oh noes!

I can’t find my notes!

I think I may have a week to sit back and recover from all of the stuff we’ve been doing at work.  Consider this the calm before the rest of the storm.  We’re cutting over our corporate campus (including new gear AND IP addressing) the first weekend of June.  There is a ton of prep work that needs to be completed, but I am running on empy and need a small break.

I’m taking off early every day this week to be home with my daughters while my wife goes back to work in the evenings.  I was hoping to be able to study a bit at home, but things haven’t panned out that way.

I’ve been sitting here staring at my monitor, trying to get motivated to watch some additional videos this morning, and it’s not working out very well, either.  STP is just SOOOOO boring to me.  Unfortunately, I know the basic concepts behind it.  I just need specifics, and sifting through videos and text chapters to get the info I need is a bit difficult.  I’m going to have to suck it up. 

As a distraction, I was going to work on putting my BGP, Multicast, and IPv6 notes into word docs.  I just opened up my notebook and it’s ALL gone.  I’m hoping the stack is at home next to my rack.  If not, then I have something to work on for the rest of this week.


been a while..

I feel like a horrible blogger.  I haven’t updated in a few weeks.  We’ve gotten into the full swing of this transition at work, and I’ve been working like a dog.  I haven’t had a day off in two weeks, and there’s no stopping in sight.

I currently work in a Foundry shop, but with our recent acquisition, we are in the process of plannning our migration to Cisco.  By August, our entire corporate network will have been re-IP’d and all gear will be standardized on 6500’s, 3750’s, 3800’s, and a few 7200’s.  I’m excited about the transition, but it’s a lot of work.

Because of everything going on, I haven’t had any time to really study or focus on labs.  The Skingers at Trainsignal were very cool in hooking me up with training materials for BSCI, BCMSN, and asked me to review the CCNA materials.  I’ve been through the BSCI videos twice, and they were awesome.  After failing the exam in february, I went back through the videos and paid attention to the sections where I was weak.  Chris Bryant had a way of explaining things so that they make sense, and he was very thorough with the material.  For some reason, I missed some topics in the books that he made sure to touch upon.  I’ve been really impressed with the VBT.  They’ve allowed me to take as many notes as I want without having to stop mid page to write, then continue.  Things seem to flow much better.  Also, having Chris pull up the racks with different topologies to demonstrate configurations and what he’s teaching is awesome. 

I’m also considering selling off some of the gear in my rack to make room for a mac mini and/or iMac.  I figure by the time I put money into RAM and flash upgrades for some of the 2600XM’s, I can get a mini, anyway.  Add a few USB nics to the mix, and I’d be set.

BTW, what’s with this new dashboard look on wordpress?  I don’t think I care for it very much.


I haven’t abandoned this blog.. I haven’t stopped prepping for the BSCI exam, although I definitely didn’t have as much time as I wanted to last week.  My goal was to take the exam again by Friday.  Instead, I my youngest was hospitalized, and I spent half the week camped out in a hospital room.

We have visitors from our new parent company this week.  Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak in some study time in the evenings.

quick update

I haven’t done a bit of studying since I failed that exam a week ago. I wanted to jump right back on the horse, this week, and get to studying my weak points (IPv6, IS-IS, and multicast). My wife and both of my daughters came down with the flu last weekend, and I’ve been fighting it all week. On top of that, I’ve been dealing with bursitis and cellulitis in my left arm/elbow.
We’ve also stepped up our effort to re-IP our entire corporate network, and made some changes to the WAN this week. Needless to say, there’s been a little too much going on to really focus on any studies. I was eligible to take the exam again yesterday. I will try to take it again in the next week or so.

I spent a good chunk of time last night into this morning messing around with dynamips on my work provided laptop. It’s a Pentium M 1.6Ghz machine with 1 gig RAM. I was trying to do labs using 2621XM as the platform, and I couldn’t get more than two routers loaded w/o crashing dynamips. I moved to 3640’s with two different IOS images this weekend (ip plus for BBR and FRSW, and Enterprise for the pod routers). So far, I’m able to get all routers fired up without spiking the processors. I started loading configs on the FRSW and the BBR’s this morning and the CPU spiked. We’ll see how the laptop handles full configs.
I know I have the rack here, but I don’t get a whole lot of time to dedicate to it, unfortunately. I’m almost at the point of selling it off just to buy a decent home PC/Mac and a laptop.


Our company was given the go ahead to be purchased today. The next few months are going to be an interesting transition. I’m anxious about it.

Otherwise, I’m continuing with studies every day/night this week. I’m going to sit BSCI on Friday morning. Even if I don’t feel like I’m 100% ready for it, I’d like to have it out of the way. I’ve been psyching myself out about this exam, and I know I’m capable.

moving right along

My wife took the baby with her to another baby shower today. She left me alone so that I could get some studying done. I dunno what happened, but I’m going to call today a wash. I struggled to focus on anything, and stay with it. I made it through another BGP video, and listened to the IPv6 video while I cleaned the apartment up a bit. All in all, I really didn’t get very far.

This next week should be pretty relaxed at work. We’re still holding our breath for some upcoming information, and all of our projects are on hold. On top of that, my boss may be going out of town on a family emergency, and my co-worker is leaving to see his mother off to London for a two year mission. Maria has told me she’s going to allow me every evening this week to study (save for thursday night, when she takes the 8 year old to see the doodle bops).

I am going to get through all of the BGP chapters in the authorized self study guide and videos on Monday. Tuesday will be spent focusing on IPv6/OPSFv3, and Wednesday on Multicast. Thursday will be review and some additional lab work just to solidify everything. I’ll make the decision to take the test this week by Wednesday. Because of the work related stuff, I MAY put it off until early the following week (which would give me one more weekend to study), but we’ll see.

In the meantime, my notes from the BGP section today:
There are two main classes of attributes in BGP: well known and optional.
Within these two classes, there are two sub-classes each:

well known: mandatory and discretionary
optional: transitive and non-transitive

well known mandatory attributes are as_path, origin, and next hop
well known discretionary attributes are local preference and atomic aggregate
optional transitive attributes are aggregator and community
optional non-transitive attributes are MED (multi-exit discriminator)

optional attributes aren’t necessarily understood by all BGP speakers. If a BGP speaker sees an optional transitive attribute that it doesn’t understand, it just forwards that information onto the next peer. Attributes that are optional non-transitive are dropped by BGP speakers that don’t understand them. Chris Bryant mentioned the partial bit for optional transitive attributes. I’d like to see the behavior for all of the above. I just don’t know how likely it is with all cisco gear.

BGP best path selection:
1. use the path with the highest weight (weight is a cisco proprietary attribute)
2. use the path with the highest local preference (this is 100 by default and is the same throughout the AS. can be assigned through the bgp default local-pref # router configuration command, or done on a per-route basis with route maps. route maps are preferred)
3. use the path that was originated locally
4. use the path with the shortest as_path
5. use the path with the best origin code (IGP is preferred over EGP is preferred over ?/incomplete)
6. use the path with the lowest MED (I think I read somewhere that Cisco uses this attribute the exact opposite of the RFC standard. I want to say the command to correct this is bgp bestpath med missing-as-worst.)
7. use eBGP path over iBGP path.
8. use the lowest IGP metric to the BGP next hop
9. use the most recent path
10. use the lowest BGP Router-ID.

I have additional notes, but They work better with diagrams and sample configs. Since I don’t have visio on my laptop yet, I’ll hold off on the diagrams for now. Besides… It’s time to get in the shower and get ready to go out tonight. This was the stipulation set on me getting to study today.

route manipulation/BGP

I think I’m coming down with a stomach bug/flu. I’ve been sick all weekend, and was very lethargic all day.
Even still, I made it through the route manipulation/redistribution chapters and labs today. The labs only covered redistributing RIP into OSPF and OSPF back into RIP. nothing with RIP/EIGRP, or EIGRP/OSPF, so I just started doing my own and running lots of debugs and traces to see what might happen.
I’m going to have to read through those sections again just to make sure I’m remembering all of the differences in redistributing the protocols and all the stuff involved with route maps and distribute lists.
I got about 40 pages into the BGP stuff in the authorized self study. I’ll finish that section up this week and double it up with the network academy stuff, as well as the exam certification guide, and hit the labs next weekend. If time permits this week, I’ll hit the multicast stuff, too.

My goal is to have this exam out of the way by February 29th. From there, I don’t want to spend much more than a month or two on each additional NP exam. This is something I should have completed a long time ago, and have had too much happening over the last year to follow through with. NOW is the time.

In other news, a sales manager for Trainsignal contacted me about reviewing some of their materials this week. I live in an apartment with a gate at the entrance. I’ve been in this apartment for a year and a half, and my name still isn’t on the call box. When I found out that the management has decided to close our front gates during the day, I was a little bit miffed. Needless to say, I still haven’t received the materials. I’ve never used VBT/CBT for any tests/certs before. I’m anxious to see how well this training works out.