CCIE Warm-Up Advice and Learning Labs

One of my goals in pursuing the CCIE was to be able to write a book about how to prepare for the CCIE Lab. This is the book, with practical advice and practice scenarios meant to impart to the reader many of the important lessons I learned during CCIE Lab preparation.

The intended audience is CCIE candidates in the first six months or so of focused preparation for the CCIE Lab exam. The CCIE Lab I took was in the Routing and
Switching Track, but many of the central lessons I learned should be useful in other tracks. The labs in this book focus heavily on therouting protocols BGP, IS-IS, OSPF, EIGRP, and RIP version 2, and covers numerous Quality of Service features such as priority queueing, custom queueing, class-based weighted-fair queueing, frame-relay traffic-shaping, PPP multilink fragmentation and interleaving, and rate-limiting. The scenarios also address IP Multicast, IPSEC, IOS firewall, and basic DLSW+. The reader will configure a Catalyst 3550-EMI as a switch and as a router, but the labs focus more onrouting than on switching.

The advice and scenarios emphasize lessons that candidates preparing for the CCIE Lab Exam need to learn. This book is not intended for use in preparation for the CCIE written qualifier exam, which is a very different test, covering much material that Cisco has expressly and publicly removed from the CCIE Lab Exam, such as IPX, ATM LAN Emulation, and Token Ring.

As of the release of this Lulu Press edition, Cisco has announced that ISDN is soon no longer going to be tested on the Lab. I am sorry that I do not have the time now to rewrite the Scenarios to take out all reference to ISDN.

The scenarios would, incidentally, serve as excellent lab material for the student preparing for the Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI) Exam, which is required for the CCNP, CCDP, and CCIP certifications, as well as for theRouting and Switching Specialization for Cisco Partner resellers. The student could simply ignore the QOS tasks and other tasks that are obviously beyond the scope of the BSCI Exam, and enjoy some very challengingrouting labs.

I designed the five practice scenarios in this book to teach crucial CCIE lessons, not to resemble the CCIE Lab Exam. Since I use an affordable lab topology that includes only one Catalyst 3550-EMI, it will never be said of any of these labs that, “it was just like the real lab exam.” I want readers to know this up front so that they will not expect scenarios that are “dry runs” of the Lab exam. My tasks involve very little cryptic language, so you will usually know what you need to do. You just may not know how to do it until you do some research or read my solution configuration scripts and explanations. Much of the value of this book lies in the explanations of the tasks that require explanations.

The lessons run the gamut from efficient CLI practices, diagramming techniques, and technology-specific tricks and traps, to subtleties of route redistribution. I am obsessed with route redistribution. I found it challenging while preparing for the CCIE Lab Exam, and still find things to learn about it.

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