If you are reading this book, you shouldn’t need this information. The book starts with a detailed presentation of the CCIE R&S v5.0 lab exam, which you should already know, as you are preparing for it.

V5.0 will be available starting on June 4, 2014. There are a few changes since v4.0 and they are related not only to the topics covered, but also to the structure of the exam.

In V5.0, the lab exam is split into three sections: two hours for troubleshooting tasks, with a possible extension of maximum 30 minutes taken from configuration part; 30 minutes for diagnostic questions; and 5.5 hours for configuration tasks (or less, depending on how much time you used for troubleshooting part).

This book covers only the configuration part of the lab exam.

However, the time assigned to finish each chapter is eight hours, even though it is only the configuration section of the exam. This is because there is an assumption that you will do troubleshooting while you are solving the tasks.

I had access only to the book itself. The package should contain the initial and final configuration for each chapter. You can load the initial configuration and start directly without configuring everything from scratch. Then, at the end, you can compare your final configuration with the ones provided by the book.

There are three chapters in the book (hence three configuration practice labs) and all of them are structured in the same manner:

  • * An equipment list is provided, with the IOS needed to run on those devices
  • * The physical topology is provided in two separate diagrams: One shows how the switches are connected to the routers and the other show how the switches are interconnected between them.
  • * A Layer 3 topology is provided along with the IP addressing. Some IP addresses might not be configured and you will need to configure them before you actually start solving the tasks.
  • * General guidelines instructing you to read all the tasks before you configure any, to ensure IP reachability between directly connected devices, not to configure any static routes unless otherwise specified.
  • * Practice lab sections include various topics from the lab exam blueprint. You can find any tasks that fall under these topics: Layer 2 Technologies, Layer 3 Technologies, VPN Technologies, Infrastructure Security, and Infrastructure Services (these are from lab exam blueprint).
  • * Another section found in each chapter is “Ask the Proctor.” This section contains hints that can help you to solve the tasks in case the immediate solution cannot be provided just by reading the question. These are questions that you can ask the proctor during exam.
  • * There is also the solution section. You will be given the correct solution for each task and you will be shown how you should verify each task to make sure that you solved correctly. Along with these, the author is providing some information about the technology itself for memory refreshing.
  • * Last, but not least, there is a chapter section that provides tips and tricks.

The first two chapters cover the same topics with a greater focus on Layer 3 Technologies, whereas the third chapter introduces the VPN technologies topics. The three labs combined cover all the major topics from the lab exam blueprint.

Going through the tasks, I found easy tasks, but also more complex ones. There are tasks that require what the author calls ‘lateral thinking.” This means that several features were involved to solve the task according to the requirements. One task like this is found in OSPF section in the first chapter, where you have to configure IP SLA, track that object so that in case of failure, change the next -hop, and finally configure a virtual link. All this only for four points. This would be a task that I would leave for the end of the lab if the time permits.

CCIE

There are also tricky tasks for which you have to be non-conventional and come up with solutions that most likely you will never have to apply in the real world. This is an exam, so be prepared for anything.

The configuration labs presented in this book are similar to what other CCIE preparation material vendors are providing for years, so you can be sure that you are on the right track choosing this book.

All in all, this is a very good source of information. Of course, only three labs won’t cover all possible topics from the exam blueprint. You will have to do a deep dive on your own to each of the topics.

The only drawback that I could find with this book is that it has only three chapters. Maybe the next edition will include more configuration labs.

This book will give you the opportunity to experiment with tasks similar to those you might get in the lab exam. Also, it makes sense to know how the exam is structured and what sort of questions you can ask the proctor during the exam.