CiscoLive 2017 is fast approaching so I am looking ahead and reviewing last year’s notes. We are often asked “What makes NetSim different from _____?” Or, “I have real equipment so why would NetSim?” This question is a favorite of ours because it allows people to gain a better understanding of the product and make plans to use it with their students or themselves. I don’t want to belittle other options because there are many great resources. To help you make smart buying decisions, I will be as informative and helpful as possible.
NetSim was created to be used as a lab study tool for Routing & Switching at the CCNA, CCENT, and CCNP levels. Individuals pursuing CCIE certifications or other certifications should not use our product. NetSim was created to help you understand the information required to obtain certifications.
NetSim vs. GNS3
GNS3 is now easier to use than ever, but NetSim still requires a steeper learning curve. GNS3 doesn’t include IOS images or content to study and doesn’t accurately reflect Layer 2 technologies. This last point is important because it is crucial to understand fundamental Layer 2 technologies in order to pass your exams. Emulators running a software image are not able to correctly implement most Layer 2 technology on physical equipment (ASIX).
Boson develops its own IOS, which is part of NetSim. We develop IOS that covers both technology in Cisco IOS and features that are normally implemented in hardware (Layer 2). We also include our content, which was thoughtfully created for the Routing & Switching curriculum. As of this posting, there are approximately 300 CCNA, CCNA and CCNP labs. We constantly update that content and add new labs when necessary.
NetSim vs. NetSim vs.
Hardware is awesome! We love physical hardware and have plenty of it to play with and test. Unfortunately, physical hardware can be costly. A recent review of hardware websites revealed that the cost to acquire physical hardware could be as high as $750 for a basic kit and as high at $2000 for a complete kit with four routers/four switches. Even if you have the resources and access to hardware, you won’t be able to take it with you. You will still need to learn about the hardware. There are certain basics that every network engineer must know, such as how to replace power supplies and make their own network cables. However, you don’t necessarily need more than one piece [of the least expensive] gear to learn those basics. The “setup-curve” is another common problem with physical equipment. You might be able to buy a $50 2811 on eBay, but later discover that it doesn’t have enough RAM to run the IOS or WICs you need to study the technology. The hidden costs can add up and you’ll have to source more equipment instead.
NetSim is portable, unlike a stack of equipment. Although you can remotely connect to equipment, who do you call if you need to reset a device or move cables to study a different topology? You are limited in the number of physical equipment you can purchase. NetSim is one cost for all topologies/labs. You can add four more switches, two core routers and two workstations to your topology. NetSim allows you to drag these devices onto the canvas and you can continue your studies in minutes. NetSim includes all the content that you need to study, as mentioned previously.
NetSim vs. Cisco Labs
Cisco Labs is another option to prepare for exams