CCIE written…Done!!

•October 4, 2008 • 7 Comments


I did it! I passed my CCIE written exam!!!

Yesterday, 3 October 2008, I attempted my CCIE routing & switching written exam and passed on my first attempt. I’m really happy that not only did I pass the exam, but I was able to see how many hours of study and lab time have helped me to become comfortable with some of the more complex CCIE topics.

Initially after obtaining my CCIP certification at the end of July, I had planned to study for the rest of the year before attempting the written exam. Though once I got started reviewing the CCIE written exam  topics, I realized that much of the topics were covered by the CCNP and CCIP tracks.

Since I had just completed the CCIP, I was very comfortable with BGP, QoS and MPLS and since I’ve been playing around with IGP’s and BGP as part of my prep for those exams, I felt there was a chance that I could complete my written in the space of two months.

For the last two months I have read numerous books, watched countless CBT’s and worked hard to understand the technologies I was a bit weak on (Eg: FRTS). Since I work part-time, some days  I was able to devote as much as 14 hours a day to studying for this exam and having just completed my CCIP was also a real plus.

After reading Cisco Ferret’s post the other day, I thought I’d mention what resources I used to prepare for this exam. By large we used most of the same books…


CCNP BCMSN Official Exam Certification Guide (4th Edition) (Exam Certification Guide) Hardcover)

CCNP BSCI Official Exam Certification Guide (4th Edition) (Exam Certification Guide) (Hardcover)

CCNP ISCW Official Exam Certification Guide (Hardcover)

Cisco QOS Exam Certification Guide (IP Telephony Self-Study) (2nd Edition) (Exam Certification Guide) (Hardcover)

MPLS Fundamentals (Paperback)

MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume II (Networking Technology) (Hardcover)

MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software (Networking Technology) (Hardcover)

Network Warrior [ILLUSTRATED] (Paperback)

TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series) (Hardcover)

CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide (3rd Edition) (Exam Certification Guide) (Hardcover)

Routing TCP/IP, Volume 1 (2nd Edition) (CCIE Professional Development) (Hardcover)


Cisco BCSM Courseware
Cisco BGP Courseware
Cisco MPLS Courseware


CBT Nuggets BCMSN, BSCI, ICSW, ONT, QoS & CCIE video’s – I just want to say that without these I wouldn’t have come nearly as far as I have, they’ve really helped me alot.

So now that I have finally completed my written exam, its time to move on and tackle the lab! I’m planning on attempting the lab in the next 6-12 months. I haven’t really set any kind of schedule, once I start working through my workbooks and after a few labs, Ill have a better idea of how far away I am from becoming a CCIE.

As for now… Its time to play with Multicast Routing!

Progress Update – 21 September

•September 21, 2008 • 2 Comments

Just wanted to update you all on my progress, recently I’ve been knee deep in IGP’s, having lots of fun playing with everything from EIGRP stub networks to OSPF Network Types and the joys of OSPF over NBMA networks. Currently I’m still busy with BGP and will be for the next two days. Chapters that I’ve completed recently include:

Chapter 7 – RIP Version 2

Chapter 8 – EIGRP

Chapter 9 – OSPF

Chapter 10 – IGP Route Redistribution, Route Summarization, and Default Routing

As I’ve been reviewing each topic, I’ve been reading the oecg chapters as well as my CCNP books. Its funny how basic some CCNP topics now seem, for example the BGP coverage on the CCNP exams is really sparse.

I’ll leave you all with a rather amusing post I saw on (Original Found on Group Study), just goes to show how “easy” some people think networking really is…


Subject: Another New One
From: “Hiriam Masheed Nuwalla MCSE+I” <gs@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 08:52:55 -0600
Hi Group,

I just complete my MCSE+I and now I have need for CCIE. I have joined group
because I must have CCIE in 30 days, maybe I can wait for 45 days, but no
longer. I want to finish before May starts, for I have futbol league to play
in then. If I get the CCIE in 30 days, then maybe I try for a second in the
next 15 days. I need to get CCIE so I can make a bigger money. I hear this is
a good group for to join.

The MCSE have many more tests so I think CCIE may not be as difficult as I
hear. One day I pass two exams, one right after another for the MCSE. This is
also “Expert” level certification, just like CCIE. Some people may not know
this, but a Windows server can be setup like a router. I have done this many
times. I have very high IQ and can study sometimes 2 – 4 hours without a

I see a question about a subnet mask. Is it necessary to know the subnets
other than a I have set these networks up many times, and am
almost an expert with them. One time there were 4 of these networks all
working through a windows box, and I did this in less than 2 hours, and this
include time it take to reboot servers.

I have bought a router on ebay for to help study with. I want to use web
browser for to configure this router, but I cannot seem to get it to come up.
I use the telnet program (From a Windows Server 🙂 to log into this router but
all there is a command line. It look almost like an old DOS program. I hope
Cisco does not still emulate DOS when Windows has been around many years. This
could a big mistake for them.

If anyone need help on setting routers, let me know. I will be willing to
help. Also, it seems Cisco allow test taker to look at website during CCIE
exam. In the MCSE program there is no help available. You must not look at any
material while taking exam. I think it should be fun to have a book open

Do you think I should get a Voice CCIE, or a Security CCIE for the second CCIE
I get. I am not familiar with the differences between them? I did recently set
up Security for Microsoft Vista, so maybe Security should be the way to go.

Also I want to say to Darby. You seem like a nice man (i hope you are man, not
woman. if so i apologize). You should try for to relax a little more and take
care of your health. If you can’t get CCIE this week, you will be able to get
it next week. I know sometimes you get in a hurry, but your health is more
important than passing exam this week. Just make up study on the weekend and
take exam the following week. You should trust yourself more and not spend so
much money on instructions. Do you have relationship with your instructor? You
seem very close.

One more question. What does HTH mean?




Well its back to studying some BGP before bed, few more weeks and Ill be ready for the written!!!

5 Networking Links I’ve viewed Lately

•September 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Hi guys, Just a quick post before I get back to studying the “Redistribution” chapter in the OECG. (Yes I’ve completed all the IGP’s!). I thought I’d share 5 sites that I’ve visited lately and that I think might interest many of you… – A great forum focused on Dynamips, Dynagen and Cisco Device Emulation

2.Packetlife – Excellent site created by a fellow networker working towards his CCIE. Take a look at his excellent Cheat Sheets and the vast collection of Packet Captures.

3.InternetworkExpert Blog – Packed full of great tutorials, I often visit this site when I need to find a clear, easy to understand example of a technology in action.

4.Cisco IOS Server Load Balancing – Did you know your router can perform basic Server Load Balancing without adding any extra content switching modules? Cisco has done a nice job at providing lots of relevant examples in this paper.

5.OSPF Sham-Link Support for MPLS VPN – What can I say, no list would be complete without a hint of Service Provider coolness. This Cisco Feature Guide, does an excellent job of explaining the concept of OSPF Sham Links and why they might be required in MPLS VPN configurations.

Progress Update – 14 September

•September 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Just a quick post to update you all on my progress over the last few days, so far I have completed the following chapters in the OECG:

Chapter 1 – Ethernet Basics
Chapter 2 – Virtual LANs and VLAN Trunking
Chapter 3 – Spanning Tree Protocol
Chapter 4 – IP Addressing
Chapter 5 – IP Services
Chapter 6 – IP Forwarding (Routing)

Chapter 15 – Frame Relay
Chapter 18 – Security

I’m pleased with my progress, as well as how nicely my study notes are developing. Today Ill be starting RIPv2, I’m glad I’m finally on the routing section of this book, its taken awhile to get to this point. Of the routing protocols covered on the CCIE exams, I’m most concerned about OSPF and probably least concerned about BGP as I have quite a bit of experience with it. If I can get my OSPF to a point where I’m really comfortable with it (on NBMA implementations and all the little nuances), then my next big challenges would be FRTS & Multicast. I must say Im quite impressed with the OECG’s coverage of MPLS, this is a technology I’m really comfortable with so lets hope there’s a few nice MPLS questions on the written!

Working towards your CCIE is just like anything else in life, I believe its about consistently making progress and doing a little bit each day. If I can keep up my current pace, I’ll be able to reach the lab in no time. I’m learning a lot, having fun and getting to revisit some cool technologies I haven’t played with in a while, in short… I’m really enjoying working towards my CCIE. I realized this yet again when I was looking over some configuration files for a large ISP’s routers and switches the other day and understood every command and exactly what each device was doing. I’ve made a lot of progress, I just hope to keep learning more.

As for now, its time to start with RIPv2!

Progress Update – 7 September

•September 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Been ages since I’ve had time to post an update (which really reflects how hard I’ve been studying lately). Since my last post I have finished reading through the OECG, made further changes to my study schedule and revised what will be placed in my summary guide.

After finally completing the OECG, and using CCNP Official Exam Certifications Guides, Cisco courseware and additional books on the subjects of QoS and BGP. I feel I have a fairly good idea of what I’m up against. Thus I have made the decision to write my CCIE written exam within the next 8 weeks, far sooner than I initially anticipated. I feel that through the course of studying for my CCNP, CCDP and CCIP certifications I have been exposed (all be it at various depths) to the bulk of the content in the CCIE written exam. While reading through the OECG I didn’t encounter any topics I had never heard about and only moved on from a chapter once I felt comfortable with the theory.

As for my summary guide, I’ve realized that its important to keep it as brief as possible, highlighting the key facts, and leaving the OECG and other titles to cover topics in more detail.

Over the last few weeks I have done a few interesting things including:

  • Upgrading my Storage/Multicast/Mail/Secondary DNS/Web/ YES this is my generic “server” at home, to Fedora 9.
  • Setting up my Multicast Lab at home, using VLC to stream Video Content. VLC is a great application, to take a look at it visit . I have setup VNC on my multicast server, so that I can use vlc via the GUI if I feel like it. Additionally this allows me to use the multicast server as a client whenever I need an additional client system to view video streamed from other sources.
  • Spending some time on OSPF in NBMA networks
  • Falling in love with Cisco Any Transport over MPLS (AToM)
  • Playing around with BGP topics not covered in the CCIP or CCIE (R&S)

Well its time to get back to studying, today Im back with my old friend spanning-tree. I’ll leave you with a poem Radia Pearlman wrote while developing what would later become the Spanning-Tree Protocol…


I think that I shall never see
a graph more lovely than a tree.
A tree whose crucial property
is loop-free connectivity.
A tree that must be sure to span
so packet can reach every LAN.
First, the root must be selected.
By ID, it is elected.
Least-cost paths from root are traced.
In the tree, these paths are placed.
A mesh is made by folks like me,
then bridges find a spanning tree.

Radia Perlman

Progress Update – 15 August

•August 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Finally back and blogging! Things have been a little busy lately and I haven’t had much time to post. Since my last post I have totally changed my approach to studying for the CCIE written exam. Instead of spending hours upon hours working on my study notes and covering topics I know well, I’ve decided that I will first work through the OECG quickly, and complete it by the end of August. I will then start working through each chapter in more detail.

The logic behind this is to have a better feel for the overall exam and how far I still have to go. That way I know which technologies I need to really focus on and which I am comfortable with. So far I have read up to the end of Chapter 12, as well as the BGP chapters in OECG 2nd Edition. This weekend I will start with congestion management and avoidance.

Im looking forward to the rest of QoS, as its one of my favorite topics and I racked up lots of lab time earlier this year when attempting the QoS exam. Glad I forced myself to get through some of the more tricky configurations such as FRTS back then, hopefully I’ll be able to get through the last two QoS chapters fairly quickly. Once I’ve completed them, I really have Multicast and IPv6 left… Security, MPLS and Frame-relay are topics that I am fairly comfortable with. Additionally while working through the IGP chapters I brushed up on my Frame-Relay knowledge and watched the CBT Nuggets CCIE Frame-Relay videos. Don’t you guys just love Frame-Relay networks?

I have not updated my schedule yet, once I have completed the book at the end of August I will set a new schedule. I truly believe that I will get my written exam completed, long before the end of this year. I can really see how studying for my CCNP and CCIP certifications and becoming comfortable with those topics, has made my CCIE preparation so much easier. I would really advise that anyone wanting to get their CCIE (R&S) first does their CCIP. The topics covered, mainly BGP, QoS and MPLS are large topics on the CCIE written and lab exams and the more experience you can get with them the better.

Im definitely left feeling more optimistic than ever about my CCIE. I’ve worked through the first half of the OECG and there’s been no real surprises. Im hoping that Multicast isn’t insanely complex and that my CCNP level knowledge would have at least covered the basics.

A bit random, but I thought that some of you in the SP environment might be interested in a feature I came across earlier this week, hidden deep within the depths of the ES20 Configuration Guide, you will find the rather interesting technology of EVC.

Just to give you a hint of what is possible with EVC, take a look at the example below, straight from the ES20 configuration guide…

Double Tag VLAN Connect

In this example, an incoming frame with an outer dot1q tag of 10 and inner tag of 20 enters
TenGigabitEthernet1/0/1. It is index directed to TenGigabitEthernet1/0/2 and exits with an outer dot1q tag of 11 and inner tag 21. No MAC learning is involved.

! DSLAM facing port
Router(config)# interface TenGigabitEthernet1/0/1
Router(config-if)# service instance 100 ethernet
Router(config-if-srv)# encapsulation dot1q second-dot1q 20
Router(config-if-srv)# rewrite ingress tag pop 2 symmetric
! L2 facing port
Router(config)# interface TenGigabitEthernet1/0/2
Router(config-if)# service instance 101 ethernet
Router(config-if-srv)# encapsulation dot1q 11 second-dot1q 21
Router(config-if-srv)# rewrite ingress tag pop 2 symmetric
! connect service
Router# connect EVC1 TenGigabitEthernet1/0/1 100 TenGigabitEthernet1/0/2 101

To learn more please visit

Progress Update – 4 August

•August 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

A sprint within a marathon…

This weekend I decided to stop taking notes in my summary guide and just read ahead a bit in the OECG. I wanted to get a feel for the rest of the book, so I read up till the end of Chapter 9 (OSPF). If anything this just highlighted how important my summary guide will be, there are lots of little details and nuances, some of which are not even covered. Thus for the routing portion of the book (Chapters 6-11) I will be using my BSCI books and cisco BSCI & BGP course ware, along with the OECG. Of all the routing protocols covered, I believe OSPF will be the most challenging. EIGRP is fiarly straightforward even in NBMA networks and I wrote my BGP exam earlier this year, so it shouldn’t be hard to cover that quite quickly.

Tonight I’ll be working on my Chapter 5 (IP Services) notes,  covering topics such as HSRP, GLBP, VRRP, DHCP, NTP and more. So far Im way ahead of my CCIE written schedule, but Im sure this will soon change as I spend more lab time on the switching topics, not to mention all of the routing topics that I could lab up.