SWITCH final prep and PASS (hopefully)

MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eatMember Posts: 520
First off, reading the posts over on the CCIE section always get me fired up!

They've inspired me to do my own "ultra mini-blog," on my progress of finishing off SWITCH icon_thumright.gif. I think I am curently 1-2 weeks out from testing. The purpose of this blog is to document my final 1-2 weeks leading up to my exam, where I'll HOPEFULLY pass on the first try. I've been going at it off and on for the past few months, but have really been ramping it up lately. Study items I'm currently using are: home lab(2x 3550, 2x 2950), SWITCH ocg, cisco white pages, and Boson Ex-Sim Max.

Saturday 10/20:

I was able to do a marathon of labbing today.. it was awesome!! I was able to "lock in" several topics during the 10 hrs of study today..

Labbed today:

-Portfast
-BPDUguard
-BPDUfilter
-UplinkFast
-BackboneFast
-RootGuard
-LoopGuard
-UDLD(no fiber links, just practiced the syntax)
-auto-negotiation
-Etherchannel's and all of their possible combinations
-port-security
-dot1x
-voice vlans and auto-qos
-Vlan access maps
-dhcp snooping
-ip source guard
-DAI

Well it sure was a fun day! I was also on the Cisco White pages for all these topics just to compare/contrast with the book. A lot of these topics seem easy in retrospect.. but getting in there and configuring everything, breaking it, verifying with all show commands I could think of, doing various debugs, then fixing them, etc. sure helped a ton to cement them!

Getting closer to my "comfort" level to test.. topics I want to continue to hammer out are: 802.1D, 802.1w, 802.1s STP, VTP, CEF, FIB/Adjacency table questions, the TCAM, PPDIO questions, and IP SLA.
Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi

Comments

  • prtechprtech Senior Member Member Posts: 163
    Good luck man. I'm on my final prep as well but will probably wait a month. Doing both switch and tshoot on the same day.
    If at first you do succeed, try something harder.
  • wavewave Senior Member Member Posts: 342
    Best of luck!

    ROUTE Passed 1 May 2012
    SWITCH Passed 25 September 2012
    TSHOOT Passed 23 October 2012
    Taking CCNA Security in April 2013 then studying for the CISSP
  • mattaumattau Senior Member Member Posts: 218
    im doing exactly what you're doing. sitting exam this week. I think you've got it covered for sure!
    I am so sick of studying for this exam cant wait to sit for the test and move on. I've focused heavily on PPDIOO best practices, implementation plans, vlan implementation plans and how to mitigate the various L2 security threats.

    I have a feeling there will be crazy stupid questions on that stuff.
    _____________________________________
    CCNP ROUTE - passed 20/3/12
    CCNP SWITCH - passed 25/10/12
    CCNP TSHOOT - passed 11/12/12




  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    mattau wrote: »
    I am so sick of studying for this exam cant wait to sit for the test and move on. I've focused heavily on PPDIOO best practices, implementation plans, vlan implementation plans and how to mitigate the various L2 security threats.

    I have a feeling there will be crazy stupid questions on that stuff.

    Thanks guys! And yea mattau, I hear ya. I've been spending extra time reading up on some of the "fringe" topics so that I don't get burned by them.


    Sunday 10/21:

    Today I got in about 4 hrs study. I messed around with SPAN and RSPAN for awhile, and that was pretty fun. I have done local SPAN several times, but never remote, so it was good practice.

    I spent some more time on PPDIOO. Feels funny to study this because it's just theory talk, nothing really technical. But the jokes on me because I missed a question on it during a Boson practice exam when I thought I was already good on it. Some of the wording can be tricky, but I think I got it now.

    I went over some auto-negotiation scenarios again just to make sure I understand.. It seems that hard coding the speed on one side, essentially turns off its auto-negotation, or fast link pulses. However, the other side can still detect the speed by sensing the electrical signal on the wire. Note, if you hard code the speed differently on each side, i.e. 10 and 100, the link won't come up. In another scenario, if you hard code the speed to 100 and duplex to full on one side, the other side won't receive autonegotiation (because hard coding of speed) so it will set its duplex to half. This will give us CDP_4_Deuplex mismatch warnings on each side.

    This leads me into syslog. The numbers in each message correlate to a "security level." I've more or less memorized them at this point. 7-Debugging, 6-Informational, 5-Notifications, 4-Warnings, 3-Errors, 2-Critical, 1-Alerts, and 0-Emergencies.. I guess that last one happens when the box catches fire. Jokes aside, I'm not sure if I need to memorize these, but better safe than sorry. The challenging part is that those bottom 3-4 sound about the same!

    Read up on the TCAM and tried to get to a better/deeper understanding. Especially how the logical operation unit (LOU) is incorporated. Doesn't seem overly complex, just something I haven't spent enough time on..

    Finally, did some basic manual trunk pruning, setting the vlan to something unused, etc. Just wanted to verify its effects on the "sho int trunk" output... hitting it again tomorrow! Will probably do a lot of spanning tree.. to include 802.1s, a bit of a weak spot for me. Also, I want to get comfortable with the effects of mixing in STP modes with the "sho spann" output..
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • mattaumattau Senior Member Member Posts: 218
    haha yeah the box would catch on fire for the 0 syslog :P made me laugh
    _____________________________________
    CCNP ROUTE - passed 20/3/12
    CCNP SWITCH - passed 25/10/12
    CCNP TSHOOT - passed 11/12/12




  • poguepogue Senior Member Member Posts: 213
    MrBrian wrote: »

    This leads me into syslog. The numbers in each message correlate to a "security level." I've more or less memorized them at this point. 7-Debugging, 6-Informational, 5-Notifications, 4-Warnings, 3-Errors, 2-Critical, 1-Alerts, and 0-Emergencies.. I guess that last one happens when the box catches fire. Jokes aside, I'm not sure if I need to memorize these, but better safe than sorry. The challenging part is that those bottom 3-4 sound about the same!

    I have worked with a few fairly sophisticated Network Management Systems (NMS), i.e. Tivoli, NetQos, etc... To be perfectly honest, the main use of such differentiation in these logging levels is to more accurately parse system messages for personnel monitoring large groups of network equipment.

    For example, an NMS system may "color-code" any system level message below 2 as red, so as to bring that event to the attention of monitoring personnel.

    With that being said, I would say knowledge of the logging levels are good more for TSHOOT more than SWITCH..

    Either way... Good luck!!

    Russ
    Currently working on: CCNA:Security
    Up next: CCNA:Voice
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Monday 10/22:

    Got in a good 4 hours today.

    First, I did some 4 switch labs incorporating regular pvst, then rapid pvst, and finally multiple spanning tree. I configured one type first and messed around with moving the root bridge around.. then messed around with changing port path costs to influence the root path cost.. and finally changed the port ID (by configuring the port priority) of some ports. When implementing the next "brand" of STP, I would do it a couple switches at a time, so I could see how it interoperated with the previous version. There's so many show commands for spanning-tree so although I feel comfortable with the theory, I'm trying to get quicker at moving around the cli and using the correct commands to quickly see what I want to see.

    Second, I did boson practice exam #3. Didn't pass it, but came barely close. Made a couple mental errors on a few questions where I didn't quite read the question right. Also, missed a couple "planning" type questions because well, I guess I just suck at those! Right when I arrive at one of those questions in my head I'm already going "here we go." To be honest, some just don't make sense even reading about the reasoning after I get it wrong. The more questions of those type I get, the better I feel about them though. I've read every Cisco doc I could find on the topic.. it's just that the questions use strange wording where it seems like a couple of the answers could be right. Well anyways, getting better at understanding what they're looking for..

    Not sure what I'll hit tomorrow yet, I'll probably start off going through all my notecards since I haven't done that in awhile. Then fire up the lab.
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Got in a good 3 hours today. I ended up just going through my whole stack of notecards and then reading up on some topics for which I wanted more information. Today was the first day I haven't fired up the lab in over a week, but I think I needed to mix in some reading to balance things out a bit.

    Things I read up on were Voice over IP and wireless. Namely, I read up on Voice Vlans, enabling Qos, setting trust parameters, extending trust, LAP/WLC functionality, LWAPP/CAPWAP, and how intercontroller roaming works.. was out of the book on some Cisco docs just to get a little more depth.

    Well, since I took a break from labbing today, I'm gonna come back at it hard tomorrow and hit more of the "core" switching topics.
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Labbed tonight for a few hours. Some things I covered tonight were:

    -port-security
    -dot1x port authentication, as well as other basic aaa stuff like setting up the default login authentication using the local database
    -VACL's and PACL's
    -messed with etherchannel's
    -voice vlans to include auto-qos commands and setting up basic trust boundaries

    Mainly just review on some topics I haven't hit in awhile. Feeling better about the commands used for setting up QoS trust boundaries and why they're used (to decide whether or not to trust the CoS value, or to overwrite it, if necessary).

    Also, I don't too aaa stuff too often, so I'm trying to sharpen up there..
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Did a little bit of HSRP labbing tonight since I hadn't covered it in awhile. Did a basic extended ping from a host, disabled the active router's lan interface, and waited for the backup to take over. I liked watching Keith Barker's video on this because I learned that when the Standby router goes Active it will actually send a gratuitous ARP out for the gateway IP to update the switches CAM tables.. small detail I wasn't aware of, but makes sense, pretty cool.

    Cisco HSRP Tutorial and Demonstration - YouTube

    Gonna do the last Boson practice exam now and see how I do.. For now my exam is scheduled for Monday, but I might wuss out and push it to Wed-Thur lol.. we'll see
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • wavewave Senior Member Member Posts: 342
    Good work! Make sure you know HSRP inside and out. Do a quick refresh on VRRP an GLBP too. But if you're passing those Boson exams you should be in good shape!

    ROUTE Passed 1 May 2012
    SWITCH Passed 25 September 2012
    TSHOOT Passed 23 October 2012
    Taking CCNA Security in April 2013 then studying for the CISSP
  • wavewave Senior Member Member Posts: 342
    Just read a few of your other posts. I failed two of the boson exams for switch by a few points and passed the other two. It sounds like you're reviewing te questions and reading their explanations. That content is gold, particularly the Cisco documentation and white papers they link to.

    ROUTE Passed 1 May 2012
    SWITCH Passed 25 September 2012
    TSHOOT Passed 23 October 2012
    Taking CCNA Security in April 2013 then studying for the CISSP
  • DeathgomperDeathgomper .:|:.:|:. Member Posts: 356 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Agree with wave, HSRP is a must.

    Good luck!!
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    wave wrote: »
    Just read a few of your other posts. I failed two of the boson exams for switch by a few points and passed the other two. It sounds like you're reviewing te questions and reading their explanations. That content is gold, particularly the Cisco documentation and white papers they link to.

    Yea I passed 2/4 my first time through. Some of the questions I had no idea because I've read both the OCG and FLG and it wasn't in those texts. I understand this will happen a little, but it does catch you off guard.. Yea every time I go through an exam when there's something I don't know I click the reference link to the Cisco doc that's at the bottom of the question. At the end of each exam I have about 7-8 tabs open, ha. Thanks for your advice

    Agree with wave, HSRP is a must.

    Good luck!!

    Thanks for your input.. yea I thought I had HSRP totally down, especially since I labbed up tracked interfaces and felt like I went the whole 9 yards with it.. but a couple Boson questions got me with some HSRP stuff I hadn't pondered. Anyways, yea, just doing the balancing act right now of feeling ready, but not wanting to rush it at the same time. Just gotta fine tune some areas.
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Well, it's that time again, time to lab! Got my 2950's and 3550's fired up..

    I have the SWITCH lab manual, and I'm going to do Lab 5-1, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, and 7-1.. or maybe I'll swap 6-3 and 7-1 for the last lab, 7-3, because it looks like that incorporates many more topics in one lab.. All these labs have the same basic 4 switch setup so it's not as much as it sounds..

    Then if I have the energy I'll go through a practice exam and see where I stand now..
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • IvanjamIvanjam Senior Member Member Posts: 978 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Best of luck on SWITCH, MrBrian! icon_thumright.gif
    Fall 2014: Start MA in Mathematics [X]
    Fall 2016: Start PhD in Mathematics [X]
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Ivanjam wrote: »
    Best of luck on SWITCH, MrBrian! icon_thumright.gif

    Thanks!
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • JeanMJeanM Senior Member Member Posts: 1,117
    Good luck, but it doesn't sound like you'll need luck! :)
    2015 goals - ccna voice / vmware vcp.
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    JeanM wrote: »
    Good luck, but it doesn't sound like you'll need luck! :)

    Thanks JeanM. Yea you never know though, ha. Have never failed an exam yet, but this ones giving me a funny feeling.. then again I start psyching myself like that everytime.. ahh nerves.

    Well just finished doing a ton of labbing and then went over one of the Boson exams that I had taken last week. Passed it ok, found a few spots I can touch up on.. Started at 6:45pm last night, but I took a lot of breaks too, I'm not THAT crazy.

    Anyways, back at it again tomorrow with some labs, and then going through two practice exams. Then take a long break and late at night go over some of the weak spots I found during the two practice runs..

    Then it's test time Monday, 5pm!
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Passed SWITCH this evening!!

    Scored 825, would like that to be higher, but I'll take it. Some of the questions I didn't like too much since I knew what they were getting at, but the wording and such, c'mon. Then again, some of those weird questions can show how deeply you know something. It is what it is. No problems with the sims though.

    Well on to TSHOOT it is. Not sure how long I'll spend on it. Don't want to necessarily rush it even though it's possible I could take and pass it in a week. I just need to decompress from all these switching topics for a bit!!
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • The IT GuyThe IT Guy Member Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    First off, Congrats!

    I love seeing these post. It keeps me grounded and focused. I think I'm about one more month out from scheduling the ROUTE exam. I just need to touch up on some weaker areas and put some serious lab time in.
  • prtechprtech Senior Member Member Posts: 163
    Congrats!! Good luck with TSHOOT.
    If at first you do succeed, try something harder.
  • mattaumattau Senior Member Member Posts: 218
    congrats, the score is irrelevent to your knowledge anyway. Just gota get the pass and move on. I studied for so long for switch yet my score wasnt great and nearly gave up half way through the exam because of the stupid questions that could have multiple correct answers but you just had to think what they wanted to hear.

    I got a few difficult ones in a row and had 30 questions to go in 30mins so was stressing hard. Did you finish with much time left?

    Im going through the TSHOOT OCG now and its lighter to digest and get through with some refreshing extras to get away from the staples of how switching and routing works. ( which can get pretty boring )

    You should keep posting your TSHOOT progress in this thread so I can prep as well as you do. I think ill be taking my time with TSHOOT as well. Maybe a few months? half of what route and switch took I think would be a good goal.
    _____________________________________
    CCNP ROUTE - passed 20/3/12
    CCNP SWITCH - passed 25/10/12
    CCNP TSHOOT - passed 11/12/12




  • DeathgomperDeathgomper .:|:.:|:. Member Posts: 356 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats!!!! Good luck on TSHOOT!!!!
  • MrBrianMrBrian Grind time, gotta eat Member Posts: 520
    Thanks everyone, I appreciate it!
    mattau wrote: »
    congrats, the score is irrelevent to your knowledge anyway. Just gota get the pass and move on. I studied for so long for switch yet my score wasnt great and nearly gave up half way through the exam because of the stupid questions that could have multiple correct answers but you just had to think what they wanted to hear.

    I got a few difficult ones in a row and had 30 questions to go in 30mins so was stressing hard. Did you finish with much time left?

    Im going through the TSHOOT OCG now and its lighter to digest and get through with some refreshing extras to get away from the staples of how switching and routing works. ( which can get pretty boring )

    You should keep posting your TSHOOT progress in this thread so I can prep as well as you do. I think ill be taking my time with TSHOOT as well. Maybe a few months? half of what route and switch took I think would be a good goal.

    It's funny you mention almost wanting to give up half way through because my anxiety definitely spiked in the beginning of the exam. I had a bunch of tough questions early on.. so here I am gauging the clock and going wow there's no way I'm gonna finish in time if I keep getting questions like this. I had to take a deep breathe, relax, and just remain focused. I ended up finishing with 5 or so minutes left..

    Not sure if I'm gonna post a Tshoot thread or not. Too much work, haha. Was thinking of starting my own blog sometime soon, but we'll see. Took a couple days off now I'm gonna get into Tshoot. I actually have 5 routers and 4 switches so I can build the entire topology so that's pretty cool.

    First on my agenda is reviewing Eigrp and Ospf. Just need to do a quick re-read of a couple chapters and do some labs and it will come back.. I passed the Route back in February, so I actually did review like that during the summer and it all came back. So gonna do that again now for a few days.. Oh, and I definitely need to review IPv6 again.. I'll probably review those things for 3-4 days and then I'll build out the topology and go at it. I have the OCG, but I'm not gonna read it all the way through. Just pick spots here and there. I might purchase the Boson exams as well, just to be on the safe side..

    I'm thinking I'll probably take it this month (Nov). Good luck to you too
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • wavewave Senior Member Member Posts: 342
    Congrats!!

    ROUTE Passed 1 May 2012
    SWITCH Passed 25 September 2012
    TSHOOT Passed 23 October 2012
    Taking CCNA Security in April 2013 then studying for the CISSP
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Senior Member Member Posts: 2,475 ■■■■□□□□□□
    congrats! good work.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
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