From the blog.

OECG – Chapter 4 Definitions

subnet – some portion of a larger network. Subnets can be classful or classless.

prefix – the portion of a classless IP network that comes

Mailing Lists and Forums

I’ve spent a few hours on the Cisco NetPro forums, and on the GroupStudy Cisco mailing list. For me, they aren’t helping. My

IPv6 Link

At the end of Ch.4 in OECG, the author points to an IPv6-related link requiring a CCO login. I have a CCO login, but

Beat, Again

I got through the first part of chapter 4 tonight. I killed pretty much the whole day working on cars and finances. Ick.

Google Found the Blog

It looks like Google began indexing this site.  I’m getting some low ranked hits for “CCIE Candidate”.  I’ll need to seed a bit to get

My Daily Schedule

My weekday schedule is roughly as follows:

4:40am – Get up.

5:10am – On the way to work.

6:00am – The work day begins.

3:00pm – Head home.

3:50pm –

OECG – Chapter 3 Definitions

CST – common spanning tree. A single STP instance applied to multiple VLANs

STP – spanning tree protocol, IEEE 802.1D. A protocol that runs

January 2007 – Time Log

01/01/2007 – 1.5 hours. Read OECG, chapter 1.

01/02/2007 – 1.0 hours. Read OECG, chapter 2.

01/03/2007 – 1.5 hours. Start OECG, chapter 3.

01/04/2007

Tracking my Time

This category is a summary of the time I have put into CCIE R&S track preparation. Many CCIE’s talk about how they studied 8 hours

Tomorrow – Spanning Tree!

The next chapter I have to do the write-up on is Spanning Tree.  Ugh. I already read it, and it was a bit of a

OECG – Chapter 2 Definitions

VLAN – a virtual LAN. Ports defined to be a common broadcast domain. Can span multiple switches through the use of trunks.

broadcast domain

OECG – Chapter 5 “IP Services” – ICMP

I’m going to start breaking these up a bit more, as generally the chapters are broken up into major groups, and doing 1 or 2 part posts for each chapter is just way too much information in a single post. Without further ado, the glories of Official Exam Certification Guide, Chapter 5.

  • ICMP – internet control message protocol, RFC 792. ICMP provides IP with a means of testing for problems and communicating issues to hosts. If you’ve used ping or traceroute, then you’ve used ICMP. The key element to ICMP is that it helps determine whether or not the network can deliver packets. Continue reading OECG – Chapter 5 “IP Services” – ICMP

Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

Mailing Lists and Forums

I’ve spent a few hours on the Cisco NetPro forums, and on the GroupStudy Cisco mailing list. For me, they aren’t helping. My level of knowledge is often somewhere above most of the people asking the questions, but usually somewhere below most of the people answering the questions. A lot of times, I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but I don’t know “why”…so there’s a bit of doubt. Those lists aren’t really helping me with anything.

I do better just reading the book. When I read the book, then force myself to paraphrase it, it means I truly have to grasp the concept being taught. I actually think I understand spanning-tree now. I know I understand it far better than I ever did before, and that’s knowledge I’ve been able to immediately apply at work. (Of course, I have to be careful with that. The guys are work with are calling me “professor”, and that can’t be good, even though we’re all friends and they mean well. I haven’t made much of a deal at work about studying for my CCIE, since I don’t want people pinging me about it all the time.)

My point is that my time is much more effectively spent hammering away at the book, rather than pondering someone else’s poorly phrased questions and answers that are so often sort-of-right, but not quite the entire answer, or the answer with no explanation.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

OECG – Chapter 4 “IP Addressing” Part 2 of 2

And now on to IPv6, which was a pretty brief part of the chapter really, but I wanted to devote a page all to itself, since the last post was so long. IPv6 was designed to fix the Internet address space problem permanently. And amazingly enough, they managed to complicate things more than a lot.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

OECG – Chapter 4 “IP Addressing” Part 1 of 2

This first part of this chapter gets into the binary nuts and bolts of IP addresses. One stress is on understanding IP addresses, classful vs. classless addresses, dotted quad notation, subnet masks, etc. The real focus is on being able to supernet, subnet and summarize routes in your head, and do it quickly. The author conveys the idea that the CCIE candidate needs to be able to answer questions relating to IP addressing automatically, i.e. perform the sorts of mental gymnastics that one needs to do easily. Continue reading OECG – Chapter 4 “IP Addressing” Part 1 of 2


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

IPv6 Link

At the end of Ch.4 in OECG, the author points to an IPv6-related link requiring a CCO login. I have a CCO login, but was still without luck, probably because the author’s link was for partners only.

There is a different set of IPv6 documents to be found here, no CCO required.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

Beat, Again

I got through the first part of chapter 4 tonight. I killed pretty much the whole day working on cars and finances. Ick. I did some errands in the morning, went to the bank. Trying to get my taxes organized. Shredding all the credit card offers, and all that. Owed both cars oil changes, FINALLY got that done. Noticed the wife’s car really needs tires, so one more thing to take care of…especially with winter being sort of here. (Been a mild winter this season here in NH.)

But now that I finished all of that, I started in on reading the OECG. I survived 1.25 hours and covered about 20 pages. You might think I’m a slow reader, but I ponder each and every sentence until I grasp what he’s talking about. So, that can take a bit. For me, I find that I can read a paragraph and not be focused. That means I read something, but it didn’t sink in. In technical topics where even a single word carries significant weight to the context of the conversation, it ALL has to sink in.

My brain doesn’t want anymore today. Even though most of what I read today was a review of how to subnet, I’m not as good as I should be at identifying what IP is in which subnet, how big a subnet is, that sort of thing. I can do it in my head, but I have to ponder it. Well, the author gets into lengthy explanations of what are supposed to be SHORTCUTS to solving these sorts of problems. LOL. It takes 3 readthroughs to figure out how exactly his method is supposed to shorten anything. Ah, well. I have some of my own ways of doing things in the subnetting arena that have served me well, and not to take away from the author, as I did learn some different ways of thinking about things that should make my binary-to-decimal gymnastics speedy.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

Google Found the Blog

It looks like Google began indexing this site.  I’m getting some low ranked hits for “CCIE Candidate”.  I’ll need to seed a bit to get some higher rankings, but that’s not too important, really.  As long as Google is indexing me, I’m in a happy place for now.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

My Daily Schedule

My weekday schedule is roughly as follows:

4:40am – Get up.

5:10am – On the way to work.

6:00am – The work day begins.

3:00pm – Head home.

3:50pm – Get home, check e-mail, start studying.

6:00pm – Eat dinner.

6:30pm – Finish up studying.

8:00pm – Try to do a little something that isn’t technical.

9:00pm – Go to bed.

That schedule is a target. On a perfect day, things will go just like that. Unfortunately, I tend to work overtime (I never leave work with an unsolved problem, especially if the problem is impacting our customers), and/or some other normal life event sidetracks me. Since I began studying 2 weeks ago, I’ve stopped watching TV almost completely. I watch maybe an hour or 2 Friday or Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoon. That’s about it.

On the weekends, things are more fluid. I am homeowner with a wife and 2 small children, so my weekends tend to be dominated by domestic concerns. While I will study on Saturdays, I still have to take care of the house. Sundays are my only CCIE “day off”. I attend church with my family, and I watch TV or nap or play with the kids as the mood strikes me.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

January 2007 – Time Log

01/01/2007 – 1.5 hours. Read OECG, chapter 1.

01/02/2007 – 1.0 hours. Read OECG, chapter 2.

01/03/2007 – 1.5 hours. Start OECG, chapter 3.

01/04/2007 – 1.0 hours. Finish OECG, chapter 3.

01/05/2007 – 2.0 hours. Install WordPress, create “CCIE Candidate” blog, write some preliminary content.

01/06/2007 – 4.0 hours. Tweak CCIE Candidate look and feel, OECG chapter 1 write-up.

01/07/2007 – 0.0 hours. Sunday, day of rest.

01/08/2007 – 3.0 hours. OECG chapter 2 write-up. Spend time on Cisco NetPro forums, trying to answer questions.

01/09/2007 – 3.0 hours. OECG chapter 3 write-up begins. Time on NetPro.

01/10/2007 – 1.5 hours. Watch Cisco presentation on the CCIE Assessor Lab (looks very cool, they won me over when I’m ready). Add the “Time” & “Money” categories to CCIE Candidate.

01/11/2007 – 3.0 hours. Finally finish the write-up on spanning-tree, OECG Chapter 3. Spent about an hour reading posts on the NetPro forums, trying to answer questions. Heck, trying to UNDERSTAND the questions. People want help, but sometimes they don’t go out of their way to articulate the problem.

01/12/2007 – 0.0 hours. Trapped at work for an extra hour, slow ride home, plus attended a social event.

01/13/2007 – 1.25 hours. Read first 20 pages of OECG chapter 4.

01/14/2007 – 0.0 hours. Day of rest. That, and the Patriots were busy beating San Diego.

01/15/2007 – 3.0 hours. Read the rest of OECG chapter 4 and all of chapter 5. Download OECG errata sheets from ciscopress.com. Spend an hour researching questions on NetPro and GroupStudy mailing list.

01/16/2007 – 1.0 hours. Weak performance from the CCIE candidate tonight. Read chapter 6 from the OECG, and that’s about it. Spent an extra 1.5 hours at work because of some production issues, threw me off schedule, can’t get the brain to think much about what I’m reading. Tomorrow night starts chapters 4-6 write-ups.

01/17/2007 – 1.0 hours. Begin OECG Ch.4 write-up.

01/18/2007 – 2.0 hours. I thought I’d completed my Chapter 4 write-up, only to realize that I have to summarize all the IP header fields…but that can wait until tomorrow. I’m toast right now.

01/19/2007 – 2.0 hours, surprisingly. It was the IP header descriptions. And some other odds and ends to polish off OECG Ch.4, including the definitions.

01/20/2007 – 3.0 hours. OECG chapter 5 write-up. I did some cisco.com reading on NTP in this, plus cross referenced other things. It slowed me up a bit.

01/21/2007 – 0.0 hours.

01/22/2007 – 2.5 hours. OECG chapter 6 write-up.

01/23/2007 – 2.0 hours. OECG Chapters 1-6 test question review using companion CD-ROM.

01/24/2007 – 1.5 hours. Read OECG chapter 7.

01/25/2007 – 0.0 hours. I wussed out today. Brain fried from an early morning network maintenance window at work. Just not enough sleep. I couldn’t face reading about RIPv2, so I watched BSG on the DVR and let my brain turn to tapioca.

01/26/2007 – 1.5 hours. Read OECG chapter 8 (RIPv2).

01/27/2007 – 0.0 hours. Finishing kitchen project. Homeownership and all that.

01/28/2007 – 0.0 hours. STILL finishing kitchen project, but it’s really done now. Really.

01/29/2007 – 0.0 hours. Major work project, had to sleep early to be back for a midnight maintenance that went to the wee hours of the morning.

01/30/2007 – 1.5 hours.  Read OEGC chapter 9 (EIGRP).


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

Tracking my Time

This category is a summary of the time I have put into CCIE R&S track preparation. Many CCIE’s talk about how they studied 8 hours a day for an entire year, or they put 300 hours into practice labs, etc.  That may be; I may end up having to put the same kind of time into this before it’s all over. And, really, that’s the point of this category.  I want a record of every hour spent.

One caveat to this approach is that I’m not going to track any time spent at work on this, because I’m a network engineer by trade. I’m one of the Cisco heavy-hitters at my job, and Cisco issues take up a lot of my time. Therefore, much of what I know from work will end up applying directly to my CCIE knowledge base.

For instance, I’ve spent a number of hours on the phone this week with a fellow engineer troubleshooting layer 2 and 3 redundancy issues and testing private VLAN’s. I’ve been working with a customer on a BGP failover design. I’ve been researching how to add “switchport vlan allow” statements to trunks in a production environment and minimize the network impact when I do it. And that’s just very recently…if I went back through my work blog for the last couple of months, there’s lots of similar topics that will also help me pass the CCIE exams. In addition, until just a few months ago I was both a CCNP and CCSP.

The point I’m making is that I’m not exactly starting from zero.  Therefore, my logged hours may not match up with how many hours YOU need to study. And hey, as I write this, it’s pretty early in the game. I may never make it to the end (not that I’m planning to fail – I just want to be realistic and not cocky). You may find that what I do to prepare is insufficient for your needs. I may find that what I do is insufficient for MY needs.  Nonetheless, I hope this will be a useful baseline.  I guess that will depend on just how successful I am.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

OECG – Chapter 3 “Spanning Tree Protocol” Part 1 of 2

This probably ends up being a 2-parter. It’s 6pm already, my dinner is coming soon, and I’m a little fried from the day at work. We’ll see how far I get. Here goes.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

Tomorrow – Spanning Tree!

The next chapter I have to do the write-up on is Spanning Tree.  Ugh. I already read it, and it was a bit of a beast.  Lots of stuff I knew, but spanning-tree is one of those topics that I never quite learned as well as I should have.  It was a handy thing to blame from time to time when there’d be a network outage, you know?  “Oh, uh…a line went down and spanning-tree converged.  That’s why we had the outage.”  Which was most of the time bollocks, but if your boss bought and let you go back to figuring out what the heck happened, well then, hey!  It’s a line that works even better if all your boss knows about spanning tree is from about 10 years ago – you can cover a lot of network burps with that excuse.

But in the real world, you have to really know and understand spanning-tree, especially if you’re in a dual-homed environment.  ST impacts redundancy, packet forwarding, switch design, load-balancing, etc.  It’s a very big deal, and while it’s easy to get ST right, it’s also easy to screw it up.  And it’s even easier to overlook some of the new ST features (such RST) and/or extensions that Cisco has provided (the “-fast” stuff).

So, tomorrow I’ll go back through my ST chapter review, and then on Wednesday at least get Chapter 4 started.

Man, this is going to be a long-haul getting through this book doing it this way, but I feel it’s important.  There’s 24 chapters in the book, plus appendices.  If I keep going like this, I’ll be lucky to get through the book by April.  But I’ll have learned a ton of stuff that I didn’t know, and solidified a lot of things I did know.  I’m not sure how I’m going to retain it all unless I work a little faster, though.  We’ll see.  If I review via Boson test questions from time to time, that should help keep the information fresh.  There’s just so much here, and the book has very little “fat”.  Everything seems relevant and important, 3 chapters in at least.


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

OECG – Chapter 2 Definitions

VLAN – a virtual LAN. Ports defined to be a common broadcast domain. Can span multiple switches through the use of trunks.

broadcast domain – devices that are on the same ethernet area. When a broadcast is sent to this area, everyone in the area gets it. Typically, one subnet per broadcast domain. Continue reading OECG – Chapter 2 Definitions


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks