Could you please advise with some ideas on how to setup a Switching lab in a production enviroment without harming the Production ?

Basically I need 3 Cisco Switches where I can try some labs but they need to be connected to a production upstram.

Any ideas ?

  • 1
    If the upstream interface on the production switch is correctly configured you should not be able to break the production network from such a lab setup. Think port security, bpduguard, loopguard, ... – Gerben Nov 8 '16 at 10:20
  • What do you need the upstream connection for, or what type of connection does it need to be? I.e. can you put a router or firewall in between? – hertitu Nov 8 '16 at 12:32
  • stand up a ESXi host and put 3 1000v switches on it? – Ronnie Royston Nov 8 '16 at 16:26

Typically, companies will separate a lab from the production network using a firewall. The lab will be connected to the outside interface of the firewall. This lets someone on the production network access the lab, but the lab can only access what you specifically allow in the firewall on the production network.


I got 4 2950 and 1 3560 on Ebay for less than 200€. I connected the 2950s as square and in the middle I have the 3560,connected to every other switch. With this topology I can simulate any configuration of STP, RSTP, MSTP, etc.


Investing in a console server would be the best option. You would then be able to connect to the switches using the console ports and you wouldn't need to connect the switches Ethernet ports to your network. This would allow you to test all the features without affecting your production network and without the risk of disconnecting your management sessions. Cisco routers (2901 with HWIC-16A) can act as console servers or you can pick up older 2800 versions or purpose built ones on eBay

  • 2
    OP explicitly states they need to be connected to a production upstram. – hertitu Nov 8 '16 at 12:30

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