Take a look at the pro’s and con’s to the top Cisco certification software available. Packet Tracer, GNS3, and VIRL are all network simulator/emulator solutions to save money on buying hardware for a home lab. Skip to about 20 minutes in to get right into the new Cisco VIRL overview, which will be an outstanding solution for the more advanced certifications such as the CCNP tracks, or even the CCIE. Best of luck in your studies!