Coming Up For Air – UPDATED 4/20/2008


I took yesterday off of work so that I could get a full-scale practice lab in before my mock today. I did IEWB vol.2 lab #6, and it went okay. Today, I did IE mock lab #5 (difficulty 8). I easily finished it within the time limit, which is a huge step in the right direction. I took about an hour to read through the mock, create some diagrams, and write down a few notes about tasks. I did everything I knew how to do in about 6 hours. I spent the last hour with the Doc CD digging into the less-familiar stuff.

Overall, I finished the mock lab feeling much, much better than the last 2 mock labs. After looking at the answer key, I made a few mistakes, and there were a few issues with task interpretation. We’ll see how the grading goes. For every task that I probably got wrong, I was usually close, but missed some detail that’s going to make me lose the points. I am hoping for around a 70. IE says a score in the high 60’s on this lab is on par with where you need to be for the actual lab.

I used earplugs today while doing the mock. I will definitely be wearing earplugs during the actual lab. A few people have recommended them, and after the dry run today, I think it’s a great idea. I was able to stay focused – nothing audible to take my brain away from the task at hand.

Next week, I have practice scheduled Monday through Saturday. I did IEWB vol.2 #6 already, so I’m going to work on IEWB vol.2 7 – 11 Monday through Friday. Saturday, I’m not sure yet. I might finish off the IEWB vol.3 stuff; I did 1 – 7, with 8 – 10 still to go.

UPDATE – 4/20/2008

Possible spoilers ahead if you’re going to take IE mock lab #5. I ended up with a 55 on IE mock lab #5. I’m mad. Frustrated. Almost everything was very close, but missed in some detail or another. One route doesn’t show up as an E2, so I lost everything on a redistribution task. Lost 6 points on NTP, apparently because of a missed access-list. All NTP was synced and working when I left it…but obviously it broke later on. Forgot to complete a BGP route-map with a catch-all at the bottom, so I was dropping routes I should have been advertising. Screwed up a K-value setting. Summary routes not specific enough (which I question, because in the answer key, they just used “auto-summary”. So how can my summary routes – which were the exact same, just manual instead of auto – not be specific enough?) A “backup” interface in a frame environment doesn’t work right unless it’s used with a sub-interface. Careless FRTS mistake, where I set my Be value wrong (DUH). Missed a parameter on a switchport to make it match the output on the lab. Allowed all ICMP traffic in an ACL when I should have only allowed echo & echo reply. I GAVE AWAY 24 points with stupid mistakes. All of these things were just dumb mistakes that had I checked my work carefully towards the end, I should have gotten correct.

Am I really that careless? Man, I walked away from that lab feeling pretty good, but there was one huge mistake I made. I didn’t go back and check anything, because I spent roughly the last hour trying to get 9 points related to multicast (6 of which I got easily enough via the Doc CD). The 3 points I didn’t get, I spent a lot of time dubbing around with, trying to make it work. I would have been better served to leave those last 3 points to the side, and focus on reviewing my other work more carefully.

There’s one thing I still don’t understand, and I need to look up. IE used OSPF type “point-to-multipoint non-broadcast” instead of the default of “non-broadcast” in the backbone area. I don’t understand in that particular topology (frame-relay/full-mesh) why that was a requirement. Now there’s a requirement that said to “ensure that the failure of any single DLCI does not cause loss of connectivity through the OSPF domain.” I have a feeling that my answer lies in that requirement, but I’m not sure why. I had a full-mesh, not hub-and-spoke. I had a DR and a BDR. There’s a detail I’m missing here that I need to figure out the answer to.  UPDATEcheck the comments for the solution to this issue.  I had great input from a couple of readers that set me straight.

About the author

Ethan Banks

Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.


  • Ethan
    I too took Mock Lab 5 probably the exact the same time you were doing yours. I had done Mock lab1 & 2 before this. This had to be the toughest one so far. However, i have started to really enjoy the Mock Labs. It gives one a pretty good prespective of your performance. Anyway, I made silly silly mistakes like on R1 forgetting to allow IPv6 in my ACL. That’s probably going to cost me the entire IPv6 section and the Security.
    Anyway Good luck Next Week.

  • Re: “ensure that the failure of any single DLCI does not cause loss of connectivity through the OSPF domain”

    You had to change it to point-to-multicast non-broadcast because of the DR. If you lost connectivity at Layer 2 between any of the routers you wouldn’t be able to send updates to the DR. It would depend where your DR was but if it was in the wrong spot, you would loose updates from one of your spokes.

    For example: If R2 was your DR and you lost the 102 DLCI from R1 you wouldn’t get updates from R1. If R3 was your DR and you lost the 312 DLCI, you wouldn’t get updates from R2. By having a Point-to-multipoint non broadcast network you don’t have to worry about the DR.

    Keep your head up man. I know exactly what you are going through. I just finished Mock Lab 4 and my confidence was shattered. I thought I was doing pretty well, until Mock Lab 4. I take solice in the fact that the CCIE Assessors were way easier than these mock labs.

  • Keep going Ethan, you’ll make it! Your point about how to spend the last hour is very valid. Without risking the NDA, I think I can tell you that the last time I tried the real exam was an unmitigated disaster because I tried to grab a few points out of the last hour and screwed up what I had already got right. So the best advice is the one you gave yourself: spend the last hour checking, not adding. Be careful to check things like spelling of VTP domain names, VLAN names, authentication keys, RIPng domain names, etc. etc.

    Also, a lot depends on attitude. I have found recently that there is a critical mass, and each lab is either above my critical mass or below it. If it is above, then I take more than 8 hours the points are bad. If it is below, then I take 6 hours and the points are good. Nothing in between.

    The last four proctored practice labs I took, I got 56, 59, 85, 85. My 59 was sooo disappointing; I thought I would be getting in the high 70s.

    I wish you a scenario that is the right side of your critical mass.

  • Arden – yes, all good info. I was thinking about the problem as “what if I lose a ROUTER“, not “what if I lose a DLCI“. As soon as it sunk in that was I was supposed to be dealing with a broken DLCI, it all became clear.

    I had a unicast from someone with similar thoughts to yours that’s worth repeating. Here’s what he had to say.

    “Say you have 3 routers in a full mesh using frame maps to provide connectivity. If 1 DLCI goes down, you’re back to a hub with 2 spokes. Your frame maps for spoke-spoke traffic don’t work anymore because they point out the wrong DLCIs. Plus in a non-broadcast config, you have a DR. If the DR router doesn’t happen to be the Hub, you’re not getting OSPF LSAs between your spokes anymore.

    OSPF point-to-multipoint solves this automatically. When all DLCIs are up, traffic will take the correct (shortest) path since all routers see each other as neighbors. When one goes down, the hub forwards traffic between spokes and the next-hops get updated to be the hub. No DRs to worry about.”

  • I am still to get my results from Internetwork Expert. Took this lab the same day as you on the 19th


Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.

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