More details are now available on INE's CCIE R&S v5 Hardware Topology here.

Join our discussion on IEOC on the CCIE RSv5 Equipment Build here.

Questions and comments are welcome.


Hi Everyone,

I know you’ve been waiting for this for quite a long time - please take my sincere apologies for the delay. What we were trying to do is come up with an upgrade that allows for affordable home CCIE lab racks; hence the time spent seeing the if new scenarios will fit the upraded topology. Right now, our existing hardware list for a typical rack is:

R1 – 2610XM 32F/128D
R2 – 2610XM 32F/128D
R3 – 2611XM 32F/128D
R4 – 2611XM 32F/128D
R5 – 2611XM 32F/128D
R6 – 2611XM 32F/128D
SW1 – 3560
SW2 – 3560
SW3 – 3550
SW4 – 3550

BB1, BB2, BB3 – 2511s

And all the hardware is cabled as described on this page: How to build a CCIE rack (oh, ignore the old router models, just pay attention to the cabling). So what we're doing for the new topology is a gradual upgrade:

1) Replacing R4, R5 and R6 with Cisco 1841 ISRs, having 64M flash and 128M RAM minimum.
2) Getting new routers to run 12.4T images with ADVANCED ENTERPRISE SERVICES feature set and therefore supporting MPLS. Other routers may still run older 12.4 images with the same feature set (ADV. ENT. SERVICES).
3) No interface cards need to be changed or replaced and no cables should be re-wired. You may re-use the same WIC cards with the 1841s, provided that they are v2 – AFAIR v1 cards are not supported in HWIC slots.
4) In place of 1841s you may actually use any ISR, such as 28xx or 38xx or even the older 3725 – anything that can run 12.4T ADV. ENTERPRISE SERVICES.

With the three ISRs being added you can play with any basic MPLS VPN scenario, using R4, R5 and R6 as MPLS P/PE routers and the remaining routers as CEs. Additionally, the three new routers allow for enough bandwidth to test all the features introduced in 12.4T train. As time passes we plan to gradually replace the remaining 2600XM models with the ISRs, but for the new blueprint becoming effective as of October 14th having three 1841s is enough to test the new features. Later this month and during September you will see our rack-rental partner Graded Labs Inc. upgrading its hardware, keeping a mix of the "old" and "new" racks for some time, to accomodate those preparing for the old blueprint.

Lastly, I know there is a lot of people using Dynamips emulator for their studies. We’re working on releasing our updated Dynagen .NET topology shortly. To summarize the changes, we replaced R1, R2 and R3 in the Dynamips topology with 2600XMs and made R4, R5 and R6 to be 3725s running the latest 12.4T code. This should mimic our real hardware topology pretty close, with maybe some exceptions to interface names.

Stay tuned for more updates!


We see our students at all levels sometimes struggle building a network from the "ground-up" using a logical topology diagram. Let us use this blog post to examine a portion of a logical diagram and discuss how one could most easily and accurately setup the network.


Here is a typical section of a typical logical diagram from one of our practice labs. The first mistake a student typically makes is assuming that R1 and BB2 are directly connected. Do not forget, to form this Ethernet segment, at least one switch is used to connect R1 and BB2, and the switch(es) may feature any amount of initial configuration. The switch is not shown on the diagram for simplicity, and you will possess the tools to discover the missing devices easily.

Let me provide a simple set of steps that I would use to ensure this portion of the network is built correctly.

Step 1: I go to R1 Fa0/0 and carefully add the correct IP address and issue the no shutdown command.

Step 2: Use the show cdp neighbor command on R1 to learn the remote port that Fa0/0 connects to.

Step 3: Move to this device, create VLAN 12 if needed, and ensure to place the port that connects to R1 Fa0/0 in VLAN 12 using the switchport access vlan 12 command.

Step 4: Use the show cdp neighbor command on this switch to determine the port connected to BB2. Place that port in VLAN 12.

Step 5: You can now attempt to ping the BB2 device. NOTE: It is typical in the actual lab for backbone devices to block ping attempts. So in the lab exam, be sure to do every verification that is possible except the ping. Hopefully later in the lab you will Layer 3 peer with the device and can confirm connectivity through the receipt of routes.

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