10 topologies to set up your Cisco home lab

Are you looking to start your Cisco Certification journey but don’t know where to begin? Have no fear, setting up your home lab is easier than you think. With the right tools and topologies, you’ll be able to practice and hone your skills with the comfort of your own home. In this blog post, we’ll provide 10 topologies for you to consider when setting up your Cisco home lab. With these topologies, you can practice a variety of networking scenarios that will prepare you for your Cisco Certification exams. So let’s get started and explore the 10 topologies you can use to set up your Cisco home lab.


2) The Core Router
The core router is the heart of any Cisco home lab. It serves as a gateway to the outside world and routes data between the devices in your network. When it comes to setting up your Cisco home lab, it’s important to choose the right core router for your needs. Depending on your budget and requirements, you may need a powerful rack-mounted switch or a simple consumer-grade device. Whichever option you choose, make sure it has enough ports to accommodate all of your devices and that it offers sufficient performance for the type of traffic that will be running through it.


3) The Services Router
The Cisco Services Router is an essential tool for any CCNA or CCNP certification. It provides the necessary functions for creating a virtual network, enabling you to connect multiple routers and switches together, as well as perform configuration tasks such as setting up protocols and security settings. For those looking to gain hands-on experience in configuring a services router, a home lab environment can be the perfect way to get started. Below are 10 suggested topologies that you can use to set up your own Cisco home lab.

4) The Distribution Router
The distribution router is the heart of your Cisco home lab. It acts as the central hub for all devices in the lab, connecting them to one another and the wider internet. This router needs to be chosen carefully, as it needs to have enough ports and the correct specifications to support your lab topology. Be sure to check with a professional when selecting the right model for your home lab. With the correct distribution router, you will be able to set up an effective and secure lab topology.


5) The Access Router
The access router is the foundation of your home Cisco lab. This router will act as the gateway between your local network and the outside world. It will provide Internet access, while also controlling which devices can access certain services and protocols. To configure it properly, you will need to understand the network topology, set up VLANs, configure routing protocols, and more. Depending on the size of your home lab and the complexity of your desired setup, you may require multiple access routers.

6) The Wireless Router
The wireless router is a crucial component of any home lab setup. With a wireless router, you can create a secure connection to the Internet and use your CCNA or CCNP devices for remote access. You can also use a wireless router to connect multiple devices to each other so that you can practice routing protocols such as OSPF, EIGRP, and BGP. With the right combination of devices, you can even simulate an enterprise network and test various security scenarios. Be sure to research the best wireless routers for your needs, as they are not all created equal.

7) The ISDN Router
The ISDN router is a crucial component of any home lab for Cisco certification. ISDN routers allow for remote access to your lab environment, enabling you to work on projects, practice skills, and troubleshoot from anywhere with an internet connection. The ISDN router provides an alternate access to the internet, allowing for the implementation of routing protocols, ACLs, and firewall configurations. With the ISDN router, you can even replicate real-world scenarios that involve remotely connecting to networks, allowing for a greater range of learning possibilities.

8) The Frame Relay Switch
The Frame Relay Switch is an essential component of any home CCNA or CCNP lab. It enables the connection of multiple devices and systems by providing a dedicated point-to-point connection between two or more routers. It is also capable of simulating real-world WAN traffic, allowing users to test the various features of a router and practice troubleshooting techniques. When building a home lab, the Frame Relay Switch should be among the top choices as it allows for complete control over the connection speed and routing protocol configuration.

9) The ATM Switch
The ATM switch is a powerful piece of hardware that can be used to create complex network topologies in the home lab. It is important to understand how an ATM switch works and what it can be used for when building your own Cisco lab. An ATM switch, or asynchronous transfer mode switch, is a device that enables communication between computers and other devices using ATM technology. This type of technology allows for high speed data transfer over longer distances than other technologies such as Ethernet. The ATM switch also enables high-speed connections to the Internet, allowing for faster data transfer over large distances. With its high speed and reliability, the ATM switch is a great choice for creating complex network topologies in the home lab.

10) The VPN Concentrator
The VPN concentrator is a crucial component of any Cisco home lab. It allows for the secure and encrypted transfer of data over public networks, such as the internet. This makes it ideal for remote access to your lab from anywhere in the world, which is especially useful for studying or practicing for the CCNA or CCNP exams. It can also be used to securely connect multiple offices or sites together, allowing for remote collaboration. To set up a VPN concentrator, you’ll need to purchase and configure a router with VPN support, as well as a compatible security protocol. Once configured correctly, your VPN concentrator will help keep your network safe and secure.