A frame relay switch is an invaluable part of any Cisco home lab, whether it's for the CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE. Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, offers tips on purchasing one and shares a frame relay switch configuration.

Cisco Home Lab Tutorial: Buying And Building A Frame Relay Switch

Cisco Home Lab Tutorial:  Buying And Building A Frame Relay SwitchOne of the major topics on your CCNA and CCNP exams is Frame Relay. Additionally, Frame Relay is one of the most popular WAN technolgies in today's networks. Getting hands-on experience with Frame Relay in Cisco networks isn't just a good idea, it's a necessity. Let's face it, your employer is going to get a little touchy if you start experimenting with your network's Frame Relay setup.To practice all your important Frame Relay commands for your exams, you need a working Frame Relay cloud in your home lab. A production network's Frame cloud consists of a lot of Frame switches, but if you choose wisely, a single Cisco router can act as your home lab's entire Frame cloud!Before we look at the configuration of such a router (hereafter referred to as a "frame relay switch"), let's look at the physical requirements.The more serial ports you have, the better. You should get a router with at least four serial ports. For frame switching purposes, it doesn't matter if the ports are synchronous or asynchronous - you just need the ports.You will also need some DTE/DCE cables. The DCE end of the cables will be connected to the frame switch.A great configuration for a CCNA practice lab is three routers that serve as "production" routers, and a 4th router as a "frame relay switch" . (You'll want an access server as well, but that's another article.) What I use in my student and customer pods is a setup where R1 is connected to the frame switch's S1 port, R2 is connected to S2 on the frame switch, and R3 is connected to the frame switch's S3 port.Now comes the tricky part - the configuration. A frame relay switch's config can be hard to find, so here's a copy of mine. Pay particular attention to the config on ports s1, s2, and s3.version 12.0service timestamps debug uptimeservice timestamps log uptimeno service password-encryption!hostname FRAME_SWITCH!!ip subnet-zerono ip domain-lookupframe-relay switching!!!interface Ethernet0no ip addressno ip directed-broadcastshutdown!interface Serial0ip address 56000!interface Serial1no ip addressno ip directed-broadcastencapsulation frame-relaylogging event subif-link-statuslogging event dlci-status-changeclockrate 56000no frame-relay inverse-arpframe-relay intf-type dceframe-relay route 122 interface Serial2 221frame-relay route 123 interface Serial3 321!interface Serial2no ip addressno ip directed-broadcastencapsulation frame-relaylogging event subif-link-statuslogging event dlci-status-changeclockrate 56000no frame-relay inverse-arpframe-relay intf-type dceframe-relay route 221 interface Serial1 122!interface Serial3no ip addressno ip directed-broadcastencapsulation frame-relaylogging event subif-link-statuslogging event dlci-status-changeclockrate 56000no frame-relay inverse-arpframe-relay intf-type dceframe-relay route 321 interface Serial1 123!interface BRI0ip address ip directed-broadcastencapsulation pppdialer map ip name R2 broadcast 2335552221dialer-group 1!ip classless!dialer-list 1 protocol ip permit!line con 0exec-timeout 0 0logging synchronoustransport input noneline aux 0line vty 0 4login!endThe key command in the global configuration is frame-relay switching. You must have this configured before you can configure the interfaces. The interfaces will be configured with the frame route command. Let's take a look at what each value means in the command frame-relay route 122 interface Serial2 221.frame-relay route - the command122 - the incoming DLCI on this interfaceinterface serial2 - the interface the data will be sent out221 - the outgoing DLCIThis command on S1 means that anything that comes in on this port on DLCI 122 will be sent out interface serial2 on DLCI 221.It's a good idea to hard-code the interfaces to act as DCEs with the frame intf-type dce command. Since these interfaces are acting as DCEs, the clockrate command is needed for the line protocol to come up.Once you've configured your frame switch as shown and have configured the frame map statements on the "production" routers, you can test the frame switch configuration. On the frame switch, run the command show frame route .FRAME_SWITCH#show frame routeInput Intf Input Dlci Output Intf Output Dlci StatusSerial1 122 Serial2 221 activeSerial1 123 Serial3 321 activeSerial2 221 Serial1 122 activeSerial3 321 Serial1 123 activeYou should see "active" for all the interfaces. If you see "deleted", make sure your frame switch interfaces are open if they are, check the router configs.Keep in mind that you can still configure routing protocols to run on ports that you're not using for frame switching. The router we used here had an ethernet port and BRI port, and the BRI port has been configured as part of the production network. Running frame switching does not disable IP routing.Purchasing and configuring your own frame relay switch is an invaluable part of your Cisco education. By practicing your frame commands and configuring frame connections over your own frame relay cloud, you're polishing your Cisco skills and gaining knowledge that cannot be duplicated by simulator programs.To your success,Chris BryantCCIE #12933

Cisco CCNA Certification Exam Tutorial: Configuring Dialer Profiles

Cisco CCNA Certification Exam Tutorial:  Configuring Dialer Profiles

The most common method of configuring ISDN is with dialer maps, but dial information can also be configured on a logical interface. To pass the CCNA exam, you must know how to configure and troubleshoot both dialer maps and dialer profiles. Dialer Profiles allow different dialing information to be configured onto logical interfaces. The logical interfaces may have different dialing destinations, different remote router names, etc., but theyll be using the same physical interface. Dialer strings are used on dialer profiles. Note that each logical interface has a different IP address, a different remote router to dial, and a different dialer string, but they will be using the same physical interface to dial out. The commands dialer pool and dialer pool-member are used to link the logical and physical interfaces. The number following each command must match for the logical interface to correctly bind to the physical interface. R1(config)#interface dialer0R1(config-if)#ip address ppp <. The encapsulation type is placed on both the logical and physical interfaces. >R1(config-if)#dialer remote-name Remote0 R1(config-if)#dialer pool 1 < places logical interface into dialer pool >R1(config-if)#dialer string 5551212 < number dialed to contact router Remote0 >R1(config-if)#dialer-group 1 < links logical interface to dialer-list 1 > R1(config)#interface dialer1R1(config-if)#ip address pppR1(config-if)#dialer remote-name Remote1R1(config-if)#dialer pool 1R1(config-if)#dialer string 5551234R1(config-if)#dialer-group 1 R1(config)#interface bri0R1(config-if)#no ip address < With dialer profiles, IP addresses are assigned to logical interfaces. >R1(config-if)#encapsulation ppp < The encapsulation type is place on both the logical and physical interfaces.>R1(config-if)#dialer pool-member 1 < The number associated with this command should match the number configured with the dialer pool number on the logical dialer interfaces. >R1(config-if)#isdn spid1 0835866101R1(config-if)#isdn spid2 0835866301 When configuring dialer profiles, the encapsulation type should be placed on both the physical BRI interface and the logical dialer interfaces. The SPIDs are configured on the physical interface as well. Configuring dialer profiles can be a little tricky at first, and the best way to master this skill is to get real hands-on practice in your own CCNA / CCNP home lab or a rack rental service. Either way, hands-on is the best practice. Best of luck in your CCNA studies!

Cisco CCNP / BSCI Exam Tutorial: OSPF Route Redistribution Review

Cisco CCNP / BSCI Exam Tutorial:  OSPF Route Redistribution Review

OSPF route redistribution is an important topic on the BSCI exam, and it's a topic full of details and defaults that you need to know for the exam room and the job. To help you pass the BSCI exam, here's a quick review of some of the OSPF route redistribution basics.To see if a router is an ABR or ASBR, run show ip ospf. This also displays any routes being redistributed into OSPF on this router.R1#show ip ospfRouting Process "ospf 1" with ID only single TOS(TOS0) routesSupports opaque LSAIt is an area border and autonomous system boundary routerRedistributing External Routes from,connected, includes subnets in redistributionrip, includes subnets in redistributionWhen redistributing RIP into OSPF, the subnets" option is needed to include subnets in redistribution. When redistributing OSPF into RIP, a seed metric must be specified. (OSPF gives redistributed routes a default metric of 20 this can be changed, but a seed metric does not have to be set.)R1(config)#router ospf 1R1(config-router)#redistribute connected% Only classful networks will be redistributedR1(config-router)#redistribute connected subnetsR1(config-router)#redistribute rip subnetsR1(config-router)#router ripR1(config-router)#redistribute connected metric 1R1(config-router)#redistribute ospf 1 metric 1 By default, routes redistributed into OSPF are marked as E2 routes. The metric for these routes reflects only the cost of the path from the ASBR to the destination network and does not include the cost of the path from the local router to the ASBR. By contrast, E1 routes include the cost of the entire path from the local router to the destination network.O E2 [110/20] via, 00:33:21, Ethernet06.0.0.0/32 is subnetted, 1 subnetsO E2 [110/20] via, 00:33:21, Ethernet0172.12.0.0/16 is variably subnetted, 2 subnets, 2 masksO E2 [110/20] via, 00:33:32, Ethernet0O E2 [110/20] via, 00:33:21, Ethernet015.0.0.0/24 is subnetted, 1 subnetsO E2 [110/20] via, 00:33:32, Ethernet0To redistribute routes into OSPF and mark them as E1 upon redistribution, use the metric-type option with the redistribution command.R1(config)#router ospf 1R1(config-router)#redistribute rip subnets metric-type ?1 Set OSPF External Type 1 metrics2 Set OSPF External Type 2 metricsR1(config-router)#redistribute rip subnets metric-type 1Look at the same two routes in R4's routing table, which are now displayed as E1 routes:O E1 [110/94] via, 00:04:13, Ethernet06.0.0.0/32 is subnetted, 1 subnetsO E1 [110/94] via, 00:04:14, Ethernet0BSCI exam success and earning your CCNP certification depends on knowing the details, and there are plenty of details involved in OSPF route redistribution! Keep studying, practice different scenarios in your CCNA / CCNP home lab or rack rental, and you'll master these details and pass the exam!

Cisco CCNA / CCNP Tutorial: Home Lab Assembly Case Study

Cisco CCNA / CCNP Tutorial:  Home Lab Assembly Case Study

Part of your CCNA / CCNP education is deciding what network topology to use when you're putting together your home lab. Some of you are starting with one or two routers or switches, while others are starting with more. A customer recently sent me a list of his Cisco routers and switches that he has available for a home lab and asked for my help in coming up with the best way to use them.There is no "right" or "wrong" answer to this question; again, part of the learning process is configuring and reconfiguring the physical topology of your lab. Let's look at the routers and switches he has available, including the interfaces on each, and come up with one possible CCNA / CCNP home lab setup.The equipment list:Two 3620 routers. Each has 1 serial port and 2 ethernet ports.One 3640 router. This has two ethernet cards, each with two ports, and two AUI ports.Three 2503s, my personal favorite for home labs! These have 1 AUI port, 2 serial interfaces, and one BRI interface apiece.One 2524 router. This has one serial port, 1 ethernet port, and one BRI interface.One 4500 router. This has eight BRI ports, 2 ethernet ports, and more importantly, four serial ports.He also has a 5200 access server, an ISDN simulator, one 2924 switch, and one 1924 switch.Now, if you don't have this much equipment to work with, don't panic! Most CCNA / CCNP candidates don't; this is more of an exercise in looking at what you do have and using it to the utmost.As I've mentioned in many of my CCNA / CCNP home lab articles, an access server is a great thing to have. All he needs is an octal cable to connect his AS to the other devices we choose to use, and he's all set. (If you need an access server sample configuration, there is one on my website in the Home Lab section.)A frame relay switch is also great to have, and the 4500 will make a great FR switch. Having a frame relay cloud in your CCNA / CCNP home lab is a great way to get experience configuring and troubleshooting frame relay, an essential skill for CCNA success.I would put both of the 3620s on the frame relay cloud via the Serial interface, as well as two of the 2503s. That gives you four routers that will be using frame relay to communicate, and that's the most we can have since the 4500 has four serial ports. The 4500 will need to be configured as a frame relay switch and connected to the other routers via a DTE/DCE cable. (Again, if you need a frame relay switch configuration, the one I use in my pods is on the website in the same place as the access server configuration.)The two 2503s that are on the frame relay cloud should also be connected via their BRI interfaces. The home lab also includes an ISDN simulator, which is necessary to allow routers to communicate via their BRI interfaces. Just get a couple of straight-through cables to connect those two routers to the ISDN simulator and that segment is ready to go. (Remember that you can't connect Cisco routers directly via their BRI interfaces.)All of the routers in this lab have at least one ethernet or AUI port, so we can connect them all to either one of the switches. The switches should be connected via at least two crossover cables to allow practice with trunking, root bridge election, and VLANs. Having two switches really does add quite a bit to a CCNA / CCNP home lab's capabilities. You can experiment with different subnets and vlans with as well. Don't be afraid to dive in - that's what a home lab is all about!So now we've got four routers connected via frame relay, two via ISDN, and the others via ethernet segments. Two of the routers that are not using their serial interfaces should be connected directly via their serial ports. For this, you'll just need another DTE/DCE cable. Knowing how to bring up the line between two directly connected serial ports is an important CCNA skill, and so is troubleshooting it. You should be able to bring such a connection up with your eyes closed, and once you work with your own CCNA / CCNP home lab, you'll be able to!Also, don't forget to add a loopback interface to each one of your routers. I like to use for R1, for R2, and so on. Advertising loopbacks is another great way to get practice with RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, IGRP, and static routing.We've taken a pile of routers and switches and turned them into a fantastic CCNA / CCNP home lab. Whether you're working with two Cisco devices or ten, coming up with your own home lab topology is a great learning experience and the beginning of developing your analytical and troubleshooting skills.

Cisco Certification: CCNA Certifcation FAQ

When you start your CCNA studies, a lot of questions come to mind! Here are the five most common questions CCNA candidates have, answered by Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933.Q. What exams do I have to take to get my CCNA?A. The CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification offers two paths. You can take the one-exam path by taking the 640-801 CCNA Composite exam. If you want to break it up into two parts, you can take the Introduction To Cisco Networking Technologies (INTRO 640-821) and the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devcies (ICND 640-811) exams.Q. Chris, which path do you recommend?A. I generally recommend the two-exam path, particularly for those CCNA candidates that haven't taken a Cisco exam before. The Intro exam offers you a little more time and allows you to become comfortable with the Cisco exam engine, particularly the simulator questions. Let's face it, the CCNA single exam covers a lot of material, from basic networking to OSPF to router on a stick. Most candidates are better off breaking this huge amount of material into two distinct parts.Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of students and customers pass the CCNA composite. It can be done!Q. Do I have to recertify my CCNA, or is it mine forever after I pass?A. One way Cisco protects the value of its certifications is to enforce strict recertification policies. When you earn your CCNA, you must recertify within three years. Q. How do I recertify my CCNA? A. There is a lot of confusion out there on this question. The latest information from Cisco is that you recertify your CCNA by doing any of the following three things:1. Pass the current CCNA Composite or ICND exam.2. Pass any 642-level professional level exam or any Cisco Qualified Specialist exam, not including Sales Specialist exams.3. Pass any CCIE written exam. Q. How do I register for the CCNA exam?A. You can take the CCNA exam at any Prometric or VUE testing center. To find a Prometric testing center near you and register online, visit . For a VUE site, register at .Q. Can you give me a braindump for the exam?A. Boy, do you have the wrong guy! :)To your success,Chris BryantCCIE #12933

Boost Your Career And Benefit From A Microsoft Certification Or Two Or Three!

You went to college and thought you were prepared for the job market. If you are going for entry-level work, yeah, you are prepared. However, to really get ahead, you need Microsoft certification, whether it is an MCP, MCSA, MCSE or any other string of letters. Quite a few people will go for multiple certifications to broaden their experience and scope of possible job opportunities.Some of the Microsoft certifications require you have to have at least one year of practical experience in order to pursue a certification, namely an MCSE or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. It is important to have that experience that these certain certifications require because the training, like the MCSE training and the MCSE exams that follow, are very intense. In fact, some people will not only partake of the standard MCSE training, but also MCSE boot camps for more in-depth studies into their certification. One standard benefit to having a Microsoft certification is that it is a great basic means of analyzing the aptitude of an employee. If you are a manager or owner in a business, you want some way to evaluate that employees skills. And if you are the employee, you know that your boss recognizes your abilities.If you are on the hunt for a new job, then potential hiring managers and employers have a basis in which to assess your qualifications. Without that Microsoft certification on your resume, these employers would have no idea about your skills and most likely would consider someone else, someone with a certification, for the position you were aiming for.If you do not have much hands-on experience in your field, but you do have the Microsoft certification to prove that you know the material, you would also have a leg up on anyone else applying for the same position that may have more hands-on experience, but no certification. For some reason, that certification, those little string of letters like MCP or MCSE, hold a lot of power.Yet another benefit to holding a Microsoft certification or two is the money aspect of it all. Sure, you shelled out some major bucks to fund your education in those MCP courses or that MCSE training, but consider it an investment in yourself. With certification, you can bargain a higher salary and even reimbursement for your training!Many professionals in the IT field or in a company in which you work in an IT department could benefit from Microsoft certification. Do you work as an Administrator for a network, mail or web server? Are you involved in the security of networks and the internet? Any of those positions and much more benefit with additional training and certification. Just think money! It is the biggest motivator. The more you know and can bring to a position, the more money you stand to make.So think about going for your MCSE or MCP certification or any number of others available. More training; more knowledge; more money ... sounds like a no-brainer! Go nuts and get certified today!


A frame relay switch is an invaluable part of any Cisco home lab, whether it's for the CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE. Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, offers tips on purchasing one and shares a frame relay switch configuration.