CCIE #38620 - My story

On March, the 19th I passed the R&S CCIE lab and I become CCIE #38620. When I was studying for the exam, I loved reading other CCIE successful stories, so… here the story of my journey, and my tips.

[caption id=”attachment_1487” align=”aligncenter” width=”150”]CCIE R&S Dedicated to my wife, family, Paolo, Luca, Caterina and to all my guides/friends.[/caption] In 2012 I had to renew a lot of Cisco Specialist certifications, and my choice was to pass a single CCIE written exam rather than many Specialist exams. So I bought the CCIE Routing and Switching Certification Guide and I really loved it. It was better than CCNP books: all was explained in a clear way. During my journey I realized that that book was just a very small part of the entire blueprint.

After the written, I asked to myself if I will be able to prepare myself for the lab exam. I couldn’t afford bootcamp course, I had to prepare by myself. I found a mate, a good guy who was preparing the same exam. I knew that a good mate could make the difference, and it did. Gian Paolo is the best CCIE mate I could found: similar skills, but different approach. When he booked the lab, I realized I could pass it. And I booked too, paying by myself. And I can tell that spending 1500€ gave me the best incentive ever. Every weekend, and two/three nights each weeks were dedicated to CCIE. Of course, my job was a good help: I work every day on networks, QoS, routing and switching.

In the meaning I knew Paolo and he give me a good help to prepare my mind for the exam. Time after time I wasn’t scared anymore and at the end I was sure about my success. And it was, for me and for my friend Gian Paolo.


My exam locations was Brussels:

A lot of good hotels can be found near the location: NH Hotel, Holiday Inn… But I need the cheapest one, so I chose the IBIS Budget Hotel.


What you need, in order:

  • Enjoy your path, or you never pass.
  • Find a mate who shares your path, it will be easier.
  • Learn to breath and not panicked.
  • Buy an American layout keyboard: don’t think you can pass without it.
  • Repeat yourself you can do it, and believe in it.
  • Plan your time, during the lab reserve time to check your entire work.
  • Buy four switches at least: you can emulate routers but you need switches for L2 topics.
  • Prepare yourself for the written at your best, and the lab will be easier.
  • Discuss each single blueprint topic and command you encounter in your preparation: you must understand the underlying technologies.
  • Learn and use the DocCD page, and remember how you can reach the Master Index page ( Products > Cisco IOS and NX-OS Software > Cisco IOS > Cisco IOS Software Release 12.4 Family > Cisco IOS Software Releases 12.4 T > Master Index).
  • Know the lab environment:


IOS can help you during the exam. The most time-consuming task is test IP address reachability from routers and switches. Open a PuTTY terminal, connect to a router and type:

#show ip alias
Address Type             IP Address      Port

Now press and hold right Alt key and draw a square to select IP addresses only. Paste the selected IP addresses to a file (NotePad) and repeat for each device. At the end create a TclSh script:

foreach i {
} { ping $i repeat 3 source Lo0 }

This script can be used to test IP address reachability from all routers using a tclsh shell.

A different method must be used for switches Create a macro and execute it:

conf t
Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
switch(config)#macro name ping
Enter macro commands one per line. End with the character '@'.
do ping repeat 3 source Lo0
do ping repeat 3 source Lo0

The macro can be run typing:

switch(config)#macro global apply ping

Remember to delete it before ending the lab.

A way to display TCP/UDP port mapping is:

#show ip port-map
Default mapping:  snmp                 udp port 161                        system defined
Default mapping:  echo                 tcp port 7                          system defined

Sometimes you should be able to decrypt Cisco Type-7 password:

key chain decrypt
 key 1
   key-string 7 060506324F41
#show key chain decrypt
Key-chain decrypt:
    key 1 -- text "cisco"
        accept lifetime (always valid) - (always valid) [valid now]
        send lifetime (always valid) - (always valid) [valid now]

Again, remember to delete the key chain before ending the lab.


Posted on 26 Mar 2013 by Andrea.
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