If you work for a company that has a lab or holds spares for the equipment used in this book, then you are in luck, and this will most likely become your source of equipment. If you do not have this luxury, you can always contact your local Cisco representatives and see if you can obtain loan equipment or gain access to customer lab facilities. Provided the aforementioned methods fail, you need to purchase the equipment. There are numerous sites on the Internet that sell cheap, used Cisco equipment; an example of this includes the eBay auction site at www.ebay.com. Another option is to use product simulators. For example, Cisco offers a product called the Cisco Interactive Mentor (CIM), which enables users to simulate the configuration of real-world networks.
It is important to note that Cisco switching equipment can be extremely expensive compared to more common devices such as routers; it is unlikely you will be able to afford the purchase of a Catalyst 6000 switch, even if it is second hand. Many of the configurations in this book can be completed on lower end Catalyst switches, such as the 2900 series switches (CatOS-based) or the Catalyst 2950 series switches (Cisco IOS-based). Realize that some features might not be supported on these platforms.