How to build a CCIE rack with GNS3 / dynamips — Part 3, build up the 4 switches

So now as the Server is built, it is time to install our four switches.
All switches in my lab are 3550s with EMI image. I did not spend the money for Cisco 3560s as they cost about 5 times of the 3550s. I got each 3550 for about 110$ at ebay. thats a quite good price for what you get.
The difference between the 3550 and the 3560 you can read here:
Main part here is that the 3560 can do IPv6 and private VLANs.

Well this chapter is quite simple. We just have to put the 3550s in our 19″ rack and fix them with the screws. What I did here, I left 1/3 of a rack unit between the switches so that the switches do not heat up each other.

Connect the power cables and the console cables.

Then what you need now is your 18 crossover cables. Well I think there is no really minimum length for Ethernet/CSMA CD, but some vendors recommend to use at least 1m of cable between two active ethernet components. I took 5m crossover cables, bought them on amazon. They were really affordable, 1$ each.

Now how do you connect them? well just use the topology of INE and cable it like they tell you, it is described really easy! ->

Here is how I cabled it:

SW1 Fa0/13 – SW2 Fa0/13
SW1 Fa0/14 – SW2 Fa0/14
SW1 Fa0/15 – SW2 Fa0/15
SW1 Fa0/16 – SW3 Fa0/13
SW1 Fa0/17 – SW3 Fa0/14
SW1 Fa0/18 – SW3 Fa0/15
SW1 Fa0/19 – SW4 Fa0/13
SW1 Fa0/20 – SW4 Fa0/14
SW1 Fa0/21 – SW4 Fa0/15


SW2 Fa0/13 – SW1 Fa0/13
SW2 Fa0/14 – SW1 Fa0/14
SW2 Fa0/15 – SW1 Fa0/15
SW2 Fa0/16 – SW3 Fa0/16
SW2 Fa0/17 – SW3 Fa0/17
SW2 Fa0/18 – SW3 Fa0/18
SW2 Fa0/19 – SW4 Fa0/16
SW2 Fa0/20 – SW4 Fa0/17
SW2 Fa0/21 – SW4 Fa0/18


SW3 Fa0/13 – SW1 Fa0/16
SW3 Fa0/14 – SW1 Fa0/17
SW3 Fa0/15 – SW1 Fa0/18
SW3 Fa0/16 – SW2 Fa0/16
SW3 Fa0/17 – SW2 Fa0/17
SW3 Fa0/18 – SW2 Fa0/18
SW3 Fa0/19 – SW4 Fa0/19
SW3 Fa0/20 – SW4 Fa0/20
SW3 Fa0/21 – SW4 Fa0/21


SW4 Fa0/13 – SW1 Fa0/19
SW4 Fa0/14 – SW1 Fa0/20
SW4 Fa0/15 – SW1 Fa0/21
SW4 Fa0/16 – SW2 Fa0/19
SW4 Fa0/17 – SW2 Fa0/20
SW4 Fa0/18 – SW2 Fa0/21
SW4 Fa0/19 – SW3 Fa0/19
SW4 Fa0/20 – SW3 Fa0/20
SW4 Fa0/21 – SW3 Fa0/21

Take your time to connect the cables as you can save a lot of time though in not needing to re-cable some ports. When you are ready with cabling, test if every port is there where you want it to be and then use the cable zippers.
Cable zippers!!!! I love them! And they make it look so nice. Some of the cables are messed up here, but they will be fixed in the next chapter. But you can see that it begins to look a little nice concerning the cabling.

Then your switching topology is ready to go! Double check the interfaces on the CLI with CDP if anything is okay!


About markus.wirth

Living near Limburg in Germany, working as a Network Engineer around Frankfurt am Main.
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4 Responses to How to build a CCIE rack with GNS3 / dynamips — Part 3, build up the 4 switches

  1. Lemon says:

    Just wonder is a must of 3560 or 3750 when build up the lab?
    Understood that you using 4 x 3550 switches, and drawback or problem when doing the lab?

  2. markus.wirth says:

    Well the 3550s are much cheaper than the 3560s or 3750s. For all excercices that dont contain IPv6, Legacy QoS and Private VLANs, the switches can be used with no problems (when you have the EMI Image installed).
    Search or google for “INE 3550 3560 comparison” . There you will find the details!

  3. Lemon says:

    thanks for your reply.
    I am considering this as well. For those required 3560 or 3750, I can go for the rack rental.
    3750 cost around $350 dollar each. Too expensive for me.

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