Just thought i`d give a bit back to this forum after only taking from it the past few years. Passed my SP a few weeks back in Sydney after about 6 months of on/off prep. Had real motivation issues at certain times for this one. OEQ`s really werent too bad. I was expecting some really corner case questions from what people were saying on the forums. In my case i would say if your ready for the SP lab and have decent ISP experience you should be alright. I will say however that 2 of them were ambigious though and needed clarification from the proctor. They were generally Core questions though with 1 possibly being borderline Core technology.
The Lab portion was fair aswell. However you need to be pretty precice with your configuration to finish on time. I ran out of time before rechecking all my solutions at the end and i left out 2 questions which were too risky to attempt late in the day and in all honesty wasnt 100% sure how to get working with the restrictions. I also usually double verify all my configs and workings once ive finished a section, and do it again if 1 solution could possibly affect another ive already checked. So that slowed me down.
Apart from all the recommended books and CCO studying workbook wise i used IPE vol 1,2. The new updates for these are good. I also used IE vol 1,2 and the COD but only focused on the 1st 5 vol2 labs. The mini SP scenarios online are also a MUST and not all the blueprint is in the current workbooks so you cannot rely on them only.
Julian RS|SP #22873
SP Lab Failed – Brussels 30/04/10
I’ve been using IE since 2008 but haven’t posted anything until now – maybe I can offer some advice as I see it about the SP lab. First, a little background – I passed R&S first time round in Brussels in October 2008, actually found it fairly easy. Had a break of about a year before starting on SP, and spent 3 or 4 months doing lab prep with IE and IPE. I have a fair amount of real-world experience too so wasn’t having to learn it all from scratch. I was expecting the SP lab to be similiar in style to R&S – I was in for a rude shock.
OEQs – nothing to worry about, all very straightforward, nothing wacky, all core topics and stuff you’ll know if you’ve done a reasonable amount of reading and have decent practical experience.
Then onto the lab itself, and man, it is intense. I read through it, and wasn’t fazed – there didn’t seem to be anything major that I hadn’t seen before, and I felt confident. But there is a lot more to each task than I had bargained for (probably because you don’t have to configure so many of the basics – see later), and so you can’t afford mistakes since you just don’t have the time – I made a couple of early mistakes and was behind schedule early on, which led me to skimp on documentation.. which ultimately led to more mistakes.. downward spiral from then and suddenly it’s 3.30 and I’m not even halfway through.
Documentation is more than crucial in this lab I think, and you need to be meticulous.
Quite a bit is pre-configured – when you do practice labs, you get used to building it all from the ground up, so by the time you come to the more advanced topics, you’ve learnt the topology and where everything is because you’ve made it that way yourself. And you develop your diagram(s) (I’ve always done just one with everything on it in different colours) as you go along.
That approach is no good I think – next time I will do a new diagram before each section – especially the BGP topology and where all the VPNs are with RDs/RTs – this is harder to get a grip of when a lot of it already exists.
I will do it again – ASAP. I don’t think I need to learn very much more than I already know, just a bit more practise on inter-AS VPN so I can do that faster (but again, proper diagramming would have helped).
For me, it’s one of those exams you have to know how to approach – I had a bad day and will nail it next time.
– Nick W
CCIE #22401 (R&S)
I failed in my first CCIE-SP attempt on 13th April 2010
It started very well, as I did well in OEQ, but as soon as I started my VPN section….Ahh here started the trouble…. I cound not ping between sites… I made an instant strategy that I will troubleshoot the VPN issue later on and try to attempt all the lab config first… But later on when I started to troubleshoot this.. I fell short of time, the control plane was working, as I could see the routes in VRF table…but ping did not go through.. data plane issue 😦 I could also see that EIGRP and OSPF are playing with me..but before I could do any thing more to correct that.. it was TIME UP.
So lesson learnt is that……you can skip troubleshooting some of the section in Lab but definitely never Skip the VPN portion…It must work before you go on and try to configure the next items.
I gave the lab in Bangalore…… Proctor was well responsive… My lab had lot of troubleshooting and even the pre-config was a mess.. I had to re-do lot of things…thats what Proctor had warned that the rack may not be fully configured correctly as per the lab scenario…. Anyway.. Better luck next time for me…..
My advise to all…. Practice as much as you can by making various scenario…..in Core IGP.. ISIS/OSPF both… as well as try to prcatice all supported PE-CE protocols (VPN IGP).
Bad initial configs for CCIE SP Lab? (Failed)
INE friends, lend me your ear (ok, eyes actually). I just took the CCIE SP Lab in RTP on 4-13-10. I passed OEQ, but failed the lab portion. However, I believe the lab portion was misconfigued with the wrong initial configs. This is my second attempt, and the layer 2 problems I experienced in this lab were off the charts. I did not experience anything like this in my first lab. IF YOU HAVE TAKEN THE SP LAB RECENTLY, PLEASE READ THIS AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS. Did you experience layer two problems of this sort? I have already opened a case with Cisco and shared this information. This shouldn’t be breaking anything in NDA, since it is much too vague to be of any help on the actual exam. (if it is, moderator can delete the post and I apologize.)
The proctor in RTP is new… Howard is gone. So, I suspect an honest mistake… but one that cost $1,400 + time and travel expenses.
———– Beginning of Details I sent to Cisco in the case ————–
I believe my CCIE SP lab in RTP on 4-13-2010 was misconfigured from the outset. Here are the problems I experienced.
1. There were multiple occurrences of overlapping IP address space on interfaces. For instance, a task would require me to add an interface to a VRF or redistribute a network on an interface into a protocol. However, the interface didn’t exist (see item 2). When I went to configure the interface, sometimes I got a warning stating the IP address range overlapped with interface x. If that happened, I would then have to remove the IP information from interface x and shut it down or delete it, then build the new interface.
2. Several loopback1, loopback2 or dot1q interfaces did not exist. Many misconfiured dot1q interfaces existed. After a while I began to think that these interfaces were configured to work with another lab exam. This is what it appeared to be, but I didn’t consider this until some time into the last half of the exam.
3. About half or more of the required vlans were not configured on sw1 and sw2 (sw1 was the VTP server, so configuring them on sw1 propagated them to sw2.)
4. The trunking configurations for most interfaces on sw1 and sw2 were not configured according to the connectivity diagram and initial configurations documentation. Many trunk interfaces were configured for switchport access mode with access VLAN numbers configured. This was much different than the initial configuration documentation stated.
5. The connectivity diagram showed the wrong interface for R6 to BB2. The correct interface was E0/0 on R6. I think the diagram said FA0/1, which did not exist in R6. However, Fa1/0 did exist. The proctor stated the correct interface was Fa1/0 and that this was an error they know about in the diagram. But Fa1/0 wasn’t the correct interface to BB2. I had to use CDP to discover the correct interface, which was E0/0. I then had to build the dot1q interface (again, see item 2). Of course, it later occurred to me that this very well may be a result of initial misconfigurations for my lab.
I experienced an unusual and excessive amount of layer 2 switch problems in the LAB. In my previous attempt for CCIE SP, I recall that none of these layer 2 problems existed… except the ones pertaining to the section 1 tasks. I did not realize what was happening until the end of the lab. And I now firmly believe that the wrong initial configurations were placed on my lab equipment.
In discussing this with the proctor at the end of the lab exam, she seemed surprised at all of the bad configurations affecting layer 2 connectivity and which clearly were not in accordance to the lab connectivity diagrams. However, she stated that there was nothing she could do at that point and that I should have brought the problem to her at the beginning of the exam so she could take a look and remedy it. (besides, she was eager to leave!) Frankly, while this is good advice, I feel that this is not sufficient recompense for this major problem. The onus for correct initial configurations is on the proctor, not the test taker that is paying $1,400!
It is my strong opinion that Cisco should provide a voucher for another attempt as the CCIE SP lab exam.
Thanks and kind regards,
———– End of Details I sent to Cisco in the case ————–
Failed SP Lab on First Attempt
Without breaking NDA I figured I’d share my experience at my first attempt at the SP lab. I passed my R&S on my first attempt back in 2008 before the OEQ’s, so this was my first crack at the OEQ’s. I took the lab last Thursday in RTP.
Preparing for the lab I read a ton of books and here are some but not all:
Routing TCP/IP Volume I, 2nd Edition
Routing TCP/IP Volume II
Traffic Engineering with MPLS by Eric Osborne/Ajay Simha
MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software by Lancy Lobo/Umesh Lakshman
Layer 2 VPN Architectures by Wei Luo/Carlos Pignataro
Advanced MPLS Design and Implementation by Vivek Alwayn
MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume II by Jim Guichard/Ivan Pepelnjak/Jeff Apcar
I went through the blueprint for the SP Lab and sharpened up as much as I could on the topics I thought I wasn’t up to speed on. I read through a bunch of CCO documents and read through a bunch of FAQ’s from Cisco’s site on topics from the blueprint.
I’m glad I read all of that…
I understand why Cisco is doing the OEQ’s, but I still think theory should stay up on the written test. However, it is only 4 questions and if you know enough to pass the lab you should know enough to answer the OEQs. Just as Cisco states, I didn’t need any more than 4 or 5 words to answer. Some of them were even less actually. I was sure on 2 of the 4 questions and ‘iffy’ on one of the others. The 4th question I knew I didn’t have a clue. As soon as I submitted the OEQs and started the lab, I realized I missed that ‘iffy’ question on the OEQs. I was like “NOOOOOOOooooo” when I realized it. It’s rather tough to go through the lab portion knowing you already failed the whole thing, but you have to strive on to at least get experience in the lab part to test your knowledge and see where your weaknesses really are.
I worked on the lab portion all the way up to the 5 minute warning at the finish. I struggled on a few sections where I couldn’t get the completed bullet items finished. I had one section where I could ping between two devices when they were normally connected, but when I put one side into a VRF, they wouldn’t ping. I worked on that for 2 hours which killed my time I think. When the 5 minute ending warning came, I was more confident in the lab as I had most of those sections working. On my score report I had many sections at 100% and I had enough points on the lab to pass if I only had passed the OEQs. I wish they scored the OEQs as they did the lab portion. It’s either 0% or 100%. I’m not sure if I got 2 questions wrong or more. Maybe I don’t want to know because if I failed by just ONE OEQ question I’ll be upset.
The overall experience was good. Howard the old proctor has been replaced as you know and everything ran smoothly. They once again opened the seating again for scheduling now that the new proctor is up to speed. I will be reviewing my notes and probably heading back down to RTP in a month or so.
Jim Grohol, CCIE #21254 R&S