Unanswered Question
Apr 4th, 2008

Welcome to the Cisco Networking Professionals Ask the Expert conversation. This is an opportunity to get an update on preparing for the CCIE SP exam with Cisco expert Vincent Zhou. Vincent is a program manager with the CCIE Program at Cisco Systems, Inc. He is a quad CCIE with certifications in routing and switching (1999), security (2003), service provider (2003) and voice (2006). Vincent manages development for CCIE service provider exams and also serves as an exam proctor.

Remember to use the rating system to let Vincent know if you have received an adequate response.

Vincent might not be able to answer each question due to the volume expected during this event. Our moderators will post many of the unanswered questions in other discussion forums shortly after the event. This event lasts through April 18, 2008. Visit this forum often to view responses to your questions and the questions of other community members.

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Overall Rating: 4 (2 ratings)
dara111983 Sat, 04/05/2008 - 03:35

Hi Vincent,

Great to see you back after long time,


I am right now confused with some of the parts depth coverage on the SP lab exam,

like ATM PVC/SVC, GRE modes, L2TPV3 the resources that should be used to cover them from Lab viewpoint.


Also it would be better if you can provide us with some percent based technology weightage for the LAB exam.

Thanks a lot,

zhoujl Tue, 04/08/2008 - 18:11

We usually test MPLS over ATM, and SP lab will not include ATM technology in future, please pay attention to our announcement later for the exact date. L2TPV3 and GRE are auxiliary technology for L2VPN, AToM is usually be tested in lab. So all of them are not tested much deeper.

I am afraid the percentage of each part are not permitted to disclose. The percentage comes from that part importance in SP network.



dara111983 Wed, 04/09/2008 - 04:52

GoodDay Vincent,

Thank you very much for the clarification.



dara111983 Tue, 04/15/2008 - 06:32

Goodday Vincent,

Some of the questions are bothering my mind regarding the SP lab exam,

>Are we suppose to bring in full reachability even when we aren't asked for it.

Do we have any such requirement that is to be achieved ??

It would be of help if you can pinpoint such things from your viewpoint !!!

I am interested in getting your views.



zhoujl Wed, 04/16/2008 - 05:03

Hi Dara,

It's a good question and candidates usually ask about it during their lab exam.

There is no implicit request on any question. Candidate should complete the explicit request and should not imagine further requirement.

In SP exam, to simulate real SP network, not all interface reable through total network. For example, intra AS networks may not be asked to be reachable to another AS, maybe only some loopback interface reable among different ASs for the purpose of MPLS/VPN. Candidate should read question for any specific requirement.

Please remember Proctor is resource. Do not hesitate to ask any question during lab exam, thanks.


p.willemsen Fri, 04/18/2008 - 04:14


The SP Lab exam is unclear about this subject. Question is still what will see L2TPv3 of MPLS L2TPV3

Best regards,


svermill Sat, 04/05/2008 - 09:28

Hi Vincent,

First, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to host this!

I actually have many questions regarding the SP track, but I'll just open with my most burning handful of them:

When I look at the two blueprints covering the written and the lab, they are of course similar but by no means aligned (from my perspective). Is it intentional that you test some things as part of the written only and some things as part of the lab only? Or is this a result of having consolidated all of the various written exams into a single one? If the latter, can we expect to see some kind of an alignment in the foreseeable future?

I realize that Cisco always gives a good six months notice prior to making any changes to a lab, but I'm hopeful you can offer some kind of long-term view of this cert. I pursued R&S full time for six or seven straight months but my SP studies will be much, much more protracted (pesky mortgage). I've actually begun to wonder if I should just set it aside altogether until we see where this is all headed.

Again, I do have more questions but this seems a good start...

Thanks once again!


zhoujl Tue, 04/08/2008 - 18:43

Hi Scott,

The written exam is not consolidation of former various eight written version, for example, it does not include DSL, Cable, etc technology. Written exam is proposed to certify candidate ability to understand SP theory, protocol and Lab exam certify ability of implementing SP technology to build complicated network to deliver services. So the contents are not exactly aligned.

I'd like to provide a long term view of SP exam. With SP industry developing, SP exam will include IPV6, IOS-XR and NGN in future, please pay attention to our announcement later.

Thanks for your interest on SP exam and welcome any questions!


swmorris Wed, 04/09/2008 - 03:24
zhoujl Wed, 04/09/2008 - 22:10

Written exam and Lab exam for those changes.


svermill Sun, 04/13/2008 - 13:44

Thanks Vincent - that's very insightful.

Are you aware of any discussions regarding an SP written Cert Guide? I realize that perhaps there aren't enough candidates in the hunt for SP for this to make business sense, but I often feel a bit adrift in my studies. I think I bought about a dozen books from various recommended reading lists (half or more having to to with MPLS!). By the time I finish them all, I'm likely to need to start right back over at the very beginning.

A somewhat related question is whether or not SP demand is sufficiently high to expect to see any new locations offering this exam in 2008? We've heard from Maurilio that we could reasonably expect some expansion of lab capacity this year, so I'm just wondering if that impacts anything other than R&S?

(Edit) Along this line of questioning, do you ever foresee anything like the Cisco Assessor for SP (or any other track)? Or anything at all in terms of preparation material/support from Cisco?

All for the moment...



zhoujl Mon, 04/14/2008 - 01:52

More and more candidate pursuit SP certification so SP business grows much fast these years. Thanks your interest on SP. Even SP certification has some change in content in futore like other tracks, The certification content will gradully change and not be a much deffient one.

We have plan to open SP labs in new location and update will available on website not soon.

We have plan to optimize SP Assessor and the former version have practiceed on Networker event. I think there are multiple presentation regarding SP networks in Networker are much helpful to prepare SP exam, thanks.


antonio-soares Mon, 04/14/2008 - 14:33

Hello Vincent,

I've never heard about the SP Assessor. Can you tell us more about it ? I took the Cisco RS Assessor Labs and i found them fundamental to my success.

And since i never attended Networkers, where may i find the documents you recommend for the CCIE SP ?

And finally i must agree with Scott. The recommended book list for this track is enormous. It would be great to have a CCIE SP Exam Certification Guide.



Antonio Soares

svermill Mon, 04/14/2008 - 16:00

Me again Vincent,

I had about 100 questions lined up for you and then I was called away on travel and now my brain is scattered - forgive me. I meant to also ask if Cisco would consider updating the sample questions at I believe these to be a sampling of questions from the previous exams following the individual SP tracks. Since we are at the moment sans a Cert Guide, it almost seems we must sit the exam once for "reconnaissance" purposes to know where to target our studies. Perhaps some sample questions aligned with the current version of the written would be helpful...

Thanks as always,


zhoujl Tue, 04/15/2008 - 03:09

Hi Scott,

Many thanks on indicating to update the sample questions. We will update not soon.

Always welcome any questions about SP certification.


zhoujl Tue, 04/15/2008 - 03:03

Hi Antonio,

We provide SP accessor at former Networker event and now it pauses. We hope to update the content and restore later.

Netwokers is a much helpful event to learn technology preparing certification, Candidates are welcome to paticipate the event.

SP technology cover at broad range, so recommand book list is long, please refer to certification blueprint to study relevant chapters, thanks.



antonio-soares Sat, 04/05/2008 - 15:30

Hello Vincent,

I see in the lab blueprint some features that are not supported in the IOS releases present in the lab. For example, these:

- AToM

- Fast reroute, Link/Node protection

And as far as i know, the vast majority of the MPLS features available today are only available on IOS release 12.0S.

Should we care about features not supported in the lab equipment ?



Antonio Soares

zhoujl Tue, 04/08/2008 - 21:30

Hi Antonio,

Good catch! AToM is supported on current lab platform, FRR to protect Link/Node is not supported. We are considering upgrade or downgrade the IOS version to support this much important SP feature (if IOS version change, a 6 months ahead notice will post on CCIE website).

Please ignore features not supported in lab equipment to prepare current lab exam, thanks.


yongl Wed, 04/09/2008 - 05:18

Hi Vincent,

Cisco documentation CD is available for candidate during lab exam.

1. May I know the access method for documentation CD - in pdf format, from DVD or online documentation( Could you provide the full URL for online documentation that is allowed to access during lab exam ?

2. Are all the lab exam locations providing the same access method for Cisco documentation CD ?


zhoujl Thu, 04/10/2008 - 01:29


Candidate can access online documentation in html and pdf format. All relevant documents needed during lab exam can be accessed by candidates. All lab sites have unified way to access documents. Thanks.


Hello Vincent,

I was wondering if you may please explain to me what stands behind the network command if put under ospf/eigrp config (in same areas or in different areas)? and how will this command effect redistribution?

any help in the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,


May good health and prosperity always light your path in life.

zhoujl Thu, 04/10/2008 - 02:48

Hi Jonathan,

If the command "network area x" inputed under OSPF, running configuration will show as "network area x", all interface will enable OSPF. It's similar for EIGRP, "network" inputed, running configuration show as "network" and all interface enable EIGRP. The command does not affect redistribution.



Joe Harris Thu, 04/10/2008 - 05:40

Hi Vincent,

We've heard grumblings that Doc CD access in the lab has become a hindrance and some cases outright inaccessible. With Cisco moving away from the univercd method of documentation and transitioning everything under a unified umbrella on CCO, will the candidate(s) have complete access to the needed documentation during the exam and if not what is the process to enable access? You know as well as anyone that one of the slogans of every lab candidate has been “you don't have to know how to configure everything by memory but know where to find it on the doc cd” …. So obviously access to the appropriate documentation is crucial. Thanks in advance.

Notice the typical redirect off of univercd:

To look for service and support information please visit the new IT Services & Support Site:

“link to”

You will automatically be redirected there in 6 seconds

Please update your bookmarks and links.

Back to CDC

zhoujl Thu, 04/10/2008 - 23:48


We make sure that candidates have complete access to the needed ducumentation during exam even the documents be on CCO. We know the weblink redirection and continously update to ensure candidate accessing relevant documentation on line. Thanks.


gauravprakash Tue, 04/15/2008 - 21:35


is there a clear instruction whether to use OPtion 10 A/ B or C in lab exam.. Is it necessary to stick to one OR one is free to use the different type as far as it fulfills the objective..



zhoujl Wed, 04/16/2008 - 04:42


Please refer to RFC2547bis for Option 10 A/B/C. In Lab exam, question will present specific request to candidate for VPN deployment, candidate should choose the correct way to confiure. If no specific request asked, candidate is free to use any way. Thanks.


aghm Wed, 04/16/2008 - 00:42

Dear Vincent,

I am The Security Manager of one of the Biggest ISP in my country. We have decided to establish the MSSP department. I know that the ASA5500 series is a good solution Cisco Base. would you please help me to select Devices correctly. I know that ASA 5500 will create virtual firewall system but I want to know that dose ASA5500 create a full virtual system for instance VPN and IDS?

zhoujl Wed, 04/16/2008 - 05:08


I am not so familiar with ASA5500 and SP exam have no plan to adopt this equipment at the moment,the platform is using in CCIE secuiry exam. I'd like to advise you to contact our security expert Yusuf. He is CCIE Security programe manager. Thanks.


sergio.danelli Wed, 04/16/2008 - 12:39


I currently hold my juniper networks certified internetwork expert certification. This certification is very service provider centric, a lot of mpls/L3vpns/L2vpns, BGP, ISIS,OSPF, RSVP-TE, and LDP. Do you happen to know how similar the two tests are? or anyone for that matter.

Also, do you have any good references in the type of gear and topology to prepare for the exam? Will a simple Dynagen/Dynamips set up be enough?


swmorris Wed, 04/16/2008 - 14:43

The topic list (blueprint) on the JNCIE and CCIE SP are relatively similar. What you will need to look at though is the equipment list (also available on the structure) and see what features are supported on which platforms.

Things like VPLS/Kompella are of limited to no support, certainly not the context of the M-series routers. Therefore the testing would be different.

Other protocols, MPLS, BGP, ISIS, OSPF, LDP & TE will certainly be necessary to know. But again, there are many differences to the Cisco way of thinking versus the Juniper one. So be aware of the differences!

Cisco doesn't release exact models/quantity, but for general pieces they're on the web page above.

If you have the opportunity to look at different vendor's practice labs for the SP exam, you may get an idea of the kinds of things you'd see and can much better compare with your experience on the JNCIE lab!



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