CCIE R&S 5.0 Update

For information about our CCIE R&S v5.0 Training Program see the video series CCIE Routing & Switching – Overview and Preparation


Congratulations on purchasing INE’s CCIE R&S v4.0 Training Program, the complete solution to passing the CCIE R&S lab exam! This document provides you with the detailed guidelines to using the products comprising the training program. This program structure has been designed under the realistic assumption that you may allocate about 3 days a week studying for your CCIE, approximately 4 hours a day, or effectively 12 hours a week. The suggested training duration is 48 weeks and the program’s high level structure is as following:

Warm-up Phase. Weeks 01-12. Gets you started for CCIE studies. Covers core topics, develops basic hands-on and speed skills.
Core Training. Weeks 13-24. This phase develops solid hands-on skills and cements fundamental knowledge.
Advanced Training. Weeks 25-48. Gets you to the advanced level of technology understanding and perfection in hands-on skills.
Appendix A: Choosing Your Training Routine: Select either 3-month, 6-month or 12-month program.
Appendix B: Step by Step approach to completing a full-scale lab.
Appendix C: On Time Management.

It is important to point out that the CCIE R&S Training program develops advanced hands-on configuration skills. You are assumed to obtain a solid theoretical knowledge foundation by studying for and passing the CCIE R&S Written test prior to starting this program. Additionally, if you find yourself needing additional theoretical reference during your studies, the following book is recommended:

Internetworking with TCP/IP, Vol 1 by Douglas E. Comer (Latest edition)

The below is the detailed structure of the training program. Those of you who follow our blog will notice that this program builds upon the ideas presented in a previous publication named Getting The Most Out of CCIE R&S Workbooks VOL1 and VOL2. Before we start with the training outline, here is the complete list of the products that constitute the the core of program:

We’ll reference these products as we progress through the guide. We recommend you opening the free samples of VOL1 and VOL2 products so you can look into them for better understanding as you read this guide.

[Weeks 1-8] Warm Up: Practicing Fundamentals

It is not easy starting the long CCIE lab exam study process. Even though many students already have extensive hands-on experience with various technologies, the CCIE exam covers a much broader spectrum of options than anyone normally deals with in the real world. Mastering all the new topics might be frustrating at times, especially if you approach the studies randomly. In order to facilitate a “gentle start” in the journey, the first phase of the training program aims at introducing you to the technologies that constitute the “core” of the CCIE exam. The “core” technologies are those that provide various forms of network connectivity: L2 settings, IP addressing, IGP protocols, IPv6, and so on. On the contrary, the “non-core” technologies are those that provide various services to the network: e.g. QoS, SSH, HTTP server, firewalls, and so on. During the “warm-up” phase, you will work mainly with VOL1 and the ATC products. Your goal is mastering the foundations of “core” technologies and getting familiar with the hands-on configuration process. You need to complete the following scenarios from VOL1:

Bridging & Switching: 1.1-1.15
Frame-Relay: 2.1-2.8
IP Routing: 3.1-3.11
RIP: 4.1-4.11
EIGRP: 5.1-5.10
OSPF: 6.1-6.14
BGP: 7.1-7.12
IPv6: 9.1-9.9
Multicast: 8.1-8.10
MPLS VPN: 14.1-14.7

There is slightly over 100 technology-focused scenarios on this list (about 1/4 of VOL1 contents). The scenarios and solutions include breakdowns and verifications, but you may refer to the respective sections of the ATC video recordings for more information on every technology you practice. We estimate you to have approximately 100 hours to complete this stage. The topics covered in the “warm-up” teach you the fundamentals, so at times you may feel the urge to skip some of these. However, we highly recommend completing every scenario on the list. Theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills are different and hands-on is more important for the lab exam.

[Weeks 9-12] Warm Up: Moving to Full-Scale Labs

Now that you have the feeling of what the CCIE lab is about, it is time to begin full-scale lab practice. The real exam is an 8-hour lab, and unless you practice scenarios that mimic this format, you will not be completely prepared for the test. It is important to keep practicing lab scenarios from VOL2 through the whole course of the training program. There is a certain way to approaching the scenarios found in VOL2. These labs are designed to be used along with the VOL1 scenarios that provide supplementary information and focused breakdowns on specific technologies. In fact, VOL2 labs contain explicit references to the VOL1 scenarios that are related to a particular task’s solution. And if you do not fully understand the solution, you should refer back to the linked VOL1 scenarios, and possibly practice them after you have completed the full-scale lab.

Knowing the technology configuration steps is important, but so is speed and accuracy. Your ultimate goal is reaching the point when you can type a solution in a notepad application without ever referencing the command line or documentation. VOL3 labs are specifically designed to develop high speed and accuracy in L2, L3, and IGP/BGP scenarios. VOL3 labs are short, four-hour scenarios that should be used solely for the purpose of improving your speed and accuracy in core networking technology configurations. Your training routine will include VOL3 labs in addition to VOL2 scenarios. Below is the list of the scenarios you should practice week-by-week:

Week 09: VOL2 Lab 1
Week 10: VOL2 Lab 2
Week 11: VOL2 Lab 3
Week 12: VOL3 Labs 1+2

As you can see, we estimate you spend a week on every full-scale lab. This includes completing the full-scale lab itself, practicing relevant VOL1 scenarios, watching the corresponding ATC videos and reading relevant documentation. Even though we mentioned that using a notepad application for all configurations is your ultimate goal, do not focus on this now. Type your solutions in the command line interface and try completing them as fast as possible, but do not focus on speed at the moment.

At the end of Week 12, you should have the solid feel of what the real exam is. You should have practiced the core technologies and completed a few full-scale labs. After completing this section of the program, you may opt to attend INE’s 10-Day CCIE Bootcamp. This bootcamp is incredible if you want to face the additional challenge; want a lot of personal interaction with other students and a top CCIE instructor; and you want to experience 10-days of non-stop hands-on practicing. Notice the bootcamp is not required, but definitely helps all students that attend.

[Weeks 13-24] Core Training

Warm-up is over, it is time for serious full-scale lab practice. This is probably the toughest phase of the training process, since you will need to go through a large series of full-scale labs. Your goal is to get fully immersed in the full-scale lab format, significantly expand your knowledge base, and improve configuration speed and accuracy. You will follow the same steps as before, using VOL2 scenarios along with VOL1 and the ATC. You will complete VOL2 lab scenarios up to Lab 10, practicing almost every VOL3 scenario, and begin working with advanced troubleshooting labs. At the end of this cycle, you should take a mock lab exam to estimate your level of readiness. Here is how the outline looks like for this cycle:

Week 13: VOL2 Lab 4
Week 14: VOL2 Lab 5
Week 15: VOL2 Lab 6
Week 16: VOL3 Labs 3+4

Week 17: VOL2 Lab 7
Week 18: VOL2 Lab 8
Week 19: VOL2 Lab 9
Week 20: VOL3 Labs 5+6

Week 21: VOL2 Lab 10
Week 22: VOL3 Lab 7+8
Week 23: VOL4 Labs 1+2
Week 24: Mock Lab 1

If your studies went well, you should score above 60 points in the Mock Lab exam at the end of this cycle. If you are not getting the score, do not despair. Isolate the topics you were weak on during the test and work with VOL1 and the documentation to master these. Identify the skills you need to focus on during the next cycle, such as speed or technology knowledge. If your score is way above 60, you may even be ready to take the real test. We do not recommend this yet though. Rather we may suggest you take INE’s Mock Lab Workshop to precisely estimate your level of readiness. It is also a good time to schedule your lab exam now. Place it a week after your estimated time to complete the 48-week training program. The cancellation window is 3 months, so you will have approximately 3 extra months to decide whether you should move your date or not.

[Weeks 25-48]: Advanced Training

This is the last cycle of the training process. It goes through an exhaustive series of full-scale labs together with the remaining advanced troubleshooting labs from VOL4. Your goal is getting to the point of “perfection” in your hands-on skills and technology knowledge. During this cycle you are recommended to take three additional mock labs to accurately evaluate your progress. The first four weeks are dedicated to QoS. Almost a month dedicated to QoS? This is correct. You will practice the most complicated section of VOL1 that covers almost every possible aspect of the QoS technologies you may see in the lab exam. The reason to allocate so much time to the QoS section is simple: QoS is hard and you need to know it really well. There is about 80 scenarios and you have about 12 study days to cover them. Sounds unrealistic? Probably. In fact, we would even advise if spending more time studying every day, e.g. 6 hours as opposed to 4 – if you can. If you can not afford this, it is not a huge problem. Here is why:

  1. Since you have 6 months of studies behind, you already have practiced a some QoS topics. Therefore, there is some foundation built already, which will help you working through QoS now.
  2. After completing the QoS section, you will have more time practicing VOL2 full-scale labs, which again covers a lot of QoS topics. This means you will have time to catch up on missing technologies

If you don’t feel like you can cover the whole QoS section in one month, pace yourself through it. At this moment of your studies you should be reade for more intense routine, if you can afford extra time. If you can’t, skip some less important topics such as RSVP, and do not practice the 3550 QoS sections – just read them for reference, so you can match and compare 3550 vs 3560 QoS features. This helps in memorizing those. As an additional referene reading for this section we suggest you the following book:

End-to-End QoS Network Design by Tim Szigeti and Christina Hattingh.

Week 25: VOL1 QoS
Week 26: VOL1 QoS
Week 27: VOL1 QoS
Week 28: VOL1 QoS

After this big take on QoS, you are back to full-scale lab practice. Everything is the same as it was before, but this time you put special accent on speed and accuracy. It is time to fully utilize the “Notepad” configuration technique. Instead of configuring routers via CLI, type your configuration off the top of your head in the notepad application first, and then paste it in the router. Keeping your configurations in the notepad makes it easy to spot and eliminate mistakes and greatly simplifies additional configuration steps that are simply added to the existing code. You may also use the existing configuration as templates and copy and paste them to speed up configuration process for other routers. When you get used to this method you will find it faster and much less prone to errors compared to straightforward CLI configuration.

Week 29: VOL2 Lab 11
Week 30: VOL4 Labs 3+4
Week 31: VOL2 Lab 12
Week 32: Mock Lab 2

You should be looking toward the score of around 70 points in Mock Lab 2. A good sign of progress is getting above 70 points. If you notice that you missed a bunch of points due to simple mistakes, rather than complete technology misunderstandings, this is actually an excellent sign. You just need to work on your hands-on skills more. Which is what you are going to do in the following weeks:

Week 33: VOL2 Lab 13
Week 34: VOL2 Lab 14
Week 35: VOL3 9+10
Week 36: VOL4 5+6

Week 37: VOL2 Lab 15
Week 38: VOL2 Lab 16
Week 39: VOL2 Lab 17
Week 40: Mock Lab 3

Mock Lab 3 may look complicated, especially the troubleshooting section. Getting a score above 60 points is a good result here. The weeks after this, your aim is twofold. First, you use VOL1 to identify the topics you are still missing or weak at. And you specifically practice these topics the next two weeks. After this, take another full-scale lab and practice advanced troubleshooting scenarios.

Week 41: VOL1 Missing Topics
Week 42: VOL1 Missing Topics
Week 43: VOL2 Lab 18
Week 44: VOL4 Labs 7+8

The last week of the training routine is dedicated to finishing the remaining VOL2 and VOL4 labs. The training program is completed by taking the last mock lab exam. The last mock lab is filled with hidden troubleshooting issues and is relatively complicated. However, you should aim at a score of about 70 in this mock lab test.

Week 45: VOL2 Lab 19
Week 46: VOL4 Labs 9+10
Week 47: VOL2 Lab 20
Week 48: Mock Lab 4

What next? If you diligently completed every step of the program, you are ready to take the lab exam. Like we mentioned previously, you should have one scheduled at the middle of your training program and you should be within a week of taking the lab test now. If you have to wait more than this, spend the time repeating the VOL2 labs, starting with Lab 1, Lab 2, and so on. It is important to practice continuously, as the hands-on skills tend to wear off quickly.

Appendix A: What if you cannot complete the whole 48-week routine?

Based on realistic assumptions, such as 3 days a week, four hours per day, you need about 48 weeks to complete the program. However, you may see that the program is organized in cycles: the first one goes for 12 weeks (approximately 3 months), the second cycle includes the first cycle and lasts for 24 weeks (approximately 6 months). The complete program is almost 12 months long. These “monthly approximations” might look more realistic than the number of weeks initially alloted, as you may not be able to follow the routine precisely. It is up to you to select either of these “cycles” for your training. Here is a quick comparison of your options:

  • The 3-month cycle. This is basically a warm-up – you will not be fully prepared, but rather get just the understanding of what the lab is. Chances of passing the lab exam after completing this cycle are probably about 20%. If you choose this “risky” option, make sure you started using the “notepad technique” beginning with VOL2 Lab1. It is the only way to build your speed skills fast.
  • The 6-month cycle. If you completed this cycle, you have probably 80% of the skills and knowledge that you need to pass the lab. Unfortunately, the remaining 20% are still essential to passing. The chance that you will pass the lab at this point is about 50-60%. If you choose this path, start using the “notepad technique” beginning with week 13 of your training routine, thus allowing for some degree of “gentle start”
  • The 12-month cycle. Covers all material in the program and gets you to the point of near perfection. Chances of passing are above 90%, but not 100%. Unfortunately, it is never possible to get the 100% guarantee due to the nature of the CCIE lab exam. This is the approach that we generally recommend to most people.

Whatever option you choose, we wish you the best of luck in your studies!

Appendix B: Step-by-Step approach to completing a VOL2 Lab

A typical VOL2 labs has two sections: Troubleshooting and Configuration. The sections are independent, so you may complete them separately. If you are working on a 6-month or 12-month schedule, you may skip working on troubleshooting sections the first 3 months of the program to get better used to technology configurations first.

Summarized, your steps for completing the configuration portion of a full scale lab exam should be as follows:

  1. Open the lab scenario documents and re-draw the diagram(s) presented. You should have at least the following diagrams available:
    1. Layer 3+IGPs. This diagram should be provided for you, but redrawing it is highly recommended.
    2. Frame-Relay Connections. This one could be combined with the L3 diagram and should be provided for you.
    3. Active Ethernet Connections. There should be a physical cabling diagram available. Use it as a reference along with the commands show interfaces status | ex (una|disabled), show interfaces trunk and show etherchannel summary to discover only the active Ethernet connections. This diagram is important if you have complicated Layer 2 requirements such as STP traffic engineering.

    A few tips on making your own diagrams. Firstly, use ordinary erasable pencil and an eraser to draw the initial “skeleton” diagram. Start by drawing all the routers – make sure you have enough space, and do not crowd any part of the paper. Next, draw the connections, using “zigzag” lines for Serial connections and “clouds” for Frame-Relay NBMA networks. As soon as you are done with the connections, place the IP subnets on the links. If all networks share the same high-order octets, you may simply memorize those and omit them on the diagram. If the router interface IP addresses equals router numbers you may omit them as well. In case if the IP addressing is non-standard, place the router interface addresses next to the router images.

  2. Read the whole lab scenario, mark the tasks that you do not yet understand. Create additional diagrams and enhance the existing ones as follows:
    1. Create a BGP Peering Sessions diagram if not available using the command show ip bgp summary. Re-draw the routers and place them on the diagram. Next, surround the routers with BGP domain boundaries and place the AS numbers on the diagram. Finally, outline BGP peering sessions, using different colors for eBGP and iBGP sessions.
    2. Mark the links where Security ACLs apply per the scenario requirements. Pay special attention to VACLs and Switch port ACLs as those may affect transit traffic at Layer 2.
    3. Mark the multicast topology using a color marker. Mark only the links where PIM should be enabled per the scenario. Use show ip pim interface if you need to discover it.
    4. Mark the point of route redistribution if you spot any in the scenario.
    5. Make a separate diagram for IPv6 topology and outline IPv6 addresses. Use the same tip, e.g. don’t spend time recording the high-order components of the IPv6 addresses if they are the same among all links.
    6. Add VPN domains to your BGP diagram, outline the CE routers and PE-CE routing protocols.
  3. After the initial analysis, quickly re-read the scenario and identify the following broad categories of the tasks:
    • Core Connectivity
      • Link-Level configuration: e.g. configuring switchports, VLANs, PPP, Serial links etc including IP addressing. These are the ones you should configured first.
      • IGP Domain configuration: configuration related to a single IGP, e.g. OSPF, RIP, EIGRP etc.
      • Redistribution Requirements if any.
      • BGP routing tasks.
      • MPLS/BGP VPN Routing: MP-BGP and PE-CE Routing
    • Other Connectivity: IPv6 Routing, Multicast Routing
    • Non-Core: Services, Security, QoS
  4. Make completing the Core Connectivity your primary goal, in the order presented above. After completing every category, ensure you have obtained the necessary level of connectivity using the respective verification techniques: i.e. ensure you can ping across the link, you learn all routes inside an IGP domain and can ping any destination, etc. You should build connectivity in the ascending order, making sure every previous category is fully functional before you attempt the next one. As for other categories, you may skip “Other Connectivity” if you feel like completing some of the “Non-Core” scenarios is easier for you. You may circle back to “Other Connectivity” when you are done with the “low hanging fruit” type scenarios.
  5. After you have completed the preliminary reading, analysis and classification you should have some sort of lab plan in your head. It is now time to systematically process through all tasks in the scenario. Here is the checklist for every task in the full-scale scenario:
    1. If you do not know the solution, copy and paste the one found in the solution guide. It could be a good idea to type it in notepad first, to better memorize the new task.
    2. Attempt to solve the task on your own. Compare your configuration to the reference solution. They might be different, but should achieve the same result.
    3. If you get it right, proceed to the next task. If you have questions about the solution, mark the VOL1 scenarios that you need to review later.
  6. Post-completion activities. When you are done with the full-scale lab, see if your preliminary analysis allowed you to predict any potential problems with the lab scenario. Next, read over and practice the VOL1 scenarios that you have marked for reviewing/practicing. Practice those, using the ATC and Doc CD as your reference. It is important to look up every topic on the Documentation CD and make sure you can spot it there next time. Make a short list of the new features, tricks and facts you have learned during the lab. The next day after the lab, read over this list and recall the things once again, using your hand-made diagrams to better solidify the concepts.
Appendix C: On Time Management

There are two major time management issues that CCIE candidates are facing. The first one relates to their study time planning. The second one is time management during the lab exam. For the study time planning, we have a study routine suggested for you, so it is getting easier. The main issue with studies is that people tend to multitask and combine CCIE hands-on practice with other activities. Do not do this – multitasking simply does not work well. Make sure that you have certain times during the week that you can fully dedicate to the lab studies only. This is why we set the goal of 12-hour studies per week as being an adequate estimation. Most likely, you will spend at least 18 hours, of which 6 could be described as “loosely” concentrated on studies. As usual, take breaks while studying – at least 15 minutes every two hours go take a breath of fresh air or get involved in some physical activity in some other way. These are the few simple techniques for study time management: allocating realistic time intervals every week, concentrating and avoiding multitasking and finally avoiding fatigue by taking breaks.

Managing your time during the lab exam is theoretically even simpler. For the troubleshooting section, which is 120 minutes long, do not spend more than 10 minutes on every ticket. There are 9-10 tickets in totals, and each and every one relates to the small part of the overall large topology. Spot this small section and focus on it for the next 10 mins. Most people find it hard to stop working on something and switching contexts. Get the habit of using alarm clocks during your studies that play chimes every 10 minutes. Stop working on a particular scenario every time you hear the chime playing. And as you are done with all tickets, return to the ones you have not completed – you’ve got 20 minutes to finish those! Do not rush through the troubleshooting section even if you are sure you have completed everything. Failing one section means failing the whole exam – so spend a few extra minutes reviewing all tickets and making sure you understood them correctly.

The configuration section is less linear, but here are some general guidelines. Firstly, spend no more than 20 minutes analyzing the scenario. Do not rush though, 20 minutes is just adequate to make your diagrams and get basic understanding of the scenarios as a whole. The next 4 hours and 40 minutes should be dedicated to configuration. Clock yourself to complete the “Core Connectivity” in no more than two hours and plan spending the remaining 2 hours and 40 minutes on the remaining task categories. Set the same goal or 10 minutes per task, but allow yourself more time, up to 15 minutes, on tasks that look complicated for you. Use the same alarm clock trick to develop your sense of time while practicing. Also, skip any task that you feel you need to reference the Doc CD for completing – you can finish it afterward. But not if this is a “Core Connectivity “task – in this case, try to come up with a quick workaround (e.g. – skip PPP authentication but configure PPP) and don’t forget to put a note on your paper to finish the task later. The final hour should be dedicated solely to verifications, re-reading the tasks and ensuring your solutions match the objectives. Avoid any changes to core connectivity during the last hour, as this may have drastic effect on the scenario as a whole. And if you absolutely decided to make a change, make sure you can quickly roll it back.

The key factor to time management is practicing it. Simply knowing the timing for every lab section will not help you during the exam. Spend as much time as you can practicing the full-scale scenarios and trying to complete them in 8 hours in *one attempt*.

About Petr Lapukhov, 4xCCIE/CCDE:

Petr Lapukhov's career in IT begain in 1988 with a focus on computer programming, and progressed into networking with his first exposure to Novell NetWare in 1991. Initially involved with Kazan State University's campus network support and UNIX system administration, he went through the path of becoming a networking consultant, taking part in many network deployment projects. Petr currently has over 12 years of experience working in the Cisco networking field, and is the only person in the world to have obtained four CCIEs in under two years, passing each on his first attempt. Petr is an exceptional case in that he has been working with all of the technologies covered in his four CCIE tracks (R&S, Security, SP, and Voice) on a daily basis for many years. When not actively teaching classes, developing self-paced products, studying for the CCDE Practical & the CCIE Storage Lab Exam, and completing his PhD in Applied Mathematics.

Find all posts by Petr Lapukhov, 4xCCIE/CCDE | Visit Website

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108 Responses to “How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training Program”

  1. Carlos_M says:

    Im very agree…Awesome!!!!! Great !!!

  2. bumi akin says:

    wow! this is such an awesome post. this timetable method will definitely help a lot us plan and get organized.
    thaxnx Petr!

  3. NET_OG says:


    Great suggestions. I have been creating something similar, but you have way more familiarity with the whole set of products so thank you.

    Here is one suggestion: can you create a java applet that will randomly pick topics? You can call it “CCIE-Roulette”!

    This is to help keep things FRESH and add a little bit of randomness, you can have one CCIE Roulette topic per week! This mechanism to introduce a topic inside of the “PLAN” you outlined would serve as a way to keep the Exponential half-life of memory degradation at bay.

    What do you think?


  4. MCL.Nicolas says:

    Simply Awesome !

  5. Ronaldo Marins says:

    Awesome post, Petr!

    It’s exactly what I was looking for. Without a well structured plan, like this one, it is almost impossible to get yourself organized and keep commited with the study as well.

    I’d like to ask for your permission to share with everybody a spreadsheet based on your post. Beside your 48 weeks plan(12 hours per week), I suggested two others: the first one, with 9 months (18 Hours per week), and the second one, with ~6 months, based on my necessity (18 Hours per week as well, but with 48 hours per week during the last month [due to my vacation])


    Many thanks!


    Thanx again for modeling achievement/accomplishment in a good way; the indirect mentor is usually the most effective.

  7. Deepak Arora says:

    Hi Petr,

    As redrawing diagrams as part of strategy is important, can you please explain how you could have redraw diagrams for INE Vol 2 Lab 1(old) & What tools and show commands you would have used for this purpose.


    One detailed example using this Lab 1 to show how to draw diagrams and which show commands could be used will be a great help.

  8. Shahid Mushtaq says:

    Great Post.

    Definitely will help us to design our study plans for the big C@


  9. Mauricio says:

    Thank you very much Petr!!

    This a valuable guide for our CCIE efforts, now we can study with a defined structure and organization to get the most out of our preparation toward the precious CCIE!!


  10. Antonio says:

    Hi Petr,

    Thank you very much for this excelent guidance!. I just have one question, if the calculated time to complete the whole program is 48 weeks assuming 3 days of study per week , is it possible to finish the complete program (not the 6 months approach you also mentioned), but to spend 6 days per week (24 hours per week) so we can finish the complete program in 6 months? , in other words, can we finish the complete program in 6 months if we double the time of study as I mentioned? will this work the same way than the 3 days per week (12 hours week approach?)

    I appreciate your comments in advance

  11. @NET_OG

    Well I can post a list of the topics and you can run a random number generator to pick up one :D This is, in fact, good idea, if you combine this with writing short summary of the technology along with the sample config and store this as a flash card.

    However, this does require a lot of preliminary work, creating those “summary” flash cards. You may simply refer back to particular VOL1 scenario, but this might be more time consuming as compare to a condensed flash card. Let me see if I can figure something out of this :)

  12. @Ronaldo

    Sure, feel free to share your idea. The timelines that I suggest are based on “average” assumptions and try accounting for additional unpredictable delays (e.g. work/family issues etc). 12 hours a week is probably the minimum you can spend preparing for CCIE.

    However, I would like to warn about being too intense with your studies. Preparing for the CCIE lab may is not an easy process, and trying to take it by storm may result in frustration and lost of interest after 3-4 month of overly exhaustive studies. Balanced approach might be a better idea in many cases.

  13. @Antonio

    If you pace yourself up to 24 hours a week (which is 6×4 6 days 4 hours per day), then theoretically it would work, but there could be some side effects. Two main issues I might envision are:

    1) Over exhaustion, especially first 3-4 months, while you are getting used to intense schedule. This is especially true if you never prepared for a CCIE lab before.
    2) Possibly less effective content retention due to “dense” packing of lab repetitions.

    However, back when I was studying for CCIE R&S I was completing 2 full-scale labs a week :) But I went approximately through 60 labs total (back then there was 30 labs in VOL2 + 10 in VOL3 plus I did some other workbooks).

    Therefore, condensing your study routine is possible, based on my own experience. Just do not sacrifice qualify trying to improve on quantity :)

  14. Wilson Chew says:

    Hi Petr,

    Awesome post there.
    Just to check to with which method is the best method to study for ccie, rack rental or dynamips.

    If we go with the rack rental method, roughly how many tokens are needed for your suggestion.

    Many thanks in advance.


  15. “QOS… There is about 80 scenarios and you have about 12 study days to cover them. You may want to allocate extra time for some topics, but overall spending a month on QoS should be enough.”

    in 1 month? I did that for 3 months. Nothing sticks and exhausted. Now I’m really confused how I would be able to digest all of those 80 labs. Yeah, I know that I need to keep practising to remember it but 80 labs with all of those QoS combinations?

    I second your comment, “trying to take it by storm may result in frustration and lost of interest after 3-4 month of overly exhaustive studies. Balanced approach might be a better idea in many cases.”

  16. @David,

    Agreed, one month is really SHORT to take on QoS. However, you are assumed to have previous 6 month of practice, which INCLUDES working on QoS topics. Therefore, some of these are going to be reviews. 80/12*4=1.6 topics per hour. This IS intense and I understand that. This means you will have to skim through some topics, or simply read the breakdowns.

    However, if you don’t pace yourself and get stuck into QoS for months, it wont worth it. Firstly, you will lose time. Secondly, you will forget a lot of the things you learned before.

    The good thing is, there will be more QoS in aftercoming labs. So you will have chance to review QoS topics once again. Maybe I should explicitly mention this approach in the blog post as well :)

  17. @Deepak

    We will probably release a quick video that demostrates how to analyze a sample lab to address this concern.

  18. Bill says:

    I see at the top you state this is a preview, is there any ETA on posting the complete guide?

  19. Marc La Porte says:


    It mentions it’s the “This is a preview of INE’s CCIE Routing & Switching 4.0 Training Program Guide.”

    Question: When is this guide being released? And how much will it cost?


  20. George says:

    Great walk through, thank you. One question though, you only list two books to read – Routing TCP/IP V1-E2 and E2E QOS. Are no other books recommended?

  21. Sorin says:


    As always reading your blogs is an eye opener.

    I asked one year ago for directions on how to use the material but never got an answer from INE, so i did most of VOl1, went to the amazing bootcamp with Brian and now I’m almost ready for VOL2 and VOL3.

    How would you use the materials that we get during the bootcamp ?

    I used them as a revision and the portion that i don’t know i go back to VOL 1.

    The idea that i had is as long as I’m not able to finish notepad style the bootcamps materials i’m not ready for VOl2 or VOL3

    Should i forget about them and start with VOl2 ?


  22. @Marc

    I am working on more “flexible” and detailed guide at the moment. I hope to see it done somewhere by the end of this month. Won’t be any charges for that, this one is going to be completely free :)

  23. @George,

    There are numerous books that I may recommend. However, having too much products and books is always confusing. Therefore, I tried to point out just those two books. The first one is “encyclopedic” style, that covers a lot of theoretic aspects, agnostic with regards to any networking vendor products. The second one covers QoS configuration specifically for Cisco devices, and serves a great companion to VOL1 QoS section. You may pick up any other favorites, such as Routing TCP/IP, but that puts extra time toll on your studies :)

  24. Hassan B. says:

    Hi Petr, and thanks for that great topic.
    from week (9-12) you wrote that we have to go for Full-Scale Labs but in the first 8 weeks we didn’t practice non-core topics so at this phase you mean to do all Lab1+2+3(all conf+ TS ) or just do the core topics only from these labs , i hope you got what i mean because all next phases we are going to do Full-labs without doing the minor non-core at the fundamental phase .

    you gave Qos a month that’s great i love it ,but shouldn’t we go for mock labs after finishing all core+non-core topics together to get the correct evaluation ?

    thanks :)

  25. zafar says:

    HI Petr,

    if i want to add ccie written also this, how can i modify it so that retention can be alleviated for the studies of the written exam.


    how can we merge written with the lab study plan

    ps. really digg you supermemo/memory map article, have been using both these tools lately.


  26. jens petter johansen says:

    Great stuff.. Will you in some future time make something like this for the SP track as well. I really hope so.. Thanks

  27. MZ says:

    Peter, you are the real super man in IT field.
    In regarding home lab vs GNS3 or Dynamips and rack tokens, at the beginning, I attempted to us GNS3 to bypass the need for routers so I bought three 3550 SMI switches on eBay loaded with EMI images later. Then I got a 3750 from a friend of mine. After reading about issues related to GNS3, the quad NIC cards, USB to serial adapter and PC issues. I was fed up and spend some money to get 2600xm and 3640 moduler routers for less than $1500. Now I have a full lab with TS server and a frame relay switch! BTW, I still have 700 tokens stuck on hand. I might use them when I get near to the finish line. The feeling to wire up my physical home lab is so good.

  28. Jezz says:

    Hi Petr,

    Thanks for putting in the time and effort into producing this. I am a little confused by the Vol 1 study though: weeks 1 to 8 cover about a quarter of Vol 1, weeks 25 to 28 cover the entire QOS section and then it looks like weeks 41 to 42 are used to complete all the rest ? (At that point it looks like over half of it is still untouched) Is that possible or are you suggesting you don’t complete all of Vol 1 ? Vol1 looks pretty good to me and I think I definitely need to complete it all in order to pass the Lab.

    Maybe I am missing something here – please advise.

    Kind Regards


  29. @Jezz

    The document explicitly mentions the approach you should take to VOL1 and VOL2. Specifically, you should complete the relevant sections in VOL1 after working through a full-scale lab the same week. The idea is using VOL2 and VOL1 in parallel, so that you can quickly locate your weak spots while working on a full-scale lab and cover them practicing the focused portions of VOL1 labs.

  30. @zafar,

    Written and practical exams require different strategies, and hence I always recommend passing the written test before you start the hands-on practice. There is no way to improve theoretical information retention other than re-reading the theoretical aspects on the topics you practice in full-scale labs. This is why I tend to allocate one week per full-scale lab – so you will have enough time to work through both VOL1 scenarios and reading any additional documentation, such as referencing the written test certification guide.

  31. @Sorin,

    if you are referring to the 6-day bootcamp, then consider it as a week-long full-scale lab. In fact, following the timeline I provided, you are supposed to have some experience with full-scale labs prior to attending the bootcamp. Unless you can allocate a whole week of studies, re-doing the bootcamp material is not much better than working through the full-scale labs. However if you do have the luxury of time, I would encourage you to allocate one week to practice the bootcamp scenarios once again, about a month after you attended the class.

    As for the notepad method – they key thing is that you should start practicing it while working on the full-scale labs. Like I mentioned, do the first few labs (maybe 1-5) the way you normally do them, using CLI help, so that you can get used to hands-on studies. After this, start using the notepad for your solutions – and it’s fine if you can’t do it right in the beginning. The full-scale labs offer content “redundancy” so you will practice the important topics over and over again, memorizing the most important configuration steps.

  32. Sorin says:

    Thanks Petr

    will do :)

  33. Paul says:

    Great article Petr. I did not see you answer Wilson’s questions about the amount of tokens. Please could you comment?


    • @Paul,

      Sorry I missed that one. For the 12, 24 and 48 week programs you will need to have at least 36, 72 and 144 racks rental sessions. Rack session price may vary with rack utilization, though. I believe we will release special discounted token packages to match those time ranges and probably make the 72-session package a part of the CCIE4.0 program. This is still work in progress, so it’s very tentative :)

      But what I know for sure, is that there is going to be more content added to the guide, including time management for your studies and real lab detailed strategy guide (I wrote one back in 2006 and now it’s time to refresh it).

  34. Wehaibi says:

    Many thanks, great & very useful post

  35. Hassan B. says:

    waiting for your replay Petr :)

  36. @Hassan,

    If you read the training program carefully you will notice that it explicitly points out toward studying full-scale labs alongside with technology focused scenarios. It will happen so that you don’t know some of the non-core topics – the program explicitly states that you need to mark such scenarios and practice them afterwards the same week, using VOL1 and ATC as your main reference. The main idea is that there is never good time to start doing full-scale labs, you just need to dive in and study multiple technologies during the same week. Such approach eliminates memorization issues that you would otherwise have with “linear” approach where you work through VOL1 study one scenario after another. I would recommend you reading


    where I first outlined this procedure.

  37. [...] Note: Extended Learning Strategy that utilizes all products in INE training program could be found here How to Pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training Program [...]

  38. Hassan B. says:

    Thanks Pert for your replay , i will do :D
    But can do a guide for written exam too, it will help us here as i am at this phase right now and i am sure many others are .

    Thanks again ,you’re the best :D

  39. Petr, I realised that you guys put Troubleshooting for WB2. How to include these on the schedule?

  40. bumi akin says:

    @ Ronaldo Marins: Pls can you repost your study time table on another site with no download limits? e.g. 4shared, hotfile etc…

  41. ziyo says:

    can i finish ccie lab practice for 12-weeks if i spend 15-hours a day

  42. Ronaldo Marins says:

    @bumi akin: New link with no restrictions: http://www.marins.net.br/share/CCIE Study Plan.xlsx

  43. bumi akin says:

    @ Ronaldo: thanx for the timetable! it is fantastic stuff!!
    it will definitely come in handy. the 48-week plan suits me perfectly.
    i encourage everyone to download the timetable :-)
    thanx again!

  44. Antonio says:

    Hi Petr!

    We are very excited about this guide! do you have an estimated date in which the final version of this guide with the time management topics you mentioned will be released?


  45. [...] Step 3 – Make a study plan. Some students make the plan real rough – others like to get down to a very high level of detail for each study session. Consider using tools to help you like MS Outlook, MS Project, etc. Notice that Petr just outlined a study plan for Version 4 customers in a recent blog post. [...]

  46. Kenneth Chong says:

    Hi guys,

    There is something I don’t quite understand:

    Bridging & Switching: 1.1-1.15
    Frame-Relay: 2.1-2.8
    IP Routing: 3.1-3.11
    RIP: 4.1-4.11
    EIGRP: 5.1-5.10
    OSPF: 6.1-6.14
    BGP: 7.1-7.12
    IPv6: 9.1-9.9
    Multicast: 8.1-8.10
    MPLS VPN: 14.1-14.7.

    What I have understood from this is that these are the only chapters you should be doing in week 1-8. After that you go on with Volume 2 Full scale lab?
    And till in week 41 and 42 you continue with the missing parts of Volume 1?

    So this means all the other stuff from Volume 1 will not be really needed in Volume 2? Maybe it’s a silly question or maybe don’t really see the logic in skipping 3/4 of the Volume 1 topics in week 1-8 and just go on doing full scale lab, and come back to the missing topics of Volume 1 in week 41 and 42?

    Thanks for helping!


  47. Patricio Villar says:

    Hi Petr!! I taked the lab exam and failed in the TS section, what is your recomendation for my case? you think i need to start from week 25? or later?

    Thanks for the great post!!

    All the Best

  48. Dlardeux says:

    @ Ronaldo Marins: Pls can you repost your study time table .

  49. Martin says:

    Great list, comes in real handy !

    thx !

  50. Kaveh says:

    Excellent plan! I’ve done quite a bit of research and this is most likely the best laid out curriculum. I look forward to beginning my CCIE endeavor through your resources! :) I’ve created my own plan based on the training plan here. Thank you.

  51. Kelvin says:

    This outline is a good resource and plan for success. Working in Afghanistan and remote rack connections slower due to satellite connection and may have to extend some of the recommended timeline. But overall helpful preparation tool, thanks!

  52. [...] really got it? At least academically anyhow. So with that I decided to start down Petr’s How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training Program plan since I finished most of IPexpert’s workbooks. The “warm up” sections were [...]

  53. [...] am following this program from INE. I was able to finish 1.1 – 1.12 yesterday. I was a bit shocked first even [...]

  54. [...] time, I’m following INE suggestion and see whether I can advancing [...]

  55. Petr,

    Very interesting blog post, I have the luxury of having full time study towards my CCIE following redundancy – how would you adjust your plan to accomodate 8 hours a day every day?



  56. [...] R&S studies, I will be going back to my schedule I laid out using Petr Lapukhov’s blog:  Getting the most out of CCIE R&S Workbooks VOL1 and VOL2 One word, AMAZING!  Sorry for my “you know you been listening to entirely too much Anthony” [...]

  57. [...] 2010 – I have done the volume 1 warm up phase as outlined here on INE blog on GNS3, again skipped anything to do with layer 2. I have also started the Volume 2 [...]

  58. [...] finished the Vol1 labs following the schedule from INE. That is about 25% of all the Vol1 labs. Will start doing the vol2 soon. I’ll be [...]

  59. Vijaya says:

    I am planning to follow your excellent plans to get my CCIE certification by Nov 2011

    Excellent layout .. !

  60. [...] on testing if you know how to use your skills in the real world. INE does offer you a guide on how to pass the R&S lab exam using their popular 4.0 program, though you are generally not obliged to go through those – however, doing so improves your [...]

  61. [...] based on the plan put forth by Petr Lapukhov, 4xCCIE/CCDE in CCIE R&S.  He has a post entitled How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training Program in which he lays out a 48 week training program.  I am obviously going to modify the speed of the [...]

  62. Masiid says:


    how much does it cost?

    can you design a topology/.net file only design for Linux 64-bit?

    I have built my machine as powerfull as a machine can get! well almost!

    Please advise,



  63. [...] Study update On May 8, 2011, in CCIE, by Darren I’ve been matching my studying to this post: http://blog.ine.com/2010/10/09/how-to-pass-the-ccie-rs-with-ines-4-0-training-program/ [...]

  64. Jason says:

    Thank you Petr – this is an old post now but still very relevant. I am just about to start my journey and this I believe will set me up nicely.

  65. timaz says:

    very very fantastic. I’d got stuck in the middle of nowhere and did not know the beginning point and procedure and this is frustrating, you know actually. but after I read this article, besides many other suggestions about INE, I found what I need. thanks to Petr and Brian for their effort to help others in their journey. this article is awesome and guide everyone that really wants to be CCIE. you show you treat your clients like your own friends or even your brothers. God blesses you. I wish I could be there and be in touch with you and your great team.

  66. [...] Status Update On July 31, 2011, in CCIE, by Darren I’m currently following INE’s recommended training program over here: http://blog.ine.com/2010/10/09/how-to-pass-the-ccie-rs-with-ines-4-0-training-program/ [...]

  67. Roy says:

    Nevermind, I missed the last paragraph of the first section.

  68. [...] How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training Program | CCIE Blog [...]

  69. [...] it begins with a single step. I took that step tonight, when I began to follow the directions of this INE post. The post is named “How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training [...]

  70. John says:

    Hi Mark,

    I’m looking at doing the R&S or the Voice CCIE path, from an additional expense point of view, which is less expensive?

    Would it be the R&S as you can use the GNS3 for the kit replacement?

    I would love to see a comparison of the associated costs relating to what additional hardware/software would be needed before I sign up for your training program.

    Looking foward to getting started :)


    • Hi John,

      Hmmm, that’s an interesting question. Don’t think I’ve seen it posed in that way before :) .
      I would say that you are probably correct, that R&S is most likely less expensive from the purely theoretical standpoint that you should be able to do most of your studies on the GNS3/Dynamips platform(s).

      That being said, I would imagine that the choice should probably also take into consideration which you have more experience with. Either way you go, I would most definitely start at the CCNA level (either CCNA RS or CCNA Voice), then work my way up through the CCNP level and finally onto CCIE. There is crucial information at those levels that will greatly aid you in understanding what we dive into fairly heavily in lab complex multiprotocol scenarios at the CCIE level. So if you already have a CCNA/CCNP at one of those levels, I would say you may want to consider that path.


  71. [...] -I spent a ton of time with Vol 1 labs for INE just at random.  I Need to follow their guide from now on.  http://blog.ine.com/2010/10/09/how-to-pass-the-ccie-rs-with-ines-4-0-training-program [...]

  72. Ethan M. says:

    Lab day is tomorrow, and I’m really wishing I would’ve come across this blog because it’s extremely detailed and very well thought out. Pass/Fail, I’ll be visiting back here for either a retake on my R&S or using the methods described here towards the next CCIE!! I appreciate everything you guys do at INE and can say without a doubt there isn’t a better program out there.

  73. [...] I did before starting is to make a one year planing following INE´s instructor Petr Lapukhov training plan for the CCIE R&S V4.0. In order to make this plan I used MS Project. It gives an overview over the whole training which [...]

    • francis xavier saucedo says:

      To previous post Laurent,

      I agree with your choice of CCIE training vendor; I chose them too. I really like their “end-to-end” design, the caliber of the instructors and the quality of the video instruction.

      While I knew the CCIE Lab Exam Blueprint didn’t change too frequently, they had just started their “investment protection” program and that sealed the deal, for me.

      When Cisco published BluePrint v4 INE had already been posting clues to their update plans in their CCIE blog for months and within a relatively short time afterwards, delivered what they promised – to protect my investment.

  74. francis xavier saucedo says:

    Love this team and the company they created. With the addition of rock-star Lapukhov to their long experienced training team genius, Cisco woke up to the fact that excellence in CCIE training does exist OUTSIDE the walls of their organization.

    INE is positioned to take their premier CCIE training vendor status to new unforseen heights with a leapfrog over EVERYBODY in the CCIE training vendor business, including CISCO itself.

    I believe that the worldwide shortage supply of and overwhelming demand for CCIE’s numbers in the tens of thousands.

    I predict that in five years time, INE will be the recognized worldwide leading CCIE training vendor that captures at least a majority of those CCIE candidates and trains them to succeed both in the lab and in the IT world, as a numbered CCIE.

  75. Kenneth Ratliff says:

    Just curious, but where should the VOL2 TS labs fit into this schedule?

  76. Prashant says:

    on which week we can give our R&S written exam according to this schedule…?
    I have CCNP level….
    well thanks for your schedule….you are great man..grand salute…

  77. timaz says:

    Hi. when you mention e.g. spending “week x to vol2-lab x”, should we do both troubleshooting and configuration sections together on that week or these parts are independent and solving ticket can be done alongside the whole preparation phase? tnx.

  78. timaz says:

    please excuse me for another question. in this process you mentioned that VOL1 must be done in warm-up phase. but the labs from VOL1 you mentioned is just 20% of VOL1. so when we should practice other parts of VOL1?

  79. Kenneth Ratliff says:

    Each Vol2 lab has a reference section which goes into what VOL 1 labs it covers. I tend to look at that list before I do the VOL 2 lab, and do them, then attempt the VOL2 lab. You use VOL1 and VOL2 in tandem when doing VOL2 labs, using the VOL1 labs to either pre practice skills in the VOL2 lab, or brush up after you’ve done the VOL2 lab

  80. [...] have been making some good progress on the Vol 1 workbook. Petr Lapukhov’s How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training Program guide estimates 8 weeks to complete Vol 1, i am proud to say that I am more than halfway done after [...]

  81. Andrés B says:

    On appendix B when you say that ” 3.Active Ethernet Connections. There should be a physical cabling diagram available…..”, i don´t found any physical cabling connection diagram in my WB2 folder. What you mean we this ?

    Thanks in advance


  82. [...] INE CCIE Study Schedule Blog Post [...]

  83. [...] How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s 4.0 Training Program (Petr Lapukhov) January 29, 2013 Leave a reply [...]

  84. [...] I am going to be following the proposed strategy found here. So far I have made to the RIP configuration portion of Volume 1 which is where I am at a [...]

  85. [...] ago and will be starting on that tonight. I have completed all of the sections in Volume 1 per this. There are definitely some areas I am weak on due to less exposure and others that I have a strong [...]

  86. [...] ujian labnya!, yang pertama saya lakukan adalah mengumpulkan materi untuk belajar lab, mostly dari INE karena dari sponsorship yang saya dapatkan, saya memiliki akses ke semua materi yang saya butuhkan, [...]

  87. [...]  Before I started with my Lab training I did a 48 weeks training plan based on the one made by INE which can be found HERE. [...]

  88. Jonathan says:

    This seems like a great plan to use the Lab Workbooks. But a quick question, where do the videos fit into this plan exactly? Every week shows labs but when do you stop & watch the advanced CCIE videos included with the package?

    -thanks -Jonathan

  89. Heath Mills says:

    It is awesome to have a program to go by. My only question is, with this being an older article, is it just as relevant today?

  90. [...] http://blog.ine.com/2010/10/09/how-to-pass-the-ccie-rs-with-ines-4-0-training-program Download this page in PDF formatRelated PostsMS Project for CCIE Written ExamOnline resources for CCIE preparation [...]

  91. Jonathan says:

    I wanted to start with this plan in 1 month but Was wondering how this plan will fit in with the newer R&S v.5 workbooks that you guys are developing?

    Should I hold off on that newer v5 workbook or start with Vol1. as suggested?

  92. William Carter says:

    Hello INE! This is the plan I have been following for v4. I would kindly ask you to please update it once the v5 blueprint is released. Pretty please Petr!

  93. Irvin Theunis says:

    Hi There

    Will the “How to pass the CCIE R&S with INE’s Training Program” be updated seen that the CCIE R&S V5 is out already? I really find the one for V4 very in depth. Please advise when it will be updated.


  94. Scott says:

    This is an excellent post. What is the timeframe for updating it for v5? I recently bought the Lab Prep Ultimate Bundle and would like to use the updated post to build by study plan/schedule.




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