Recommended Tools, Hardware & Software

Every job requires tools, and the CCNA is no different.  You won’t need the tools for your exam, but you will need them for your job.

I recommend

  • Buy high quality tools that will last a long time.  Cheap tools are more expensive in the long term.  They break down and cause frustration.
  • Ask for advice, read reddit reviews, read reviews on Amazon, watch YouTube videos, until you find the tools that are best for you.  Ask me!

The Cisco curriculum doesn’t require a lot of tools.  What you need to think about is whether you are going to be a Cisco technician who solely works on connecting and troubleshooting Cisco equipment configurations, or whether you will be troubleshooting other things.

Will you need to troubleshoot or install physical wiring, access points, etc.?  Probably.  It’s better to have the tools and not need them then to need them and not have them.

What you really need

  • Laptop
  • Cisco console cable
  • Patch cables
  • Cable tester
  • A few screwdrivers or a drill with some screwdriver bits

It would be nice if you had the following

Laptops & Smartphones

Apple Tablet/Smartphone
Android Tablet/Smartphone
Windows Tablet/Smartphone


Some of the software may also be incorporated into hardware

Packet Sniffer
Protocol Analyzer
Terminal Emulation Software such as PuTTy
Linux/Windows OS
Software Firewall
Software IDS/IPS
Network Mapper
Hypervisor Software
Virtual Network Environment
Wi-Fi Analyzer
Spectrum Analyzer
Network Monitoring Tools
DHCP Service
DNS Service
Knowledgebase / Ticket Management Software such as AutoTask or Service Now


Layer 2/3 Switch
VPN Concentrator
Wireless Access Point
Laptop that supports virtualization
Media Converter
Configuration Terminal (with Telnet and SSH)
VoIP System (including a phone)
SOHO Router/Switch
Surge Suppressor
Power Distribution Unit (PDU)
Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS)
Managed Switch


RJ-11/RJ-45 Crimper
Cable tester
Punchdown Tools with Cutting and Non-Cutting 110, 66, BIX, and Krone Blades
Cable Stripper
Coaxial Crimper
Wire Cutter
Tone Generator and Probe
Fiber Termination Kit
Optical Power Meter
Butt Set
Power Supply Tester
Screwdriver, Drill, or Screw Gun and Assorted Bits

Spare Parts

Optical and Copper Patch Panels
Punchdown Blocks – 66, 110, and BIX
Power Supplies
Patch Cables – cat5e, cat6, fiber
RJ-45 Connectors
RJ-45 Jacks
RJ-11 Connectors
Unshielded Twisted Pair Cable Spool or Box
Coaxial Cable Spool or Box
F-Connectors / BNC Connectors
Fiber Connectors
Bluetooth Wireless Adapters
Console Cables and RS-232 to USB Serial Adapter
Rack Screws
Assorted Sheet Metal, Wood, & Drywall Screws
Zip Ties
Grounding Cable and Lugs