Hi everyone,

as promised before, updated Security VOL2 Lab1 has been posted to all subscribed members accounts. The new lab features completely new diagram (I hope you guys like it ;) and significants updates to its contents. Alongside with removing the PIX and VPN3k sections we've added tasks covering such topics as IPsec VTI, Zone-Based Firewall, IPS virtual sensors/VLAN groups, ASA reliable static routes, 802.1x authorization and a few more goodies to this lab. The updated content should be less "crazy hard" than its v3.0 predecessor and better mimic the difficulty of the real exam. Still, it was designed to be *harder* than the real stuff, just to make sure you don't relax too much and don't let your guards down ;) Anyways, enjoy the first update in the series! We plan to post updates periodically and finish the whole process in June.

PS
For you CCIE-RS folks waiting for the BGP section to be posted. Our apologies for the delay, we're working to get it done ASAP. The section appears to be bigger than we estimated before, and it may take an extra week to finish it. We'll try to make an intermittent update by the end of this week, covering at least some of BGP Section tasks. Thank you for your patience!

Many people studying for CCIE are looking for a solution to better memorize and retain the new information. The biggest enemy of good memory is the fact that speed of forgetting is directly proportional to the amount of information learned. One can actually start off this and write a simple ordinary differential equation that models the forgetting process:

dY(t)/dt = V – aY(t)

where Y(t) is the amount of information memorized at moment t and V is the speed of the new information being memorized. The component -aY(t) demonstrates the forgetting effect described above (speed of the forgetting is directly proportional to the amount of information learned). Integrating the equation we easily obtain:

Y(t) = V/a+const*exp(-at)

What it basically says, is that the amount of information that we memorize is proportional to the speed of learning! The exponentially decaying component does not play any major role as the time passes, and thus your know as much as you learn. As soon as you stop learning new information (or repeating the old info), your knowledge volume will decay with the speed of exponent. Not the best news in our already uneasy world!

This model, however is too simple to be valid. However, it demonstrates one important fact – unless you actively learn, you forget. The solution for the equation exhibits the well-know Ebbinghaus curve effect (Forgetting Curve), which has been known for over than century. Two methods can help you overcome the forgetting effect, and they are active learning and spaced repetitions. Let’s start with...

Active learning has many forms. The most basic involves transforming knowledge in the series of questions that could be answered in a short manner. For the demostration, look at the following blog post:

MSTP Tutorial Part I

Read every paragraph, and come up with a few questions for each.

Q: What is the major drawback of the mono spanning tree?
A: Impossible to engineer traffic flow for different VLANs

Q: What is the major drawback of PVST?
A: Does not scale with the number of VLANs

Q: What was the main idea of MISTP?
A: Decoupling STP instances from VLANs.

Q: How did the original MISTP instance convey STP information?
A: Every instance has its own BPDU sent on every link.

Q: How was the VLAN to instance mapping information distributed in MISTP?
A: Manually on every switch, no automatic protocol.

Q: What is the general rule to avoid MISTP inconsistencies?
A: If VLAN is filtered on the link, make sure the respective instance is not forwarding here.

Spaced Repetitions

While active reading greatly helps in learning, you still need repetitions to keep your knowledge fresh. There has been some research done on the optimal repetition intervals, and you can find it on the Internet. Personally, I prefer using the algorithms developed for SupeMemo application. I highly recommend anyone reading the following article: Using Supermemo method without a computer. There is a table there, suggesting the optimal repetition intervals – in 4, 7, 12, 20 days and in a month. The list continues into the scales of years, but for the purpose of exam preparation you may stop at 20 days or a month. When repeating, abridge the number of questions, condense the information and retain only the key concepts. Focusing on core facts will reduce the information load but still help you remember. If you’re practicing IOS configurations, make sure you type in your configurations using the “notepad” copy & paste method during 2nd and 3rd repetitions. You may not even use the actual routers when doing 3rd and further repetitions. Starting with 4th repetition, just skim over and make sure you clearly recall the core concepts. If you find this routine too time consuming, you may leave just 3 spaced repetitions.

The link provided above would give you recommendations on proper training schedule. You may want to optimize it using some modern calendar software (or even getting the free/commercial versions of SuperMemo software). For instance, you may use Google Calendar service as your organizer (what is cool is that you may share your calendars with friends and see how all of you progress). Suppose that you are working with ours IEWB-RS VOL1 (technology focused labs). Choose the amount of material you can easily practice every day, without putting too much stress on yourself. For example, today you spent some time practicing IEWB-RS VOL1 Labs 13.1-13.5 (Section IP Services) using the active learning approach. As a result, you ended with a series of condensed questions & answers for every lab. After that, you add notes to your calendar to repeat the same labs in 4, 7 and 12 days. Therefore, you get some work scheduled already. Keep in mind that repetitions took less time than the full-blown practice. Thus you may easily combine 3rd and 4th repetition with practicing another five labs, e.g. 13.6-13.10. It is not mandatory to practice all labs from the same section. You may “interleave” QoS and IP Services focused labs, or even combine the full-scale labs from IEWB-RS VOL2 with technology focused labs from VOL1, provided that you already have good technology coverage.

A few tips on working with our VOL2 labs. There are total of 20 labs, and you may spend quite some time working through all of them, as every single lab might take about 8-16 hours. You may use the following guidelines:

a) Do not start working with VOL2 labs unless you’re confident with most technologies from VOL1. This is important, as VOL2 is not designed to be an “easy reading” :)
b) Mark the tasks that you found hard on your initial attempt. During your second repetition, work though the core section of the labs (Switching, IGP and BGP) plus the marked non-core tasks.
c) During your third repetition, skim over the lab texts and solutions, focusing on the tasks that you marked as “hard”. It might not benefit you to repeat more than three times, but if you got a lot of free time, you can do even four repetitions.

During your final stage of preparations, you will probably find yourself repeating the condensed information from VOL1/VOL2 labs. Before attempting the lab exam, you may want to take at least one or two Mock Labs to gauge your readiness. The Mock Labs are not designed to be “repeated” - you should probably schedule a new lab every time to get more unbiased result. However, if you want a testing tool that adjusts to your level of readiness plus changes every time - you may want to try out Polymorphic Assessment Lab, which automatically generates different labs on the same physical topology.

Now, the final part: if you want to retain the knowledge learned, keep repeating the information on monthly and yearly basis. This may end up in a life-long schedule, as you will keep adding new information to your calendar of repetitions. The process worth itself as the active learning methodology and optimally spaced repetitions are proven to be an extremely effective learning tool.

In addition to releasing the new core knowledge simulation product, we've posted an update to IEWB-VO VOL1 (voice technology-focused labs). The updated content features screenshots for *all* GUI-related solutions (CCM, Unity, IPCCX etc). Due to this, the size of the workbook has grown considerably. And because of that, all customers now have the option to either download the workbook material as one large file, or by parts.

Of course, there are news for non-Voice students too!

1) For CCIE Security: The first Security VOL1 update is scheduled to be released by the end of March. You should expect to see Security VOL1 labs delivered in the format similar to our RS VOL1 V5.0 products - with challenging scenarios and thorough breakdowns (hey... anyone went through the *whole* RS VOL1 v5.0 QoS section?! ;)). As for SC VOL2, it should follow VOL1 shortly, with updates starting around 2nd week of April.

2) For CCIE R&S (most people's favorite) We plan to release a part of RS VOL2 v5.0 labs (first 10 full-scale labs) pretty soon, in about a week or so (as they're mostly finished by now). We're also working on getting the remaining technology labs for IEWB-RS VOL1 (Multicast and BGP sections) done as well, and those should be expected late March/early April.

Happy studying!

New Class-on-Demand sessions have been posted to the Open Lecture Series Class-on-Demand as well as the Lab Meet-Up Class-on-Demand.  Updates to OSPF and Security for IEWB-RS Volume 1 Version 5 will be posted next week, along with some additional tasks on redistribution under the IP Routing section.  Stay tuned to the blog as announcements will be posted here as the sections are added.  Have a great weekend everybody!

IEWB-RS Volume 2 Version 5 Lab 2 is now available for download on the members site.  The solutions will be posted tomorrow morning.  I hope to see you all at the lab meetup tomorrow to discuss the scenario.

Happy Labbing!

Update: The lab document and solutions have been updated and are now available on the members site.  The lab meetup CoD will be posted tomorrow.

The new CCIE R&S Lab Workbook Volume 2 Version 5 Lab 1 is now available.  Click here to download it.  Also the first of our new CCIE R&S Lab Meet-Up Series, starting today at 9:30am Pacific time, is open to all users.  Simply follow this link to join: http://ieclass.internetworkexpert.com/vol2v5lab1/ If you are planning on attending I would highly recommend printing out the lab and its diagram prior to us starting, as the majority of the class will be held on the command-line.

The schedule of following lab meet-ups will be posted shortly, as well as a projected timeline for the release of the rest of the volume 2 version 5 labs.

Hope to see you on class!

This Friday the CCIE R&S Lab Meet-Up series kicks off with the new CCIE R&S Lab Workbook Volume 2 Version 5 Lab 1.  The new lab will be posted on the members site on Thursday, and the lab meet-up starts at 9am Pacific time.  The session should lab about 4 hours, depending on how many questions people have.  Essentially I will be configuring and explaining the lab live on the command line, and going through the logic of the solutions in detail.

It's not too late to sign-up for the series, so contact our sales department if you have any questions.  I hope to see you there!

Nothing is perfect in this world, and things like typos and missed solutions do happen in the workbooks. However, we're constantly working to improve the quality of our products. If you think you found an issue with a workbook and want to report it, then go to:

http://support.internetworkexpert.com

and click on the "Submit ticket" link. Select "Quality Management" department and fill in the form that follows. Attach screenshots and other information that you find necessary with the report. As soon as you submit the ticket, you will receive an automated e-mail notification, and may continue to follow the discussion thread using regular e-mail.

The best part is - we're going to launch a system of rewards for people that report valid issues (this is why the form asks for your membership account name). So in result, you're not just helping others, you win something!

More sections have been posted to the IEWB-RS Volume 1 Version 5 section for QoS.  The following topics are now available.

10.1    Hold-Queue and Tx-Ring
10.2    Weighted Fair Queuing (WFQ)
10.3    Legacy RTP Reserved Queue
10.4    Legacy RTP Prioritization
10.5    Legacy Custom Queueing
10.6    Legacy Custom Queueing with Prioritization
10.7    Legacy Priority Queueing
10.8    Legacy Random Early Detection
10.9    Legacy Flow-Based Random Early Detection
10.13     MLP Link Fragmentation and Interleaving
10.14     Legacy Generic Traffic Shaping
10.15     Legacy CAR for Admission Control
10.16     Oversubscription with Legacy CAR and WFQ
10.17     Legacy CAR for Rate Limiting
10.18     Legacy CAR Access-Lists
10.19     Legacy GTS for Frame Relay
10.20     Legacy Frame Relay Traffic Shaping
10.22     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC WFQ
10.23     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC PQ
10.24     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC CQ
10.25     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC Fragmentation
10.26     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC IP RTP Priority
10.29     Frame-Relay DE Marking
10.30     Legacy FRTS PVC Interface Priority Queue
10.31     Frame-Relay Priority to DLCI Mapping
10.32     Frame-Relay Traffic Policing & Congestion Mgmt
10.33     MQC Classification and Marking
10.34     MQC Bandwidth Reservations and CBWFQ
10.35     MQC Bandwidth Percent
10.36     MQC LLQ and Remaining Bandwidth Reservations
10.37     MQC WRED
10.38     MQC Dynamic Flows and WRED
10.39     MQC WRED with ECN

More OSPF topics will be posted later tonight in anticipation of tomorrow's Open Lecture Series on Advanced OSPF Design.  Hope to see you there!

More updates have been posted to the QoS section of IEWB-RS Volume 1 Version 5.0.  The following sections are now available for download:

10.1    Hold-Queue and Tx-Ring
10.2    Weighted Fair Queuing (WFQ)
10.3    Legacy RTP Reserved Queue
10.4    Legacy RTP Prioritization
10.5    Legacy Custom Queueing
10.6    Legacy Custom Queueing with Prioritization
10.7    Legacy Priority Queueing
10.8    Legacy Random Early Detection
10.9    Legacy Flow-Based Random Early Detection
10.13     MLP Link Fragmentation and Interleaving
10.14     Legacy Generic Traffic Shaping
10.15     Legacy CAR for Admission Control
10.16     Oversubscription with Legacy CAR and WFQ
10.17     Legacy CAR for Rate Limiting
10.18     Legacy CAR Access-Lists
10.19     Legacy GTS for Frame Relay
10.20     Legacy Frame Relay Traffic Shaping
10.22     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC WFQ
10.23     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC PQ
10.24     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC CQ
10.25     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC Fragmentation
10.26     Legacy FRTS with Per-VC IP RTP Priority