Despite feeling mentally down after a really tough and frustrating week, I decided to crack the study books again on CCNA class. Our fearless instructor had a skills integration challenge lab that he assigned us to complete for tomorrow’s class. I like doing these kinds of labs precisely because it is a chance to practice all that we have learned to date. Well, almost all that we have learned; don’t know why we did not practice configuring the all important SSH protocol. Who uses telnet for anything serious these days other than testing applications.
I found it encouraging that the lab was not particularly challenging and I had it completed inside of about an hour and fifteen minutes. I take this to be a solid indicator that I am ready to sit for the first of two CCNA exams. I cannot honestly believe that RIP is still being taught; even as a learning protocol. Nobody uses RIP anymore, instead using OSPF or EIGRP. I get that RIP helps you to understand the fundamentals but it’s horribly inefficient and chatty.
I found the only real “challenge” of the lab was getting NAT to work. It took me 20 minutes before I was able to see where I had went wrong on the dynamic NAT. It was a mis-configured ACL that caused the NAT policy not to apply. Static NAT really has nothing to it and is mostly used for granting access to resources inside the LAN to external hosts. Well, I was also briefly stymied by creating an ACL to deny access to a router’s VTY ports and it was because I had used the wrong direction in the statement. Typically VTY is an inbound connection and I had it set outbound. Whoops!
In some ways I am enjoying CCNA more now that I have effectively put trying to find IT work of any kind aside. My employment history will preclude me getting back into IT and I have pretty much faced this sad fact. Now CCNA is simply learning for the pure joy of learning and there is much to be said for this. I like doing these labs so much that I sent an email to my instructor asking if he has any more. They really engage my mind and push depression back to the furthest recesses of my brain. Maybe I could create a few of my own labs.
I got OSPF to work just by simply Googling around. Maybe I’ll do something a little fancier by upgrading the most recent lab from RIPv2 to OSPF. I have to hand it to Cisco’s Packet Tracer learning tool. It’s tons of fun – I wish it could replace working on the physical equipment altogether. I reckon one day it will but it won’t happen in my classroom tenure.