1. CiscoPress Material AND Cisco Network Academy
It could be argued that everything you need is available right here. These are the books that I used. I have not had the opportunity to demo the Video Mentor set but they come highly recommended by many. I attended the Cisco Networking Academy and would recommend this as well. Your membership with the Network Academy Connection provides you with access to classroom as well as computer based training. You will also be given access to the Packet Tracer software which is another great tool (simulator)! Just check your
2. CBTNuggets Videos
These are the videos that I used. It was well worth the money. The CCNA set is divided by ICND1 & ICND2 making it easy to keep the material separated. Jeremy Ciaora is one of the best instructors that I have heard (Doubtfully as good as CiscoGuy, Burt or Lerdalt but still good)!
I own this book and absolutely love it. It is especially great when you come to a concept in the CiscoPress series and get stumped as it provides a different light on the subject in most cases. With this book you get the book in Adobe PDF format which makes it very easy to search. You also receive access to the lammle forum which is.. well.. so so in my opinion.. If the forum were all that then I would have never found this place but it does provide you with the ability to post questions in more than one location and receive direct responses from Todd Lammle (Although they were very short responses in my experiences)… I would still recommend the book here…
4. The Bryant Advantage
I own this eBook and would compare it to the Lammle book if only it would have been provided in PDF format. The examples are good and Chris Bryant is provides some great insight. I would be hard put to determine who is the best technical writer between Bryant, Lammle and Wendell Odom.. Jeremy Ciaora wins in the video series though. The Bryant Advantage also gives you access to Bryant’s forum. At this point I already had access to Tech Tips so could not really tell you much about it but you have the ability to post your questions directly to a CCIE who promises a quick response.
6. CCNA VER 5 COMPANION
This is the book that CiscoGuy is always hyping about and he is right! This book provided me with some great labs and awesome insight plus it’s FREE!
7. Measure Up
This is a great site when you reach the final study period. (45 days out would be my recommendation but no less than 30) This costs $109 but you have access to quizzes that really do test your understanding… In fact, they force it upon you. I got this for free through the Network Academy (Hint Hint CiscoG if you don’t already know) and almost didn’t use it. That would have been a mistake as I am a huge fan now!
This is a nice FREEWARE application that emulates some specific Cisco IOS releases. In other words you have access to routers, switches and with PEMU/QEMU even Pix Firewalls.. This is an invaluable tool but I must say that NOTHING IS AS GOOD AS THE REAL THING. Will follow up with that.
9. Boson NetSim
This is a very nice Simulator. Much better than most out there and it blows the SemSim simulator away! More on Semsim to come. This is much more simple to install than GNS3 and does not require the processor power that an emulator does. This does not require you to have access to an IOS either which GNS3 does.
10. GNS3 Extras
This will help you locate those much needed IOS’s for GNS3. Just Google it!
Blind Hog Website
This is an awesome site with many cool video tutorials pertaining to Cisco and Dynagen/Dynamips with GNS3
You will eventually buy your own lab and when you do eBay is your best friend! Other sites of note are:
NOTE: I was thoroughly unimpressed with everything I received from SemSim. I was looking for a simulator and their "complete" package looked like a nice deal. This was not the case in my opinion and I did not use it. The simulator was a joke and quick reference card seemed to be quickly thrown together as well. Left me feeling ripped off. OK.. just wanted to share.
MOST IMPORTANT!!! A REAL LAB
Please don’t attack me guys! I put this down here because it will require the most writing. This is, in my opinion, the most important part of your Cisco exploration and discovery. There are many posts in this forum in regard to purchasing your own lab and there is absolutely nothing like the experience gained from researching and working through your lab.
CCNA R&S, ETA FOI