Author Archives: cisconinjanc


Just a quick post….

I will be attending the 10 day INE CCIE Bootcamp on March 11th – 22nd. Leading up to the boot camp, I have been reviewing and redoing all VOL 2 Labs…again. Currently, I am on Lab 10 and hope to be completed with at least another 2 labs before class actually begins. For the week leading up to the bootcamp, I’ll just practice the trouble-shooting workbooks.

I noticed that most of my review after each lab shows that QoS is where I have the most issues. I tend to be okay with MQC and FRTS configurations… but the wording and just knowing which Q0S technology to use is confusing at times. I’m hoping that I will learn a new method for managing some of these types questions.

Overall, I know what my weaker areas are and that will be my focus…making sure I’m tight and “robot” like when it comes down to the core technology configurations…and work on speed.

But make no mistake, I will be totally focused on ALL topics and hope this course puts me over the top with helping me pass the lab.

I will TRY to post at least once during the 10 day bootcamp to give readers my perspective on the course. From what I hear, this is the mother of all training courses…8-10 hours a day…non-stop CLI. I’m so excited! So if I have time, I will try to post..but know that the focus will be on class and absorbing as much information as I possibly can.




The Blueprint: TCL and EEM

In the previous post, I showed a simple TCL script that I used to copy multiple files from a USB stick to the CF(Flash) card of the router.

I took this a step further and wrote an EEM script that initializes and kicks off the TCL script once you insert the FLASH card into the router. I got lazy and didn’t want to perform any key strokes. With this setup, you don’t have to type any commands in the router! Pop the CF card in the router and boom…instant auto copy!

Here’s the EEM script that I wrote:


event manager applet USB
event syslog pattern “%FILESYS-5-CF: CompactFlash inserted ”
action 1.1 cli command “enable”
action 1.2 cli command “tclsh usbflash1:TCL/usbtoflash.tcl”
action 1.3 syslog priority debugging msg “FILE COPY COMPLETE”


This EEM script is configured on the router that I used for all the copies. The TCL script file, usbtflash.tcl, is saved on the source location(in this example, it is the USB stick plugged into the usbflash1 slot on the router) along with all of the other files I want to copy to FLASH.

This just a small example of what you can do when you combine EEM scripting along with the TCL scripting. This script can be modified to your liking…Have fun!

….gosh those CCIE numbers are getting higher and higher…hopefully I can get one before they hit the 40K mark.


The Blueprint: TCL Script

Just a simple TCL script that I typed up that copies multiple files from a USB drive to FLASH on a router. Without the script, I would have to baby sit each file copy. With this script, you run it once, and it copies all the files to FLASH. This will come in real handy becasuse I have 200+ flash cards that I have to copy these files to.


proc copy-usb-flash {} {
exec “copy flash:home.shtml usbflash1:”
exec “copy flash:cpconfig-28xx.cfg usbflash1:”
exec “copy flash:cpexpress.tar usbflash1:”
exec “copy flash:home.shtml usbflash1:”
exec “copy flash:HOME.TAR usbflash1:”
exec “copy flash:securedesktop-ios- usbflash1:”
exec “copy flash:sslclient-win- usbflash1:”
exec “copy usbflash1:”

##Type this to trigger the script to run


Still on the path to CCIE. Will finish review of MPLS and IP Services…and will shoot to finish 2 practice labs this weekend . Projecting a second Lab attempt in September.


The Blueprint: Back in action…

Okay…I took a break (longer than I wanted to) and now I’m back in study mode for my second attempt at the CCIE RS Lab exam. Since failing my fist attempt in October,  I took a break from the everyday study however, I have been casually going through the INE practice labs on my home lab just so I would not get lazy and rusty with the configurations.

I don’t plan on blogging as much during this phase because I just want to focus more on the study and not worry about documenting everything I’m doing to prepare. My goals for this attempt is to work on speed and to make sure that I have practiced trouble shooting as much as I can. I also what to focus a little more on QoS and the IP Services related topics.

I have a tentative schedule to sit for the exam in June ( I had to reschedule it). This will give 3-4 months to get back into the routine of studying everyday and really immerse myself into the materials again.

My goals are as follows:

I have decided to try to dedicate at least  15 – 20 hours per week (Mon – Sun) to study. I will work this plan for the next 2-3 weeks and see how it goes. I would like to increase the amount of hours but I don’t want to overdo it and burn out to early into the process.

Week  1 – the plan is to cover Layer 2 topics such as:
Trunking, Switching, Bridging, VTP Private VLANs , SPAN , RSPAN, PPP, Spanning Tree, Tunneling and Troubleshooting.

Week 2  – the plan is to cover Layer 3 IGP topics such as:
RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, Route Redistribution and Troubleshooting.

Week 3 – the plan is to cover BGP related topics and do any review of Layer 2 and Layer 3 topics. I will also use this week to review more troubleshooting.

I will see how this first phase of study goes and adjust accordingly. I’m not sure when the next BLOG post will be but you catch me on Twitter…I’ll probably be shooting out some quick updates on my progress.

Good luck to those out there on this path…let’s make this year a good one for the CCIE hopefulls.

Mickal Speller (aka CiscoNinjaNC)

The Blueprint: It’s Official…

My first lab attempt in a nutshell.

Now that I have recovered after a week of disappointment with coming so close to passing the R&S lab on my first attempt, this is a post to sum up my personal account of this ongoing journey to obtain CCIE status.

I arrived to the RTP area Sunday around noon and checked into the Hilton (Mansion on the Hill) hotel. For those planning to take the exam in RTP, I would probably recommend another hotel instead of this one. For me, I am very particular where I stay and I did not have the best vibe during my stay. I like hotels that are super clean. This hotel wasn’t dirty by any means but the hotel seemed old and it did have sort of an old smell…I think it was the carpet…the carpet was really old throughout the hotel. Other than that, the room was decent. My room had a really nice desk and chair which was a great surprise. I immediately broke out my macbook , laid out some of my printed labs and blank paper and got on the web to make sure I could get to my home rack. My mind set was to just work on a few INE VOL1 and VOL3 labs…just to keep things fresh in my mind.

The hotel was less than 10 minutes from the RTP campus. I took a drive there shortly after checking into the hotel to make sure I could find the place…it’s really easy to find, the signs and the numbers on the buildings are easy to read. Building 3 is where it all takes place. During this time I wasn’t nervous at all. I felt as though I was very well prepared. I studied for about 9-10 months. I felt really good and I knew I was a much better engineer that I ever was just by the sheer number or hours and preparation it took to get me to this point.

I picked up a quick bite to eat before heading back to the hotel. I think I just did some light review. Multicast and QoS is where I focused most of my attention. I did a little BGP as well. I spent lots of time on Multicast because that was my weakest subject. I’m above average with Multicast and QoS knowledge and configuration skill now.

I logged into my home rack and started doing some light lab work. I forget how many hours I did but I stopped @ 8pm and got ready for bed. I set the alarm for 5:30. For RTP, they tell you to be there @ 7:05am. I guess I fell asleep around 9:00.

The next morning (Monday)…Got up and reluctantly went to McDonalds to get something eat something. I haven’t eaten at McDs in quite some time. I got a sausage biscuit, hashbrown and water. As I was sitting eating, A man strolled in and sat down in one of the booths. He appeared homeless…clothes in bad shape…huge backpack full of stuff…he had a few dollars to get himself some food. While I was eating, I noticed that McDs has stepped up their game…this one had several flat LCD TVs on the walls with various programming…WIFI, really modern looking. I wondered who managed the WiFi networks in the McDs. At this time, my anxiety and nervousness began to increase for obvious reasons. My mind was in a zone, all I remember thinking about was some BGP regexpressions and making sure I remember where EEM scripting was in the DocCD. Then this commercial came on…some college advertisement…but what stood it out to me is when the narrator of the commercial says, “your time is now, let nothing stand in your way.” I thought, wow. I’m going to remember that. My nerves went away. At which time, I looked at the clock and it was 6:45. It was time for me to go. As I walked out, I looked over at the homeless man and he was over in a booth with a laptop open doing something on the WiFi network (True story)!! I laughed to myself…everybody has a damn computer these days. Maybe he wasn’t homeless…I thought to myself.

So I make it to Building 3. It’s still dark outside.  As I pull into the parking lot, I see a few cars and I could tell that people were in them. I immediately knew these are CCIE candidates. No one was standing outside.

By 7:00am a car rolled up to the front and a guy got out and stood out front as the car drove away. At that point, I could see that others began to get out of their vehicles and began to march towards the building. I made up my mind that I would wait and be the last. I was not interested in striking up any conversation. I just remained focused and ready to just start the test. As I approached the building we were all just standing out there…nobody was standing close to one another…we are about 15 feet apart… and nobody was saying a word.

It was 7:05 and the proctor was not there yet.  He was a bit late. It was about 7:15 when I noticed that I could see inside the windows where the CCIE exam room was. I saw the proctor walk in from some back door and he began putting some things on the desks and he wrote something on the white board. He flicked on some lights and walked out and let us in.

We got our name tags. One guy wasn’t there yet. So he led us in. He gave us some basic rules. Four of us were taking R&S…Two were Voice…and another was Security. He gave us the Bathroom rules. Cell, watches, etc. put in the lockers. We sat at our designated cube and we started at 7:35am. The cubes were decent. Not a lot of room…but I guess just enough if you had to spread out a few drawn diagrams. A cup full of colored pencils and such. A nice 22-24 inch LCD. The chairs were pretty good. The keyboard was in good shape…it had some nice feedback on the keys. But I prefer the springy old school keyboards. The temperature in the room was perfect. I had my pullover on the whole time…some people were wearing shorts…I think the proctor was.

Troubleshooting Section first.

By this time my nerves was 100% at its peak. I was sooooo nervous. I was having trouble typing because my hands were shaking. Never have I been this nervous before in my life. I had no idea that my body was capable of being that nervous sitting in front of a keyboard and a computer screen. I looked down and could see my hands shaking. This is what I do for a living…I’ve been in front of a keyboard since I was a kid back when my father was buying me and my brother Atari computers. This is where I’ve always felt the most comfortable…but at that moment, I froze. I FROZE.

The testing GUI interface was not the greatest. I wish I would have paid attention to this video.( Watch this video a few times before you take the lab. I promise you would be glad you did.

I was stumbling through the Web GUI interface which made me even more nervous because you don’t have much time to get comfortable with navigating through it…plus the nervousness made it worse. I probably lost 25-30 minutes of time just getting used to how it works. That made me even more nervous and I began to panic. I panicked. I couldn’t think. I was just typing “sh run” on everything…that seemed to be the only command I could remember! And that timer is not your friend…It keeps ticking away. By the time my nerves really settled down, I had about an hour left and only solved 3 tickets. As advertised I got somewhere around 10 -12 tickets. I remembered the strategy I’ve been practicing for the troubleshooting section. I got into a nice groove…my nerves were in check…I was back to my old self. I was able to knock them out one by one. I had a couple left that was down to the wire. I had no real time to verify anything but I was pretty sure which ones I solved. After the timer expired, I felt that I blew it. I felt that I disappointed so many of my family and people that are close to me that knew I was taking this exam. But I felt that there was a small chance I made it past that section. So I stayed focused and continued on.

On to the Configuration Section.

I was very comfortable in this section. The only diagram I drew on paper was a Layer 2 diagram. The remaining diagrams that Cisco provided were sufficient enough for me to get through this section of the exam without having to draw my own. Having a single screen is not good in my opinion. I think they should go back to the physical manuals. Flipping back and fourth between screens is a bad way to deliver such a test in my opinion. By lunch break I completed all Layer 2, and Layer 3 sections. I was in great shape.

Lunch time… lasted 15-20. They had some chicken-something-or-another that I totally passed on. No way was I getting sick eating that food. They did have salad, so I ate that and drank a soda. During the break, I got a sense that most people were just really focused and not really in a talking mood. I wasn’t. The proctor, he was a really nice guy. He made some small talk with us. Break was over and back to work. You could eat/drink at your desk, so I took a cookie back to my desk and a bottle of water. I was focused. I finished the last sections of the exam with 1:10 minutes to spare and I did all my verification within 30-40 minutes. At the end, I knew I passed the configuration section but still had that bad feeling in my stomach. I felt so bad because I know I owned the configuration. I sat there for the last 30 minutes just thinking about each trouble-shooting ticket and that EVIL GUI.

Overall, the time went by really fast. I did a few mock labs and I’ve had many marathon weekends in which I sat and studied for 8+ hours at a time. I was already used to sitting in one place for an extended time frame typing configs. This was no different except this was the real deal.

After time expired, I simply turned in my scratch paper and left. I went back to the hotel made some phone calls. I even got on the computer and looked at some of the INE material to replaying what I had seen on the exam. I packed up and left the hotel a few hours later. The drive back to Charlotte from RTP was a short one. When I got home I replayed every task and every ticket. I broke out my INE VOL1 guide again and reviewed some more stuff. In the end, the areas where I thought I would have trouble with turned out to be my best results. I contributed that to pure study and non stop practice. I waited and waited for the email with my test results all night. By midnight I still didn’t have my results so I went to bed.

I woke up Tuesday and saw the Cisco email in my mailbox on my phone. The time stamp was 4:03am.

I got online and logged in. FAIL was the first thing I saw. I drilled down into the score report:

Troubleshooting FAIL.Configuration PASS.

Prior to seeing the official results, I already accepted that I messed up on the Troubleshooting section. I just left a slight bit of hope that I might have done enough to get the points. I’m still quite disappointed because after taking it, I know I could have passed it on the first try. Instead of felling sorry for myself, I did the only thing I know I could kick some ass in…I played Call of Duty Black Ops for a whole week! I gave myself a bit of a break and now I’m back to the lab.

I will post another BLOG shortly recapping my overall impressions of the exam and my take on the INE materials that I used as preparation for the exam. I’ll also outline my strategy for my next attempt.

…to be continued.

The Blueprint: Give BGP A Wedgie!!

BGP Wedgies do exist.


– CiscoNinjaNC

The Blueprint: Finished INE Vol 2…don’t talk about it, be about it.

Freedom Tower - New York City

Freedom Tower - New York City

It’s been a while since my last BLOG. I figured I’d just worry more about actually studying instead of worrying about blogging….don’t talk about, be about it.

Yesterday I finished up all Workbook Vol 2 Labs. I can’t say that I did very well on all of them but I can say I worked though all of them the best that I could and I took my time to review each task. My goal was to get though the entire workbook and make sure to review each technology they laid out. This is quite a long drawn out (brutal) process and I’m not even sure if INE actually expect you to finish all of them.

My approach was as follows:

1. Start the lab and go through each task.
2. If I got stuck on a task, I looked in VOL 1 for the technology in question and tried to use their examples to work through the task.
3. Along with this, I made sure I was able to find the technology topic in the DocCD online. (FYI Cisco just recently changed their web site slightly)
4. If I got totally stuck, I used the solution guide to input the correct configurations, marked the task as a review topic and just kept it moving.
5. After I completed the Lab, I watched the technology video that corresponded with the topics I marked for review and went though some of the DocCD online. I sometimes even practiced it over if I felt I needed to.

That process took me about 1 week per Lab. On a good week, I would knock out 2 labs.

I had to push my lab exam date to October. No need for me to rush this….this is a Marathon. For me, as long as I keep a good pace and not over study, I find myself being able to retain the information better. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at this for 1 year. I passed the written last year, July 10th. I built my home lab in December and I have been preparing ever since. When I look at the actual time spent, I’m pretty much on track. Early on, I found myslef studying when I was too tired. Not the best thing to do because I’d have to go back and re-read or watch the videos over again. Now, when I get tired, I just stop and do something else. I’m averaging about 20 – 25 hrs a week (Mon-Sun).

Cisco Live was this past week and I got some updated information on the CCIE R&S Lab. No IPv6 RIP on the exam. Troubleshooting section is all virtual Cisco IOS on Unix. Look for L3 and L2 troubleshooting. Some tasks may be dependent on others! No QoS in Troubleshooting. They still say you get about 10 tickets with a total of 22 points to be had. Some tickets may have multiple faults in them. That’s about it for the major stuff…but everything else is fair game.

My rough study plan for the next 12 weeks will go down like this:

– Goal #1 ….I have to get in a Mock Lab within the next 2 weeks. I have to really get an assessment on where I am now.
– In the mean time, I plan to work through all the troubleshooting labs sections in Workbook VOL 2. There are 10 of them. If I do one every other day, I should be able to get through all of them by the end of this month (early next month).
– I also have Workbook VOL 3. I plan to go though that to work on my speed with the configurations.

We’ll give that a shot and see how it goes for the next few weeks.

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ComputerConcpets, L.L.C.