I ended up with a 47, not what I was hoping for, but close to what I was expecting. I really thought I was in the 50’s, but I got dinged for some things I’m surprised by.
Here’s how the grading works for an InternetworkExpert.com mock lab. When your rack session completes, your IE account will show that your lab should be graded within 48 hours. Each time thereafter that you log into your IE account, it’ll show you how many hours you have left before you get your grade. I don’t know if IE made it within 48 hours or not. I was sick yesterday, and didn’t do anything except snowblow and sleep – I didn’t check my IE account at all yesterday, I don’t think. That said, since I took my lab on a Saturday, I would have been happy if they’d taken all of Monday and Tuesday to grade it. I’ll take a wild guess that these guys have lives too – maybe grading labs on the weekend isn’t high on their “to-do” list. ;) So, I’m plenty happy with when I got my grade.
But enough about that. What all did I get dinged for to earn such a mediocre score?
- I should have done ISL trunks, not 802.1q, 3 points. That was an issue of nasty wording. The tasks stated “All traffic sent over these logical links should be tagged with a VLAN header”. I looked at the word “tagged”, thought immediately of dot1q, and didn’t think about it again. But only ISL trunking includes a header – so “header” is the word I should have keyed off of.
- Didn’t complete 802.1x, 2 points. I knew I didn’t complete it, so that was no shock. They made comments about what I did wrong, but they aren’t relevant. What I did, I did correctly, but what I didn’t complete caused me to lose the points. I chose to abandon the task to go after some points I thought would be easier.
- Did not bring up PPP over frame-relay link, 2 points. Everything I was able to configure was correct, but I couldn’t get the authentication piece working because of a missing command. I knew the problem was authentication from the debugs, but I couldn’t figure out how to fix it and finally gave up. The solution was to use the “ppp chap hostname” command to set the username that the router would send to authenticate the link.
- Didn’t advertise a loopback into EIGRP, 3 points. That’s simply a careless mistake, no excuse. Sad, but it demonstrates how a simple oversight in a long task list can cost valuable points. It also demonstrates the importance of checking your work, which I freely admit I did precious little of due to time constraints.
- Failed EIGRP summarization task, 3 points. I actually had set this up correctly using auto-summary, but because I didn’t get that PPP over frame link up, I wasn’t able to summarize the required routes. OUCH.
- One router running RIP when it wasn’t supposed to be, 3 points. This was because the initial configuration added RIP to a router. I was supposed to catch that, and remove the rogue RIP process. I didn’t catch it. So despite all the other correct RIP configuration that I did, I got dinged because of an artificial problem injected by the proctors. I don’t think I like that much, but if those are the rules, then I guess I got to learn to play. I’m in it to win it.
- Did not meet specific redistribution requirement dealing with static metrics, 3 points. I failed this because of the PPP over frame relay link I wasn’t able to bring up. Ugh.
- BGP summarization, 3 points. I just couldn’t get this working right. I knew “aggregate-address” was the right way to go, but I couldn’t get the summarized route advertisements working like the task required. This seemed like it should have been an easy task, but I just couldn’t get it working, and I’m still not sure why. I’m going to to back through the code to figure it out. I haven’t done that yet.
- BGP bestpath using local pref, 3 points. I haven’t looked at the code yet, but I’m pretty sure I did the local pref part correctly, in so far as BGP converged on the next hop correctly. But I got dinged because there is load balancing going on across of a couple of links due to, I think, EIGRP variance that I’d configured in an earlier task. I have to look it up to be 100% sure. But assuming that’s the case, this was an oversight on my part. I remember setting up the EIGRP variance, and verifying that EIGRP was load balancing in an appropriate way. But that never occurred to me as a potential gotcha in the BGP requirement. It should have come to mind immediately, but in hindsight, I know I was too overwhelmed with tasks for my brain to be in flow.
- BGP bestpath using MED, 3 points. The tasks specifically said that I had to do the config on R3 only, and I didn’t. I knew I didn’t, but I didn’t know how else to handle the issue, and hoped I’d get away with it. IE says I was supposed to doing a BGP Conditional Route Advertisement. Until I review the code, I’m not even sure I was supposed to be setting MED at all. I think I just totally blew this one.
- Multicast, 7 points. I didn’t even get to try multicast due to lack of time. I would have done okay with it, gotten at least 3 points out of it, maybe more.
- IPv6 DNS, 2 points. I got dinged because I didn’t use the correct hostnames in my ipv6 host entries – I made up my own hostnames instead of using the hostnames assigned to the router. That’s a totally stupid thing to get dinged for, my own fault for not reading the task closely enough. Some of the easier 2 points to have gotten, especially since I went to all the trouble to get RIP working properly and do all the IPv6 frame relay mappings.
- One thing I got right that I wasn’t sure they’d credit me for is the frame relay traffic shaping. I used MQC FRTS, but the solution key did old-school FRTS. But I still got the 2 points for it.
- I lost 7 points on two QoS congestion management tasks and a QoS per-VLAN classification task, none of which I attempted due to lack of time.
- QoS marking, 2 points. It appears I didn’t configure this on all routers required, or maybe I just screwed this up altogether. The score report says that the ACL I configured the policy to use isn’t on the routers, so I might have been in a hurry and just screwed it up. It was a pretty easy task (set the DE bit on all multicast frames except OSPF), but it was the very last thing I did with literally seconds to spare.
- System management, SNMP, 3 points. I didn’t put a “deny any log” at the end of my SNMP security ACL, so polls from unauthorized stations weren’t going to get syslogged as required by the task. This was a case of me trying to make the task harder than it was. I was looking for some fancy command to log SNMP auth failures, something like that.
So, with all that done, how do I feel? Um…good and bad. Good in that a lot of the things I did wrong will be easier with practice. Also good in that my time management skills will get better with practice. I have a LOT of practice scheduled in the coming months. So, no worries there. But, I also feel bad in that I gave away points due to careless mistakes. In large part, that’s related to time-management, though. If I’d been better with my time, I would have been better with my checks. Better checks probably would have picked up on some of my carelessness.
Overall, a very worthwhile experience with the mock lab. I’m really glad that I did it. There’s comfort in knowing where I’m at, and how far I have to go.