Amp's CCIE Quest On a quest for the digits…

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Cisco Catalyst Swtiches…

A colleague and close friend of mine has asked me to assist him in setting up a basic yet functional CCIE Voice Lab to begin studying with. So as I started to think about it, I remember that Josh over at had a really great post about running a virtual voice lab using minimal hardware and GNS3. This setup will allow you to do plenty but not all. I sent my buddy over to Josh's post and told him to read it thoroughly and to watch the video. Well he raised a pretty good question about what kind of POE switch he should get; should it be the 3550, 3560, or should he try and save up for the 3750.

Let the fun begin...

What are the differences between the 3550, 3560, and 3750? Well from a CCIE Voice Lab and QoS on the voice lab perspective, not much. Why do I say that? Well let's take a look at the End-to-End QoS Network Design: Quality of Service in LANs, WANs, and VPNs book from Cisco Press.

"The Catalyst 2970/3560/3750 share many common QoS features and syntax with the Catalyst 3550...Trust states and MQC/ACL classification and marking on the Catalyst 2970/3560/3750 are identical to those for the 3550, as are mapping functions and syntax (including DSCP mutation)." direct quote from pg. 243

Now don't get me wrong, does that mean you do not need to practice on a 3750 for the lab? NO!!! Yes you still need to practice on a 3750 for the lab. Why? Because there are some differences between the 3550 and 3750 such as "queuing". The 2970/3560/3750 family supports ingress queuing whereas the 3550 does not. Will this be on the lab? Who knows, there is always a possibility. The 2970/3560/3750 family supports 4 egress queues like the 3550 does, however queue 1 is used as an expedite/priority queue and not queue 4 like on the 3550.

So when it comes to the question of, can't I just buy a 3550 POE and be done with it? The answer is a resounding Yes...and No. There are a lot of features that can be tested and learned with the 3550 but you will definitely need to get some practice in on the 3750. After all that is the device that will be on the lab.

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