Today Cisco posted their official announcement on the upcoming changes for CCIE Routing & Switching Version 5.  The majority of the announcement is along the same lines as previously rumored changes, except for the official launch date, which is now scheduled for June 4th 2014.  This should bring a great sigh of relief to you if you’re currently nearing the end of your CCIE R&S v4 preparation, as you now have a 6 month window to pass the v4 lab exam before the change to v5 occurs.

Specifically the announcement details changes to technical topics covered both in the written and lab exams, the equipment used, as well as the exam format, as follows:

Technical Topic Changes

New Lab Topics:

  • Interpreting Packet Captures
  • Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD)
  • Multi Address Family (AF) EIGRP
  • Dynamic Multipoint VPN (DMVPN)
  • IPsec
  • IPv6 First Hop Security

Of the new topics announced, the big ones are DMVPN and IPsec.  These are specifically listed as DMVPN Single Hub and IPsec with Pre-Shared Keys, so the scope is not nearly as large as the CCIE Security.  If you don’t yet know what any of these terms mean, don’t worry, you soon will ;)

Topics moved from the Lab to the Written:

  • IPv6 Multicast
  • RIPng
  • IPv6 Tunneling
  • 802.1x
  • Layer 2 QoS
  • Performance Routing (PfR)

Topics completely removed:

  • Flexlinks
  • ISL
  • Layer 2 Protocol Tunneling
  • Frame-Relay
  • WCCP
  • IOS Firewall
  • RITE
  • RMON
  • RGMP
  • RSVP QoS

For topics removed, there are three killer areas here: Frame Relay, PfR, and Layer 2 QoS.  Frame Relay’s removal is no surprise, as Ethernet based last mile access solutions such as Metro Ethernet and Virtual Private LAN Services (VPLS) have exploded in the past few years and have eclipsed legacy methods such as DS3 Frame Relay.  From a technology design point of view though, a lot of the Frame Relay theory transfers directly over to DMVPN, as DMVPN could be thought of as a way to emulate legacy hub-and-spoke network designs over a public transport.

As for PfR’s removal, this one is a bit of a surprise, and I can already hear Brian Dennis’s screams of agony:

While the general idea of PfR is great, I’ve never seen it implemented other than in very small scale environments due to the management complexity.  You have to give Cisco credit though, as PfR is essentially SDN version 1.0, and now a very large portion of the industry is focused on this type of application.

The other large change here is the removal of Layer 2 QoS.  While this is still a very important topic, the problem with L2 QoS is that it is highly platform dependent, and the way that Catalyst 29xx/35xx/45xx/65xx implement L2 QoS is generally unique to each.  Therefore in the interest of platform independence and virtualization, L2 QoS gets the axe.  This brings us to our next topic, which is the hardware changes in the new blueprint.

Equipment Changes

As previously rumored, the new CCIE R&S v5 equipment is going all virtual.  As CCIE R&S v4 had already been using virtual IOS for the troubleshooting section of the exam, this should come as no surprise. The biggest implication of this change is that the size of the topology is now arbitrary.  I wouldn’t be surprised going into the exam and seeing a configuration section with 20+ routers in the topology.

The other implication of this change is that certain features can no longer be tested on, as they’re not supported in the virtual IOS.  Those topics that can’t be tested, such as Layer 2 QoS or Flexlinks, are now explicitly excluded from the topic scope of the exam.

Format Changes

Last but not least, a new testing section has been introduced into the R&S v5 lab exam format.  While the written exam format stays the same, the lab now includes a “diagnostic” section, which focuses on the diagnosis and resolution of network issues from a more high level point of view.

This new section won’t use equipment, but instead will present the candidate with information such as network diagrams, CLI outputs, log outputs, traffic captures, and email exchanges, based on which they will be expected to diagnose a presented network problem.  Based on the description in the announcement, I would assume that this format is going to be similar to the CCDE Practical Exam testing format, which tests analytical skills without the need of access to actual devices CLI.

Another minor change to the exam is how the timing of sections works.  In the v4 format, candidates had a maximum of 2 hours to complete the troubleshooting section, and a minimum of 6 hours for the configuration section.  If the candidate used less than 2 hours in troubleshooting, the extra time rolled over to the configuration section.  In the v5 format this changes along with the addition of the diagnostic section.

In v5, candidates will have a maximum of 2.5 hours to complete troubleshooting, a fixed 30 minutes for the diagnostic section, and the rest to complete configuration.  Any time less than 2.5 hours used in troubleshooting will be credited towards configuration.  For example if a candidate uses only 1.5 hours in troubleshooting then the configuration section would be 6 hours, which along with the .5 hour of diagnostic adds up to a total of 8 hours for the exam.

How Does This Affect Me As An INE Customer?

The good news is that if you’ve purchased and of the R&S v4 products from INE, you’re covered for the v5 products.  You won’t have to pay anything to upgrade to the v5 products, including the Bootcamps.  If you already attended a v4 bootcamp and want to resit a v5 bootcamp, there’s no charge for it.

As it’s no secret that Cisco’s blueprint changes have been in the works for quite some time, as have INE’s plans for the v5 update.  We have a bunch of new exciting product updates and more importantly new product features that we’re going to be launching along with the v5 product updates.  More information will be available about these updates in the coming weeks.

In the short term I’m going to be running a free online class this Friday – December 6th 2013 – at 10:00 PST (GMT –8) on Introduction to DMVPN for CCIE R&S Candidates.  I’ll post another blog update tomorrow with more information on this.



About Brian McGahan, CCIE #8593, CCDE #2013::13:

Brian McGahan was one of the youngest engineers in the world to obtain the CCIE, having achieved his first CCIE in Routing & Switching at the age of 20 in 2002. Brian has been teaching and developing CCIE training courses for over 10 years, and has assisted thousands of engineers in obtaining their CCIE certification. When not teaching or developing new products Brian consults with large ISPs and enterprise customers in the midwest region of the United States.

Find all posts by Brian McGahan, CCIE #8593, CCDE #2013::13 | Visit Website

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143 Responses to “CCIE R&S Version 5 Updates Now Official”

  1. Atif N Siddiqui says:


    That is great to have date announced by cisco. Question is what INE strategy now, as i heard from Brian Dennis that INE is going to launch the new work book and video series according to the new Cisco Blue Print. Is this going to be soon.

    • In short, yes we will be launching the new workbook and video series soon. There are going to be major format changes to both though that will greatly enhance the products though. More info will be posted on this as we get closer to our launch date.

      • Peter says:

        Hi Brian,

        Just getting my V5 Lab set up but just one issue. I am currently running IOS 15.0.1 but trying to match the CLI prompt from / to . and just can’t seem to find any information on it.

        Can you please shed some light on this? Also, would you happen to know if in the real exam, they use / or .

        In real life, I rarely see the . prompt, almost always the /.


  2. Hari says:

    Hello Brian,

    Now, it’s clear for the upcoming CCIE candidates.

    Thanks for the post.

  3. Dan Verzaal says:

    Hey guys. I attended one of the rsv4 boot camps last year and I’ve since passed my lab and been purchasing DC materials. Can I still attend the v5 bootcamp for free? Will it be virtual only or onsite option too? I would love to attend the new bootcamp as a refresher and since being a long time INE promoter to friends and coworkers.


  4. Rob Riker says:

    So are you guys go to rerecord the R&S ATC to cover v5 topics or are you going to do it modularly like the DC exam. Each section gets it’s own block of videos?

  5. Jack says:

    So if I’ve already passed the V4 written before June 4th, do I have to also pass written V5 if lab is scheduled after June 4th?

  6. Deepak Arora says:

    By IOS firewall do we mean ZBF and CBAC both ?

    Also don’t understand why they removed IPv6 Multicast, IPv6 Tunneling and 802.1x which are still quite common and specially as we are moving at much faster rate towards IPv6 Deployments.

    I am surprise they removed RIPng only and not RIP also.

    But otherwise new topics shouldn’t take more than 2-3 days to get prepare for as per me. Though I would to know some more details on blueprint around DMVPN like they will be covering Phase 1 config only or may also include phase 2 and 3. Similarly IPSEC will be L2L or also include EZVPN. And VTI vs not VTI configs.

    Deepak Arora
    Evil CCIE

  7. Jon says:

    Would the new videos be released incrementally or until the whole series is done? Any estimated date?

  8. Gary says:

    Good to see those misc topics being removed from v5. Now waiting for INE to release the v5 materials for preparation. :)

  9. Eric says:

    With the lab being completely virtual, does that mean that eventually we will be able to test at any Pearson testing center similar to the CCDE?

  10. Dennis Flemmig says:

    Well, in the way I read the official announcement IPv6 Tunneling is not going to move away from the lab, or am I wrong?
    “The Tunneling sub-domain includes MPLS’s L2 and L3 VPNs as well as DMVPN and IPv6 Tunneling techniques.”

  11. Karl T says:

    Hi Brian , I have a full hardware based v4 lab, will there now be a virtual lab available to practice with? Or can we still use older type hardware to build a v5 lab? If so what would be the equipment list?

  12. Jamie Grive says:

    Am I the only one that feels that an announcement of VIRL should follow this?

    Any news or rumours on that one Brian?

  13. ccie99999 says:

    as usual in Cisco docs is not clear how the TS/Diagnostic sessions will be.
    Same number of ticket 2p/3p for TS?
    How many issue there will be there in Diagnostic session? just 1? 10?
    Cisco is not clear on this.

  14. Sameer says:

    Brian, what you think the focus will be on speed vs depth as the topology can be scaled very easily with Virtual Lab. What about cisco releasing VIRL for training, any rumors or time to be made public ?

  15. David Rothera says:

    I for one am happy with the changes, it seems that they have finally ditched having weird hardly used features tested and instead are testing on things that we all use every day.

    I would like to see a little more MPLS tested on, maybe now with a bigger topology that can be the case, nothing complicated like on the SP but a little more than turning on MPLS and LDP on an interface and sitting back smoking your cigar.

  16. Antonio T says:

    Hello Brian,

    seems to me that IS-IS and L2VPN coverage is limited to the written (a pity IMHO), is it true ?.

    Thanks, Antonio

    • Jeremy Needle says:

      A pity! Bite your tongue! (or your finger in this case). :-p

      The exam is already daunting enough with IPv6, MPLS VPN, MP-BGP, IGMPv3 / SSM, EEM, DMVPN and now the new diagnostic section! Eek! Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of testing an engineer’s ability to interpret packet captures. But we’re under the gun for time in a big way. Back on point, I acknowledge IS-IS is being used as the sexy new medium to route your MAC address, but as far as the actual configuration is concerned, most of the IS-IS tweaking is obfuscated under the FabricPath or OTV commands..and I’m PERFECTLY OK WITH THAT! ;-)

      I consider myself a pretty typical network engineer; 90% of my experience is in enterprise, not service provider. And while the past 6 years has had quite an increase in data-center oriented networking designs, I honestly have not seen a lot of IS-IS in that space. I know some engineers swear by it, esp due to its modular nature, but I can only speak from my personal observations. And out of the 2 dozen enterprise-class networks I’ve worked on in the past 6 years, from 2008 to now, not one of them was using IS-IS. Couple were using IPv6, lots of them using BGP in a multi-homed setup, and yes about 8 of them were data centers housing Nexus 7000′s with FabricPath running…but none of them were running “pure” IS-IS. And that’s just the “enterprise” networks. There’s also another 30 or so large mid-market networks as well. End rant.

  17. Perveez says:

    Hi Brian,
    As I understood if I will prepare the old CCIE RS ver 4.5 and just go through the updates of v5. I am good to go for exam. Bythe way how many video of v5 you are planning to do and when those all will be available for download…….. any date idea…..

  18. Huck says:

    good news……booking lab@ 28 Mar 2014…….go…go…..go

  19. Flyner Portugal says:

    A little doubt, the 6 months window starts June 4th 2014?

    So we have until december 2014 to take the lab?


  20. Jamie Grive says:

    To me it feels that the blueprint now very closely resembles my day to day job, so I think that’s a good thing for getting a bit more up to date reality based stuff on the certification. It’s a bit poor about cutting out some of the advanced layer 2 features due to virtual support though.

  21. Karthik Kumar says:

    Hi Brain,
    Thank you very much for this nice write up! I see that they have removed Frame-Relay completely, I am happy and sad at the same time, because I spent so much time trying to master it.

    I have a question, now that FR is completely removed and MPLS is the obvious evolutionary choice for WAN, is there going to be more of an emphasis on MPLS now?…

    Once again Thanks,

  22. samarth chidanand says:

    All the best for the new material preparation. I am sure it will be excellent.

  23. Zahid says:


    Will there be a GNS3 topology for the new workbook like there is for the current workbook vol 2?

  24. Sam B says:

    Well Well it’s finally happened! Good job I booked my lab on the 19th May, however I only have 1 shot now!! I just looked at the booking system as I was going to push it back to June the 3rd, live life on the edge n all, but it’s filling up fast! No slots in June left :)

    Brian will the V4 mock labs be available right up till the cut over date (June 4th), I plan to do mack lab’s 1-4 between now on exam day.


    When you crate the new V5 material, is this going to be all V5 stuff, or will there be a V4 to V5 crossover workbook as such?


    Have you given any thought on how you will make the V5 topology, are you going to try to make best use of the V4 kit for us cheapo’s? Or are you going all out GNS3/IOL/VIRL?


    Cheers Brian,


  25. Mark L says:

    If we have passed the v4 written can we take v5 lab?

  26. Plinio Monteiro says:

    Hi Brian,

    I have my written (350-001) exam schedule for Jan 29. And probably I’ll not be able to do the v4 until June 2. Do you know if will be necessary to do a new written exam to the version 5?

    Thank you.

  27. Test says:

    Any news on the IOS versions to be used?

  28. wail ahmed says:

    - how about lab preparation? INE will change the equipment topology? or they will keep same topology and same hardware?

    - now i’m in mid of studying CCIE, should i carry on with same topics in CCIEv4 or wait for CCIEv5 materials to be launched?

    - when you will start ATC5 videos, can we participate the ATC sessions online in case we have questions?

    Thanks A lot Brian :)

    • Going for v4 or v5 really depends on how far along you are in your preparation. If you were already planning an attempt within the next 3 months or so then I would go for v4. The equipment will change, and we’ll be using a combination of virtual and physical boxes. For the ATCv5, yes you will be able to attend it live.

  29. Dustin B. says:

    Dumb question, but I’m taking the R&S written tomorrow. If I pass, it’ll be valid for taking the v4 or v5 lab, right? I’m hoping so, because I’ll assume that every spot for the v4 lab has been snapped up by now.

  30. Jordan says:

    About the virtualized hardware. I’m wondering if they’ll be moving to VIRL so there isn’t a loss in functionality like with the previous route/switch sims.

  31. Taku says:

    Hi Brian ,

    did they totally removed Frame-relay just below sections as per Cisco

    Topics Removed from the CCIE® RS v4.0 Exam:
    • Flexlink, ISL, Layer 2 Protocol Tunneling
    • Frame-Relay (LFI, FR Traffic Shaping)
    • WCCP
    • IOS Firewall and IPS
    • RITE, RMON
    • RGMP

  32. Cat says:

    Hello Brian,

    For the Hardware version the update mentions: ISR 2900 running 15.3T and Catalyst 3560X running IOS 15.0E. Any ideas about how many of each? From a budget perspective mainly :) .

    Is there any news on the virtualised switching side of things? CSR1000v for the win on the routing side, and MPLS, IPSec etc, but for switching are you aware if there is something similar one can load into ESXI / Workstation and play?


    • There’s still no public virtualization out for switching. We’re going to be using a combination of physical and virtual devices in our new topology.

      • Cat says:

        Ouch. A 3560X goes on Ebay for £2.5k. Say 4 are needed, one is looking at 10k expenditure just for the switches. However, cisc are saying that any other platform that supports IOS version 15 may be used. Seems to me like Cisco want to encourage sales for 3560X series. :)

  33. Roberto N. says:

    i just have a question i bought all the devices for create a home lab using the R&S v4 INE Topology , I’m planning to buy the workbooks for practice in my home.
    my question is the INE lab topology will change?
    do i have to buy new devices ? :S
    i will appreciate your soon response

  34. Erwin says:

    Hi Brian.

    I just booked the 10day bootcamp in London (april)
    Will INE be teaching the v5 blueprint?

  35. Bigd says:

    Hey Brian, thanks for updating us!

    couple of questions sir

    1.I will be writing the ccie r&s v4 written in early feb and doing the ccie r&s v5 lab later in the year.
    Is there anything in the ccie r&s v4 INE package for written exam study or is it only lab preP?

    2. if i was to order the v4 INE package and use it to pref for the v4 written, , would i automatically get the
    V5 ccie routing /switching equipvalent material shipped to me for free?


  36. aspirin says:

    why does Cisco decide to include IS-IS in the new version?

  37. Mathew says:

    what is with my old lab….do i have really have to by 2900 or 1900 ISR Routers?
    I have 2811/1841, they can run 15.1.3T or 15.1.4M can i use them for V5 Lab as well or do i need really need 2900 or 1900 Routers?
    How about Switches do i really need 15.0 IOS or can i still use the 12.2.55 IOS?

  38. Paddy says:

    Hi brian…what do you advise for newbies starting the ccie journey

    • It’s basically the same path as before, but remove Frame Relay and replace it with DMVPN. The core technologies stay the same, so you should start with those. Go through the recommended readings, then the ATC class (exclude the frame relay topics), do the associated Volume 1 labs, revisit the ATC videos, then move on to the volume 2 full scale labs. Once our version 5 content is out there will be a clearer path of progression, but in the meantime the vast majority of the topics overlap between the two blueprints.

  39. Dirk Wingert says:

    Hello Everyone:

    To help to understand what is and what isn’t in the v5 written or the lab got to:

    (Login required)





  40. Greg Cervantes says:


    Thanks for the update. Unfortunately I wont be able to sit for the class on December 6th 2013. Will you be recording this class for the candidates that can’t attend the class?

  41. Erwin says:

    Hi Brian,

    It looks like the following topics are removed:
    - Zone Based Firewall
    - CBAC (ip inspect features)
    - TCP intercept (ip tcp intercept features)
    - reflexive ACLs
    - Lock & Key ACLs

    Or do you interpret the v5 BluePrint differently?

    Many thanks,

  42. Weylyn says:

    As far as the existing bootcamps, there is an INE 10 day happening in Seattle on December May 26th – June 6th. Is there a “grace period” for CCIE candidates expected to take the v4 exam in June beyond the 4th? In other words, will v4 still be an option?

  43. JK says:


    I purchased download bundle about a month or two ago. R&S written, ATC, TS and workbook Vol1~5. All downloadable so I can load it in the tablet.

    You mentioned that V4.5 customers will get the updated version for free.

    1. Does that mean all new material of written, ATC, TS and workbook?

    2. Will the video and workbook downloadable or online streaming? I travel quite a bit I am hoping to get downloadable for plane ride and such.

  44. Gary says:

    Hi Brian

    For the recorded DMVPN live class on 6th Dec, do we need to have AAP subscription in order to view it or is it going to be available in our members page if we have already purchased the CCIE R&S ATC video?

  45. John H says:

    I guess it may be time to try and sell my equipment now (not that anyone would want it now). What kind of virtual technology will INE be using in the upcoming workbooks and courses? If I have a mirror of INE’s topology now, what do you suggest getting rid of and what should we be trying to source to match the upcoming topology?

    Cheers & Thanks In Advance

    • If you have ISR G1′s (1800/2800/3800) they will be fine for the vast majority of topics, as they run up to 15.1T. Our topology is going to be variable depending on if the labs are technology focused or full-scale/mock labs. The technology labs might use only 2 or 3 routers for certain topics, while the full-scale labs will use a much larger topology (20-30 routers).

  46. Coban says:

    Hi Brian,

    Would passing v4-written and v5-lab be valid?

  47. John H says:

    In addition, If the whole lot is going to be virtual and from what I can gather there is not a solution for a virtual switch yet, how are they going to virtualise a Catalyst 3560X? What software will they end up using?

  48. Slinger says:

    I have been preparing for the rns v4, targeting August as time for the lab.

    Should I prepare for v5 of the lab or v4

    And please when will INE begin to release materials for the v5 lab, will it be until after the lab is in progress or will it be earlier, if earlier what time frame should we be expecting?

  49. Dhiraj says:

    When will you be announcing the new version 5 Advanced Technology Class.

  50. Cat says:

    I know people will have found this already but for those that did not, here is a link with the full details about changes, and full curriculum from cisco:

    You need an account on the Cisco learning network to get access to the detailed topics.


  51. [...] to help candidates transition from the current CCIE R&S v4 Blueprint to the recently announced CCIE R&S v5 Blueprint that goes live on June 4th 2014. We will continue to run additional sessions in the future on new [...]

  52. ervin says:

    Dear sir
    I study to participate written exam verson 4 in Feb 2014. After pass it how long times I must be go for lab exam ?

  53. Gary says:

    If I have the all access pass premium, will the new v5 videos automatically be available to me when they are release?

  54. Paul Bargiel says:

    Brian, thank you for all the info it is very helpful. Looking forward to attend your class tomorrow.
    All the Best!

  55. c1sc0m says:

    Not so sure about this. I was looking forward to take the new version by April…well I guess more time to get ready.

    No proctors? everything virtual? I hope the certification doesn’t gets prostituted.

  56. Andy says:

    Hi Brian, I only started studying for my CCIE and I booked the boot-camp for Jan in London. It said on the topics will only cover v4. Will the trainer be cover some of the v5 topics or will you recommand I move the date to a later date like April in London

    • It depends when you want to take your exam. Normally you want to take a bootcamp towards the end of your preparation, not towards the beginning. If you take the January class normally you would schedule your exam for somewhere around February time frame. Remember that the vast majority of the v5 blueprint is staying the same as v4 though, so it doesn’t hurt to continue to go through that material for now.

  57. Rafael says:

    Hi Brian. Thank you for the update about the new version. I was just about to buy the bundle to begin my preparation to the CCIE R&S. But now with this new version I don’t know if I should buy the bundle right now or it’s better for me to wait untill you guys publish the new one.

    I’d really like your advice about this one…


  58. gorge says:

    hi Brian
    when are the version 5 materials gonna come out?
    any rough date?

    and are the workbooks gonna b totally different than now?

  59. Rocky says:


    I think its been a while since we’ve heard any updates regarding v5. Do you know when INE may be releasing v5 material?


  60. Yaser says:

    Brian ,

    We are still waiting for your updated material !! When are the V5 going to be released ?

  61. GBisht says:


    Does any one know LAB Equipment list ?
    I have Hybrid Lab of CCIE, will it work on R&S v5.0 ?


  62. Sebastian says:

    I’m also interessted in the date for the update. I bought the workbooks yesterday and it makes me crazy to see the much frame relay inside the labs…I hope to get the v5 materials soon to save some time in modifying the labs to kick out the frame rely I don’t really know and want to learn..

  63. Omer Shtivi says:

    Hi Brian,
    Is dot1q tunneling is still part of the CCIE version 5 lab exam?

  64. Tim says:

    Seems like this topic went dead back in January.
    I am also hoping for an update on V5 before buying Cooperate all-access subscriptions for my team.

  65. Carrel says:

    I bought this bundle ( CCIE Routing & Switching Lab Preparation Ultimate Bundle ) 4.5.
    Do I have also access to the update v5 ?


  66. Derick says:

    As far as the cabling for the Lab Workbooks are concerned, will this change? And when will the workbooks be released for v5?

  67. Gonz says:

    Hi Brian,

    I have been practicing with INE rack rentals and workbooks. Will the new rack rentals be IOU/IOL based? or similar?



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