You know how all the camps, cods, etc, etc talk about using route map names that you can easily indentify? I always seem to name mine out of anger, frustration, or just joy for the task that I am currently working on.

For example:













Maybe if I use some of these on the lab the proctors would get a kick out of it…

I’ve been accumulating a bunch of equipment now for quite some time…trying to get to the point where I could finally put together a half way respectable home lab for studying. Last night I pulled an all nighter setting up most of my home lab! My goal was to replicate the IPexpert R/S topology the best I could. I still need some cables, 1 more ethernet interface, and ideally some more RAM and Flash for some stuff so I can run newer code, but all in all it seems halfway decent.

Here is the topology diagram I was attempting to replicate:

Below is what I put together using equipment I have

Device                        Model                   Interfaces       IOS                  RAM/Flash

Access-Server            2511                     16 Async.       12.1(27b)          8/16

Frame-Switch             2520                     4 Serial           12.1(27b)         8/16

R1                              2611                     2 Eth              12.2(46a)           40/8

R2                              3640                     2 Eth/4 Serial 12.4(19)            128/32

R4                              3640                     2 Eth/4 Serial 12.3(26)            96/32

R5                              3640                     1 FastEth/1 Eth/4 Ser. 12.2(46a)       96/16

R6                               3640                     2 Eth/4 Serial  12.4(19)           128/32

R7                              2610XM                1 FastEth/2 Serial 12.3(26)           96/48

R8Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2610XMÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 FastEth/1 Eth/2 Ser. 12.4(21)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 128/48

R9                              2610XM                2 FastEth/2 Serial   12.4(21)       128/48

BB1                             2610                     1 Eth/2 Serial    12.3(26)       32/8

BB2                            2501                       1 Eth/2 Serial     12.1(27b)     16/8

BB3                            2514                       2 Eth/2 Serial     12.1(27b)      8/8

Cat1-2                      2950G-48              48 FastEth/2 Gig  12.1(22)        20/8

Cat3-4                      2950G-24              24 FastEth/2 Gig   12.1(22)       20/8

So yeah… I either need to find an ethernet NM for R7, or just replace it with a 2611…I need a few ethernet transceivers for the BB routers, a few more cables (some of my serials are smartserial, so I need smartserial dte/dce cables , then I need a buttload of ethernet crossover cables). I have all my DB60 crossover cables, all my power cables, and all my straight through cables. Unfort. the 2950 does not support MDIX so no dice there. I know I will be limited on the catalyst stuff for sure as far as QoS and some security stuff, not sure what else. So far as I know all my routers run all the routing protocols. I have the newest code on them they can take given their RAM/Flash. I always tried to go wtih enterprise, but some of them are just IP. I did check the IOS features thing at Cisco and even the IP images listed BGP-4, EIGRP, OSPF, etc.

I am honestly not really sure what to do with my backbone routers hehe. I mean yeah I know in the labs and workbooks they are used to inject routes and stuff…what do you do, just make them up? It’s not like I peer BGP to my ISP or something.

Hopefully, I will get some 3550’s in there to replace the 2950’s at some point when I get money. Oh yeah I don’t have a rack, but I have this big ass wooden shelf in my basement that was left by the previous owners…actually makes a pretty good rack! Except if I need to move or replace something it’s a pain but not so bad. I never thought I’d be using ALL 16 lines of my 2511 AS hehe…awesome.

This email has been floating around GroupStudy all day today. It hasn’t been verified by any Cisco employee so this could be all a hoax. Quite a few people seemed to be a little taken back by it. My thought process is what is the big deal? If you truly studied your rear off (which you need to) what is the big deal answering some verbal questions about the material? You should have it down anyhow right 🙂 ?

Dear Candidate:

On August 27, Cisco will introduce a pilot for the CCIE Routing and
Switching lab exam in Beijing, China. The pilot will add a 10-minute
interview that will assess the candidate’s ability to apply expert-level
networking skills and knowledge to networking problems that are encountered
on the job. After the lab orientation, a panel of three experts will conduct
a verbal interview with each candidate, asking a series of expert-level
networking questions (questions and answers will be in English). The ability
to correctly answer these questions will affect the exam score. After
completing the interview, the candidate will have the entire 8 hours to
complete the lab portion of the exam. Â These scores will then be
calculated and then combined for a total score which will decide a pass
or a fail.

Our goal with this email is to let you know that your day will extend beyond
the normal testing day by approximately one hour. Â The additional hour will
be at the end of the day. We hope you find this interview process
enlightening and helpful as we continue to strive for the standard the world
has come to expect from CCIE.

Thank you.

A excellent quick read on Rip’s database. The link will take you over to Ivan’s wiki page.

Did you know that RIP, the venerable routing protocol that is present in Cisco routers for the last 20 years, uses an internal database, not the IP routing table, to process RIP updates? This database contains no fancy information (like EIGRP topology table) that would allow RIP to converge faster, but there are still minor differences between the RIP database and the IP routing table.

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Well, I finished off day 2 of the IPexpert video bootcamp, which covered IGPs. OSPF, RIPv2, EIGRP … The OSPF configuration video was pretty intense, and over 3 hours long…took me 2 sittings to get through it. The good news is that I felt really good about almost all the material so far. I mean there really has not been anything that I’ve said “Oh my God what the hell is going on here?!” … there have been some things I have had to “rewind” and watch again, or read up a bit on, but for the most part I was feeling pretty confident with the material. One thing that bummed me out is that pretty much the only 2 things in the OSPF section I was having a hard time grasping theory wise were screwed up on the videos :( It is a technical issue, and not limited to just me. Caue is having the same problem, and he has contacted IPexpert about it. For the record, the 2 things that I have not fully grasped are advanced virtual links (like cascading 3 or 4 of them, or extending area 0 via a virutal link, then extending that to another area via a GRE tunnel). The other thing was just as Scott was explaining why if you have 4 equal cost routes in the routing table in OSPF one is preferred over another. Â

Just as he gets into explaining the advanced virtual links involving GRE tunnels, and the route decision when you have 4 equal cost routes in OSPF the video pretty much bombs out…the video feed is OK, but the audio is all garbled for about 10 minutes. It is almost as if something CPU intensive started running on Scott’s PC without him knowing it. Obviously, they didn’t fully go through all the videos before bringing them to market. We are hoping to get slides or something.

So I started day 3 last night. Yep, just as I was feeling all warm and fuzzy and confident about myself so far, WHAM! I get nailed with a nice dosage of humility by a freight train named BGP : ) Yeah….BGP was never my strong point. I mean, I don’t really get a chance to play with it at work on a regular basis, and I pretty much learned what I needed to learn on previous exams. Basic stuff. I actually found myself somewhat lost about 3/4 through the video. I am going to have to go back and view it again when I am more prepared to try and get through it completely.Â

In other news, I just confirmed on Fedex that my “Routing TCP/IP Volume 2” has arrived. So, I am excited to crack it open, and start getting my BGP basics back in place. I know for absolute certain right now, that my BGP abilities are nowehere even remotely close to where they need to be for the CCIE lab. So, that is definitley a challenge.

 – Joe

If you are looking for a good explanation on private vlans Caue has a nice write up on his blog following his watching of the IP Expert video on the subject. It is a nice breakdown and pretty much sums everything up nicely on what you need to know.

Until now, I thought PVLANs were a bit difficult to understand and to implement, like when studying to CCNP that took me a while to digest, and I had some doubts about it, till today! Man… how simple it is, and there´s no much “magic” in that (like our friend Scott Morris usually says)! Pretty straight-forward and no big deals! The Security from is AWESOME. It´s short, informative, to the point, and solved MANY questions I´ve for a while in minutes! Man! What a nice way to do it!

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Well I finally polished off watching Day 1 of the IPexpert video on demand bootcamp. My plan so far has been to watch through each video section, really focus and try to understand everything completely, and take really good notes while I watch. On the configuration videos I have been going along with Scott as much as I can with the equipment I have in my basement. I got hung up on the more advanced frame-relay configurations that had 3 spokes + 1 hub because I ran out of DTE/DCE crossover cables. I understood it all, I just have not been able to practice them, which I know is important. I just received my shipment of 7 more cables, so I really need to go back to those videos and work through stuff like back to back frame relay, PPP over frame relay, multilink frame relay, and some of the more advanced topologies. I suppose I could have used dynagen as well, but I really like working with the real thing a lot!

That reminds me, I would really appreciate some feedback from the community on a few things. First, regarding practicing single topics that are covered in a specific video or whatever and not just doing full scale 8 hour massive labs — Do you guys rent time on racks to say go through the vod configuration sections 1 piece at a time, or do you just rent time for full labs? Or just have your own equipment/dynagen? I plan on starting the lab workbooks after I complete the entire video bootcamp. When you dive into a lab in a workbook, do you guys just bust it out for 8+ hours at a time the first time through, or break it up into sections? Can you rent time for certain sections and then save your configs so you can spread the lab out on your own time, or do you pretty much have to find an 8 hour block to donate to the router gods?

I ordered up the infamous “Routing TCP/IP Volume 2” today from Cisco Press. I am looking forward to “fresh meat” for reading, but at the same time I sort of fear it in a way. I KNOW that BGP is one of my weak points. For some reason I have always dreaded it. I look forward to conquering that problem : ) I think something I really need to work on is facing my weak points head on. When I am reading a book or doing something I know very well I feel confident and can get really into it…but when I get to one of my weak points like BGP, QoS, Multicast I have a tendency to not focus my attention fully, or to get sidetracked, or to make excuses like “oh it’s not a core topic…what are the chances…” Well, hopefully I will enjoy this book much more than “Cisco LAN switching” which I found to be nearly useless in my study despite it’s reputation.

– Joe

I have moved onto working with Narbik’s Soup To Nuts workbook just to make sure I have gone through it once before I head out to his bootcamp. I should be able to finish this in the next week or so. It all depends on what I can get done at home. The baby is having NO mercy whatsoever on us :). We just had to change his formula this week because he wasn’t digesting the previous one all that well. Up to the day we changed it he probably only slept a few hours a day. The weekends were getting exhausting for everyone. Hopefully that will change now and we will have everything back to normal.

I am hoping to get through a lot more of the soup-to-nuts this weekend and will make a solid schedule after that. I am looking to get back into the Internetwork Expert Vol II labs right after I finish this one up. I would like to complete four to five of them and then work on the five day bootcamp class on demand before heading out to Narbik’s. It is a lot of material, but I have time. I think anyways…

Tonight I encountered something in my home lab I have never seen before. It had me puzzled for quite some time and frankly was driving me nuts. I finally just figured it out and had to share it with the world. Now, I am not fortunate enough to have access to any 3550/3560s yet, but I do have 4 2950’s connected in a square topology with fiber…enough to at least graze STP and many other things. Tonight I was going over the IPexpert switching VOD again, which involved some basic VTP.

My setup was simple: Make SW1 my VTP server, and make SW2-4 clients. Create some vlans on SW1, make sure they propogate…no big deal. Well, I was finding that every switch except for SW3 was working properly and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I checked show vtp status at least 3 times… domain name matched, rev number on SW3 was lower than the server, all my trunks were up, VLAN 1 was not pruned… hmmmm, time for debugs!

I flipped on debug sw-vlan vtp events

VTP LOG RUNTIME: MD5 digest failing

It then showed me the calculated hash was different from the received hash…hmmm well I didn’t configure any VTP password or anything on any of the switches….aha! These switches must have been using VTP somewhere previously

I went into vlan database mode and did no vtp password followed by apply and exit just to be sure…poof magic! It started working. So, the moral of the story is that at least on the 2950 in my experience even if you are not running vtp passwords, you may still need to clear any old ones left in the vlan database

Hopefully this will save somebody else out there some headache, or better yet lab points!

Ahhhh another Monday morning. Well, I kind of dropped the ball this weekend. I have not really done much anything Cisco related since last Friday. This weekend was the annual “Woodward Dream Cruise” in Detroit. Basically, people come from all over the country to cruise their classic cars down the oldest main road in the Detroit suburbs. It’s a huge event to say the least. I finally got out to see the new Batman film as well Friday night. Saturday rolled around and I did a little reading, but spent my night doing something nice for my wife — She’s been wanting this elliptical machine to work out on, so I surprised her by staying up all night assembling it. I told her I was labbing in the basement : ) Sunday came and went, and I had to keep my promise to not do any CCIE stuff on Sunday. I blatantly and shamelessly stole this from Carl…I told her I would have 1 day where I don’t do any Cisco…despite that I hadn’t done any Friday or Saturday I had to keep my promise.

On to the next disappointment from last week: “Cisco LAN Switching”. I have to tell you guys, I was pumped to get this book. I mean, it’s on everybody’s CCIE “must have” list…it has a list price of $80 USD…I got a great deal on it because I had a Cisco Press coupon to use. Also, I think switching is one of my real strong points, so I was pumped. Boy was I disappointed! I had heard that it was a little outdated, but geez…I guess it is a great book, if you could take the CCIE lab from 1999 hehe…I am about halfway through, but honestly I have kind of skimmed alot of it. So far everything I have read has been CatOS commands. Also, for a CCIE level book, I think a lot of the content is pretty light. Do we really need to know “What is a VLAN” “Why segment LANs” or that a switch forwards broadcasts? Besides all the commands being CatOS based, many of the technologies are outdated for the current lab. For instance we have sections on Token Ring operations, Token Ring components, Token ring bridging/switching, a comparison of ethernet vs token ring (lol), configuring the catalyst 5000/6000 (in CatOS of course), no real mention of RSTP, we have FDDI trunks, ATM trunks, LANE, whole chapters on ATM, and a very basic overview of campus network design. Many of the concepts still seem valid, but honestly I have a much higher opinion of the material and the way it is presented in the CCNP BCMSN exam certification guide. In fact, that is one of my favorite technical books ever. Disappointed to say the least. I guess I will get my money’s worth and try to get through it though.

I plan on getting back into the IPexpert CODs today. So far, I am a little over halfway through day 1…going into L2 tunnels I think. The last video was kind of discouraging, as I had no idea really what was going on the first time through. It was on switching, but he dove into L2 tunneling a LOT …which I have never done before. Seeing something that you didn’t even know existed before for the first time can definitely hit the moral. He was discussing tunneling protocols like CDP, VTP, DTP … like say you have SW1, SW2, SW3 interconnected…you can essentially tunnel between SW1 and SW3 so that SW2 is essentially transparent. Cool! There was something else, but I can’t remember right now!

Well, thats it for now

– Joe

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