Brussels experience

Hi there,

To help our community, I would like to share my experience in Brussels.

I took my CCIE R&S lab exam four months ago, in August 2013.
No need to say that I missed it, otherwise I'll post this in the success-stories :)


So first, the hotel
Like most of the people, I stayed at the hotel NH Brussels Airport. I paid € 80.- for one night and I estimate it's a normal price for the quality of the hotel in this area. The room was nice and clean, no noise at all, so perfect for relaxing before the D-day. There's a free WiFi access for 6 or 8 hours (sorry I don't remember) but it's limited to only one device, so choose carefully between your laptop or your phone. The Internet speed was not bad comparing to some more expensive hotels.
I had dinner at the hotel. The food was good, nothing spectacular but good.

Travel Airport - Hotel
A little advice here: take the bus or the hotel-shuttle, but NOT the train!
I made that mistake, and discovered after I bought my ticket that there's no direct train from the Airport to Diegem. So despite the fact that it is right next door, the only available train is direct to Bruxelles-Midi where you have to change with another train, to come back to Diegem. Total travel time: 1h! And it's 10 minutes by bus.

Travel Hotel-Cisco
It's really less than 10 minutes of walk from the NH-Hotel. So don't go too early, otherwise you have to wait inside too long and begin to stress. I left the hotel at 07:50 and I arrived early at Cisco HQ. When you arrive at the entrance, the door is closed, ring the bell and the receptionist will open and check your registration. After 5 minutes of waiting in the lobby with the others candidates, the proctor came and took us to the place of examination.

Exam itself
After the proctor the proctor explain the day and exam rules, you leave your personal stuff in a separate room. Then, I am not sure I'm allowed to give too many details here: there is water, coffee machine and toilet at the disposal for the candidates. At each seat there is a 24" screen. On the PC there's an IE browser, terminal is putty and you have paper and pens. Last but not least, the proctor allowed us to take drinks and snaks.
At around 12:30 we all stop to go to lunch. The lunch was very good and you can choose what you want, but little advice here: do not eat too much! Otherwise the digestion will slow you down for the 2nd part. [:S]

Travel back
I had to flight back in the evening. I left Cisco at around 17:30 and went to the NH Hotel. As I stayed there, I had the right to use the shuttle-bus to the airport. At 18:00 I was at the airport, so there's no problem to take a flight from around 19:00.

Next attempt in May, still on the V4.0. [:)]

Cheers and good luck to all!
Jerome

Comments

  • I will add something, the keyboard is a logitech K120 US English version, and putty right click opens the menu it doesn't paste straight, default window size of putty is 80 columns by 24 rows

     

    Kind regards

  • Yes, I believe the Logitech K120 is the worldwide standard keyboard for the CCIE lab exam. 

    Thanks for sharing nice experience!

  • Hi guys,

    is there any way around for copy and paste with putty other than the default? I am quite used to SecureCRT.. Can i modify the settings in the Lab ?

     

    Thanks for sharing anyway! Next time you will know what you will have to kill!

    Good Luck!

     

  • Hi Jerome

     

    thanks for sharing the experience. I will taking my CCIE DC lab in Brussels soon. that would be my first experience in Brussels

     

    How did you manage to pay 80 euros for the NH Hotel ... that is incredibly cheap !!!  I will be staying at the Holiday Inn Brussels Airport. it is not that far from the Cisco office either from what I gather

     

    Cheers 

  • How did you manage to pay 80 euros for the NH Hotel ... that is incredibly cheap !!!  I will be staying at the Holiday Inn Brussels Airport. it is not that far from the Cisco office either from what I gather

    Hi,

    It was € 89.- exactly, for one night. I booked directly on their website.
    Maybe it was cheaper because it was in July, during the holidays there's less activity in the Diegem business area.

    Good luck with your lab !!

    Cheers,
    Jerome

  • Thanks for the info, I'll get that keyboard. Have you finally passed the exam on 2nd attempt?

     

    DL.

  • The best part of Brussels is the drinking the night after the test.  Go into Brussels on the train and go to the Delirium Cafe.....3,000 commercially available beers there......good times.....it will allow you to drown your sorrows or celebrate your accomplishment in style :-)

    -Warjack

  • Hey Yannick,

    Don't want to assume to much, but your profile says Ontario... How is it to take the IE labs abroad? I know the other lower exams seem to have English and Japanese language options only (at least here in the US), so presuming English is an option abroad.

    Never really thought about it, but am now wondering if many people sit for the labs abroad. Like wrjack1971 mentioned, Brussels would be a fantastic place to either celebrate or drown your sorrows depending on the outcome of course.

     

    cheers,

    will

  • Hey Will

     

    yes at the time I took the exam I was living in Ontario,Canada. I was not given any choise of language, my exam was in English by default

     

    Cheers 

  • If you thinking of taking lab in a different TZ make sure you allow time to acclimatise http://sleepdisorders.about.com/od/howcanisleepbetter/a/How-To-Adjust-To-A-New-Time-Zone-And-Avoid-Jet-Lag.htm

     

  • Thanks for the info, I'll get that keyboard. Have you finally passed the exam on 2nd attempt?

    Hi Dennis,

    No! I did not had the chance to try again on the
    V.4.0 lab because I changed job, so I did not had enough free time to
    practice. Then the V.5.0 was out, so I need more practice on some points
    (DMVPN for example), then during the meantime I need to renew the
    written, on V.5.0 also... and now I need to pass two CCNP-SP exam to
    convert my CCIP to CCNP-SP, otherwise it's too late.

    So, I'm
    looking forward to 2015, to redo the written and then the lab. But I
    seriously think about the Mobile CCIE LAB, in Italy (very close to my
    home) or in London (much easier to find a cheap flight). Brussels is
    much more expensive from where I leave.

    Anyone had a mobile-LAB experience in London or Monza, Italy?

     

    Cheers,
    Jerome

  • Anyone had a mobile-LAB experience in London or Monza, Italy?

     

    I have done the mobile lab in London.  The biggest difference was that you much less room than you would have in Brussels.  It like you have a candidate almost sat on your lap on either side of you.  In London they used one of the conference rooms - so would be dependent on the size of the room?

    Also factory where you going to stay - I didn't sleep properly due to the ambulances/police sirens going at all hours of the night and pre-exam nerves.  Moral choose your hotel wisely.  Whereas Brussels is more of known quantity - alway stay at the same hotel - know the routine to get to Cisco etc.

     

     

  • Anyone had a mobile-LAB experience in London or Monza, Italy?

    I have done the mobile lab in London.  The biggest difference was that you much less room than you would have in Brussels.  It like you have a candidate almost sat on your lap on either side of you.  In London they used one of the conference rooms - so would be dependent on the size of the room?

    Also factory where you going to stay - I didn't sleep properly due to the ambulances/police sirens going at all hours of the night and pre-exam nerves.  Moral choose your hotel wisely.  Whereas Brussels is more of known quantity - alway stay at the same hotel - know the routine to get to Cisco etc.

    Thanks for the advise!

    Yes, knowning the environment before (hotel, travel from hotel to Cisco, etc.) is a big plus. I'll think about it.

    Cheers,
    Jerome

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