Thank you to all those who have submitted questions and comments to our blog.  We will be taking time each week to post answers to your questions and to post some of these comments.  If you have a question for one of our CCIE Instructors please email them to blog@ine.com.

Question #1

Can anyone please advise what is the recommended laptop hardware configuration for CCIE R&S Lab prep. I have read many blogs, posts and advices but unable to figure out the appropriate answer. While advising,please consider the GNS3 is the only option I have.
Many thanks in advance,
Asif Irfan

If you are looking for an appropriate hardware to run complete IEWB-RS topology (6 routers, 4 switches, 3 backbone routers) than your minimum would be Core 2 Duo 2,5Ghz with 2 Gb of RAM. That the bare minimum, and you should look toward expanding memory at least to 3-4Gb to have more room for other applications (if you have any). The largest benefit of this solution is it’s low cost, as Core 2 Duo processors are now “past generation”. If you could, you may get two Core 2 Duo laptops, each with 2Gb of RAM and run Dynamips on both systems in distributed fashion. This is still a budget solution.

If you are not restrictred by your budget, look for quad-core processors, such as I7 and memory base of at least 4Gb. This is enough to run the whole IEWB-RS topology, provided that you are using optimal IdlePC values.

Here are some hints to improve Dynamips performace (aside from tuning IdlePC)

1) Shutdown all currently unused routers, e.g. backbones, if you are working through IGP. Only bring them up for testing temporarily.
2) When you’re done with layer 2 scenarios, reconfigure your switched in a hub-and-spoke topology (start) say with SW1 being the center switch. After this, disable STP for all VLANs. This will save you a lot of CPU cycles “wasted” on Spanning-Tree processing.
3) Linke I said before, try using distributed systems, running dynamips on multiple “less powerfule” laptops.

Answered by: Petr Lapukhov CCIE #16379

Question #2

I would like to know the difference between maximum-path ibgp and maximum-path ibgp import command under a address-family.

Hello Naman.

Both commands are used for equal or unequal cost load sharing for iBGP sessions.

The import keyword is used when you are configuring the command under a VRF. Here are examples of usage from the Cisco Command Reference.

The following example configuration installs three parallel iBGP paths in a non-MPLS topology:
Router(config)# router bgp 100
Router(config-router)# maximum-paths ibgp 3

The following example configuration installs two parallel routes in the VRF table:
Router(config)# router bgp 100
Router(config-router)# address-family ipv4 vrf vrf-B
Router(config-router-af)# maximum-paths ibgp 2 import 2
Router(config-router-af)# end

Thanks so much for using blog.ine.com!

Question #3

Dear Valuable Technical Teachers and Friends,

First of all , i wish and thank you for your great support to those who are
all preparing Network studies. I’ve completed my CCNA two years back.Now am
preparing for next step. At this point, i have bit confusion of deciding
whether can i do CCNP or CCIE(R&S). I would like to reach a top level in
Cisco Networking technology.So am requesting your suggestions, which is best
for me.

Also can you suggest any good simulators to improve my practical skills.

K.Saleem Jaffer

Thanks for the question.   Having the CCIE certification makes for an excellent stepping stone in a technical career.   An important aspect to successfully passing the CCIE lab exam, is a very solid understanding of all the technologies involved.    A great way to prepare for this is through the CCNP level of studies.   If a person chooses that path, they would do well to take time to learn the technologies while studying CCNP, and not have the feeling of just learning enough to pass a CCNP written exam.  By truly  learning the core technologies in CCNP, it will serve as a springboard into the CCIE studies.   Many candidates waste large amounts of time in complex configurations, because they are lacking the basic understanding of the protocols and technologies that make up the scenario.    I would recommend a 1-2 yr plan, that begins with CCNP, carries into CCIE studies, and end with you attaining your CCIE.    Best wishes in your studies and journey.

Keith Barker CCIE #6783



I absolutely love your version 4 COD videos for the R&S track. I love them
so much that I am dying to get more. When do you believe the videos will
get posted. Been stuck at EIGRP for over 2 weeks now. Would like to see
these added at a quicker pace.

My current study plan is to read about a technology, watch the videos for
that technology and then do the volume 1 labs for that technology. This is
working very well for me and want to continue without having to watch
previous versions of the COD.

The reason I like the version 4 COD classes is they seem more scripted. I
am watching the MPLS videos from the 10 day bootcamp and I see the
instructor looking around for the right command to show something. I find
this confusing and distracting from learning the material. The scriptedness
and complete mastery of what we are doing and what you are trying to show in
version 4 is great and want more of it.

Also, from a technology viewpoint I find it much easier to pause the v4
videos and write down the configurations or configure the dynamips session I
am using to follow along, than with the v3 technology. The v4 seems like it
downloads the entire video and you can pause, move forwards and backwards
and the screen doesn’t “refresh”. The v3 technology blanks the screen and
then kind of fastforwards the screen for a little bit while the audio is
normal pace when you move around. Another reason I want more v4!

Also, one tiny suggestion. I like being able to forecast how much time I
need to spend watching the vidoes. I don’t see any time counter on the v4
or listing of how long the video is. Would love to see a time value in
parentheses after the title of each video to be able to know how much time
to allot to each video.

Keep up the good work, my CCIE journey would be perilous without you guys.


Thomas Holincheck

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2 Responses to “Ask INE #1”

  1. David says:

    How would a new core i7 mbp do with 8 gb of ram? And does i5 or i7 make much difference or is only ram important to run a fully lab with dynamips?


  2. Donatas says:


    dont concentrate into processor because it is not primary but secondary thing.. there must be enough i5 or i7, maybe to much. The main thing is RAM, because every router/switch needs to boot IOS, which requires memory.


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