Ethan Banks On productivity.

Getting a Performance Boost


Although the title sounds like spam, I’m not selling any pills here.  Rather, “getting a performance boost” describes what I’m going to be working on in the next few weeks as my lab date approaches.  I want my core configuration to be fast and flawless.  The issues for me now are not understanding tech as much as they are just being able to configure the core tech on auto-pilot.

By “core tech”, I’m referring to what the routing and switching lab is all about:  frame relay/PPP, ethernet switching, RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, BGP, and redistribution.  The rest of the exam (QoS, multicast, IP services, security, etc.) certainly matters, but those are points I might not be able to get unless the core is right.  If I don’t have full reachability, there’s a chance I’ll miss other points because of a broken dependency.  If I take too long to get to full reachability, there’s a chance I’ll miss other points because I’ll run out of time.  If I run out of time to complete the lab tasks, then obviously I won’t have time to check my work, possibly giving away points due to careless mistakes.

At this point, I have completed Narbik Kocharians’ advanced lab workbooks.  And lest we forget, I completed all 25 DOiT volume 2 labs.  I had debated doing a small subset of DOiT labs again.  I will probably do a couple.  And there are some of Narbik’s exercises that I want to go through again dealing with OSPF filtering and BGP aggregation.  And I have a mock lab scheduled for next Saturday.  But there’s another set of labs out there targeted at boosting the candidate’s speed.

The workbook 4.1 volume 3 is a set of 10 4-hour lab exercises designed to make the core tech automatic.  Doing these labs should reduce or eliminate any need I might have to hit the IOS CLI “?” or the Doc CD when configuring core tech.  Now, I’m solid on most of these tasks already.  I can write 80% of an IOS config in a text editor and know that it’s syntactically correct without having to go to the CLI to check myself.  These labs should fill in the remaining 20%.

I have downloaded all of the vol.3 labs from my IE account.  I’ll have to re-cable my rack AGAIN to do these, but having read through the first lab in the series, I know it’s an appropriate next step as my lab date closes in.


  • Less hardware, and also less cost. I haven’t compared workbooks lately, but back in July 2007, the DOiT 25-lab series was about $300, quite a bit less than or workbooks.

    Also, NMC had (has?) a reputation as the vendor with the most challenging practice labs. At this point in my prep, I don’t think choosing a vendor with the most difficult labs should have been a concern of mine, but it was. A program that teaches you fundamentals and then builds on them would have been more appropriate for me.

By Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks On productivity.

You probably know Ethan Banks because he writes & podcasts about IT. For example, he co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

This site is Ethan on productivity--not tech so much.

Find out more on his about page.