CCIE-LAB – Fare Thee Well, But I Must Soldier On Without Ye…


I quit the CCIE-LAB mailing list a few weeks ago, and I don’t think I’ll go back.   I found the list to be initially interesting and helpful.  After being on the list for a while, I found that there wasn’t enough there beneficial to my preparation.  I had to pick through a lot of messages to come up with threads that were useful to me.

Now, if you like, great.  There are a number of really smart people on the CCIE-LAB list, including the Brians from and Scott Morris from, as well as Narbik Kocharians.  Plus there are other CCIEs & candidates who monitor the list and try to be helpful to other candidates.

IMHO, it comes down to this:  the list signal-to-noise ratio was bad.  Lots of grandstanding, epic rants, flame wars, and off-topic posts.  In addition, list performance was (unless it’s been fixed) horrible, with posts taking 24 or more hours to hit the list, duplicate posts, and posts never making it to the list at all.  For example, someone would ask a question with a simple answer. I’d check to see if anyone had answered, and answer if no one else had.  And then my answer would appear several hours later with the 14 other people who did the exact same thing.  Perhaps the list owner has fixed the problem by now, but it was certainly an issue about 3 weeks ago, and had been ongoing for several weeks.

The GroupStudy archive search function was/is shaky as well.  I found that if I used the search function, I would come up dry on finding specific posts that I KNEW were there.  OTOH, if I used Google to search for the same information on GroupStudy, I could find the desired post with no trouble.  Perhaps I’m too simple-minded to use the search function, but I did speak to others who experienced the same issue.

Don’t get me wrong – is useful, but it’s not as useful as I’d like it to be for lab preparation.  As I understand it, it’s not as useful as it has been in the past, either.  If it works for you, don’t let me steer you away.  But I wanted to explain my reasons why I’m not bothering with it for right now.


  • I agree with many of your points about GroupStudy. I have never subscribed to the email list (I don’t have the time to filter that many emails). I do use their achive feature:

    I have a Friday morning meeting that runs for a couple of hours and basically requires about 30 seconds of my attention. I go through the archive (it is updated on Thursdays) during that meeting. If you use the “thread view” you can generally pick out the interesting threads and ignore the rest.

    The only downside to this is that you cannot post to the list. I suppose that if I have a question I could sign up, post the question, and then unsubscribe again. :-)

  • I agree. I tried the list for about 48 and took myself off again. It’s a pity, because it has the potential to fill the need for a vendor-independent forum. But, as you say, the signal-to-noise ratio was too low.

    I have found that the vendors’ forums are much more useful, especially the sections that deal with the labs I am doing at the moment. Also I find that NetPro, although not directly concerned with the exam, is a very useful resource. And of course, right up there with the most useful resources is the “CCIE Candidate” blog .. and I really mean that. :)

  • They did fix the mail delay issues. But I agree a lot of noise. I do filter and look for things I need but I stop here first every day. =P

    See you Monday!

By Ethan Banks

Ethan Banks is a podcaster and writer with a BSCS and 20+ years in enterprise IT. He's operated data centers with a special focus on infrastructure — especially networking. He's been a CNE, MCSE, CEH, CCNA, CCNP, CCSP, and CCIE R&S #20655. He's the co-founder of Packet Pushers Interactive, LLC where he creates content for humans in the hot aisle.