Friday, June 15, 2012

CCIE Lab Study Plan / CCIE Study Strategy

When I look back one year ago, June 16 2011, I was doing my CCIE Lab, the exam that later give me a chance to a better opportunity to deal with Networking Technology. Well, tomorrow is going to be my first anniversary of my CCIE, one year just passes by 

I guess this is the good time for me to share my experience regarding to my Strategy with the preparation to deal with this 8 long hours exam. In my opinion, there are 2 phase for studying for CCIE R/S, I am going to discuss it here in my blog.

Phase 1 – Learning the Technology Fundamental Back and forth
This phase start with get the general or overview idea about the specific technology (especially the topic on the blueprint), more specifically we have to ask about ‘What is the Technology?’. Ok let’s pick up one topic that is Multicast-Routing, before I go configuring this technology, I will dig at least the general idea of what is Multicast Technology, what is benefit for company if they are using this? What is the example of this technology in the real world? Etc….

With all those question, in my opinion, we will get the big picture of the technology. The best way to do this is searching through the google, I would recommend not directly go the the Cisco DocCD at this moment.

After getting the big idea, now is the time to learn more deeper, if we continue the multicast-Routing technology, there are two Mode of operation in order the multicast to be run, first is using Dense-Mode and one using Sparse-Mode, study how they work, what are the difference, etc…

Then after we know the concept, or sometimes getting confused with the concept, just like me :p, now it is time to go configuring ‘Basic Multicast’ on Routers and know how to verified it, and also don’t forget how to test it, either using NTP or IGMP join group (you could study for the IGMP for the client to be connected, or we can leave it later for other study )

Getting the basic thing worked is great, now take it further to more intermediate scenario, If we talked about Sparse-Mode (SM), we have to use the Rendezvous point, the first method should be static in order to configure it. After we done it statically, we then realize if we want to deploy in the large scale and have to configured manually all the router to point to the rendezvous point, it would be a nightmare right?!?. Later then,  we are searching for the automatic method, which is Auto-RP. Get the idea about it get and continue with basic configuration for that. It doesn’t stop there, Later on we realize that this Auto-RP method is Cisco proprietary, then dig it up further we will found the Industry standard way to do so, that is Bootstrap Router (BSR). Again get the idea and concept and then get to the basic configuration.

By the time we dig all the information about Multicast-Routing, we will eventually have learned quite a lot about this specific technology (Multicast-Routing, DM, SM, RP, Static-RP, Auto-RP, BSR) and that will boost our confidence in my case ;)

This is what I called learn the specific technology, I was using this method to learn the R/S Technology in the blueprint (which was Version 4 in my Era/up to this time of writing). We can also combined it with the CCIE Learning vendor such as INE. I used INE Volume 1 in conjunction in my learning the technology.

It took me two years to do this phase, where I spend about one hour a day to study Networking stuff. I sure that everybody will have their own pace to do so, the learning curve is different for everybody ;). After finished with phase one, you could take the Written Exam to register for the lab.

Phase 2 – Learning the Multiprotocol Scenario
Now it is time for us to blend all the specific technology into a single scenario, which I called it Multiprotocol Scenario. Eventually I bought the Workbook from INE, which is Volume 2 to do so. (I’m not promoting the INE, but in my case I used their product).

This is the time to learn about the dependencies between one technology with others, let say for example you’ve done configuring basic L3 connectivity between Routers through Multilayer Switches using OSPF, later on we have to configured, let say, QinQ where we have to modified the MTU on the Switches. After we configure it, later on we will find that the OSPF between the Router and the MLS is breaking. In this case, we will learned that the OSPF, by default, must have the same MTU on both side end. In my case I could use either ignore the MTU or Configuring MTU Routing to the default calue, which is 1500 Bytes on MLS. This is what I called the dependencies, one technology can break another technology, and a lot of example of that when you do that later on. We also should experience this problems as much as possible during study rather than in the real lab or more importantly in the real production Network.

By finishing the phase two, you should have the confidence to deal with the multiprotocol scenario, and that what will you face in the Lab exam ;)

There are so many sources for you guys to search the optimal study plan, such as Blog like:

and so many more, but the bottom line is you should find your own pace and your own convenience 

Well the Fact is there are quite a lot CCIE in my countries here in Indonesia. I would reckon that the total CCIE in here around 150 people in June 2012, where half of them are working abroad as expatriate. Once I’ve becoming CCIE, I realized that so much more that I don’t know than what I know, so it keeps me motivated to study more ;)

Well I hope this blog can be informative, especially for you guys who are networking people.


Roger's CCIE Blog said...

Thanks for posting your study plan, I am hoping to pass the lab next year


IP said...

You're Welcome Roger, hope it can help you a bit :)