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Config Labs

Config Labs - The Basics

This blog has over 500 posts with CCNA content, so it helps to categorize posts in different ways. Here at my blog, “Config Lab” posts detail a self-contained CCNA lab exercise. All you have to do is find a Config Lab post that you like and then use the lab.

We reworked the Config Lab posts in 2021 to include more features, so if you haven’t looked at them in a while, please take a look. Each post has these features:

    • One Lab Per Blog Post: Each Config Lab exists as a single post. The answers and related explanations sit behind buttons and accordions that you can expand when you are ready to view those details to avoid spoiling the answers.
    • Configuration Focused: Most labs focus on configuration, with a topology and set of requirements. Your job: Add to the device configurations to meet the requirements.
    • Verification Skills: For each Config Lab, verify that you met the lab’s requirements. The lab post also emphasizes additional items to verify.
    • Configuration Solutions: The post includes the suggested solution.
    • Lab Commentary: Each lab includes a little text to anticipate common questions and further explain what should occur in the lab.
    • Scope:  By design, Config Labs focus on a small feature set with a small number of devices to configure.
    • Time: 10 minutes to understand the initial state of the lab, and 10 minutes to configure the lab, on average – assuming you have already learned the fundamentals of the topic and are now practicing what you already learned.
    • Audience: Learners who have already read about the topic and who are ready to practice.

Lab Tools: Packet Tracer, CML, or Pen/Paper

You have the option to use either Cisco Packet Tracer (CPT) or Cisco Modeling Lab (CML) to perform the lab. The Config Lab post provides a portable file (filetype .pkt for CPT and filetype .yaml for CML) that can be opened in the respective lab tools. Once opened and started, you have a starting point that matches the initial configuration shown in the Config Lab post. Your workflow should run like this:

    • Read the lab post and understand the initial state
    • Download and open the supplied lab file for CPT or CML
    • Review the lab again and plan your configuration
    • Implement the configuration in CPT or CML
    • Verify that your configuration meets the design goals
    • Check your configuration versus the Lab Answer in the Config Lab post

Note that the Config Labs match the CPT better than CML, but the labs can be easily performed in both. At issue: CPT and CML support different devices and device interface numbering conventions. We chose interface numbers to match CPT’s conventions, so the Config Lab post should match what you see in CPT. When using CML, you may see different interfaces – but the lab lists the differences. You simply need to take a little more care to use the correct interface IDs when using CML.

You can do these labs on paper as well – in fact, the original Config Lab posts required no lab tool at all so that everyone can do these labs. You can still do these labs on paper or using a text editor.  Just read the lab and record your configuration on paper or in any text editor. Then check your answer versus the lab post. Simple enough.

Navigation to Config Labs Only

Navigate from the menus at the top of the blog to find the Config Lab, using these alternatives.

Click Hands-On… Config Labs 200-301 – to see all Config Labs that apply to the CCNA 200-301 exam

Click Hands-On… Config Labs 200-301… Vol X Part Y – to see only Config Labs on topics in that book part

For instance, to see a list of all Config Labs from the CCNA 200-301 Volume 1 Book Part 3 topics, click as shown in the following figure:

Navigation to All Content (Including Config Labs)

The blog includes a wide variety of posts. Most posts focus on technologies related to CCNA with the content organized by book part and book chapter. The blog menus let you list posts of all types (including Config Labs) related to a particular book part or book chapter, as follows:

Click 200-301 Vol 1… Part X – to see a list of all blog posts categorized as related to the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide Volume 1, Part X, where X is the part number you chose from the menu.

Click 200-301 Vol 1… Part X… Chapter Y – to see a list of all blog posts categorized as related to the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide Volume 1, Part X, Chapter Y.

For instance, to see a list of all blog posts related to CCNA 200-301 Volume 1 Chapter 5, which happens to be in Part 2 of the book, use the navigation shown in the next figure.

Packet Tracer Labs - 200-301 OCGs

Want more labs? Using my CCNA 200-301 books? Then check out the Packet Tracer Labs for the CCNA 200-301 books, also here at the blog. This other set of labs requires you to use the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide books, while the Config Labs do not.

Packet Tracer Labs for 200-301 OCGs – The Official Cert Guide books have a large number of examples. Some students like to recreate the examples in a lab tool like Cisco Packet Tracer (CPT). To help, the blog has one post per book chapter. That post includes .pkt files related to most examples, along with notes to help you to recreate the examples in CPT. These do not have a lab exercise with steps, or with requirements – instead, you read the book and attempt to recreate what the book shows.

Config Labs – Self-contained lab exercise posts that list a topology, initial configuration, and set of requirements. Your job: determine the configuration to be added and then verify that your configuration met the requirements.

Want to know more? Then check out the page about the Packet Tracer Labs for the CCNA 200-301 books.