My Home Cisco Lab – Part 1

At long last I have finally broken the procrastination barrier and put together my own home made Cisco lab using various bits and pieces that I have collected over time. My lab consists of the following components:

  • Cisco 2600 Series Router
  • Cisco Cisco 2960 Catalyst Series Switch
  • Dell Optiplex 320 running Xubuntu 12.04 LTS

The whole purpose of this is to get ready to recertify my CCNA. I was considering doing the CompTIA Network+ exam instead, but I have read that it is too entry level and that the CCNA is more credible. I have already obtained the CCNA twice, but it expires every 3 years. There is more content in the new exam, which covers VoIP, IPv6 and wireless technologies.

TTY connections on my Dell Optiplex 320:
stubuntu@stubuntu-OptiPlex-320:~$ dmesg | grep tty
[ 0.000000] console [tty0] enabled
[ 2.074050] serial8250: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
[ 2.476771] 00:08: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A

The physical connection named ttyS0 is the connection I am interested in because that is how I will interface with the 2600 router and 2960 switch. I will then use minicom as the application to utilize the physical connection into each device.

I am able to see the output from both devices, but unfortunately it is not receiving any input from my keyboard. After a bit of Googling I found that this could be due to the incorrect pinout configuration on the DB9 serial adapter. The cable I have is the official Cisco cable, but the DB9 connector is a random, most likely selfmade, serial connector. I just ordered an official Cisco RJ45-to-DB9 all-in-one cable from Amazon for $4.

Once I have the new cable I will be able to proceed with the next step outlined here:

Right now I am just stuck with the “Press RETURN to get started!” screen…


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