## Thursday, December 31, 2009

### IS-IS PDU Types

Today I studied IS-IS Link-State Packet PDU's in more detail, specifically how it relates to both L1 and L2 links. I'm still a little confused on how pseudo-node works in broadcast networks but I have a feeling IS-IS is rarely if ever used as a routing protocol on a LAN network. It also got me to think about ES's (End-Systems) in a IS-IS Network. Since IS-IS uses an entirely different protocol than IP what host or computer even use IS-IS and CLNS instead of the IP stack? I'm going to have to do a little more digging around here but I suspect that it has something to do with the long history of IS-IS. I also went through my portable command book this evening and went through EIGRP commands and a simple lab using SSH instead of the usual console sessions. I think I'm going to go the security route so I might as well get used to encrypting passwords and locking down routers now! I hope everyone has Happy New Years, I won't be celebrating tonight due to my early shift tomorrow but I hope all my friends and family have fun and be safe tonight! 2010 is going to be a BIG year for me, I'm finally starting to see a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of goals I have set for myself.

## Wednesday, December 30, 2009

### Chapter 6 IS-IS Routed Protocol

Well today I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the IS-IS pages on CLNS NSAP (Network Service Access Points) which is basically the OSI version of an IP address. Since I've been dealing mainly with IPv4 and some IPv6 it's been really hard to grasp the NSAP theory. Nothing like reading the same three pages over and over again until you sorta grasp what they're talking about. I believe that repetition is key to becoming good at anything and this seemed to work pretty well because after that I was able to read the rest of the pages pretty easily. NSAP works very similar to an IP protocol but it reminds me kinda of like NetBIOS for some reason. Tomorrow will be more IS-IS theory, this chapter doesn't have much configuration so may try and lab some other topics in the mean time to keep my CLI skills sharp.

## Tuesday, December 29, 2009

### Chapter 6 IS-IS

Today was a short study session this morning, only about an hour since it was mainly just reading about IS-IS (Intermediate System-Intermediate System). During my reading I'm learning that IS-IS are very similar to OSPF mainly because they were developed around the same time and the developers seemed to be in competition with each other the entire time! OSPF is the more popular protocol today based on being focused on IPv4 entirely to begin with. IS-IS uses a short of open ended protocol standard which leaves it very scalable for future purposes. IS-IS is also not nearly as complex to OSPF thanks to simpler mechanisms for creating routing domains and less LSP's (Link-State Packets) needed to accomplish the same goal. I'll probably do a little more research on the history of this protocol tonight along with lab out a couple of Frame-Relay topics just to keep my mind sharp with configuring routers.

## Sunday, December 27, 2009

### Chapter 5 Configuration Lab

I'm finally doing with Chapter 5 learning about OSPF and how to tune it specifically to your needs. Next up is a totally new technology for me IS-IS (Intermediate System-to-Intermediate System) Protocol. All I know about it so far is that it's a link-state protocol and word on the street is that it's way simplier than OSPF! I'm betting so since this chapter is only about 60 pages compared to the two 70 page chapters on OSPF. I plan on doing the end of chapter multiple choic answers here shortly or tonight and messing around with som OSPF labs I'm finding on the website http://www.sadikhov.com/forum/

## Saturday, December 26, 2009

### OSPF Authentication and Virtual Links

I polished off the rest of the CCNP theory in the Study Guide book by going through the last few pages regarding Virtual Link connections and OSPF Authentication. You would think Cisco would of made EIGRP authentication configuration similar and as easy as OSPF is. Anyways you set these two protocols up completely different which just adds to the growing list of things I'm going to need to remember for the exam. I'm about at the half way mark in a 700 page book which only took me about a month. I estimated that it would take me around 4-5 months so I'm making real good progress. I ordered the CCNP BSCI Portable Command Guide which should come in handy when I want to get quick study sessions in during the days I work. I plan on ordering the BSCI lab guide and the exam guide once I'm near complete with this book. I can't believe how much in-depth this material is, 4 books for 1 exam for a 4 exam certification. in layman's terms it's going to take me 16 books to get this certification at this rate! In actuality though, this is the hardest out of the 4 so once I knock this one out it should be all down hill from that point. I bet I'll need at least 8-10 books though all together which is a big difference than the 2 I needed for the CCNA Certification. Even the 2 books for the CCNA was a bit overkill for that exam honestly!

## Friday, December 25, 2009

### OSPF Stub Types

I spent this Christmas morning studying and configuring the 3 stub types, Stub Area, Totally Stubby Area, and NSSA (Not So Stubby Area). I'm not going to even ask who came up with those names but the material made since as long as you undertood how it effects the LSA type you receive in that particular area. I also ran into something I NEVER noticed so far in the past 8 months I've been learning about Cisco. If you have two directly connected serial interfaces, you CAN'T ping you're own serial IP address if the other side of the serial link is misconfigured in any way. I spent a better part of 30 minutes troubleshooting this problem and even blaming it on the GNS3 program itself until I did a little research. Even if your serial interface shows up/up, if you can't ping your serial IP it's a good chance there's a misconfiguration on either side of the point-to-point connection. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

## Thursday, December 24, 2009

### OSPF Default Route Summarization

My lab studies today was kinda of all over the place. One of the labs I created was testing out connections to my PC's loopback and watching frames be put on the wire (with Wireshark) to my GNS3 lab. Well some how during the testing of this I lost DNS connectivity with my PC and I couldn't for the life of me figure it out. I didn't realize it was an issue with DNS until I tried connecting to google.com using it's IP address and worked but couldn't by using it's host name. After about an hour of t-shooting my own home network (including replacing a router-switch) a simpl reboot fixed all my issues. Troubleshooting 101 tip...reboot your computer first to see if this resolves your problems! Anyways after that fiasco, I finished my studying today about learning a little bit about the different stub types and configuring a multi-homed OSPF lab dealing with route summarization.

## Wednesday, December 23, 2009

### Chapter 5 Advanced OSPF Configuration

I began my studies on chapter 5 in the CCNP BSCI Study Guide book on OSPF this morning. I could tell immediatly that the level of depth ramped up and I'm positive it will remain this way from hear on out. The first 4 chapters seemed more like review to me and I was kind of worried I wasn't studying hard enough because I didn't seem to gain a deeper knowledge really of the material and understood most of the topics before I even read the chapters. This Chapter is really starting to show me why they can consider this a professional certification. I'm going to have to cut off all distractions during my study time (well besides my music) such as TV, Internet, etc. It actually worked out quite well this morning as I was able to read what I needed to and created a decent sized lab in about half the time it usually takes me. I learned about the many LSA types and when they are used today. I finished up today by creating a lab that shows the different LSA types sent based on the routers role. In this lab you'll see a couple of ABR's (Area Border Routers), an ASBR (Autonomous System Border Router), and internal routers in their respective areas.

## Sunday, December 20, 2009

### CCNP Chapter 4 OSPF Lab

This morning I polished off the rest of chapter 4 by completing the end of chapter lab which wasn't to bad. I was able to barely finish as an issue arrived with a customers PIX being down. I will finish up the chapter review questions tonight and prepare to move on to the advance routing section this upcoming week. I also will start going over this network security design book an engineer was able to loan out. It's probably a good idea to double up on the security and CCNP studies, I think CCSP might be my next exam after CCNP of course. I also configured quite a bit of different labs concerning OSPF settings when running over a NBMA network last night and this morning. I'm sure I'll be coming back and brushing over a lot of this material again when it comes closer to test time.

## Friday, December 18, 2009

### Configuring Basic OSPF Routing

Today I spent the better part of my morning configuring two simple OSPF labs along with reviewing the different show and debug commands. It was mostly review but I did get a better understanding of how the OSPF process works by watching the debug commands take place on the routers them selves. I finished off today by studying about the different OSPF network types which are Broadcast, Point-to-Point, and NBMA (Non-Broadcast Multi Access) Networks. Tomorrow I learn about about the subtleties between the OSPF Adjancies along with learning and configuring a few different types of NBMA setups using Frame-Relay of course.

## Thursday, December 17, 2009

### CCNP Basic OSPF Theory

Today I started my studying on OSPF in the CCNP BSCI Study Guide book. It was mainly just review of LSDB's, LSA's, and the packets that are used to get OSPF up and running. While most of it was CCNA review material the book did go in-depth regarding the packet types and their function. It also displayed interesting diagrams and analogies to help understand how OSPF builds its Link-State Database (LSDB). You can think of LSDB as a map you're looking at in the mall, and the mall it self being the OSPF network. There are multiple maps placed throughout the mall with the same information regarding where every store is located just the same as each router has the same LSDB in an OSPF network . The only difference between the maps in the mall is the "you are here" dot. The dot determines where you are in the mall and the best path to get to every store within that mall. OSPF functions very similar to this, each router uses the LSDB and it's location in the network to determine the best path to get to every other router within the OSPF network!

Tonight I will be finishing up a few more pages regarding OSPF theory and then tomorrow I hope to jump right into configurations, the fun stuff. The pic I added today shows the current topology of the entire global network, pretty wild stuff!

## Sunday, December 13, 2009

### CCNP Chapter 3 EIGRP Lab

Today I finished up my EIGRP studies by compelting the end of chapter lab along with Q&A's. The lab wasn't to bad and I was able to get through it in a more timely matter than the last chapters lab due to not having to use 11 routers! By time I went through the lab I already knew how to set most things up due to going through all the examples so it really made the lab a breeze. Next week I begin my OSPF studies which I here is one of the most tested subjects on the exam.

## Saturday, December 12, 2009

### EIGRP Stub Configuration

Today I finished up the rest of the CCNP theory for EIGRP. I learned more about manipulating DUAL by using specific commands of eigrp stub on remote routers to elimante the need for hub routers to query the remote routers for networks that they do not have to begin with. I also went through the various show and debug commands for EIGRP just to get a feel on what really happens when routers are talking to each other via EIGRP. Tomorrow I'll be finishing up Chapter 3 in the CCNP Study Guide book by completing the provided lab and answering a few questions. Next week I begin in depth OSPF theory, there's two whole chapters on this stuff so I'm thinking it's going to take about 3-4 weeks to get through all the OSPF topics in this book.

## Friday, December 11, 2009

### EIGRP Queries and SIA's

Today I learned a little more theory behind DUAL and it's process, along with a few ways to manipulate the way DUAL queries are sent. The EIGRP DUAL process is very efficiant and can be very scalable in larger networks but only with proper planning. When there are houndreds of routers in a given network, the convergence time for EIGRP can be much longer and more complex than needed. To eliminate convergence time as much as possible, it is smart to plan networks in such a way that there are no more than 7 hops between two routers on a network. One good way to cut down on convergence time is to summarize networks along with using default routes on remote routers that connect to the core. I also learned a lot how SIA (Stuck-in-Active) works and how it can increase convergence time quite a bit on redundant networks. The next few days I will be finishing up my EIGRP study and will be going through mainly labs since most of the theory is finished for this chapter.

## Monday, December 7, 2009

### EIGRP Bandwidth and Authentication

Today I spent most of my time learning the EIGRP Bandwidth theory along with authentication. Math isn't one of my most favorite subjects but in order to understand route manipulation you have to understand the mechanics behind it. EIGRP is setup to use only 50% of available bandwidth for it's routing by default. So as the picture shows, you will have to manipulate the EIGRP topology in believing that a link is slower than it really is in cases such as Frame Relay multi-point and point-to-point. I spent the last part of my studying time configuring MD5 authentication between two routers by enabling MD5 on the interface and configuring my key chains on both sides of the routers. I won't have time to study like I want to due too my shift beginning tomorrow but I should be wrapping up my CCNP EIGRP studies next week. It's hard to believe that I'm really working on obtaining such a prestigious certification but I'm focused so i don't ponder to much on it. So far the BSCI is doing a very good job of answering a lot of the questions I had while studying the CCNA.

## Sunday, December 6, 2009

### EIGRP DUAL and Basic Configuration

Today I spent time learning exactly how DUAL works within EIGRP by reading through the CCNP Study Guide along with creating lab scenarios and watching EIGRP debugs. Seeing it in action through the debugs and reading the study-guide book examples gave me a way better understanding of exactly what's going on when the EIGRP AS topology changes. Using the EIGRP Packets it sends EIGRP Queries, Updates, and Replies when the topology changes. I have a fuller understanding of why this protocol is considered a hybrid protocol .Because it does distant-vector tendencies like split-horizon and hold-down timers while it does link-state tendencies such as using the metrics too determine the best path rather than hop count. I finished up tonight by going through one quick simple lab regarding manual route summarization based off the examples that were provided in the study guide. I've also been practicing setting up IP host translations for telnetting between devices. It's a little bit of a pain setting it up but once you do it's a beautiful thing being able to quickly telnet to the device you want rather than having 10 console screens open!

### CCNP EIGRP Theory

Yesterday I spent most of my time in the CCNP Study Guide book learning about EIGRP in a little more detail. Such things as the metric used for calculating routes:
$\bigg [ \bigg ( K_1 \cdot \text{Bandwidth} + \frac{K_2 \cdot \text{Bandwidth}}{256-\text{Load}} + K_3 \cdot \text{Delay} \bigg ) \cdot \frac {K_5}{K_4 + \text{Reliability}} \bigg ] \cdot 256$

EIGRP associates five different metrics with each route:

K1 = Bandwidth modifier

• Minimum Bandwidth (in kilobits per second)

• Load (number in range 1 to 255; 255 being saturated)

K3 = Delay modifier

• Total Delay (in 10s of microseconds)

K4 = Reliability modifier

• Reliability (number in range 1 to 255; 255 being the most reliable)

K5 = MTU modifier

I also spent time learning about the neighbor table, topology table, and routing tables EIGRP use to determine the best route or Successor route. I spent time going through the 5 types of packets EIGRP uses for making this routing protocol works. Hello's, Updates, Queries, Replies, and ACK (Acknowledgements) are all used in conjunction to make EIGRP work. Today I'm going to be going through many different EIGRP configuration scenarios along with learning more about the DAUL algorithm.

## Tuesday, December 1, 2009

### CCNP BSCI Chapter 2 Lab

I spent a total of 4 hours configuring, troubleshooting, and manipulating what has to be the biggest Cisco lab I've worked so far. I used a total of 11 routers, 1 switch, and a connection to the outside world. Following the book instructions I spent a good portion of my time configuring two back bone routers and a Cisco router as a Frame-Relay switch. I implimented a lot of commands I wasn't to familar with including some BGP commands and even some multi-cast commands. Everything some how came up as expected with not to many real hitches. The purpose of this lab was to pretty much bring everything I learned in Chapter 2 together. I had 8 routers that I ended up setting RIPv1, then moved to a default route, then enabled ip classless, enabled RIPv2, and last but not least I practiced scalibility by manually summarizing routes on my edge routers. All in all it was a good learning experience and I'm slowly but surely starting to see my knowledge grow.

I have 7 more chapters in this first book and I'm estimating that it's going to take between 2-3 weeks per chapter. Once I'm done with this book then I'm going to buckle down and prep for the exam by going through the Cisco Exam-guide along with the Lab manual. Hopefully by then I should be prepped enough to take this exam, then repeat this process times 3! As you can see there's a long way to go and a lot of dedication needed for any Cisco certification, especially the high level certs.

## Sunday, November 29, 2009

### RIP Protocol and Floating Static Routes

Today I read up on topics related to the two different RIP versions 1 and 2 which was mostly review for me. There was some good stuff such as using both RIPv1 and RIPv2 on a network which i of course created a lab for. I also went over topics related to classful and classless routing over a network and how routing updates are summarized over Dis-contiguous or over different major classful networks. It was a good read and confirmed my suspicion that you can subnet within a classful network using RIPv1 as long as that subnet number is consistent throughout that network. However the network will still be summarized to a /16 when crossing major network boundaries.

I finished up today by learning about Floating Static Routes which was A LOT simpler then I imagined it to be. A floating static route is primarily used when a dynamic routing protocol fails or when you have a WAN link fail and would like to have an automatic fail-over route say through anISDN/DSL backup connection. A floating static route is configured by setting the administrative distance (AD) on a static route higher than the dynamic protocol (AD). By doing this the static route "floats" above the dynamic protocol since best routes when using mutli protocols uses AD to determine the best protocol to use. By default a static route has an AD of either 0 or 1 depending on the configuration. The higher the AD the less likely it is to be used over another protocol as indicated in the picture above.

## Saturday, November 28, 2009

### Static Route and ODR Overview

Well today was my first real study session on CCNP, from the get go I could tell there is a higher level understanding needed if I'm going to pass this certification. The BSCI goes a lot deeper into routing than anything I've came across so far and just through the first few pages I already set up a few labs pertaining to the information I was reading. I went through setting up a simple static router network which was easy enough followed by setting up a static default lab which wasn't bad at all either. I then finished up by learning and creating a lab for On-Demand Routing (ODR) which is really a Cisco Prioperty way of setting up a cisco network by using CDP rather than a true Dynamic Routing Protocol or setting up Static Routes. All in all not to bad, I didn't get as much as I wanted done today because I came down with a cold and I'm sitting here hoping it doesn't turn into a fever or the flu. Tomorrow I am going to go over some RIP topics and labs which shouldn't be too bad hopefully but we'll see!

## Friday, November 27, 2009

### SDM Setup Through GNS3

I spent the past two days trying to setup SDM on a router on GNS3 but after several attempts I wasn't successful. I finally decided to use a real 3600 router at our NOC thinking that it was an issue with the GNS3 IOS's I was using (which it was). Before I began the upgrade I noticed that the router IOS version I was using was 12.2 and I needed at least the 12.4 version so I spent quite a bit of time scavenging cables, tftp software, and even a switch (didn't have a cross-over cable). FInally after I upgraded the IOS I noticed that one of the commands I needed to run on that router wouldn't work (ip http secure-server)! So finally I scratched using the real router idea and went back to square one. I ended up using the more appropriate 12.4 IOS I downloaded on my machine for GNS3 and sure enough everything installed. When I finally went to connect to my router through SDM I ran into one last little snag which was the Java applet itself. I would enter my credentials to log in but not much else would happen. After updating to the latest and greatest version everything came right up! Good experience all around just to at least say I know how to install SDM if needed and know what to look out for in the future.

I started and finsihed what I am sure the shortest and easiest CCNP chapter as well. I went through Chapter 1 which basically goes briefly into network design and some processes to think about and implement when trying to build a completely converged network with data, voice, video, security, and etc. all running on one network. It was a good read but now to get into the meat and potatoes of network engineering finally!

## Tuesday, November 24, 2009

### IPv6 CCNA Lab Review

Well this is my 50th blog posting and most likely my last posting on CCNA related material! From here on out most of my post will be related to CCNP topics for the most part. I finished up the last chapter in the CCNA book by going through the IPv6 material once again and labbing out a quick scenario on the topic. The configuration is a little different and thankfully there are some good work a round's to not having to type out and configure those long 128 bit addresses! Tomorrow I'll probably mess around with setting up SDM in GNS3 and finally finally finally move on to the CCNP material!

## Sunday, November 22, 2009

### Connecting GNS3 to the Outside World!

Well I knew the time was coming to learn how to connect GNS3 to the outside world aka the internet or at least my computer. The reason for this is that for the CCNP BCMSN (Switching) exam, I could use GNS3 for my router devices and all I would have to do is buy a few switches and I would have a full BCMSN lab! Setting everything up in GNS3 to connect to the internet was just as hard as I expected it to be. I spent the better part of 5-6 hours troubleshooting and following video examples to get everything working. I didn't want to connect to the internet for now, I just wanted to be able to telnet from my PC to a GNS3 router.

To do this I had to create a loop back network card on my computer and set it up with an IP address. Next I had to setup GNS3 with a switch and a cloud that pointed to my loopback device. In retrospect I'm betting I could skip using a switch but hey I was just following instructions. Last but not least I had to configure my GNS3 routers with IP addresses on the respective interfaces that connected to that cloud and then I was good to go! As you see in the attached picture, I also setup Putty for telnetting and configuring routers from here on out.

Yesterday I actually went through the VPN chapter of the Cisco ICND2 book along with reading through the NAT Theory portion in this book. I'm going to hopefully finish up today with configuring some NAT Labs and then it'll only be 1 chapter left befor I offically begin the CCNP!

## Thursday, November 19, 2009

### CCNA Partially Meshed Frame Relay Network Lab

Today I polished off the rest of my CCNA Frame-Relay review by completing the Partially Meshed Frame Relay Network Lab. All in all I think I finally have my head wrapped around most of the CCNA Frame-Relay concepts and I'm ready to move on to the last few chapters of my CCNA material! A partially meshed frame network is a Frame-Relay network in which some sites are fully meshed while others are only point-to-points. The thing that could trip you up the most is making sure you have all your PVC's configured correctly and that you configure the right type of interfaces for the right type of VC connections. Not to bad of a lab without to many hiccups besides my Router E I forgot to no shut the physical S0/0 interface but once I did that everything came right up. I used EIGRP for my routing call which seems to work fairly well with this type of network.

## Wednesday, November 18, 2009

### CCNA Fully Meshed Frame Relay Network Lab

I was a little bored this evening so I decided to get my hands dirty and try out a Fully-Meshed Frame Relay Network. It was actually a lot simple then I expected but I actually drew out a diagram before hand so i could picture in my head exactly how each VC was setup and with what DLCI. Something I have been kinda messing up is not using proper network design when creating my Frame-Relay networks. Previously I had been assigning the Point-to-Point Frame Relay router multiple DLC's that corresponded to each respective Point-to-Point link. I should have assigned one DLCI per DTE device but in my mind I could never picture how it worked so today I drew it out to help get my head wrapped around how it works.

DLCI's are locally significant between each DCE and DTE on a Frame Relay network. No other DTE knows what the other DTE use's as it's DLCI mapping to other DTE devices. So in this way you can logically have one DLCI mapping for every DTE so when configuring or reviewing the Frame-Relay network, it will be a lot easier to logically figure out which VC's go where. I actually managed to set everything up without any problems. The nice thing about LMI's is that the FR Switch (DCE) and the Router (DTE) sends LMI messages to each other that reports what DLCI's should be to reach the other DTE devices in the Frame Relay network. Each access link (DTE to DCE) reports LMI messages for their link but again the other access links could care less what DLCI's are setup for any other access links besides its own. As you can see in the GNS3 diagram I have setup this Fully-Meshed network with one IP subnet on the WAN connections and a VC between each device. I have also designed the network in such away that there is only one reported DLCI on each device!

### Frame Relay CCNA Theory Review

Today I read the entire Frame Relay chapter 13 in the ICND2 book to review any topics I may have missed previously. Tomorrow I plan on creating labs for point-to-point, full-mesh, and partial mesh Frame Relay WAN's. I also started learning Linux on the side too, I created it in VMware and I'm using the Ubuntu Distro. Linux/Unix and telecommunications seems to go hand in hand so it's something I'm going to have to at least know my way around with.

## Sunday, November 15, 2009

### PPP CCNA Review and Lab

I highlighted things of importance
R0#sh run
Building configuration...

Current configuration : 14
!
version 12.4
service timestamps debug d
service timestamps log dat
!
hostname R0
!
boot-start-marker
boot-end-marker
!
enable secret 5 $1$vn1e\$JT
!
no aaa new-model
memory-size iomem 5
ip cef
!
!
no ip domain lookup
ip auth-proxy max-nodata-c
!
!

archive
log config
hidekeys
!
!
!
interface Loopback0
!
ppp authentication chap
!
interface FastEthernet0/0
shutdown
duplex auto
speed auto
!
interface Serial0/0
encapsulation ppp
clock rate 64000
ppp authentication chap
!
interface FastEthernet0/1
shutdown
duplex auto
speed auto
!
interface Serial0/1
encapsulation ppp
clock rate 64000
ppp authentication chap
!
router ospf 1
network 172.16.0.0 0.0.25
network 192.168.124.0 0.0
!
ip forward-protocol nd
!
!
ip http server
no ip http secure-server
!
!
control-plane
!
!

!
line con 0
exec-timeout 3000 0
line aux 0
line vty 0 4
!
!
end

## Saturday, November 14, 2009

### EIGRP CCNA Lab Review

I spent this morning creating a simple EIGRP lab and manipulating the bandwidth settings on the Yosemite interface to simulate FS routes on the network. I haven't ran into any real problems besides a subnet misconfiguration which was my fault. EIGRP is surprisingly simple but can become a little confusing due to the metric values it uses compared to the IOS metric values. I'm officially done with chapter 10 and I'll probably scan through chpt. 11 since it's just covering routing troubleshooting tips to use for the exam.

## Friday, November 13, 2009

### EIGRP CCNA Theory Review

Today I started with going ahead and labbing out a multi area OSPF scenario without using ANY type of books for reference. Everything went surprisingly smooth without any hiccups, I was able to confirm that the two routers in both area o and 1 was working along with one router being inside area 1 completly. After that I spent a few hours reviewing EIGRP Routing theory at the CCNA level of things. I really focused my efforts on how EIGRP calculates its routing metrics and how it converges using RD's (Reported Distances) to determine if it could be used as a feasible succesor route to a certain network. Tomorrow I begin my 3 day work week but I'm working the weekend schedule again so I'll be bringing in my PC from home and studying throughout the day since I should have some downtime.

## Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today I spent a few hours playing with an OSPF broadcast lab which is basically an inter-network within a LAN instead of the usual point-to-point WAN. The main purpose of this lab was for me to determine which router would become the DR (Designated Router) that would be responsible for the LSA's. I created the network using the 192.168.146.0 /26 network and set the RID's up in the way where R1 would be the DR, R4 would be the BDR (Backup Designated Router), and the other two would be DRother's (non-DR's). I spent some time confused because I would notice that even if R1 had the highest R.I.D. (9.9.9.9) it still wouldn't become the DR for this network. After I did a little research it hit me that it all depends on which routers comes up first because with OSPF when a new router comes up within the OSPF network, the network won't change it's DR settings regardless if the new router has a higher RID or not. The best way to get around this without having to reload the routers in a tedious particular order is to run the clear ip ospf process command. This basically restarts OSPF on the network and will force all the routers to form fully adjacent connections with each other b.ased on the routers currently running OSPF within that area.

I was forced to think about how OSPF functions using LSA's in a single area which was good because this is something you could run into on a production network. I didn't do a multi area network lab today because it really isn't much to it CCNA wise. You do have to understand the area 0 is the backbone area while other area are seperated with an ABR (Area Border Router). An ABR is exactly how you would think it would be it sits on the border between different OSPF areas to allow the different areas to communicate while preventing the areas from having to share LSDB info which would cause more processing power and slower convergence due to the area being larger. Breaking large OSPF networks into smaller areas is always a good idea, especially when there are 100's if not 1000's or routers and subnets in the Autonomous System. Different areas allows the network to be more scalable and not have to converge every time a single router interface is changed!

## Wednesday, November 11, 2009

### OSPF CCNA Lab Review

I spent the better part of my morning reviewing OSPF CCNA theories and how this link-state protocol works. It was good to get my head wrapped around LSA's and LSDB's and how each router calculates it's own routing table using SPF Algorithm. A Link-State Data Base (LSDB) is basically a map that each router uses to plan the best route to reach every other router in its inter-network. Routers use OSPF to find out what information it's neighboring router has such as it's IP, subnet, and RID (Router I.D.) along with rather it should even communicate with its neighbors. Routers sends multicast Link-State Advertisments (LSA's) to the 224.0.0.5 address out all of it's interfaces in hopes that one of it's neighboring routers will respond back. I created a simple OSPF lab today and tomorrow I will hopefully create a lab consisting of Priorities and OSPF interface cost associations to pre-determine a path the router should take to reach certain networks.

## Sunday, November 8, 2009

### CCNA Routing Protocol Theory Review

This morning I went through most of Chapter 8 in the CCNA ICND2 book regarding routing protocol theory. This was a really good refresher on how distance-vector works in regards to convergence and why it takes so long to converge. Due to Distant-Vector protocols being overly simple, it's very easy to cause routing loops. The only way to really deal with these routing loops with distance-vector is to use very long drawn out mechanisms such a Hold-Down timer that can take as long as 3 minutes before the inter-network can converge! I'm going to go over the rest of the chapter here shortly which reviews CCNA link-state routing theories. There isn't much to lab for this chapter but I will be doing a lot of labbing on the next chapter which is regarding the OSPF protocol.

## Friday, November 6, 2009

### Frame/ACL CCNA Review Lab

Today was a pretty eventful day, it took me FOREVER to get the Frame Relay Toplogy working correctly. What I've learned when using GNS3 to create a fram relay lab is that if you make a simple mistake on the Frame Relay Switch you need to delete the physical serial connections on the routers to the switch and re-connect them once you corrected your changes on the FR Switch. I setup the R1 router with frame along with R2 and they could ping each other fine. However when i configured the R3 router I couldn't ping the R1 router. After double checking my configs I realized on the FR Switch that I had the phyisical serial connections for the DLCI's set incorrectly. I changed this and I tripled and qaudrupled checked that everything was configured correctly. Even after this I STILL couldn't reach R1 from R3!

So I decided to run the show Frame-Relay PVC command on both R1 and R3 which shows the currently active and inactive DLCI's on the router. That's when I noticed that the DLCI's related to R3 on both routers were showing up as deleted! Which was really strange I've never seen this before. After doing some research it turns out that this usually points to an issue on an ISP's FR Switch. After triple checking my FR Switch I knew everything was setup perfectly. I had one last ditch effort which was to delete the actual Router serial connections and reconnect them. I did this, restarted the router devices, and voila...the routers came right up! I finished configuring R4 and throwing EIGRP into the mix and this lil network was ready to go. I actually didn't get to the ACL portion of this lab due to spending so much time just getting the thing setup, but tomorrow I plan on finishing this lab and starting chapter 8 on CCNA Routing Theories!

## Thursday, November 5, 2009

### Extended ACL CCNA Lab Review

This morning I created my own little Extended ACL Lab, mainly because the examples given weren't possible to create exactly in GNS3, well at least not without creating Virtual Machines and things of that sort (saving that for CCNP). The lab went fairly well I knew what I needed to do and how to go about doing it without needing to reference the Cisco book. Since I was creating the lab in my head on the fly I made a lot of silly mistakes however since I didn't really document or check my work. This ended up taking me twice as long because I kept having to go back change my config for simple things such as denying the wrong IP subnet in my access list or applying the access list to the wrong interface. Tomorrow I plan on reviewing ACL administration and then moving on to the next chapter in the CCNA book!

I attached an image that shows the access list I created for this lab. Basically I wanted to block 192.168.2.0 subnet on the Mumbai_Backup Router from reaching the HewittInternet Routers address 10.1.1.1. I also wanted to block 192.168.3.0 subnet on the Mumbai_Back Router from reaching the other HewittInternet address of 10.1.2.1. I accomplished both goals while allowing all other IP's to reach all other locations in this network topology.

## Friday, October 30, 2009

### VLSM Lab

I have completed the second and final VLSM Lab for my CCNA review. Surprisingly everything went pretty smooth, I believe partly due to the fact that I've been slowing down and making sure my math is correct. This actually saves more time then rushing through subnetting then seeing that you messed up your addition somewhere which causes your entire network to fail. I finally finally finally figured out how to stop my console connections from timing and logging out after 10 minutes. I knew it would be simple but couldn't for the life of me figure out the command. So for all the people out there wondering what command it is here ya go:

Router(config)#line con 0
Router(config-line)#exec-timeout time (enter number of minutes where time is)

I haven't used telnetting sessions but I'm betting the command is the same besides logging into the vty.

The VLSM had a lot of parts to with of course the main part was figuring out over-lapping subnets and creating additional subnets within the current network. I honestly was expecting something a little harder because I was seeing the problems as I was labbing everything out. I think this is a sign that I am starting to have the CCNA fundamentals down and that I'm about ready to move onto the CCNP. The on the job experience I'm getting is great, it is especially helping me with my frame-relay knowledge as I was able to grasp the concepts again very easily this time around during some of my review labs. I'm learning a lot of WAN concepts, CCVP concepts, and technologies at my job; really good stuff even though some days we are absolutely busy the entire 12 hour shift.

## Monday, October 26, 2009

### Manual Summarization CCNA Lab

I ended up creating my own Manual Summarization lab this morning going by the examples in the CCNA ICND2 book. I started with creating 5 routers with one side being in the 10.3.0.0 /16 network and the other side being in the 10.2.0.0 /16 network with a few subnets on both sides using the /24 mask. I used the EIGRP routing protocol for this lab this time instead of OSPF protocol. Once I had all my routers up and running, interfaces configured, and EIGRP setup I had to think about the best way to summarize the address on both sides. I started by giving the ip summary-address eigrp 1 10.2.0.0 255.255.0.0 and ip summary-address eigrp 1 10.3.0.0 255.255.0.0 command on both sides.

However this wasn't the best way to manually summarize these networks because I was summarizing networks that didn't actually exist similar to how auto-summarization works. I had to not only calculate a range that would summarize all of the existing subnets on both sides but also summarize the least amount of non existing networks as possible. After going through the manual summarization strategy I was able to summarize all the way down to 10.2.0.0 255.255.252.0 and 10.3.0.0 255.255.252.0 on both sides. This accomplished both goals of summarizing the existing subnets and summarizing the least amount of non existing networks as possible. I spent quite a bit of time doing this lab so I wasn't able to get to the VLSM Lab this week but I will finish it before I move on to the access-list chapters, all in all a good day!

## Sunday, October 25, 2009

### VLSM-OSPF LAB

I've just finished reviewing some VLSM and even OSPF (unexpectedly) this evening. I am still getting use to all the quirks with GNS3 such as actually saving your lab correctly! This was a 5 router lab setup with multiple tasks such as figuring out if any subnets over lapped which of course they did. I also had to set OSPF in a specific way on each router. For example one task required me to set one router with the RID of 3.3.3.3 (I know easy stuff) and another task required me to set one routers interface in a different area. This was a pretty good lab and it was good because it got me to think about the path a packet takes when using OSPF and how routers uses its algorithm to determine this. I also went through some of the concepts regarding manipulating interface path costs that OSPF uses to determine a packets route. Tomorrow I'm doing another big VLSM lab and finishing up the chapter with manual route summarization review!

## Monday, October 19, 2009

### CCNA Static Routing Review

Today and yesterday I did a lot of configuring for a static route lab. Everything went pretty smooth and I'm glad I remembered most of the commands without having to refer to any documentation. I even got pretty detailed with Packet Tracer and laid it all out in a purrty picture as you see off to the side in this post! I also played around with a lab from the networking-forum.com website in regards to how RIPv1 routes IP's. Interestingly enough RIPv1 is smarter than what we give it credit for. You CAN route IP's that aren't a standard classful IP address and it is smart enough to determine the mask. However it will summarize the subnet if it's sent over a different class boundary, such as routing a class A address to a class C address, it will summarize the class A address before routing the packet. However if it's a class A network forwarding packets to another class A network it will know what the subnet mask is. Based on comparing it's IP network address to the other class A network addresses and will then take a best guess on what the subnet mask is.

## Monday, October 12, 2009

### STP & RSTP Review

The last few days I have been reviewing Spanning Tree and Rapid STP along with seeing how STP and VTP packets work together in Packet Tracer. Something interesting I've seen is that when you have a switch with two interfaces on the same link segment, only one of the interfaces will forward packets. Even if you have 5 interfaces on the same segment still only one interface will forward while the others are put into a disabled or blocking state. The next week or two I should be done with the CCNA switch review and will be moving on to CCNA Routing review. I received my BSCI study guide book so once I finish reviewing CCNA I can move straight into the CCNP topics! I still need to figure out how I'm going to do labs for CCNP, most likely I am going to guy a laptop and use Dynamips and GNS3 for all of the routing topics and buy switches for switching exam.

## Thursday, October 8, 2009

### VLAN & VTP CCNA Review

The past few days I have been studying and practicing my VLAN and VTP skills. I am enjoying my studies a lot more now due to the fact that I don't have to rush and can take my time going at my own pace. I spent sometime playing with the Packet Tracer software from Cisco and never realized how good it really was. You can really do some cool stuff with it like creating a visio type diagram and log into the devices in real time. I created a VLAN lab that built on to itself starting by creating one switch in an office LAN closet with the 3 VLANs for Sales, Helpdesk, and Accounting. I then created another switch with the same VLANS then used VTP on the first switch to manage the VLAN's on both switches. Then obviously I needed to create a way for the VLANS to talk to each other since they were in their own subnets and since we all know switch's can't do Layer 3 routing (besides a L3 switch). I did the good ole Router-on-a-stick where we use a router's interface to create sub-interfaces and trunk 802.1q (or ISL) encapsulation over it's interface for all 3 VLANS. This was a good refresher!

## Wednesday, October 7, 2009

### Reviewing ICND2 Materials

I have officially started the first step to tackling the CCNP, I have ordered the Official BCSI Study Guide Book. This will prepare me to move on to the BCSI Exam Guide Book later. I will use mainly GNS3 to lab for this test, but hopefully I can through a little lab together with the spare devices we have in the NOC during the slower times at work. While I'm waiting for my book to arrive, I'm going through the ICND2 book and labs once again to make sure I have foundation laid to properly prepare for the CCNP topics. With that said you should be seeing more frequent updates for a while now!

## Friday, September 18, 2009

### Cisco Call Manager Study

I've been taking some time the last few weeks to really understand the inner workings of VoIP and how it works within the Cisco world. The ISP I work for deals with a lot of VoIP issues, so much that I think it's best that I spend the next few months learning how calls flow and are routed. A co-worker gave me great study material for Cisco Call Manager and how it works as a whole for VoIP. Honestly I never would of thought I would of liked VoIP but I guess that was because I didn't know anything about it. I figure that after I wrap up these Call Manager study guides and get some more on the job experience I'll focus all my attention back on to the Routing and Switching side of things. From there I think I'll see what the CCVP is all about!

## Wednesday, August 26, 2009

### Researching for the CCNP

As I prepare to battle on through the next level of Cisco Certifications I have to research exactly what tools I will use and how I will execute my preparation. I'm going to start with the recommended BCSI Exam even though everyone comments that this is the most challenging. As a matter of fact I'm going to order the Cisco Study Guide book to prepare me on how to go through the real Cisco Exam Book, how crazy is that! I'm excited though, after two or three months I usually get bored and antsy not studying for the next cert. I noticed IT certifications have a way to doing this to you.

I am A+, Network+, Microsoft Certified Professional (Windows XP/2003 Server), and most recently Cisco Certified Network Associate. I started taking exams in the order listed in the previous sentence and each time you pass a test after all the hard work you put in there is a VERY satisfactory feeling after passing. Especially the CCNA for me because I knew that with this certification was a beginning to a new start for me. After 5 years of IT I knew exactly what field I wanted to be in and now I'm here and I'm looking forward to the new adventures ahead!

## Friday, August 14, 2009

### Learning Past the CCNA Level

I have learned a lot in the past two months in the networking field but more specifically, I'm starting to slowly but surely understand concepts pass the CCNA Level of things. The Cisco CCNA Certification merely goes into any sort of depth about the WAN side of things. The past two months I have already dealt with many LECs (Local Exchange Carriers) regarding different types of circuits . While it has been mainly T1's with a few Frame Relay/MPLS circuits I am starting to understand the importance of knowing WAN topology concepts. Understanding where the Demark is for the carrier to the customer is very important. Also knowing the different types of symptoms that cause a circuit to do down is even more important.

Funny enough the most common thing that causes a circuit to go down isn't anything related to the line or equipment itself. Mother nature herself is the #1 reason circuits go down rather it's because of a massive thunderstorm or a tree falling and damaging the fiber lines. Believe it or not, many times a line will go down because of a tractor rolling over the cable! You would think that carriers would bury the lines deeper but oh well. I hope in the next 4 months to have the WAN concepts down pretty good from a topology stand point, this will help a ton for preparation for CCNP.

## Sunday, August 2, 2009

### Massaging the mind for CCNP

I'm still on the path of mentally preparing myself to go fully into study mode for CCNP starting early next year. I've been using the Cisco Learning Network and going through mainly OSPF and some IPv6 topics that will be covered extensively on the BCSI exam. I have my work cut out for me but it should be enjoyable at the same time. With all the experience I'm gaining from my job, plus all the experience my co-workers have, and on top of the self studying I'll be doing I should be alright!

## Tuesday, July 14, 2009

### Preparing for the CCNP

Even though it's going to be at least 6 months maybe even a year before I start my quest on towards CCNP I've been going through the Cisco CBT's on the Cisco Learning Network. I've been doing 1 CBT a week but might make that 2 CBT's a week until I officially start the studies for CCNP. This is mainly so I don't become complacent with the material I've learned during the CCNA but the work I'm doing at my job now is also helping out a lot. I popped my cherry and configured my first official Cisco Router in a production environment which was really cool and I can't wait until I get to take on more router configuration tasks. For now I'm mainly focusing on learning how to use Cisco Unity Server, Call Manager, and various other tools for configuring VoIP Phones. I'm learning so many new things but the best part is that I'm enjoying the new things I'm learning, this is for sure the side of IT I want to stay in!

## Saturday, July 4, 2009

### Life in the Networking Field

Well I passed my CCNA a little over a month ago now, since then I've finally made my way into the world of networking a few weeks after the CCNA. I'm currently working for a ISP in the NOC (Network Operating Center) downtown in St. Louis. I'm really enjoying my work so far and I'm seeing that there is a ton of stuff to learn! I've been mainly handling simple VoIP tasks and monitoring routers/switches for any indicators of having problems or circuits going down. One thing i didn't realize that the CCNA won't teach are the many acronyms in the world of networking. I'm learning a bunch of new things such as what a LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) is along with gaining a fuller picture of how the internet works on a wider scale with all the big ISP player.

After i gain a better understanding of my my job role and get some experience under my belt I'm moving on to the CCNP. I have been reading up on what I'm going to need and I know that this next cert is going to be a challenge but it should be fun to. hopefully by the time i finish my CCNP and gain even more experience at my exciting new career I'll have a fuller understanding of this thing called networking. Who knows maybe by then I'll be thinking about gaining the highly prestigious CCIE!

## Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm officially a CCNA after hours upon hours of hard work...was it worth it? You better believe it!

## Thursday, May 28, 2009

### About time to take the test

The last few days I've been a little off track, I've been focusing on a "Plan B" if you will if I'm not able to obtain employment soon. I have been searching and found this really good opportunity but I don't have the capital to fund it. At the current state that I'm in I think it's to big of a risk to take to finance since I have no income coming in. However I'm going to raise the needed funds and sit it on the back burner until the time is right. I will also have a business plan and all that good stuff by then to if it all works out! Anyways I'm so ready for this test I think the only thing stopping me is finding a testing center that doesn't require me to wait to take the exam. If I do fail there's a free retake going on so I'll def. use that.

Honestly the only thing keeping me from passing this thing will be the exam sims. I had difficulty figuring out the solutions in the Boson sims within the recommend 10 minute time limit because there is so many things to look for. I'm just gonna pray that the actual exam is a tad easier than the Boson exams like the ICND1 was. I've also been pndering rather just taking the whole thing at once would of made the CCNA easier. Think about it, if you take the full exam you'll have some ICND1 Q's sprinkled in which will be easy free takes and will take away the amount of actual ICND2 Q's there are. While if you take the ICND2 you're getting all ICND2 questions!

## Monday, May 25, 2009

### Study Update # 8

I've been doing the same routine everyday for the most part, even though I haven't been posting blogs about it as much. I begin every morning by completing a lab from this LAB workbook I've found along with going through 10-20 practice exam questions after wards. I then follow up in the evening by going through 10-20 more practice exam tests. This really helps give me a feel on what the test should be like and what I need to brush up on. I'm actually going through the Boson exam sims included with the CCNA ICND2 book. If it's anything like the CCENT Boson exams it's about 30% harder then the actual test which is a good thing. I'll be honest though the simulation labs in the Boson exams are KILLING me so far. It's taking way to long to figure out the issues or even worse I can't figure out the issues at all. i need to focus on my troubleshooting steps if I'm going to pass this thing!

## Wednesday, May 20, 2009

### Hell Week...day 4

Well I finished up pretty much all the memory tables and open ended questions so I'm pretty much done with hell week. I ended up labbing a simple VTP topology followed by some practice questions regarding OSPF this morning. I later completed a simple OSPF and EIGRP lab this evening along with going over some EIGRP questions.

### Hell Week...day 3

I couldn't really find time post yesterday so I decided to do so early this morning. I had some friends come in from out of town so I wanted to show them around a little bit. Yesterday I went through some more memory tables from the ICND2 book along with a few practice questions and a lab. It's going to be more or less the same process for the next few days so I may not make a post until that's all done. I finally decided to schedule my test to which is exactly two weeks out so we'll see how that goes!

## Monday, May 18, 2009

### Hell Week...day 2

I finished quite a bit of work today and I believe I'm going to take a different approach to finishing up the material. When I took my CCENT I wrote down a a lot of the answers to questions that was included in the bonus CD's, this took the majority of my time. Now I'm going to try and answer the questions in my head and look up the answer if I can't figure it out. One thing with the Cisco exams is that they want you to be quick, doing things this way will probably be better in the long run. I've accomplished twice as much as I normally would I didn't feel burned out on writing like I had with the CCENT. I accomplished so much that I'm thinking about taking the ICND2 exam sometime early next week, only time will tell!

## Sunday, May 17, 2009

### Hell Week...day 1

Well just like I did with the CCENT, I finish up my material by going back through all of the books tables, scenarios, open ended questions, and late night labs. This is the time were I take all of the theory I've learned and put it all together. I go through the whole book again basically while setting up multiple complex labs and answering dozens up dozens of questions that's included.

Today I spent most of the time with VLAN's and STP, I finished up the day with going through one of the complex scenriaos included with the Cisco Press book. This lab was a mix of VLSM and OSPF along with manually figuring out routers IP addresses and subnets by looking at a network diagram. About 5 hours later and I'm finally done for the day part, I end the day by configuring a simple lab before I hit the hay. Tonight is going to be the easiest night, I'm just setting up a router with the basic initial setup and configurations with Telnet and so on.

## Friday, May 15, 2009

### NAT Configuration

I finished chapter 16 of the ICND2 book regarding NAT/PAT configuration, one more chapter to go! NAT wasn't to bad actually the hardest part is remembering all the commands to setup NAT the various different ways. Like most routing configurations setting up NT statically was the simplest but at the same time could be the most time consuming. Then there was Dynamic NAT and PAT configuration which were about the same besides one syntax. Honestly most people would choose PAT because it provides the most flexibility while saving tons of public IP addresses. Next up is IPv6 which I already have some understanding of but I need to learn the basic configuration.

## Thursday, May 14, 2009

### Study Update # 6

I started today off really early by finishing up the Frame-Relay chapter at around 7 A.M. but you know what they say about the early bird! I started by creating by far the most complex lab routing scenario so far. Using GNS3 I created a hybrid 5 router Frame-Relay topology using the OSPF protocols with two different areas. Needless to say it took me a while however I couldn't figure out why my full-mesh couldn't talk to my point-to-point connections. I know it had to do with the router that was the ABR (Area Border Router) i just had a lot of stuff to cover today so i didn't dwell on it to much.

From there I read some troubleshooting scenarios envolving Frame-Relay and I have to say this. After 3 days of Frame-Relay study it's still the only topic I'm not confident that I know at least 80% of the material. With that being said I'm going to have to spend some extra time getting this down. I've read a few forums and a lot of people would agree that Frame-Relay is the hardest to grasp. Mainly because there's a lot of Layer 2 and 3 protocols that go hand and hand so it's easy to get confused. Also it's not the easiest lab to setup so just that along takes some time. I went over the VPN chapter which was a lot of info I already knew but was good review. It was also the only chpater to have less than 20 pages (only had 10). Next up is NAT and IPv6 then it's crunch time were I get everything down good and prepare for the test!

## Wednesday, May 13, 2009

### Frame-Relay Configuration

Welp ladies and gents I've spent the entire day setting up Frame-Relay Topologies both full and partial mesh. It was a beast of a chapter like I thought it would be but I managed to get a lot more of the concepts down. As a matter of fact though I'm not even done with this chapter yet. It's the only CCNA chapter that's going to take me more than 1 day to get through it. not because it was a lot of pages but it's a lot of steps required to setup Frame-Relay especially labbing it. Mainly because with Frame-Rely in the real world the ISP has the actual Frame Relay switches and they are the ones that are responsible for the DLCI's. But in order to lab this topic you have to create your own Frame-Relay Switches some how.

There was 3 different ways, Figure out Packet Tracers confusing cloud setup, use a router with the GNS3 emulator, or simply use the Frame-Relay Switch included with GNS3. Needless to say I chose option 3 which I'm sure saved me a lot of headache in the long run. I surprisingly didn't run into to many issues the hardest part is that there were a lot of new commands. The other things was that you have setup a lot of things before hand such as the DLCI's and determining the numbers along with the sub-interfaces. Tomorrow I'm going to finish up the troubleshooting section of Frame-Realy and the VPN chapter which shouldn't take to long because I have experience working with VPN's.

## Tuesday, May 12, 2009

### Study Update # 5

Well I finished going over Chapter 13 regarding Frame Relay but I'm not doing reading about this topic just yet. Tomorrow I believe is going to be the longest day for me as I have to configure Frame Relay on top of configuring different types of topologies available for the first time. I'm hoping I can get through it without to many headaches but we'll see. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes me about 5-7 hours to get through this chapter. If I start early and keep things consitent I can shave quite a bit of time off that so we'll see. I finished up tonight going over a basic Spanning-Tree Protocol video. I'm pretty confident with STP now I believe, the last major switching topic I need to nail is VLAN. I will have to set up RoAS (Router on A Stick) at least one more time and setup some advanced STP labs.

### Frame Relay Theory

I finished going through the Frame Relay chapter in the ICND2 which helped me further understand this WAN technology. This is probably the only other chapter besides subnetting that tripped me up a little bit. More specifically it has to do with the fact that Frame Relay needs to use both Layer 2 and 3 protocols. At the layer 2 it took me a while to get the DLCI global and local theories nailed down. Also knowing when one protocol/technology begins and ends in a Frame Relay topology. For example LMI (Local Management Interface) provides keep alives between the access links.

But encapsulation occurs between the routers on the PVC (Permanent Virtual Circuit) between each other, so it crosses the Frame Relay network. Where as LMI's only cross between the DTE and the DCE which is usually the Router and Frame Relay switch at the ISP. At layer 3 you have determine how you want to configure the interface IP addresses. You can actually configure the Frame Relay to use one subnet if it's in a full mesh. However if it's only in a partial mesh it's probably best to use seperate subnets for each PVC, this is especially true if you're using a distance-vector routing protocol. You can also configure a hybrid of the two options. All in all I'm going to spend a little extra time with Frame-Relay to get it down by exam time.

## Monday, May 11, 2009

### Study Update # 4

I finished up the night by going over one of the Cisco CBT Training which was actually pretty good besides to Q & A's section at the end. I went over 802.1w/RSTP (Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol) which is a newer updated version of 802.1d/STP. It was good to hear material from a different source and learn some new detailed topics that will help me in my exam and a real environment. Tomorrow is Frame Relay finally, as wierd as it sounds I'm kinda nervous for it. Mainly because I hear this will be tested on pretty hard on the actual exam. This is unofficially the last topic that I don't have a foundamental understanding of. Even still I have 6 whole chapters to complete still, about 100 pages!

### Finished PPP Chapter 12

I finished studying the ICND2 Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) chapter which is pretty straight forward. Honestly if you went through the ICND1 PPP chapters then you can skim through most of this as it's basically the same info. There really isn't to much to PPP at least at the CCNA level besides setting up Authentication. The two ways to authenticate is by using PAP or CHAP with CHAP being the preferred method. Reason being is that it encrypts the password and actually never sends the password across the serial WAN link. Troubleshooting PPP might be tricky becuase of the way it sends keepalives compared to other protocols such as STP, OSPF, etc. Reason being is that it sends what's called a host route to it's neighbor router. This host route is the enitre /32 mask so there's no way to know if the link is in the wrong subnet through PPP. Therefore two interfaces might be in UP/UP statuses but in different subnets. So while they can ping each other they can't ping further than that because routing tables see these two interfaces in different subnets! Hope that makes since some how lol

## Sunday, May 10, 2009

### Briefly reviewed IPv6

Well we're all going to have to get used to IPv6 sooner or later so I decided to get a head start (plus it's on the test anyways). While I won't be getting to this chapter until this Saturday, I went to Cisco's Learning Center and watched one of the related IPv6 videos. I have to admit I was intimidated at first but by the end I understand at least basically what the major changes are to this protocol from IPv4. One thing I can say is that you can still subnet IPv6 but at this stage there's no need to learn it. But when it comes time to learn how to subnet an IPv6 address I'm sure more than a few upcoming engineers heads are going to explode trying to figure it out!

### Study Update # 3

Yesterday I was exhausted so I didn't go through some of the Cisco Web Video for PPP over serial router links. However today I managed to wake up pretty early so I started with that and knocked it out pretty quick. There's no new topics to learn today in my Cisco ICND2 book. Chapter 11 is mainly different ways to approach questions that may come up in the Cisco exam regarding routing protocol sims. So that means it shouldn't be to hard of a day hopefully however I need to lab some things out Packet Tracer. It's a crazy feeling knowing that I have a least some understanding of most of the topics to obtain the CCNA. Also as I'm going through this preperation I'm seeing how everything builds on top of each other and starting to realize why there are other higher Cisco exams (CCNP, CCIE). CCNA seems to cover a lot different topics and going into just enough detail to keep you from wondering what else can be done. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for my CCNP once my CCNA is done, something I thought would never come out from my mouth!

## Saturday, May 9, 2009

### EIGRP Theory/Basic Configuration

I just finished studying the EIGRP routing protocol chapter. It's similar to OSPF in a lot of the ways it works but it's easy to point out the differences. The main one being that it only works on Cisco products. It has a lot of the same features of OSPF such as Hello Updates and even authentication although they are named differently and setup a little differently. Overall not to bad, the chapter was only around 20 pages so I got through the chapter, a lab, and practice questions in about 2 hours. It's Saturday so it's time to go out play for a little bit!

### Study Update # 2

Well after studying OSPF earlier today I took a break and ran some errands along with hanging with family. I finished up the night with reviewing access-list information from the Cisco learning Network. I began by going through some of the Cisco web video but I decided to lab up a quick network using Packet Tracer first. I set up two Class B networks using the default mask along with a gateway to the internet using a Class A address. I used two routers in Point-to-Point configuration which had one router being the gateway to the internet (Class A network). I practiced some commands on the other router such as turning auto-summarization off and setting a default-network to reach the Class A internet. Last but not least I practiced creating an extended ACL that would prevent a particular host from sending SMTP packets to the internet but could allow all other traffic. All went well so I decided to finish up the Cisco web videos and now it's time for bed!

## Friday, May 8, 2009

### OSPF Chapter 9 Completed

After about 4 hours of reading theory and labbing OSPF configurations with GNS3, I believe I have the basic concepts of this routing protocol down. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be but I did get tripped up over the initial configuration. First I tried creating a simple 3 router topology using a simulator program called Packet Tracer. However I noticed that OSPF protocol would never start, after a little research it turns out that OSPF doesn't even work for Packet Tracer! I had to use the GNS3 emulating program that uses the actual IOS to implement the protocol. I still had problems though until I realized that I was in correctly inputting my wild-card masks. I was using "10.0.0.0 0.0.0.0" as the subnets I wanted OSPF to look at. I failed to realize that when you use 0.0.0.0 you're pretty much telling the router to look for that specific subnet number. Once I changed the logic to "10.o.o.o 0.255.255.255" on all the routers OSPF sub-commands everything came up perfectly :)

(P.S. when you use 255 intead of 0's in the wild card mask you're pretty much telling the router to ignore that whole octect. So when I put 0.255.255.255 instead I told the router to look for any subnets with 10 in the first octect number but ignore looking for any specific numbers in the other octects.)

### Study Update Numero Uno

Well I'm a little over half way to finishing the ICND2 book, I'm averaging 1 chapter a day a long with labs and additional studying. This comes out to about 5-7 hours total I spend a day studying for the most part. I should be done reading the official book around May 18th, then I'm going to study and lab for the next week or two in hopes of taking the last part towards my CCNA. During my CCENT studies last month the hardest thing was getting subnetting down good. When I say good I mean being able to subnet within 30 seconds and pretty much to the point where I can do a good majority of it in my head. CCENT was mainly theory with some basic router and switch configuration thrown in. To be completly honest I knew about 80% of the material already I just needed to either brush up or learn more detail about certain subjects.

So far during my ICND2 studies there's been a lot more topics I've needed to grasp in more detail. So far I've learned about switching using VLANs, VTP, STP, and of course the beloved Route on A Stick (RoAS). This was the first 3 chapters of the book by the way just to give you an idea of how in-depth the second part of CCNA is. I also recently learned how to create and trouble shoot standard and extended ACL's, verify subnets within VLSM, Routing Protocol Theory, and route summarization this past week. It's a lot to take in but my plan is to understand each topic and then go back to each one in detail to learn everything in between.

Today...well yesterday (May 7, 2009) I spent time reading theory on the difference between Distance-Vector and Link-State Routing Protocols. I want to say I spent about 5 hours going through the chapter of about 30 pages and doing some additional course work along with taking some brief notes. Everything with this chapter was self explanitory but I have to remember not to get many of the Distant-Vector loop preventing tools mixed up. Mainly I need to remember the difference between split-horizon, poisoned routes, and poison reverse. These are all used on top of a few other things to aviod packets from continuelessly looping in a routing network.

After reading this chapter you'll finally realize why Link-State protocols can converge much faster. Link-State protocol uses an algorithm on each router to determine the best route. So unlike Distant-Vector, routers doesn't depend on it's neighboring routers to tell it which route to take. It simply calculates all the info its recieved from every router in its network and picks which path it should take on its own.

I rested for a little while along with setting up some more of my social networking accounts (LinkedIn, Twitter, YoungEntrepreneur) which I'll post links to a little later once I have some more posts up and going. I then went to Cisco website to go over some free webinars they have there which is great by the way (www.cisco.com) to go over some more information about VLANs an VTP (VLAN Trunking Protocol).

Tommorow I should have some new routing protocol theory down which is dum dum dum...OSPF. I have a feeling tommorow is going to be a long day of studying, a lot of labbing is going to be involved plus I'm going over access-lists later that night, wish me luck!

## Thursday, May 7, 2009

### Current IT Certs and Progress

Over the course of a little over 2 years now I've been obtaining IT certifications. Mainly because I was interested in filling in certain knowledge gaps but knowing you have a certain IT certifications is a pretty good feeling. I started off with A+ since I figured it would be the easiest for me (which it was) and give me a chance to see how I feel about self studying and taking tests. From there I knew that there was some networking knowledge that I didn't know to much about or had much experience such as Novell IPX/SPX protocols and things such as Token Ring. I was also doing consulting work for the company I was working for so I seen quite a few older networking topologies being implemented still so that had me curious. The next logical step was Network+, which was a little harder but really didn't give me the feeling as if I had a higher level of expertise with the subject from obtaining this certification.

I moved to a new company where I was doing all in house work in a complete Microsoft/Cisco environment. I was working under a manager that handled all the SQL systems so I was kind of moving towards that way. I was handled quite a bit of Windows XP and 2003 servers so my next logical action was to take some MCP certs and who knows, maybe get a little bit crazy and go for the mysterious MCSE! I'll have to admit the knowledge required to past a MCP exam is quite the step up from CompTIA certs (A+, Network+). However Microsoft has to have the worst testing formats. Not only are the majority of their questions meant to trick you and trip you up if you don't read carefully, at the very least each question is a PARAGRAPH long! Again that's the short easy questions, most of their questions are about 2-4 paragraphs. That's the main reason why you get 4 hours to take one of their exams compared to other vendors usual 60-90 min. time frame.

I'll mention briefly that I'm recently Cisco certified...wahooooo, BUT it's only the CCENT the basic of the basics of Cisco certifications. Not that this exam was easy by any means honestly I think there testing format is just right. No long winded questions plus their straight-forward but they test you to make sure you know your stuff. I'm going to attempt to take the second half ICND2 at the end of this month (May 2009) or early next month (June 2009). I spent one month studying for the CCENT (April 2009). I'm putting in much more time per day for the ICND2 because it is the meat and potatoes of the CCNA. Being that I learned most of the basic networking info throughout highschool and the years of experience is paying off tremendously in obtaining my goal. Honestly I wouldn't of rushed this cert in a 2-2.5 month time frame but I'm out of a job at the moment and I need revenue coming in ASAP! I promise for my next Cisco certs I'm going to take my time and buy a lot more material for studying though.

So a quick recap of IT certs I have so far...A+, Network+, Microsoft Certified Professional with Windows XP/2003 (2 certs), CCENT, and oh yea I took some ITIL training when I had off time at one of my previous contracts but I haven't tooking the test....yet.