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.

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