Thursday, December 31, 2015 in Packet Tracer - Section 4

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In this previous post, I began to look into working through the Free CCNA Workbook in Packet Tracer.  I had worked through the first three sections, and found that while there were some unsupported commands here and there, there was not anything missing that I would consider to be a show stopper so far.  So moving along, I have worked through Section 4 tonight and here's what I found. For reference, I am using the latest version of Packet Tracer for Linux available from the NetAcad website at the time of this writing, which is version 6.2.  Your results may vary on the Windows version, but I doubt it.

Lab 4-1 got off to a decent start, but at the very end, I found that cdp timer and cdp holdtime were not supported.  4-2 and 4-3 were good to go.  Lab 4-4 is missing ISL support, but that's not a huge thing as it's just one keyword different than the similar dot1q commands. And like ususal, the exam objectives are vague enough that I'd err on the side of caution and know ISL regardless. We're good from 4-5 through 4-8 but that's where we start seeing more serious omissions.

In Lab 4-9, we see the first impossible lab as the arp command is not available. It's basic enough that I'd say you could theoretically just read through the lab a few times and memorize the syntax.  Lab 4-10 is good.  Lab 4-11 is missing the vtp pruning command, but otherwise all doable.  And Lab 4-12 is missing the show run interface command, which I believe was noted in the Sections 1-3 blog post.

In Labs 4-13 through 4-17, we get into the Spanning Tree Protocol and its various incarnations.  We've really got some issues here, as the show spanning-tree root, show spanning-tree bridge, spanning-tree bpduguard, spanning-tree bpdufilter and spanning-tree port-priority commands are all unsupported.  Lab 4-15 is completely impossible as MST is not supported at all, but I don't believe that it falls within the current lab objectives.

In labs 4-18 through 4-20, we go though switchport security. In these three labs, I did not find anything that was not supported. This is good, because if you're looking at the Security track of Cisco, you'll be seeing switchport security over and over again.  Which brings us to our final lab of Section 4.

Lab 4-12, the last of Section 4, covers Switched Port ANalyzer, more commonly known as SPAN. And once again, we find a lab that is impossible to do in Packet Tracer, as SPAN is not supported at all. This also isn't the end of the world as it is not specified by name in the CCNA exam topics, nor have I noticed anything there that heavily implies it.  But like switchport security, SPAN is all over the Security track, so it's definitely a show stopper for me even if it's not for the aspiring CCNA.

So to recap, there's a couple labs in Section 4 that are completely impossible to do in Packet Tracer, though I have my doubts that most of them are actually current CCNA topics.  However, the missing command here and there that we saw in Sections 1 - 3 is becoming more and more unsupported commands, and in the case of spanning tree, we're getting close to not supporting a technology sufficiently.

Next up is Section 5, Configuring Wide Area Network Links.  I was told that Frame Relay is no longer on the CCNA, but Exam Topic 8.4 - "Configure and verify Frame Relay on Cisco routers" says otherwise so I'll cover these labs.


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