CCIE R&S passed!
I am proud to say that I finally passed the CCIE R&S on Friday in Bruxelles
this time nobody knew that I was going to the lab except my wife...this takes a lot of pressure off...
after a pause of a few months, this time I was determined to use a "forward strategy". No
matter what, I wouldn't waste time on tasks, just move on.
It is like a virus. I had a few job interviews and I understood that basically without the
CCIE nowadays you are seen as a 2nd row job candidate.
I was also determined that this 4th exam is definitely the last time. Should it not work, I
would not go the 5th time. After all, one eventually asks himself what colour and size the
straitjacket should have.
I took another week off work, this time not reading the e-mails from the job computer
I took again the plane, went to the hotel. Miserable weather in Bruxelles, rain and cold.
Had dinner, chatted to my wife and went to bed. Slept well although I got awaken twice.
Because of the cold in the room (had to turn the heating on) and because of the rain
hitting the window. The planes were not so disturbing.
At 6 o'clock I got up, I was anxious to get up. I had breakfast, reviewed my notes and then
went to the lab.
Just a few candidates there, silence, we have kept our energy.
We went into the exam room early, I started with TSHOOT. Two tickets went well, then
blocked. I jumped over tho tickets after spending more that 10 minutes on each (thank you
Brian and Dave). I solved a few other tickets. I just went to the complicated ones at the
After that, Diag and Config. At config I also used a "forward" strategy and of course
Notepad. I strived to bring end to end connectivity and follow the requirements. Where
following them led to questions I just noted the questions for later reviewing and moved
ahead. Non stop routing... or non stop configuring?
I finished with one hour to spare and I started correcting my own mistakes and re-checking
end-to-end connectivity after each new change. I was starting to have blurred sight - after
lunch I only got up once to go to the toilet. The last 3,5 hours I sat and typed like a
During the exam clear all other thoughts. Just think of solving the task.
Solve the exam by jumping between sections, for example do in one step OSPF and MPLS (LDP),
ipv4 and vpnv4 bgp peerings, etc. Try to envision how the default route(s) propagate and
where filtering is implicit or explicit. Know the DOCCD. Passing the exam, as Brian says,
is just a byproduct of being an expert.
After more than 3 years of hard work, tears and (almost) blood, I am there.
An advice for all the candidates: Please try to understand the technologies on the
blueprint and how a valid network should look like, end-to-end. Using MPLS, Routing
protocols, DMVPN, you name it. Try to build small and big networks at home and test them.
It should take minutes or hours.
You have a problem with PPP? or with BGP? Lab it until your fingers hurt and you know it by
heart. I was on the point of looking in void and pointing in the air how traffic in an
imaginary network or INE lab flows. I was performing troubleshooting in head while laying
on the bed and waiting to go asleep.
After the exam I had a moderate enthusiasm. As many requirements are doubled-edged I was
unsure if the lab will be graded the way I thought about.
I went back to the hotel, hat a pot of tea and then back to the airport. A very long day...
As the exam was on Friday I knew the results come on Sunday. Today I saw in the morning the
email from Cisco but I did not have the courage to open it. After lunch my wife persuaded
me to open it.. and I could not believe my eyes.. I started to shed tears of joy.
It is an incredible feeling and I will need a few days to get accustomed to it...
What is more difficult.. to realize that now I have free time for my real life for my
wife, for hobbies, sport, and so on.
All the best to you all and many thanks to INE!