tell you that Cisco certifications are both financially and personally rewarding.

To earn your CCNP, you first have to earn your CCNA certification. Then you're faced with a decision - take the three-exam CCNP path, or the four-exam path? They're both quite demanding, so let's take a look at each path.

The four-exam CCNP path includes the Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks exam (BSCI), Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks exam (BCMSN), Building Cisco Remote Access Networks (BCRAN), and Cisco Internetwork Troubleshooting (CIT) exam.

The three-exam path combines the BSCI and BCMSN exams into a single exam, called the Composite exam.

I'm often asked what order I recommend taking the exams in. After earning your CCNA, I recommend you begin studying for the BSCI exam immediately. You will find the fundamentals you learned in your CCNA studies will help you a great deal with this exam. You're going to add to your CCNA knowledgebase quite a bit when it comes to OSPF and EIGRP, as well as being introduced to BGP.

I don't have a preference between the BCMSN and BCRAN exams, but I do recommend you take the CIT exam last. You'll be using all the skills you learned in the first three exams to pass the CIT. It's a very demanding exam, and it's a little hard to troubleshoot technologies that you haven't learned yet!

The CCNP is both financially and personally fulfilling. Once you complete your CCNA studies, take a little breather and then get started on your CCNP studies. The more you know, the more valuable you are in today's ever-changing IT job market.




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