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Archive for the ‘BLS – Volume I’ Category

SP Written and Lab booked

Posted by Jo on September 4, 2009

I decided to bring my written date forward, so instead of doing it on the 5th of September, I instead did it on Tuesday the 1st. I was fortunate enough that I am between projects at work at the moment, so had time to study extra for it and thankfully I passed. It had been a while since I did a CCIE written exam (my R&S was back in July 2007), and they have changed the format slightly. You can no longer mark questions for review so once they are answered they stay answered so you have to be sure before moving onto the next question etc.

Anyway, now the true lab prep begins. I had a look on the CCIE Lab scheduling site for potential dates and its fair to say there are not enough SP seats to go around. My first preference was to take the lab in Brussels again, but there are no dates available until March 2009 which was a bit too far out. The SP lab is not available in Dubai, which would have been perfect to get to from Doha, but was not to be. I decided to get a date in Sydney, as I could then combine this with a holiday with my wife. We have some friends over there who it would be nice to go and visit, so it made sense really. The only issue is the 20 hours of travel time to get there, so I am making sure that we arrive in plenty of time to acclimatise and adapt to the time difference. I will however keep my eyes open for a slot to open up in Brussels in early January or late December, just in case.

I scheduled the lab for February 24th 2010, which gives me until November 25th to make payment and confirm. By this time I should be able to make a decision on my progress made and if I need to get the credit card out. I am not sure if there is a blueprint update planned by Cisco for the SP track (I am sure now I have jinxed it and there will be), but this date puts me inside of a 6 month window if they were to announce anything sooner rather than later. I guess the next step will be to include the Short Answer Questions, and when these were introduced to the other tracks they didnt give 6 months notice, but thats something I am going to be prepared to face anyway.

So in terms of prep now I am cracking on with the IPexpert Volume 1 labs. I have been tinkering with these in my Dynamips setup and have not come across any problems yet. I will aim to go through these a couple of times before the end of October, then crack on with the Volume 2 multi protocol labs from November onwards, which should give me a good indication of readyness as these are a set of evil labs I hear! Maybe Rick will add a few more labs to these over the coming months to compliment them.

Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Blog, ipexpert, Lab Schedule, SP | 3 Comments »

Now doing SP

Posted by Jo on August 7, 2009

Its official, I have put my voice studies on hold and switched over to the SP track. Its a shame to put the work I have done so far for the voice written to the side, but feel I am making the right choice – this just seems a whole lot more logical as there is a lot of overlap with the R&S.

I have not booked the SP written exam yet, but am hopefully going to go for it in the first couple of weeks of September. I have made a start in my reading list, I have MPLS Fundamentals here with me, and while I have read it before in sections, am reading it again from cover to cover – taking notes. I am making good progress, and am onto to Chapter 7 that covers MPLS VPN. My previous job was based on an MPLS VPN network, so Im pretty comfortable with the concepts and configurations with all thats been in the book so far.

I have made the choice to go for the IPexpert SP workbook Volumes 1 and 2, and have started doing some labs from Volume 1 to get back into the swing of things. I have the topologies set up in Dynamips, so its easy to do a couple of hours worth of labbing anytime I choose. I missed my Dynamips labbing days from the R&S. I know it has its quirks, but I am able to work around these and run the topologies fully loaded on my MacBook Pro running at 30-40% utilisation.

I will post a schedule on here for my planned labs, and am also hoping to write some techincal articles along the way as I go through them. I am going to try and go for the lab before the end of 2009, hopefully in or around the November/December timeframe. Its a shame that there isnt an SP lab at Cisco in Dubai at the moment, as that would have been very convieneient, but I will worry about that when I am done with the written and can book a lab date.

Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Blog, Dynamips, ip expert, ipexpert, Lab Schedule, SP | Leave a Comment »

Voice Written

Posted by Jo on May 31, 2009

OK now Im getting serious about the whole CCIE Voice idea. I have just purchased the ccbootcamp CCIE Voice Written Study Guide and am planning to attempt the written exam sometime in August. This guide was recommended to me by Brandon, James and Jeff on Twitter as a good base to get prepared for the exam. I have also silently in the background been getting up to speed on the CCVP level topics by going through the CBT Nuggets for this course, and have just recently been heavily involved with a UC/IPCC project at work, so feel Im pretty much there with the basics. In addition to the ccbootcamp material James also recommended checking out the Cisco Press Voice Exam Quick Reference Sheets which I intend to do. Its a shame that there isnt a Cisco Press book that deals with the Voice Written exam in the same way there is one for the R&S side of things, but these resources should be plenty to get the required knowledge – I hope.

In the meantime, while I am studying for the written IPexpert will keep updating their workbook for the v3 blueprint, I will also be doing the Volume I labs that they have released so far, as I will soon be moving out of my apartment in Doha into new accommodation where I will have my own dedicated ADSL connection, so no more blocked ports stopping me from VPN’ing to the Proctor Labs equipment and getting my lab on.

Posted in BLS - Volume I, ccbootcamp, CCIE Materials, CCIE Prep, ipexpert, voice | 2 Comments »

Voice 3.0 Material

Posted by Jo on February 4, 2009


IPexpert have released the first batch of Volume I labs to cover the 3.0 blueprint. The new IPexpert / Proctor Labs 3.0 vRack topology is shown above.

The new Volume 1 updates are as follows:

  • Volume 1, Section 1A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement Campus Infrastructure and Services”
  • Volume 1, Section 1B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot Campus Infrastructure and Services”
  • Volume 1, Section 2A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement CUCM Endpoints
  • Volume 1, Section 2B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot CUCM Endpoints”
  • Volume 1, Section 3A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement CUCME Endpoints
  • Volume 1, Section 3B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot CUCME Endpoints”

They have also updated the Proctor Labs booking site so when booking a session it prompts you for what version of the hardware you would like to use and also the ability to load/save configs. I have yet to book a session as I am still preparing for my move this Friday, but hopefully I will get some time to have a look more closely at the new content and features in the next couple of weeks or so. One thing I do see is that there are more SIP devices (the labels on the EzVPN part of the diagram above are now correct and there are  SIP phone for the HQ and BR2 sites that run over the EzVPN tunnel – full list below).


BR1-Ph1 (SIP)

BR2-Ph1 (SCCP)
BR2-Ph2 (SIP)

HQ-Ph2 (SIP)
BR1-Ph2 (SCCP)
BR2-Ph3 (SCCP)
BR2-Ph4 (SIP)

I am looking forward to checking out CUCM 7.0 to see how it differs from 4.1 as well as all the other ‘new’ features that 3.0 will bring to the table.

Mark @ IPexpert has just added a new blog entry covering the new content and changes – head on over here

Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | 1 Comment »

Voice BLS Volume I – Initial Session

Posted by Jo on November 1, 2008

Today I had a Proctor Labs session, which I wanted to use to get a feel of the environment. I have an 877W router at home, so opted to use the hardware EZVPN option to connect to the rack. The EZVPN config was fairly straight forward to get going, and it worked first time – which was good! Here is the basic config that I used – I added the [POD] bits as these are variables that change depending what POD number you are using at the time, so a quick search and replace should speed up the config.

crypto isakmp key ******** address

crypto ipsec client ezvpn IPx-Pod[POD]
connect manual
group vpodg[POD] key *********
mode client
xauth userid mode http-intercept

int dialer 1
crypto ipsec client ezvpn IPx-[POD]

int bvi 1
crypto ipsec client ezvpn IPx-[POD] inside

ip dhcp pool HOME-DHCP
option 150 ip 10.[POD].200.21

! Add outside ACL Entries – CBAC lets everything else initiated from inside back in
permit udp any any eq bootpc
permit esp host any
permit udp host any eq isakmp
permit udp host any eq non500-isakmp
permit icmp any echo

I have a couple of IP phones (7940 and 7960) that I bought a couple of years ago when I was playing around with Asterisk. What I forgot was that I loaded these phones with the SIP image to use them with Asterisk, so I will need to convert them back over to a recent version of SCCP. Hopefully I can do this in the next week or so.

The IPexpert vRack topology looks like this:

The aim of this session was to complete Section 1 and 2 of Volume I, which covered the basics of setting up the L2/L3 and CallManager infrastructure. I got a bit stuck playing around with the IP Blue soft phone, as it didnt like running in my Windows VM. I did get it going on my native XP laptop and got the PSTN phone working. Proctor Labs provide clear videos that show you how to set up multiple soft phones which was very helpful. I got all the L2/L3 interfaces configured and set up the DHCP scopes for HQ/BR1 on the UCM server and for BR2 on the BR2 router – standard stuff really. I got the phones registered with the CM server, but thats when I called it a day.

I didnt complete all I wanted to, but now that I have an understanding of the basic steps needed to set up the environment, will be able to make better progress next time. I think for now I will use the IP Blue soft phone, but will also look to get another two 7960’s and an ATA 186, so I can have all of the hardware local to me.

If anyone has any Voice kit for sale (7960’s) then please get in touch 😉

Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Blog, ip expert, voice | 2 Comments »