Starting June 4 2014, the new version of CCIE R&S exam is in place. Along with the newly added topics and the removed ones, the structure of the exam changed as well.

The version is 5.0 and starting with this version, the lab exam has three sections. The first one is the Troubleshooting section and by default has a length of 120 minutes (2 hours). Once this section is finished, you are moving to the next one, the Diagnostic section which lasts 30 minutes. The last section is the Configuration section. The last section is 330 minutes (5 hours and 30 minutes). The candidate can borrow up to 30 minutes from the Configuration section and use them in the Troubleshooting section. Also, if you finish the Troubleshooting section quickly, the remaining time will be added to the Configuration section.

A total of eight hours cannot be crossed for the whole lab exam.

This book is only for Troubleshooting section.

As I had access to the book itself and the initial configurations, I was able to test some of the tasks from this book. Along with the initial configurations, you are getting the final configurations which can be used to compare your configuration with the correct one.

This book has two troubleshooting labs and both of them follow the same structure in the following order:

  1. Equipment list and the IOS needed on routers and switches.
  2. Two network diagrams, one showing how the routers are connected to switches and the other how the switches are connected between them.
  3. The Layer 3 diagram (IP Addressing diagram) is provided where the IP addressing is written down.
  4. Pre-Lab Tasks that reinforce that you should build the lab based on the diagrams already provided.
  5. General guidelines that instruct you how to approach the incident resolution. The usual is here: don’t configure static routes, read the whole incident and act as if it’s being required to solve the incident and not what is considered best practice.
  6. Troubleshooting incidents: the questions present the symptom and also the validation test to confirm that the incident was successfully fixed. Also, it’s possible that you will get optional restrictions that will restrain your options to fix the problem.
  7. “Ask the Proctor” section is used to provide hints in case an immediate fix cannot be found. You should check this section before jumping to the section where the correct answers lie.
  8. The solution section is the one that you should be checking in case the “Ask the Proctor” section didn’t help you or you want to see how the author solved the incident. This section is an extensive one and detailed explanations are provided to solve the incidents.
  9. The “Wrap-Up” section introduces the score that you need to pass each Troubleshooting lab.

Each chapter contains topics from the blueprint major sections: Layer 2 Technologies, Layer 3 Technologies, VPN Technologies, Infrastructure Security and Infrastructure Services.

The first troubleshooting lab (called “The Warmup”) contains VPN incidents related to MPLS. The second troubleshooting lab (called “Network Down”) contains VPN incidents related to DMVPN.

Due to the limited number of available devices, the incidents from this book require to be solved in a serial order, which means you cannot jump from incident 2 to incident 9. It’s possible that without a fix from an intermediary incident, you will not be able to fix later incidents.

This is not happening in the CCIE R&S lab exam. Because of the large number of devices available for the Troubleshooting section, the incidents are not linked together. The large number of devices is possible also because all of them are virtual devices.

I cannot say that the incidents are hiding any tricks. Basically you don’t have to read between the lines. Some incidents are quite easy, like just disabling BPDU filtering, others are fairly complex and involve advanced debugging techniques like Embedded Packet Capture.

The final configurations are correct from what I have tested which is a plus for the quality of the book.

According to the author, the type and difficulty of the incidents presented in this book are similar to the ones that a CCIE candidate will find during the lab exam.

This book is a good starting point to prepare for the Troubleshooting section of the lab exam. I’m saying this because the book has only two labs. You cannot use only these two and say that you are prepared for the exam, at least the Troubleshooting section.

But you can consider these labs as a reference point and think to other incidents that you could introduce to your network.

Also, a good idea, as the author suggests as well, is to have someone who intentionally would break your network and let you solve the problems.

Although a thin book, I recommend it as a valuable resource for mastering the Troubleshooting section of the CCIE R&S exam.