Thinking about switching over to English instead for this & future posts. When I started this blog in the middle of 2013 I couldn’t find any Cisco/CCIE-focused blog that was written in Swedish, so my thinking was that there was a “gap to be filled”. Over the years however I actually gotten more and more traffic outside of Sweden, and just checking this last month hits from within Sweden was only about 20% of total traffic.. So instead of just being a “dead page” for most people randomly googling something, and also the fact that I don’t have to keep using horrible ‘swenglish’ in my posts which contains 99% technical words anyway – it’s starting to feel like it’s time for a change.
In the middle of february this year I decided to set a real goal of at least being done with CCIE Written and be at least around ~60% ready for the lab before the year is over. Over the years I also realized this will never happen without having a set study schedule and setting aside several hours every week for both reading and lab work after. Since then i’ve been waking up at 04.45 on weekdays and studying 2-2½h before work, on weekends I sleep a little longer but dedicate at least ~4-5h each morning.
This has been working great! In earlier attempts I always did the studying after work, and as months passed I just got too tired to retain info/kept falling asleep reading or other things got in the way. After work hours is more focused on doing labs now, it finally feels like I found a way that works for me in the long run.
A small update regarding what i’m currently reading/have read this last 1½ months & what I have planned going forward (did a full restart):
- Interconnections – Bridges, Routers & Switches ✔
- TCP/IP Illustrated – Vol. 1 ✔
- Cisco LAN Switching ✔
- Official Cert Guide CCNP Routing & Switching – Switch 300-115 (~50%, paused until I get some switching gear to lab on)
- Routing TCP/IP – Volume 1 (Currently reading)
- IP Routing on IOS, IOS XE, IOS XR
- Internet Routing Architechtures
- Troubleshooting IP Routing Protocols
- Routing TCP/IP – Volume 2
- IPv6 Theory, Protocol & Practice
- MPLS Fundamentals
- MPLS Enabled Applications
- CCIE Developing IP Multicast
- End to End QoS Network Design
- Final prep for Written
- CCIE Routing & Switching – Official Certification Guide
A big problem i’ve always had is retaining information when moving on to another subject, ex going from reading details about of TCP/IP to Switching to Routing etc. Making my own flashcards has been a life saviour. I try to take at least a few minutes and go thru one set of cards on every break at work etc. A great (and free) site i’ve been using is cram.com that also have a good mobile app.
I’m also trying to set a good foundation when it comes to lab work. From reading other CCIE-blogs like lostintransit.se, ipspace.net, rogerperkin that passed the exam, being able to write out templates & general config straight in notepad is almost a requirement to reach the speed required to finishing the actual lab exam later. So I try to stay away from the CLI until I feel like i’m done with all the steps in each lab. I’ve been using the following format in notepad after reading this great post by Nick Russo regarding passing the CCIE SP4-lab, using one document for everything will make it easy to ctrl+f and find a certain config section if you have to go back etc:
! 3-1 R4 Object Tracking ip sla 1 icmp-echo 126.96.36.199 source-ip 188.8.131.52 frequency 5 threshold 2000 timeout 2000 ip sla schedule 1 life forever start-time now track 1 ip sla 1 ip route 184.108.40.206 255.255.255.255 Gi1.146 220.127.116.11 track 1 ! 3-2 R4 Floating route ip route 18.104.22.168 255.255.255.255 Tu0 22.214.171.124 2
Another important thing (that i’m still terrible at using myself currently), when you’re unsure of a specific command or how to solve it, try to stay away from google and use Cisco’s official documentation instead. There’s a huge benefit in being confident knowing where to find specific material when you’re at the actual exam, remember – there is no search-field (except for ctrl+f on your current page). Unfortunately most videos going over how to use the doccd efficiently is not updated and it actually looks like Cisco recently did another revamp of the entire section (so INEs v5.1 doccd-video is also ood). The good news however is that it seems to be much faster now! 🙂
Here’s some good links i’ve found (which hopefully is reachable during the exam?):
- Master command list (Support > Product Support > Cisco IOS and NX-OS Software > Cisco IOS 15.4M&T > Master Index)
- Command references & Configuration Guides (Support > Product Support > Cisco IOS and NX-OS Software > Cisco IOS 15.4M&T )
Not really sure about which IOS they are actually running nowadays, but the difference between any 15.x version should be very small. Speaking of lab-prep i’ve actually gone all out and ordered myself an US-layout keyboard as well just to get used to the layout and type faster… 🙂
A few more tips regarding lab work, to speed things up going between different labs, on each router I created a “blank.cfg” config with only the bare minimums, ex:
hostname R1 no ip domain lookup alias exec con conf t alias exec sib show ip int brief alias exec srb show run | b alias exec sri show run int line con 0 exec-timeout 0 0 logging synchronous copy run flash:blank.cfg
I then made a small VBS-script that logs in to each router (going by open tabs in SecureCRT) and replacing current config with the blank.cfg, no more reloading!
# $language = "VBScript" # $interface = "1.0" dim nIndex, objCurrentTab For nIndex = 1 to crt.GetTabCount Set objCurrentTab = crt.GetTab(nIndex) objCurrentTab.Activate if objCurrentTab.Session.Connected = True then crt.Sleep 500 objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "end" & vbcr crt.Sleep 500 objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "config replace flash:blank.cfg" & vbcr crt.Sleep 500 objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "y" & vbcr crt.Sleep 500 end if Next
The only caveat is that subinterfaces you’ve created earlier will still be visible as “deleted”, but I haven’t found any other downside.
CSR-R10# sh int desc Interface Status Protocol Description Gi1 up up Gi1.10 deleted down Gi1.108 deleted down Gi2 admin down down Gi3 admin down down
For loading initial configs from ex. INE’s workbook I found a great little script, you only have to select which folder you want to load from and it does the rest. Unfortunately I can’t manage to find the actual author again to give credit.. I’ll update the page when I find it. The only gotcha is that each tab in SecureCRT will have to have the same name as the config files, ex R1 for R1.txt etc. Script looks like this:
# $language = "VBScript" # $interface = "1.0" Option Explicit Dim strPath strPath = SelectFolder( "" ) If strPath = vbNull Then msgbox "Cancelled" Else ' msgbox "Selected Folder: """ & strPath & """" End If dim objFSO, objStartFolder, objFolder, colFiles, objFile, Xcount, nIndex, objCurrentTab Const ForReading = 1 Const ForWriting = 2 For nIndex = 1 to crt.GetTabCount Set objCurrentTab = crt.GetTab(nIndex) objCurrentTab.Activate if objCurrentTab.Session.Connected = True then crt.Sleep 500 objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "!" & vbcr crt.Sleep 500 objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "enable" & vbcr crt.Sleep 500 objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "config t" & vbcr crt.Sleep 500 objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "! " & objCurrentTab.Caption & vbcr crt.Sleep 1000 Dim fso, file, str, filename, char1, char2 Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject") filename = strPath & "\" & objCurrentTab.Caption & ".txt" ' Test if File is Unicode or ASCII Set file = fso.OpenTextFile(filename) char1 =file.read(1) char2 =file.read(1) file.close if asc(char1) = 255 and asc(char2) = 254 then set file = fso.opentextfile(filename,,,true) else set file = fso.opentextfile(filename) end if objCurrentTab.Screen.Send "Opening file: " & filename 'objCurrentTab.Screen.Synchronous = True Do While file.AtEndOfStream <> True str = file.Readline objCurrentTab.Screen.Send str & Chr(13) crt.Sleep 10 Loop 'objCurrentTab.Screen.Synchronous = False end if file.close set fso = Nothing Next Function SelectFolder( myStartFolder ) Dim objFolder, objItem, objShell On Error Resume Next SelectFolder = vbNull Set objShell = CreateObject( "Shell.Application" ) Set objFolder = objShell.BrowseForFolder( 0, "Select Folder", 0, myStartFolder ) If IsObject( objfolder ) Then SelectFolder = objFolder.Self.Path Set objFolder = Nothing Set objshell = Nothing On Error Goto 0 End Function
“Motivation is crap, be driven”
I recommend everyone to watch this podcast with David Goggins & Joe Rogan whenever you’re starting to lose momentum, goosebumps! 🙂