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SP Written Reading List and Update

Posted by Jo on August 27, 2009

Ive been doing some good study for the written exam spent reading though a stack of books. I think that I am still a couple of weeks out from taking the exam, and havent booked it yet. Ive been fortunate that this past week I am in between projects at work so have had some time to put the hours in I have read through the following.

MPLS Fundamentals

MPLS Enabled Applications

Routing TCP/IP Volume I – IS-IS, OSPF, EIGRP

Routing TCP/IP Volume II – BGP and Multicast

I am also hoping that my copies of MPLS and VPN Architectures Volume I and II will be waiting for me when I go back to the UK towards the end September. This will probably be too late for my attempt at the written exam, but no doubt will be useful for the lab part of the exam.

There are also a couple of RFC’s that I have read through, but I find these quite difficult to digest, so need to go over these again. I got the IPexpert Volume I and II SP workbooks, so have been through a few of the Volume I labs that cover the basics. These labs cover a range of basic technologies, so I havent been focusing too much on them for the written,  but it has allowed me to get Dynamips set up on my Mac to get to grips with the different technologies. I also have some Proctor Labs SP vRack vouchers waiting for when I need them.

So I am probably going to go for the exam on the 5th September if I feel I am making good progress over the next week. I have more study time available, so should be able to put in a good 3-4 hours a day until that point.

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Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials, CCIE Prep, Dynamips, ipexpert, SP, written | Leave a Comment »

Thinking of switching to SP

Posted by Jo on July 31, 2009

As regular visitors will know, I have been preparing for the written exam for over the past month or so. I have been making decent enough progress going through the CCBootcamp Voice Written Study Guide and also trawling through the Voice SRND’s and information on the Cisco documentation site. I was aiming to take the exam in a few weeks time, but am now having second thoughts about it.

While I have been studying for the written I started off putting in 2-3 hours a night of reading, this has now dropped off to 2-3 hours one or twice a week as I feel I have learned as much as I can. I am also finding myself getting bored of the content, maybe this is a sign that I am ready to take the exam. I am also thinking about the practical side of things, and while I do have a stack of Proctor Labs vRack vouchers, I just dont have the time to schedule in full 8 hour sessions after work and at the weekends to go through the workbooks. I also miss the CLI – I know that voice has a great deal of CLI configuration involved, but thats a way off down the line for where I am in my prep.

So, what does all this mean? Well, I may put the voice studies on hold for a while (I still want to do it), and look at SP instead. Since I passed the R&S I feel that I have zoned out a little on the more complex technologies and routing protocols that I dont work with on a day to day basis, such as BGP and VRF’s etc. Of course SP will have its own challenges, but I think that I am more suited to it at present and should be able to make good progress. I will also be able to do a lot of the workbooks on Dynamips, which appeals greatly to me – I will be able to do shorter sessions of 2-4 hours and then longer ones when required – plus I get to go deeper and build on my R&S knowledge.

Jared wrote a good post on the IPexpert blog about doing SP after R&S which makes sense to me. Im hoping that there isnt a major change in the next 6 months or so, but something tells me there may be seeing as Cisco are making changes to all the other tracks, so I will see how I get on.

I have not yet decided on the workbooks to use, but Rick recommends the INE Volume I and II, and also the IPexpert Volume II labs. I will decide on this once I get done with the written exam.

Posted in CCIE LAB, CCIE Materials, SP, written | 2 Comments »

CCIE-V: Short Answer Questions

Posted by Jo on June 17, 2009

Cisco have announced that the short answer questions will be coming to the Voice lab on July 16th 2009, and I expect they will be added to all tracks which can only be a good thing. I know that some people dont like these, but anything that adds an extra dimension to the certification is OK by me. I think that Cisco is on the right track with all of the recent changes announced to the lab exam blueprints for R&S, Security and Voice.

https://cisco.hosted.jivesoftware.com/community/certifications/ccie_voice/lab_exam?view=overview

CCIE Voice Lab Exam Adding Short Answer Questions:

Also effective July 16, 2009, the Cisco CCIE Voice Lab Exam will feature a new type of question format in a section called Core Knowledge.  In this new section, candidates will be asked a series of four open-ended questions that require a short, typewritten response (typically several words).  The questions will be randomly drawn from a pool of questions on topics currently eligible for testing on the CCIE Voice Lab Exam.  No new topics are being added.  Candidates will have up to 30 minutes to complete the Core Knowledge section of the exam, and may not return to the questions later.  First introduced to the CCIE Routing and Switching lab exam in February 2009, Core Knowledge questions will eventually be added to all CCIE tracks.  The changes allow Cisco to maintain strong exam security, and they help ensure that only qualified candidates are awarded CCIE certification.

Mark at IPexpert has announced on OSL that they will be releasing a version of their flash based question simulation engine, so I am looking forward to checking it out. Im assuming they will follow the same pricing model for the R&S version on this – FREE!

I am currently making steady progress through the ccbootcamp study guide for the written, and will be following up soon with a breakdown of my progress so far. Im still on track to attempt the written exam in August.

Posted in ccbootcamp, CCIE LAB, CCIE Materials, CCIE Prep, ip expert, ipexpert, voice, written | 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 »

Wow! Proctor Labs Voice vRack Enhancements

Posted by Jo on May 13, 2009

If you havent seen it already head over to the IPexpert blog and check out the latest news on the Proctor Labs voice vRack enhancements.

They have added some great new features, I am really ready to get stuck into my voice studies now – I must admit I was losing focus recently due to outside pressures, but  now I am beginning to miss the CCIE study mode and cant wait to get going again… Im even tempted to go for the great deals they have on the Voice vClass – but have to check the times and dates out.

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | Leave a Comment »

Voice 3.0 Material

Posted by Jo on February 4, 2009

ipx-top-3_01

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).

HQ
HQ-Ph1 (SCCP)

BR1
BR1-Ph1 (SIP)

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

EzVPN
PSTN-Ph (SCCP)
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 »

Thoughts on CCIE Voice 3.0

Posted by Jo on December 21, 2008

We have now all had time to reflect on the new Voice 3.0 blueprint and I have to say that I am pleased that they have announced them! As a relative new comer to the Voice track I must admit that I was not looking forward to learning about the older versions of CallManager and Unity as well as the CatOS and 6608 specific tasks (especially QoS on CatOS).

So what do the new announcements give us…well no more CatOS, which in itself is a bonus and also they have upgraded the software to more recent versions. Doing away with the 6500 platform, VG248, ATA, Fax, Unity means that these areas are no longer relevant so no need to focus on these any more.

Mark Snow over at IPexpert has put together a great post on the blog detailing what the major differences will be on the new exam, and what topics will be useful to study in the current BLS workbooks, I suggest if you are not planning on taking the Voice Lab before mid-July 2009 then you hop on over and check it out. They will be updating their labs and videos and releasing them as they are ready, so I will be looking forward to these, but in the meantime the current workbooks can still be used as they cover 70% of the material. Sure, some of the UI elements will change but the concepts will remain the same.

So what does this all mean for me? Well, I have not been studying over the past month or so and have basically stopped for the year now. Things were a little manic at work and also coming up to Christmas meant there was no time. Now I know what the changes are I will set about working out a schedule that starts early in 2009 to get cracking again working towards the 3.0 blueprint. The changes have given me a new lease of enthusiasm and hopefully I can work though the BLS workbooks using the current material and when IPexpert update them use the new material.

The ‘killer app’ of the BLS for me is the video walk throughs on the Volume III labs, but I guess these will take time to produce based on the new blueprint. Im setting myself a target of attempting the lab by the end of 2009 or early 2010, by which time I expect the training materials to be fully updated.

This will probably be my last post of the year, so wish everyone a Happy Christmas and also a Great New Year when the time comes.

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | 1 Comment »

IPexpert Bargains!

Posted by Jo on December 12, 2008

It had to happen, the day that I dont feverishly check the IPexpert blog for updates, they go and post about some crazy bargains in the pipeline for their readers. Maybe I will now set up an RSS feed for it! 😉

I suggest you head over to the IPexpert blog for more info, and sign up on the different social networks they participate in to be in with a chance of some great deals.

I am back from my holidays now, so will be posting some more on the Voice Lab changes over the weekend hopefully.

Posted in CCIE Materials, ip expert | Leave a Comment »

Voice starts now…

Posted by Jo on October 28, 2008

I bought the IPexpert BLS Voice package yesterday, with a view to make a start on my CCIE Voice studies. I brought my schedule forward a little as IPexpert have an offer running until the end of October where they give a 50% discount on the full purchase price – which considering the poor £/$ exchange rate at the moment I wanted to buy it while they had the discount in place.

I am waiting for the HD to arrive in the next week or so, but have access to the eBooks from the site and I have also downloaded the Audio files of the VoD and had a listen to the first couple on the train this morning. Its going to be a bit of a learning curve for me, as I dont really have years of voice experience, but have dabbled with some CME/CUE installs in the past, so at least have a little bit of knowledge.

I do not have a schedule for attempting the lab as yet, but I would think that it will be between 6 – 12 months away from now. Of course there may be an announcement of some changes to the Lab in the new year, which could throw a spanner in the works, but hopefully new material will be added to the BLS by Mark and Vik in plenty of time.

I will be taking it easy working through the Volume I labs initially over the next couple of months to get a feel of the Proctor Labs environment. I also have a couple of other resources that go over the CCVP level topics, which is realistically where I will need to be once I get into the Volume II and Volume III labs.

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE LAB, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | 2 Comments »

Nice Blog(s)

Posted by Jo on October 27, 2008

I came across this blog over the weekend. Im sure Ive seen it before, but spent a bit of time checking it out in more detail recently. There are some really good articles on it for the aspiring CCIE and network engineers out there. Good job Jeremy – its refreshing to see a personal blog out there with some really nice technical articles.

Check out PacketLife

IPexpert also launched their new blog over at ipexpert.ccieblog.com which will hopefully have some good insights on the goings on with them. Im looking forward to reading what they have to say on the whole Cisco CCIE 360 subject. I am also looking forward to what IE have to announce at some stage this week. Could they be offering the 360 program in some form?

Other bloggers out there have added their pages to the CCIE>Blog site so its a good one stop shop to see whats happening out in CCIE blog land. I also find myself checking out the CCIE Universe index that Lessaid has put up to see whats new.

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials | Leave a Comment »