The most important part of my preparation for the lab was hands-on practice
with routers and switches. I only have one router of my own so I made use of
three other sources:
top (browser backtrack function is probably better)
- A practice lab provided by the local Cisco channel SE
- The local channel SE has made a lab of 7 routers accesible via the Internet
and is allowing people studying for the lab to reserve time with the routers.
He has also made available a set of configuration tasks and a mailing list
for the people preparing for the lab, which he monitors. The lab itself
consists of a 4000, a 3002, a 2503, a 2524, a 2516, two 2502s, a Catalyst 3100,
a 2509, an ISDN switch simulator and a remotely-accessible power-switch.
All of the routers are running IOS 12.x.
The 2509 and the Cat 3100 are not available for configuration but the rest of
the equipment allows for experimenting with a wide range of configurations.
- Cisco's CIMs
- I went to the CIM-TAG at
Networkers Vancouver so I had a chance to look at a beta of the Router
Basics CIM which I found very impressive. I was also lucky enough to win
the LAN Switching CIM and subsequently bought the Expert Labs - IP Routing
CIM. The IP Routing CIM is unlikely to be helpful to someone studying for
the CCIE lab, particularly if they have access to 4 or 5 routers to work with.
On the other hand, I found the LAN switching CIM quite helpful. It gave me a
chance to look at token ring switching and FDDI which I didn't have access
- The CCIE boot camp lab
- I bought the sample labs from cciebootcamp and a couple days of access
to their lab connected to the Internet. The main attraction for me was the
access to ATM equipment and the additional lab scenarios.
A general comment about this list is that I really like books so
I tend to buy and at least browse many of them. I've sorted the list roughly
by how useful I found the books (most to least useful). The only item in this
list that is required reading is the Cisco documentation.
However, I recommend all of these books to a greater or lesser degree.
Obviously, the usefulness of any of these books is going to depend heavily on
one's background. My background is primarily on
the LAN and with smaller networks. Before studying for the lab I had not dealt
with BGP, more complex OSPF (NSSA, virtual links), IS-IS,DECnet, Vines, SRB,
DLSw+, RSRB, ATM.
There is an Cisco recommended reading list with the
suggestions for preparing for the written on CCO.
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- Andrew Bruce Caslow, Cisco Cerification - Bridges, Routes and Switches for
CCIEs, Prentice Hall, 1999.
- I found this book very helpful, particularly the "spot the issue" approach.
The book covers a wide range of topics with some detailed, though not terribly
complex, configurations with good discussion of issues that may be encountered.
I came back to this book just before my lab and after I read the Hutnik
All-in-One book and found that I was a little disappointed with the sample
configs. I was looking at the RSRB/DLSw+ chapters in particular and didn't
find enough detail. One of the books I took with me when I went for the lab
which is saying a fair amount given its size.
- Routing TCP/IP, volume 1,Jeff Doyle,Cisco Press, 1998.
- This is a great book covering IGPs for IP with helpful, clear examples
including diagrams, sample configurations, sample output. Another big book that
I took with me.
- Stephen Hutnik & Michael Satterlee, All-in-One CCIE Lab Study Guide,
McGraw Hill, 2000.
- This is a roughly 1000 page book of heavily commented configurations. Each
chapter starts with a discussion of the feature or protocol, then works through
configurations supporting the feature or protocol. The examples are not
terribly involved but this is a great approach for filling in an understanding
of how to configure features with which one is not familiar. The book came out
just before my lab and I finished reading it on the plane. Another big book I
took with me.
- Thomas M Thomas II,OSPF Network Design Solutions, Cisco Press, 1998.
- As the title suggests this is a book devoted to OSPF. It is helpful both
as an introduction to OSPF and as a reference for some of the finer points. I
read this quite a while before my lab and refered to it a couple of time while
I was studying.
- John W. Stewart III, BGP4 Inter-Domain Routing in the Internet
- A short book covering BGP4. It gives an overview of all(?) the options
with clear examples of why they were defined/implemented. Particularly helpful
for those of us who spend most of our time with IGPs and wonder what BGP is
- Bassam Halabi, Internet Routing Architectures, Cisco Press, 1997.
- Covers BGP4 with particular reference to the Cisco implemenetation. I am
sure that I will be coming back to this when I need to do a BGP4 design and
implementation for a client.
- Cisco documentation from Cisco Press
- Note the following comment from the
preparation notes on CCO:
Familiarity with the structure of the Cisco documentation,
specifically the command reference manuals and the
configuration guides is another important element for CCIE
Lab exam preparation.
There is hard copy documentation available in the lab as well as a documentation
CD on the workstation. It's definitely a good idea to know where to look for
documentation so that you don't burn a bunch of time searching.
- Rossi, CCIEPrep.com Study Guide, Genium Publishing, 1998.
- Most of this book is composed of sample questions for the CCNA, CCNP and
CCIE written exams. However, there is a section that covers sample scenarios
with solutions. I found the troubleshooting section particularly helpful.
- Merilee Ford & H. Kim Lew, Internetworking Technologies Handbook, Ciso
- A concise, well-written overview of most of the technologies that one is
likely to encounter. This is not an in-depth reference but is a helpful thing
- Robert Wright, IP Routing primer, Cisco Press, 1998.
- I realy like this introduction to routing IP. Anyone serious about
completing the CCIE certification should already know the material covered but
it might be worth reading it quickly and then passing it on to a more junior
engineer in your organization. It's not terribly long, roughly 250 pages.
- Roosevelt Giles, Cisco CCIE Study Guide, McGraw Hill, 1998.
- Designed to provide background for the written exam. Not withstanding the
title the approach is vendor neutral. I don't remember any configurations in
the text. To be honest I didn't
read all of it though we used its questions for a study group. I have been
back to it a couple of times as a reference and may try reading chapters for
background on particular technologies. I found some of the material that I did
read quite confusing. In some ways I think that something that tries to cover
such a wide range of materials might be better as several smaller volumes.
top (browser backtrack function is probably better)
- groupstudy web &
- The newsgroup in particular is a helpful resource if you have the time to
deal with the S/N ratio which isn't really that bad but there is plenty of
traffic related to the Career Certifications. Some very accomplished people
participate regularly in news. I haven't subscribed to any of the mailing lists
but they might also be good resources.
- A similar resource to the groupstudy news group but more general in focus.
If you can answer all the questions in the group (correctly) then you have too
much time on your hands and, incidentally, are probably completly prepared for
the lab. I've certainly learned a number of neat tricks from the group.
- CCIE Q&A forum
- This is a great resource though I,at least, need to poke around a little to
find just what I'm looking for. This is partly because I tend to get a little
distracted by the other interesting things I find. As far as I can tell, one
does need a CCO account to access the forum.
- As noted above, you should be completely familiar with the layout of the
documentation. For those with limitless time a great way to study would be to
read the command reference for each section, then design and implement a network
that justifies the use of each of the commands.
Resources that I did not use but might if I needed
to prepare for another attempt.
- Used equipment
- There is a lot of Cisco equipment bought/sold on eBay but the bidding
patterns don't always guarentee that one can buy at a reasonable price. There
seems to be a lot of excitment at the end of auctions that drives the price
too high. However, given sufficient patience one should be able to find just
- See above for a little information on the book based on the material at
this web site. The web site offers a subscription service with access to
material similar to that in the book.
Resources that I may or may not have used but are generally
- Randall Benn's
Cisco in a Nutshell
- This page has gotten a little big for my tastes (most of the web
browsers I use render it quite slowly) but it is a well organized set of links.
As a side note, I attended a stripped down ICRC that Randall taught and was
duely impressed with his knowledge and his pedagogical skills.
- Hollister Associates
Protocol Reference Guides
- These area handy to have for reference. Each one consists of a single
double-sided 8½" x 11" laminated sheet.
(note: They are not designed for learning about protocols.)
Resources that I didn't use for various reasons when I
was studying that I
am using for continuing education or would use to study for another lab:
- Radia Perlman, Interconnections second edition, Addison-Welsley, 2000.
- This is a wonderful book that covers the technical background for routing
and bridging (switching) by the designer of spanning tree.
- Christian Huitema, Routing in the Internet, Prentice Hall, 1995.
- I started reading this before I started studying seriously and didn't finish
it. I don't think that I really had enough background to appreciate it. It is
now on my stack of current reading.
- Howard C. Berkowitz, Designing Addressing Architectures for Routing and
Switching, Macmillan, 1999
- This is also on my current reading pile. I picked it up after I was at a
presentation by Howard. I had already purchased the book but Howard's
contributions to the groupstudy news group confirm that he has a broad technical
background and is good at communicating his experience.
- John T. Moy, OSPF Anatomy of an Internet Routing Protocol, Addison-Wesley,
- The author of this book is also the author of the OSPF RFCs. The book is
vendor neutral and focused completly on OSPF (and MOSPF) so if you can have
only one book and Cisco is the only platform you need to support you will
probably be better off with Tom Thomas' Cisco Press book referenced above.
- Network Design and Case Studies, Cisco Press, 1998.
- I bought this before I was seriously studying for the lab. It is a
collection of material quite similar to the general discussions in the
documentation series though in greater depth. There is a second edition of this
book as of 22-Oct-1999.