Archive for the ‘CCNA’ Category

Hide your routers and switches, I am CCNA certified!

October 3rd, 2011 3 comments

Despite a tornado drill mid-test, here it is:

…and boom goes the dynamite!

Categories: CCNA, Cisco, ICND1, ICND2 Tags:

Creating your own mental subnet calculator

September 29th, 2011 No comments

Simply a must learn for any CCNA candidate. When time is your enemy on the exam this method is your best friend:

Categories: CCNA, Cisco, ICND1, ICND2 Tags:

Nearing test time.

September 20th, 2011 No comments

I am nearing the end of the ICND2 book for the second time around which means it will be time shortly to take the ICND2 final CCNA test.

Things to do yet:

Finish Chapter 16 and 17 of the official exam cert guide.

Review notes (all 100+ pages).

Run through practice questions again.


I’m thinking early October?


Btw, I am a new dad again, thanks to my wife for delivering such a beautiful baby boy on August 30th.

I mean seriously, how cute is he? hat and all.

Categories: CCNA, Cisco, ICND2, Personal Tags:

Specific topics to review before Monday’s Exam (update)

August 5th, 2011 No comments

I am going through the Boson ICND2 practice exam questions and marking sections I failed to answer questions correctly for follow up. Here is what we have so far:

Chapter 2: Spanning Tree: Root Bridge, Root Port and Designated Port Elections.

Chapter 10: EIGRP Metric, Successors, and Feasible Successors.

update: rescheduled for sometime in September after Straatsma baby 2.0 is born.

Categories: CCNA, Cisco, ICND2 Tags:

Information to review

August 1st, 2011 No comments

I don’t know about you but when I am learning concepts for the first time, the general idea seems to stick but no necessarily the specific details. I typically like to cover these details in-depth over the weekend right before the test. So here is my current list of topics I want to review with a fine toothed comb.

OSPF route summarization

EIGRP route summarization (auto?)

Troubleshooting IP routing

Troubleshooting routing protocols

Frame-relay configuration

Network address Translation


(update: all sections completed)

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ICND2 Studying Continues and exam date set

July 27th, 2011 No comments

I’ve completed the training section twice now and and past halfway in the Wendell Odom ICND2 cert book and I am feeling really good about the materials covered so far. I have the same sense of clarity with the topics fully covered in the book so far (vlans, stp, vtp, vlsm, access-control lists and route/switch trouble-shooting) as I did before taking (and passing) the last certification. I scheduled the test for August 8th which leaves me just under two weeks to go and a bunch of topics to fully cover, including OSPF, EIGRP, point to point link, frame-relay, VPNs and ipv6 plus my final prep.

Categories: CCNA, Cisco, ICND2 Tags:

One of those nights…

June 27th, 2011 No comments

Studying for the CCNA ICND2 exam has moved into the final countdown, with only 3 weeks to go until the test. Up until this point I have focused on each concept as it has come up and not really thought about all the concepts covered on the ICND2 exam. Well, the sheer amount of content hit me like a ton of bricks tonight. I can’t believe how much information is covered in this exam. You could seriously split the exam in two with routing as one test and switching as another and they would still be two beefy exams. Though, to be honest, I felt this exact same way about ICND1 at about this time and did not have any issues passing the exam, so here’s to hoping the same applies to ICND2.

Anyway, tonights topic was the Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) routing protocol. Commonly used as a replacement to EIGRP for those networks not running cisco equipment. OSPF is a link state protocol with each router forming a map of the network. OSPF uses the Hello protocol to inform its neighbors about the routes it knows and periodically letting it’s neighbors know that it is still up and running. This is much more efficient than a distance vector protocol, such as RIP, which advertises it’s entire routing table with each broadcast.

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Round 2: Fight!

June 23rd, 2011 No comments

I had a chat with one of our network engineers a couple of days ago regarding the path of understanding your brain seems to take while studying for a Cisco exam. The first time you go through the information your brain says, “that’s cool I get the general concept, but I don’t think I could flawlessly implement it without having to look some things up”. The second time through goes something like this, “ok, I understand this stuff and I think I can implement it without breaking things horribly”.  The last time through, two weeks before the exam, “I understand this information, quick take the test while the nitty-gritty details stick!”. And finally, when you move on to another more difficult test you look back on the old stuff and think, “I remember when ICND2 stuff used to be hard, what have I gotten myself into now!”. 🙂

Speaking of studying, here is a quick run down of where I am with the ICND2 exam prep:

In the past couple of weeks I finished up the cbtnuggets ICND2 course for the first time. Similar to studying for the ICND1 exam I am making a second run through the content on, at this point I just finished covering the switching part of the cbt course material. Once I am done with CBT for the second time I will hit the cisco press book for the ICND2 exam until I take the test.

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Frame Relay

June 2nd, 2011 No comments

First, a little disclaimer, Frame Relay is falling out of favor as a WAN connectivity solution for organizations, MPLS and VPN (and MPLS VPN) connections have risen in its place. Alas, Frame Relay is still covered in the ICND2 exam, so we are going to cover it anyway!

Frame Relay is designed to cheaply connect to points together through a network providers cloud. Versus a dedicated leased line Frame Relay is much cheaper because it uses the concept of shared bandwidth. You are guaranteed a Committed Information Rate (CIR) for your data however, your connection is allowed to burst above the CIR if there is additional bandwidth available and based on what you pay for.

Multiple Frame Relay connections can share one serial connection on a router, which helps save on the cost of additional WICs that are needed for multiple dedicated leased lines.

There are two standard Frame Relay designs. The first is using a multipoint configuration where the ip of each router in the network is in the same subnet as every other router. This however, causes some issues with split horizon. Thus, the preferred design method would be a point-to-point design. The point-to-point design takes advantage of sub-interfaces and multiple subnets to avoid the problems with split horizon and a multipoint configuration.

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Access List, NAT and VPN connections, oh my!

May 24th, 2011 No comments

Another set of terms and concepts that almost every IT professional tosses around but does not necessarily understand the whole story and configuration behind them. For the couple of weeks this is what I’ve been covering in the prep for the ICND2 exam, and let me tell you, they are awesome. All three of these have their own purpose but are typically combined to offer a form of basic network security on your router/end point.

Access lists at their core are used to permit or deny access from one section of a network to another section of the network but, are also used in configuring NAT.

NAT is used to allow internal private IP addresses to access external resources by translating them to public addresses. There are multiple versions of NAT, the most popular being PAT which allows the use of one external IP address to represent multiple internal private network addresses. This is done by assigning a unique source port to the end of your public IP address for example internal source IP address and port which would translate to on your endpoint router.

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, connections allow hosts or networks to connect to other networks over the internet via an encrypted connection. This allows employees of your organization to work from anywhere in the world and still securely access resources at the main office as well as connecting branch offices back to the main office without the need of expensive dedicated connections.

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