Archive for September, 2010


We have some exciting free vSeminars on the way. More details will follow, but I wanted everyone to mark the dates now. These events will be recorded and added to:

Routing and Switching

October 15, 2010 – Developing Tier 2 Knowledge

November 10, 2010 – “I CANNOT REACH THE BACKBONE!”


October 22, 2010 – Unified Mobility Interactions with Local Route Group and Globalization

December 14, 2010 - LDAP Synchronization and Authentication in Unified Communications

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“I am proud to say that after dedication, perseverance and lot of hard work – late nights and early morning preparation for last year and half have paid of on Sept.17,2010 in RTP when I passed my CCIE for Routing and Switching. The INE online material CCIE 4.0 Advanced Technology Class prepared me to handle some of the toughest material (TS and Config questions) that have been added to the new version of Routing and switching lab exam. Thank you for putting out the best training material in the business. I plan to take a break for 6 months and then get back in groove for the preparation of Security track training offered by INE. ”
Emil Patel Manager – CCIE R&S EMR Infrastructure

Congratulations Emil!  Share in his success with the biggest sale ever on one of our most popular products, CCIE Routing & Switching Advanced Technologies Class!  Use discount code: 27005 to save $300 on this great class on demand.  Read more about the CCIE Routing & Switching Advanced Technologies Class.

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Practical Exam Overview

The practical test is a series of design scenarios. At the beginning of every scenario, you are given the existing network design information (diagrams, background, applications, business plans etc). After this, you are presented with a particular technical problem – e.g. a problem in the existing design that you need to fix, or a requirement to scale the existing network, or possibly a scenario where you have to spin off another network from existing one. You are then being asked a series of questions to shape your solution, justify it and possibly solve additional problems. You will have to read alot, process and co-relate the information and apply some analysis skills to come with an optimum solution. Reading, extracting key features and co-relating are probably the main skills you need to posses in addition to knowing the technologies. There are three major network topologies and two scenarios for every network. The networks feature the use of EIGRP, OSPF, BGP and ISIS routing protocols, along with MPLS and other tunneling techniques. Nothing that is Cisco-specific (besides using EIGRP in some scenarios) – you will not have to select the hardware or calculate bandwidth points – the exam is very generic and focused around abstractions. You may find more detailed desription of the practical exam here along with a reading list I made over a year ago.

I would also recommend you getting your hands around the CCDE techtorial presentations made at Cisco Live! last two years, as those provide some interesting insights on the exam. Unfortunately, the presentations are not available to general public, and sharing them would be violating Cisco’s copyright. Your best is trying to ask you friends at Cisco SE teams for the documents, if you want to get them “legally”. However, even if you can’t get those documents, do not despair and make sure you tried the CCDE practical demo at This demonstration does have some wrong answers, but still gives you a goode idea of how the practical exam looks like.

As for the “ultimate” reading list, I’ve been publishing some before in CCDE certification and CCDE Written. Since then, I made some major updates to these. The below compilation is made of some “core-reading” books along with numerous short publications which I recommend reading to prepare to the practical test. Remember


Core Routing Knowledge

Core knowledge for the exam is covered in a few books. Some of these books are written by Russ White and Alvaro Retana, who are among the CCDE exam designers.
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Encoding and Modulating

Questions Only

What form of CSMA does 802.11 use?

What does DCF stand for?

Your wireless station heres someone transmit and waits the duration heard plus what value?

What logically seperates WLANs?

Name three requirements to roam between two autonomous APS.

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October 20-22, 2010. Book your seat now! Click here!

Cannot make those dates, purchase now and receive the on-demand version the week following the live event.

Module 1 IPv6 Addressing and Basic Connectivity

  • Address Types
  • IPv6 Neighbor Discovery
  • Basic Connectivity

Module 2 IPv6 Protocols

  • IPv6 ICMP
  • DHCP for IPv6
  • IPSec in IPv6
  • QoS for IPv6

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The below is a compilation of the blost posts I made over time and that seemed to be helpful based on the feedback I received. I noticed a lot of blog visitors walking through our archives looking for the information. Hopefully, this compilation will help navigating our blog better. Feel free to post your feedback and suggestions!

IP Routing

Service Provider


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When we ask students “what are your weakest areas” or “what are your biggest areas of concern” for the CCIE Lab Exam, we typically always here non-core topics like Multicast, Security, QoS, BGP, etc. As such, INE has responded with a series of bootcamps focused on these disciplines.

The IPv4/IPv6 Multicast 3-Day live, online bootcamp, and the associated Class On-Demand version seeks to address the often confounding subject of Multicast. Detailed coverage of Multicast topics for the following certifications is provided:

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)

Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP)

Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE)

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Routing & Switching (CCIE R&S)

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Service Provider (CCIE Service Provider)

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Security (CCIE Security)

To purchase the live and on-demand versions of the course for just an amazing $295 – just click here. The live course runs 11 AM to 6 PM EST US on September 29,30, and October 1.

The preliminary course outline is as follows:

  • Module 1 Introduction to Multicast

Lesson 1 The Need for Multicast

Lesson 2 Multicast Traffic Characteristics and Behavior

Lesson 3 Multicast Addressing

Lesson 4 IGMP

Lesson 5 Protocol Independent Multicast

  • Module 2 IGMP

Lesson 1 IGMP Version 1

Lesson 2 IGMP Version 2

Lesson 3 IGMP Version 3

Lesson 4 CGMP

Lesson 5 IGMP Snooping

Lesson 6 IGMP Optimization

Lesson 7 IGMP Security

Lesson 8 Advanced IGMP Mechanisms

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This publication illustrates some common techniques for troubleshooting multicast issues in IP networks. Common problems and their causes are discussed, troubleshooting techniques demonstrated. PIM Sparse mode is used for most of the examples, due to the fact that this is the most complicated mode of multicast signaling. The suggested troubleshooting approach separates control plane from data-plane troubleshooting and heavily relies on the mroute command for the control-plane verification. This publication requires solid understanding of intra-domain multicast routing technologies.

Common Reasons for Multicast Problems

In short, one common reason for all issues with multicast routing is the PIM and logical/physical topology incongruence. Ideally, multicast should be deployed in a single IGP domain with PIM enabled on all links running the IGP with all links preferably being point-to-point or broadcast multiple-access. If you have multicast running across the domain that has multiple IGPs, or you don not have PIM enabled on all links or finally you have NBMA links in the topology – you have open possibilities for a problem. Unfortunately, the “problem” conditions just described are very common in the CCIE lab exam environment.

The most common type of multicast issue is the RPF Failure. RPF checks are used both at the control and data plane of multicast routing. Control plane involves PIM signaling – some PIM messages are subject to RPF checks. For example, PIM (*,G) Joins are sent toward the shortest path to RP. Next, the BSR/RP address in the BSR messages is subject to RPF check as well. Notice that this logic does not apply to PIM Register messages – the unicast register packet may arrive on any interface. However, RPF check is performed on the encapsulated multicast source to construct the SPT toward the multicast source.

Data plane RPF checks are performed every time a multicast data packet is received for forwarding. The source IP address in the packet should be reachable via the receiving interface, or the packet is going to be dropped. Theoretically, with PIM Sparse-Mode RPF checks at the control plane level should preclude and eliminate the data-plane RPF failures, but data-plane RPF failures are common during the moments of IGP re-convergence and on multipoint non-broadcast interfaces.

PIM Dense Mode is different from SM in the sense that data-plane operations preclude control-plane signaling. One typical “irresolvable” RPF problem with PIM Dense mode is known as “split-horizon” forwarding, where packet received on one interface, should be forwarded back out of the same interface in the hub-and-spoke topology. The same problem may occur with PIM Sparse mode, but this type of signaling allows for treating the NBMA interface as a collection of point-to-point links by the virtue of PIM NBMA mode.
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A while back, Cisco began consolidating all of the CCIE lab equipment used by candidates when sitting to write their practical lab exam. Most of the lab hardware now resides in San Jose, California US, with only the Storage and Wireless awaiting movement. While most of the CCIE tracks’ practical lab examinations are able to be completely self-contained inside a single rack, the pesky Voice exam remains an abnormality with the need for hardware IP phones at the testing site where the candidate may sit for the exam.

Having the IP phones in a completely separate location — and therefore seemingly an entirely different L3 IP subnet — would seem to present a major challenge for candidates attempting to test certain configuration tasks such as Multicast Music on Hold, many QoS mechanisms, SRST, and even smaller things such as CDP discovery and DHCP. So how is Cisco able to get away with having phones at a remote location (5000 miles or more in some instances), and yet still allow candidates to configure and then properly test what they critically need to?

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