CCIE R&S Studies Start Now!

I am finally starting the journey that is the CCIE R&S. My study plan is for 20 hours a week of study time. That will be broken down to two hours per weekday and ten hours spread throughout the weekend. I will be keeping a spreadsheet that I have nicknamed my “CCIE Time Card” that will be used for record keeping of start/finish time and what was studied on that date.

My study materials will consist of:
CCIE R&S 4th Edition OCG
Routing TCP/IP Volume 1 2nd Edition
Routing TCP/IP Volume 2
IETF and IEEE Docs
Cisco Docs

Videos & Workbooks
IPX Blended Learning Solution

Practice Exam
Boson Ex-Sim Max

My study method will be to read about a topic from multiple sources, watch a video about the topic, lab up the topic, figure out where I am lacking on the topic, reread sections of the topic I feel I am lacking in. I think this will be good to start off but I do realize there will be some modifications as time goes on.

Three quotes I will be keeping handy as the journey goes on:
“Don‚Äôt memorize. Learn it.”
“The CCIE pursuit is a marathon and not a sprint.”
“Be honest to yourself in your assessment of your knowledge about a topic.”

I am hoping to use this blog a lot more in the future for notes, labs, observations from my CCIE studies, so stay tuned!


CCDP Squashed!

Last Friday I pass my CCDP exam on the second take. The first sitting was close to a pass so I knew I just needed to hit the areas I was weak in and come back at it soon after the fail. I used the FLG and most of the RFCs and design guides that are referenced in the FLG. I have to say the design track is definitely not my favorite when it comes to testing but the subject matter is about as interesting as it gets.

I am thinking of taking a month off from studying before picking up on the CCIE Written studies but as it goes for most of us that are addicted to networking, I’ll probably start up my studies in a week or so. ūüôā

I made a quick question to one of my bosses today about if they would pay for training materials from INE or IPX and he said that it wouldn’t hurt to fill out a req and he’ll see what he can do. That news might make my bank account not have a heart attack.

I don’t think they are many materials I really want to get for the CCIE Written outside of the most often recommended books. I am thinking about getting the IPX CCIE Written VoD though. I always like to start out slow with the videos before digging in deep with the books.

We’ll see.

CCDA Notes – WAN

Additions/subtractions needed? Let me know.

WAN Categories

  1. Circuit Switched – created only when needed. i.e. ISDN and dial-up.
  2. Leased Lines – dedicated connection. TDM based.
  3. Packet switched Рshared bandwidth using virtual circuits. i.e. Frame Relay.
  4. Cell Switched – ATM
  5. Broadband –¬†xDSL, Cable, Wireless

Time Division Multiplexing (TDM)

  1.  Multiple channels such as voice, video, and data can be combined
  2. DS1 or T1 provides 24 time slots of 64kbps each and one 8 kbps control time slot

Frame Relay

  1. NBMA
  2. DLCI = L2 addressing
  3. LMI reports VC status.
  4. LMI has 3 types. Cisco, ANSI, Q.933A. Auto tries all three.
  5. Multipoint interfaces require L2-to-L3 address resolution. Done via inverse-ARP or static “frame-relay map”.
  6. Physical interface is multipoint by default. i.e Serial0/1
  7. Static L2-to-L3 mappings override dynamic mappings.
  8. “frame-relay interface-dlci <dlci #>” on point-to-point subifs. LMI does not communicate DLCI number on subifs.


  1. ¬†Enabled automatically when a supported protocol is cfgd. i.e. “ip address”
  2. Requests are sent out all circuits assigned to the interface for all supported protocols.
  3. Requests can be disabled via “no frame-relay inverse-arp”. Replies can not be disabled.
  4. Automatically supports multicast/broadcast via a replicated unicast.


  1. Circuit-based ring topology.
  2. Optical
  3. ATM or Packet Over SONET(POS)
  4. Optical carrier rates. i.e. OC-1 =51.85 Mbps  OC-255=13.21 Gbps

CCDA – Enterprise Composite Model

More notes.

Enterprise Composite Model
1) Still leverages the hierarchical model.
2) Modular:
    a) Enterprise Campus
    b) Enterprise Edge
    c) Enterprise WAN
    d) Enterprise Data Center
    e) Enterprise Branch
    f) Enterprise Teleworker
3) Enterprise Campus consists of:
    a) Campus Core
    b) Building Distribution
    c) Building Access
    d) Edge Distribution
    e) Server Farm / Data Center
4) Enterprise Edge consists of:
    a) E-Commerce
    b) Internet / DMZ
    c) VPN / Remote Access
    d) Enterprise WAN
5) Service Prodvider Edge consists of:
    a) Internet
    b) PSTN
    c) WAN Services
6) Remote modules:
    a) Enterprise Branch Рsite-to-site VPNs
    b) Enterprise Data Center Рhigh speed LAN
    c) Enterprise Teleworker Рremote access VPNs

CCDA Notes – Hierarchical Model

Missing anything? Let me know and I’ll update/correct.

Hierarchical Model
1) Easy to understand
2) Cost savings
3) Modular
4) Easily modified
5) Facilitates summarization
6) Fault isolation

Core Layer
1) Move data as quickly as possible
2) Reliability
3) Redundancy
4) Fault tolerance
5) No filters or other overhead
6) Limited, consistent diameter

Distribution Layer
1) Implement policies
2) Security
3) QoS
4) Redundancy and load balancing
5) Summarization
6) Policy routing
7) Routing between VLANs
8) Redistribution
9) Media translations
10) Define multicast and broadcast domains

Access Layer
1) High availability
2) Port security, ARP inspection, VACLs
3) Broadcast control
4) QoS and trust boundary definition
5) PoE
6) STP

CCDA Notes – Best Practices

Do you agree with the checklist and best practices mentioned below? Do you know any that should be added to these lists. Let me know and I’ll get them added if they are pertinent.

Network Health Checklist
1) Ethernet segments should not have a sustained utilization of 40% or higher.
2) All Ethernet segments should be switched. No shared segments(hub-based).
3) No WAN links should feature a sustained utilization of 70% or higher.
4) WAN response times should be generally less than 100ms.
5) LAN response times should be around 2ms.
6) No segments have more than one CRC error per MB of data.
7) Segments should be no more than 20% multicast/broadcast traffic.
8) Device CPU utilization should not exceed 75% over 5 minute intervals.
9) Output queue drops should not exceed 100 in an hour.
10) Input queue drops should not exceed 50 in an hour.
11) Buffer misses should not exceed 25 in an hour.
12) Ignored packets should not exceed 10 in an hour.

Access Layer Best Practices
1) QoS for performance.
2) Redundancy for availability.
3) Limit VLANs to a single closet.
4) RPVST+ instead of STP or PVST+.
5) DTP set to desirable/desirable. ** I do not agree with this one **
6) VTP transparent mode.
7) Disable trunk mode on access ports.
8) Routing in the access layer.
9) Portfast on edge ports.

Distribution Layer Best Practices
1) Aggregate bandwidth together into EtherChannels.
2) QoS.
3) Security mechanisms.
4) FHRP protocols.
5) Routing.
6) Address summarization.
7) Triangles and not squares for redundancy in and between layers.

Core Layer Best Practices
1) Redundant triangle designs between switches.
2) Fast switching at Layer 2. No routing if possible.
3) Multilayer switches.


This starts my foray into the CCDA. I will try to keep the CCDA notes blog posts to a specific topic per post. If you see any mistakes, missed subject matter, or just wish to berate my note taking skills then feel free to leave a comment.


1) Business objectives. Identify technologies and develop a strategy.
2) Identify customer requirements.
    a) Speak with all managers.
    b) Follow these steps:
     Step 1. Identify network applications and services.
     Step 2. Define organizational goals.
     Step 3. Define organizational constraints.
     Step 4. Define technical goals.
     Step 5. Define technical constraints.

1) Characterize and asses the network to develop a project plan.
2) Information gathering.
    Step 1. Identify and gather all existing documentation.
    Step 2. Audit the network.
    Step 3. Perform traffic analysis.
3) Information to gather:
    a) Device list
    b) Hardware models
    c) Software versions
    d) Configs
    e) Auditing tools output
    f) Interface speeds
    g) Link, cpu, and memory utilization
    h) WAN technologies

1) Top Down Approach
    a) Start with apps and work your way down to the network infrastructure.
    b) Accurately incorporates the business drivers.
    c) Disadvantage is that it is time-consuming.
2) Bottom Up Approach
    a) Based on previous experience.
    b) Allows for quick solutions.
    c) Might make for inappropriate solutions.
    d) Often misses the organizational goals.
3) Pilots and prototypes
    a) Prototype РA subset of a full network. These networks are generally isolated from production network.
    b) Pilot РA live location for testing on the actual network. Allows the discovery of any real issues.
4) A design document generally includes:
    a) Introduction
    b) Design requirements
    c) Existing network infrastructure
    d) Design
    e) PoC
    f) Implementation plan
    g) Appendices

1) Follow the project plan and design document.
2) Each step should include:
    a) Description
    b) Implementation guidelines
    c) Estimated time to complete
    d) Rollback steps
    e) Reference information

1) Network management
2) Network monitoring
3) Routine maintenance
4) Upgrades
5) Performance management
6) Network fault detection and correction

1) Be proactive instead of reactive
2) This may lead back to the Prepare phase and start the process all over.