Hello everyone,

We are excited to announce that our CCIE Voice Core Knowledge Simulator has been released! You can try out a sample here. So far, the first 100 questions have been released, and will be followed shortly by additional updates.

The simulation is designed to help prepare candidates for the newly added "open ended" section of the 3.0 Voice CCIE Lab Exam. This new section of the exam consists of four computer based, short-answer questions which candidates have 30 minutes to complete.

The simulator is designed to:

* Pinpoint your areas of weakness on Core Knowledge
* Provide study documents to improve in these weak areas
* Practice with question interpretation and your short-answer responses

Enjoy the questions, and as always, good luck with your studies!


The new Core Knowledge Simulator Testing Engine is coming along nicely thanks to our partner, Graded Labs. We are behind schedule, however. We are attempting to incorporate all of the desired features and more. I will be blogging about a new expected date of release for that custom engine soon.

In the meantime, I have added a node to the R&S and Security simulators called More Questions. Our instructors will be working daily to add new and improved Core Knowledge questions to these simulators often.

Of course, new questions are also being added to the latest Service Provider Core Knowledge Simulation.

Many of you have been asking about a Voice Core Knowledge Simulation product and we will be sure to announce a date of release soon.

Enjoy the new questions everyone, and remember the goals of these products:

  • Pinpoint your areas of weakness on Core Knowledge
  • Provide study documents to improve in these weak areas
  • Practice with question interpretation and your short-answer responses

Yes - our partner Graded Labs is still working on a new engine for all of our Core Knowledge Simulation products. The new expected release date is somewhere around Jan 15, 2010. In the meantime, here are four more for you to enjoy. Answer these questions in the comments. On Thursday, December 24th, 2009, we will randomly draw from the pool of students that had the answers correct. One lucky winner will receive the new CCIE Routing and Switching Certification Guide, Fourth Edition.


1.40 Implement Ethernet Technologies

In which component of a modern (non-legacy) PPPoE configuration do we typically assign the TCP/IP address?

2.80 Implement Performance Routing (PfR) and Cisco Optimized Edge Routing (OER)

What command do you issue on a Cisco router in order to enter OER-managed border router configuration mode to establish communication with a border router during a Performance Routing configuration?

5.60 Implement IPv6 multicast, PIM, and related multicast protocols, such as Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)

What version of MLD is required in order for IPv6 to implement Source Specific Multicast?

6.02 Implement Zone Based Firewall

What zone controls access for packets that are destined for the router acting as a Zone Based Firewall?


Beginning January 4, 2010, Cisco is featuring a Core Knowledge section for all active CCIE labs. To assist in your assessment of your own Tier 1 knowledge of the Service Provider Lab Exam Blueprint topics, INE has released its Service Provider Core Knowledge Simulation.

As of this post, the simulation features 90 questions spanning all major blueprint topics. Over the next week, the product will be updated daily to feature over 200 questions, and will cover EVERY major and minor blueprint topic.

In January, this product will be re-released in a new and improved, custom question engine created by our partner, Graded Labs. This new engine will allow you to create custom exams based on select topics.

Enjoy the new training aid!


The new CCIE Version 4.X exam of R&S certainly causes the need for extreme Time Management strategy practices. In other words, without a rock-solid Time Management approach for each of the three lab sections - you fail! This three part blog series will examine Time Management strategies for each exam section - in order.

The first exam section you face is the Core Knowledge section. This section consists of four, short-answer style questions. You are not permitted to use the DOC-CD during this section, but you may use the scratch paper provided by the proctor. You could also ask the proctor clarifying question(s) in this section, but they are highly likely to be more evasive than usual during Core Knowledge.

From a Time Management perspective in this section, you actually have more time than you need! Isn't that strange for a CCIE exam section! You are given a total of 30 minutes for the 4 short-answer questions.

Now here is the trick...you must resist the temptation to RUSH through these four questions in order to gain time in the Configuration section. Yes, it is true that if you finish the questions in 4 minutes, you will gain 26 minutes in your Configuration section, but realize that if you rush and FAIL this section, you have FAILED the entire exam. The fact that you gained 26 minutes for the Configuration section did absolutely nothing for you.In fact - it hurt you!

I train my students to basically ignore the clock in this section. Your job is to read the questions very carefully and carefully input your response. Before submitting, go back and read the question and your answer carefully one more time. Then, click Finish. If you end up with 15 or 20 minutes of extra time for the Configuration section, great, bonus. But the main point is clear, you must pass the section!

I hope you will join me in Part 2 where we look at the most critical section for a Time Management strategy - Troubleshooting!


Every once in a while I come across a tip that is so exciting I want to share it with the world. I was recently going through one of the many posts I read, and saw the answer to a question that I have been wondering about for many years. Awesome job to Steve Shaw who came up with this. Here is the scenario. We are running EIGRP, and have a neighbor, but no console access to that neighbor. We get the message on our local router saying “%DUAL-5-NBRCHANGE: IP-EIGRP(0) 1: Neighbor A.B.C.D (Fa0/1) is down: K-value mismatch”.

Now for the tricky part. There are 5 K values, each K value supporting a value between 0-255 inclusive.  It would take a long time to test all of the possible values of K1-K5 until we “crack the code” and get the right values.

Here is a solution to discover which K values are in use on the remote neighbor. Locally, create an access-list to match on EIGRP updates:

access-list 100 permit ip host host

Be sure to pick a free ACL #. For the source address, use the IP address of the neighbor.

Then use the following debug command:

debug ip packet 100 detail dump

Context sensitive help may not show the "dump" keyword as an option at the end, but it is most likely still available.  Make sure to log to a location where the output of the debug may be seen, such as the buffer, console or a syslog server.

If our neighbor has K values of:
EIGRP metric weight K1=1, K2=1, K3=1, K4=1, K5=1
On our local router we would should see the debug output similar to this:

01:04:28: IP: s= (FastEthernet0/1), d=, len 60, rcvd 2, proto=88
0F4019C0: 0100 5E00000A ..^...
0F4019D0: 00444444 44440800 45C0003C 00000000 .DDDDD..E@.<....
0F4019E0: 0158239B 88012D04 E000000A 0205EDC9 .X#...-.`.....mI
0F4019F0: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000001 ................
0F401A00: 0001000C 01010101 0100000F 00040008 ................
0F401A10: 0C040102 ....

The 16th byte from the end (or the 4th grouping from the end), is where the K values begin. The K values are in bold. There is one byte per K value, represented in the output as 2 hex characters.

If our neighbor has K values as:
EIGRP metric weight K1=1, K2=1, K3=0, K4=0, K5=0
Our output from the debug would resemble the output below.

01:04:28: IP: s= (FastEthernet0/1), d=, len 60, rcvd 2, proto=88
0F4019C0: 0100 5E00000A ..^...
0F4019D0: 00444444 44440800 45C0003C 00000000 .DDDDD..E@.<....
0F4019E0: 0158239B 88012D04 E000000A 0205EDC9 .X#...-.`.....mI
0F4019F0: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000001 ................
0F401A00: 0001000C 01010000 0000000F 00040008 ................
0F401A10: 0C040102 ....

The K values are conveniently displayed in order in the debug output. Remember, when you implement K values under the EIGRP routing process using the metric weights command, the first value is the TOS bit, and then the remaining 5 values are the K values in order 1-5.

One more example is called for, because the K values are not restricted to the values of 0 or 1. What if the remote neighbor had used the following under the EIGRP routing process:
metric weights 0 225 1 1 1 1
Then, on the local router, the debug output would look similar to the following:

01:23:07: IP: s= (FastEthernet0/1), d=, len 60, rcvd 2, proto=88
0F8000E0: 0100 5E00000A ..^...
0F8000F0: 00444444 44440800 45C0003C 00000000 .DDDDD..E@.<....
0F800100: 0158239B 88012D04 E000000A 02050EC9 .X#...-.`......I
0F800110: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000001 ................
0F800120: 0001000C E1010101 0100000F 00040008 ....`...........
0F800130: 0C040102 ....

225 in binary is 1110 0001. If we convert 1 nibble at a time to Hexadecimal, it would become E1 as shown in the debug output. We could then set our K values to match the neighbor and form a working adjacency.

Of course, in an environment where we manage both routers, we could just look at the output of "show ip protocols", or "show run | section router", and solve it immediately, but where is the challenge in that!

Good luck with your studies.

If you know of other solutions, please add it as a post, and share it with your peers, (assuming your K-values match your peers ;-).


The new and improved Core Knowledge Simulation will be released in December 2009! Here are some more new questions you will find in the database.

1.00    Implement Layer 2 Technologies
You configured your switch (SWA) with the command spanning-tree vlan 26 root primary and you have confirmed the switch is the root bridge for VLAN 26. Later, another switch is introduced (SWB) that has a priority value for VLAN 26 set at 8192. What happens to the root bridge?

2.50    Implement IPv4 Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP)
What type of EIGRP route from the topology table can be used for load balancing through the use of the variance command?

2.60    Implement IPv4 Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)
Which open standard BGP attribute is used first in the BGP Best Path selection algorithm?

5.00    Implement IP Multicast
What device is used to dynamically announce the RP address to all routers in a PIM version 1 environment?


Yes - we are still working hard on the new Core Knowledge Simulation. Here are some more you will see in the new product. Enjoy!

3.20 Implement IPv6 Neighbor Discovery

What protocol is used in conjunction with solicited-node multicast addresses in order to facilitate IPv6 Neighbor Discovery?

3.50 Implement OSPF version 3

What protocol is used to support authentication in OSPF version 3?

6.02 Implement Zone Based Firewall

What are the three possible actions you specify for traffic in your policy-map in a Zone-Based Firewall configuration?

10.05 Implement Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)

What is the default encryption used in SNMP version 3?


It is time now for us to wrap up this series on IPv6 transition techniques (in the scope of the R&S CCIE Written and Lab exam). For this final part, we turn to an existing blog post from our own resident genius, Petr Lapukhov. I edited his post to ensure we mere mortals could understand it. :-)

Here are the links for all the posts in the series:

IPv6 Transition Mechanisms Part 1: Manual Tunnels

IPv6 Transition Mechanisms Part 2: GRE/IPv4 Tunnels

IPv6 Transition Mechanisms Part 3: 6to4 Tunnels

IPv6 Transition Mechanisms Part 4: ISATAP Tunnels

IPv6 Transition Mechanisms Part 5: NAT-PT

Remember, when you are ready to test your Tier 2 and Tier 3 knowledge of these important topics, be sure to check out our many CCIE R&S products. If you have any questions about which product would be perfect for you, contact one of our Customer Success Managers.


In celebration of the arrival of the CCIE R&S 4.X blueprint, here are some sample Core Knowledge questions soon to hit the new version of the Core Knowledge Simulation. Enjoy!

1.40 Implement Ethernet Technologies

Where in the router's configuration do you specify PPPoE Connection Throttling parameters?

2.80 Implement Performance Routing (PfR) and Cisco Optimized Edge Routing (OER)

What is the name given to the single router that coordinates all OER functions within an OER-managed network?

3.60 Implement EIGRP version 6 (EIGRPv6)

Examine the configuration below. There is no EIGRPv6 adjacency forming. What is the most likely problem?

ipv6 unicast-routing
interface gigabitethernet0/0
ipv6 address 2001:22::2/64
ipv6 eigrp 1
no shut
ipv6 router eigrp 1
eigrp router-id

4.20 Implement Layer 3 VPNs on PE, P, and CE routers

Examine the partial configuration shown. What is missing from this partial configuration of this BGP-MP MPLS Layer 3 VPN?

ip cef
no ip domain lookup
ip vrf VRF_CustB
rd 2:2
no ipv6 cef
mpls label protocol tdp

Answers and more information links are available in the comments section below.

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