[CCIE] 1st attempt – English version

Hello everyone, for those who follow me on Twitter / Facebook, you have followed my journey in Brussels Monday, October 21.
Here are the details about it.

Arrived early Sunday afternoon at the Gare Bruxelles Midi, I then jumped into the first taxi that took me to the famous NH Hoteles, located 100m from the Cisco Systems building.

Shortly after arriving, I’m like everyone else, I put my stuff in the room and I’m going down to see directly where is the entrance of the Cisco building because there is still three Cisco buildings in this area, and it’s not that easy to find the 3A so you do not want to wast 30″ to get into it the next day. It is not the building directly next to the hotel but the one after.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on my notes because I did not have much more to do here so rather than stress, I thought it was better to use this time intelligently.

Monday morning
I woke up at 6:30, having slept well except for the last two hours, but I feel good, eager to do battle!
After a good shower and a good little U.S. Breakfast (Eggs & co) it is soon 7:30 and I decided to proceed to the check out of the room and go to the Cisco building.

Credit Photo : J. Berton (ccie.julienberton.fr)

Credit Photo : J. Berton (ccie.julienberton.fr) - je n'ai pas pris le temps d'en prendre

I arrived around 7:45 waiting in front of the building before entering near 8am with 6 other candidates.

We do check our identities and moved until the proctor happens 5 minutes later, left for the climb to the fourth floor and examination area. The proctor gives us the first instructions and attributes our “Rack”, the 11 one for me. We deposited everything, and ban anything, not even a watch or any pens at the rack sit. Everything is provided. Only food and “drugs” are allowed.

Then it finally arrives, I sit down at the Rack11, and it is gone, I start the machine!
Until I was in a really positive mood, not really stressed over what I thought at the sight of the issue of the day.

1st Part: Troubleshooting
I start the first part of “Troubleshooting.”
This is part of 2 hours on a topology of about 30 routers / Switches containing all technologies from the CCIE Routing & Switching program, BGP, OSPF, RIP, EIGRP, PPP, FR, IPv4, v6 .. . and the whole of other protocols and technologies from the Blueprint, on which errors are injected.
We have instructions and 10 ‘tickets” to solve during these two hours.

I drawa table in 3 seconds before starting up, as explained by Brian DENNIS during Bootcamp INE July. A 4-column table, with the ticket number, the number of points, OK / NOK, and a Description.

TT Points OK/NOK Desc
1 X Points
2 X Points
3 X Points
4 X Points
5 X Points
6 X Points
7 X Points
8 X Points
9 X Points
10 X Points

I started calmly and I managed to handle the first two in less than 20″ minutes, I felt good until the third ticket, a “3-pointer” with more mistakes than others. After spending 20 minutes on it, I thought the instructions, be careful not to get stuck more than 10″ on a ticket, quickly skip it and that’s what I did. I traveled in turn each of the tickets and I managed to solve in four of them, then I raise my head and see the clock, there are only 40 minutes remaining, and that’s where the stress rises ! I iron on all single tickets but I exposed it, then I’m back on the 3 pointer from the beginning that I managed to solve in extremis before the end, but it is already about 10am and after been careful to save everything, all the windows out .. and I look at my table and I think I have solved 5-6 tickets. Given that the passing score is 80 %, I know it’s over. This paralyze me still at the beginning of the second part.

2e Part: Lab
This is a test of six hours in which we need to build a network from A to Z, by implementing to the letter the instructions of the examination. Again, all the content is in the Blueprint.

I quickly started the second part , I try to keep my heads up, but the stress made ​​me do a lot of small mistakes that will cost me time thereafter. However I stick to the plan, I read the instructions carefully , word by word. I draw the physical architecture , and then I start the first part and I go the layer 2 and I will start layer 3 before eating from around 11:50 .
I took the time 10 minutes before leaving for lunch to save my configs, just in case . And .. here is the drama . I set up my consoles for a right click to performs a “paste” directly to save time , but after saving one of the Switches, I made ​​an unfortunate right-click in another one… but I do not have immediately realized …

11h50 : Lunch break
Both proctor was with us, asked for not talking about the Lab between us, obviously, and English mandatory during this lunch. I still asked for my meat in French to the Chef, and they have not posed problems for me ;-)
After 30″ and we were all concentrated in our thoughts … let’s go back to the exam room guys!

12h40 : Lab, second part
I shall give my position, and I quickly checked the consoles, and I discovered that two switch have the same name. First, I think it’s a joke of proctor then I look to my right click and I realize my mistake. Fortunately, I had good backups of each switch, so I erase all configuration and I restart, I replace the proper setup and is left but I have still lost 10 precious minutes.

I will not dwell on the contents of this Lab, NDA obliges. But I found it feasible.

I managed to finish it on time and I was able to read each of the different parts of it before leaving to 4:40 p.m. . I restarts thinking have succeeded, given that any internal IPv4/v6 addresses were reachable by each devices, and I’m confident for the majority of questions.

Then I left quickly to the station to catch the train to Paris and Troyes. I took the 1:30 Thalys to redesign and rethink the Lab question, and various errors that I could have made in order to work for the next attempt.
I sent text messages to friends, family, I thought I knew the result, missed the TSHOOT, but I was probably good on the Lab.

I received the results rather quickly, around 21:30 (it may take up to 48 hours to arrive). It confirms my feelings on the TSHOOT, where I only got half the points, and I was below the passing score for the Lab, but not by much and I think have identified afew errors I made.

This is a big first experience rather mixed, and that puts you in a good slap behind the head, but today I’m back to work for the next attempt, as soon as possible. I have a lot of work to deal with the Troubleshooting part !

Ok guys, hope this article helps you, sorry in advance for the possible grammar/language mistakes in this article.


Network engineer at CNS Communications. CCIE #47705, focused on R&S, Data Center, SD-WAN & Automation.

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One Comment

  1. Christophe Lucas 23 octobre 2013


    Come on guy. Next time you will have your digits !


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