CCIE RS Lab blog – Week 34 – Last Lab Blog Post

I am going to make this my last blog post for my lab prep and put all focus into labbing. I may still journal what I worked on, but will not hold myself to posting once a week anymore. As I run across technologies that I struggle with I may write up / youtube the topic still to try and understand them better.

Hours studied – 17.5


I worked on CA22. I did not complete the lab, but got a big chunk of the main routing completed. I skipped the IPv6, multicast and EEM scripting subsections. I also have route manipulation to figure out, but wanted to be able to focus on how to get the right answer.

I started with my strategy for the lab on how to keep track of what I’ve done and what still needs to be completed.


The day got away from me and I never got to study


I finished up CA22, for the IPv6, multicast, some GRE and EEM scripting. Everything was fairly easy. The EEM scripting has always gotten me, but what was asked was fairly straightforward. I need to practice some more of them to be more comfortable with them.

To try and get some more studying in I loaded up a troubleshooting lab, TA10. I am still not a fan of how these troubleshooting labs are written. They are confusing in the ask and don’t describe or show a problem very well.

I finished up by reviewing the pre-assessment grade from Saturday to see what else I need to work on.

Wednesday – Friday

Very light studying, not much of note


I did a graded 360 assessment lab which included a troubleshoot and configuration. The troubleshooting I was able to pass with the minimum score, there was 1 thing that tripped me up, NAT. The other question wrong was because I typoed.

The configuration was also a pass, but barely. I haven’t had a chance to go through what I got wrong in detail, but at a high level it was my sub-par subnetting math again.


Normally I don’t post 2 sundays, but this is my last post so I can put all focus into studying.

I did INE Mock Lab 1 and was not happy with how much I needed to look up. I need to continue to keep doing infra services. I also need to stop over complicating my MPLS import/export targets as I over engineered it.

The switching tasks were ok, needed to play with the spanning-tree priorities a bit to get the right result. The routing also was fairly straight forward, there was just some caveats to watch out for and remembering some of the nuances with redistributing into BGP. I did have to undo some configuration as I didn’t read ahead.

I am going to alternate between INE and 360 labs as the 360 labs are light on the infra security and services sections and the INE labs makeup for that.

Podcast – Conf t with your SE

A few of my friends and fellow SE’s have started a podcast that I’ve already found to be informative and easy to listen to. Give it a listen and subscribe if you like the direction or leave a comment below and I’ll make sure the feedback gets to them.

I listen to podcasts using the native iPhone podcast app, here’s the link below:

They do have this published to other podcast feeds if apple isn’t your thing

CCIE RS Lab blog – Week 33

Hours Studied – 12, little short of what I was hoping


I started off with flash cards again early in the morning. For labbing, I started a little later than I wanted, but worked on CA22. The start of this was very similar to CA21. The L2 was easy to work through. The L3 was very confusing as there was a lot of back and forth and additions of multiple VRF’s. After about 3 hours I lost focus and decided to call it a day. I believe the lack of focus came from the poor nights sleep.

While reflecting on how I was doing I remembered that I am not following the strategy I would do in the actual lab. For the next coming labs I will be implementing the practical lab techniques I would like to perfect.

With a fresh head I am going to revisit this lab as it was more challenging and I’d like to be able to dissect what is being asked and when.


Monday was my first day back to work and boy were there a lot of emails to get through….

I am back to my normal labbing time at night. An afternoon coffee didn’t seem to help keep me awake to get more than 1.5 hours of labbing in before I couldn’t focus anymore.

I worked on CA20 and it was getting very specific in what it wanted for OSPF which showed a lot of gaps that I had in some of the nuances of this protocol that I want to explore further.

I saved all my configurations and plan to load it up before work on Tuesday to see if some sleep will help.


I tried doing some labbing in the morning continuing with CA20. I wasn’t able to get very far due to other things coming up.


Same as Tuesday… Re-evaluated what’s possible for during the week. I’ll be doing smaller pointed labs.


I got into the office early and worked on TA05. This lab was, meh. Not all that challenging and the solutions given go against what I’ve been taught. I’ve been on the assumption of never remove config and that was the 360 solution multiple times.


I only had time for flashcards


I worked on my first graded lab, pre-assessment on Cisco 360. This lab was fairly straight forward in what it was asking. There was only 1 part that stumped me and I ended up just ignoring the restriction and at least getting connectivity.

The grade came back and I got a 73/100, 80 was considered passing. I am happy with this score and after going through where I missed, there were a couple of typos (5 instead of a 6), the redistribution thing I did on purpose and then some messed up math on subnetting.

Nothing was over surprising on what I screwed up on and where I need to focus my attention to. Since this assessment didn’t take as long as I expected I loaded up an INE troubleshooting lab which went ok.

CCIE RS Lab blog – week 32

Hour studied – 20


This was a light day by doing some flashcards

I was also informed of a free source on Coursera called Learning how to Learn. I started going through this 4 week course and immediately learned some useful tips on how to study more effectively.

The 4 most useful tips I picked up from the week 1 material was

  1. Pomodoro – a way to get over procrastination by doing 25 minute focused study with 5 minute breaks (rewards)
  2. Spaced repetition – I knew about this one and have been using this for awhile. The concept of working on 1 thing and then returning to it after a period of time. Anki flashcards are based on this concept.
  3. Chunking – This is a week 2 thing, but was briefly introduced. Idea around it is our brains can only do intake about 4 things in working memory. More to come on this
  4. Exercise – This was new for me and in turn has made the final decision on getting a treadmill for the house (my wife also wanted one).
  5. I know I said 4 things, but the 5th and also as important as exercise, is sleep. Sleep allows the brain the get flushed out and gives time for brain to make better connections


I started off with CA08 and was able to complete it in roughly 4 hours without having to look up anything other than NAT. I’m starting to find a groove again with the labbing and seeing where I struggle. I knew NAT would be a pain point for me, always has been.

One other thing I struggled with was a DSCP to TOS conversion, so I have a video explaining how to convert-

Before bed I watched an MPLS video for a couple hours


The little one was up at 4am, so I took this opportunity to go through some flashcards. I also started on the week 2 material for learning how to learn.

At a normal morning hour, I started and completed CA09. I found this lab to be very straight forward with NAT being the thing to trip me up again. I am going to try and find time to do a deeper dive into NAT and hopefully find some videos that can help with this.

The redistribution on this lab also caused me to think a bit harder. There was a weird routing loop that occurred that looked to be a order of operations issue. Once I tracked it down and saw what was happening and playing with both tags, and administrative distance. I found that clearing the OSPF process is what helped fix it.

The lab did not take me very long, finishing in less than 4 hours. I believe I am in the easier. I was given the suggestion to work in CA21+ for more challenging labs.


The day got away from me and I was only able to get to flashcards


Due to some things that came up I was only able to get about an hour of labbing in. I was able to finish the MPLS videos and start an IPSec one. I also went through flashcards


Started with some learning how to learn and took away some interesting findings. The illusion of competence was enlightening for me and I believe this is something I’ve fallen for a lot. My main take away from this is to practice recall to see if I actually understand what I’ve read/watched.

For labbing, I did CA11. This had some “fun” restrictions that made me think a bit harder. The redistribution introduced some strange behavior, but something easy to get around once I figured out why routes were being discarded.

The BGP section showed me a new way of using synchronization and confederation on getting around having the BGP routes show up in an IGP.

Everything else was fairly straight forward and helped me with reading ahead in the lab to get answers for earlier tasks. I also found myself reading more carefully and reading into what was being asked.


Started off the day with some flashcards since the little one decided that 5:30am was a good start for the day.

After breakfast, I started CA21. I decided to move into the larger labs based off feedback from some conversations in routergods. I’ve found this lab to be much more like the real lab (from what I can remember). The lab took me about 4.5 hours to complete, including checking my results at the end. I felt very good going through this lab, there were only a few things that tripped me up because I did not read ahead and missed a couple of key details that required me to do some reconfiguration. I liked the interdependence between the different sections where I was forced to read ahead to get routing working for an earlier section.

I took down some notes on remembering some features in BGP. I ended up with a working result, but I could have configured more efficiently. There were also some fundamentals about HSRP that I had forgotten, but after refreshing through my notes I’ll revisit it. During the week I need to practice the systems management type things as there are so many and I forget about some of them.

I’m posting this early, but I am going to try and continue the VPN videos tonight and possibly lab some smaller things.