My Path to CCNP R&S

Last weekend I graduated from The University of Toledo’s College of Engineering with Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Undergrad work and being a Dad really limited the time I could spend becoming a better Network Engineer. Today, is the day that changes. Today, is the day that I start my journey towards CCNP R&S. Below is an overview of the time frame and the materials I’ll be using.


Week 1 (Dec 22nd – Jan 2) – ROUTE – 1.0 Network Principals

Week 2 (Jan 3rd – Jan 9th) – ROUTE – 2.0 Layer 2 Technologies

Week 3 (Jan 10th – Jan 16th) – ROUTE – 3.0 Layer 3 Technologies 3.1 – 3.10

Week 4 (Jan 17th – Jan 23rd) – ROUTE – 3.0 Layer 3 Technologies 3.11 – 3.23

Week 5 (Jan 24th – Jan 30th) – ROUTE – 3.0 Layer 3 Technologies 3.24 – 3.32

Week 6 (Jan 31st – Feb 6th ) – ROUTE – 3.0 Layer 3 Technologies Lab

Week 7 (Feb 7th – Feb 13th) – ROUTE – 4.0 VPN Technologies

Week 8 (Feb 14th – Feb 20th) – ROUTE – 5.0 Infrastructure Security

Week 9 (Feb 21st – Feb 27th) – ROUTE – 6.0 Infrastructure Services

Week 10 (Feb 28th – Mar 5th) – ROUTE – Review and Lab of 1.0 & 2.0

Week 11 (Mar 6th – Mar 12th) – ROUTE – Review and Lab of 3.0

Week 12 (Mar 13th – Mar 19th) – ROUTE – Review and Lab of 4.0

Week 13 (Mar 20th – Mar 26th) – ROUTE – Review and Lab of 5.0 & 6.0

Week 14 (March 28th) – ROUTE – Exam Date March 28th, 2016 – ***Paid and Scheduled

SWITCH – Exam Date June 6th, 2016

TSHOOT – EXAM Date June 27th, 2016

Training Aids:

Let me start out by saying that my learning style is to watch, dive in, break stuff, watch more stuff, fix stuff. The material I’m using is pretty common knowledge for those in the networking industry, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

CBTNuggets – If I could recommend a single source to get you started, it would be @CioaraJeremy and @KeithBarkerCCIE over at CBTNuggets. Their content is up to date with the new exams and you won’t fall asleep listening to them. I queue up videos on my commute into work and absorb as much knowledge as I can. CBTNuggets is subscription based, so thanks to my very generous employer for picking that cost up.

GNS3 – Excellent “free” simulation software for ROUTE. One thing to note is that you need to posses actual Cisco IOS images for this to work. There is more to GNS3 than I care to cover and in all honesty there could be a cert track for GNS 3. These links should help you get started for Windows and Mac

Books – I use books to dive deeper into topics. Jeremy and Keith from CBTNuggets are very good at covering the basics and giving you enough information to get started. Getting to the details is best done through a study guide. I’ve not done much research on study guides. I would seem to default to whatever book CiscoPress has out, but if you have a suggestion leave a comment or tweet me.

Home Network – My home setup is close to a legit CCNP lab. I have a 1921 router, a 48 port 2960 switch (non-POE) and a 24 port 2960 switch (POE) that I keep unplugged because the bearings in the fan are going bad. This equipment is in production and my wife requires change control be completed 24 hours before any outage.

This Blog – When I was studying for CCNA I could judge how well I knew a topic by how well I could explain it. I’m hoping to use this blog as a dumping ground for exactly that. If I’m wrong I’m sure someone on the Internet will correct me.



3.2 Identify IPv6 addressing and subnetting – I’m interested in IPv6, but my lack of experience makes going beyond that basics a topic I’ll have to hit hard.

3.8 Configure and Verify VRF lite – Completely unfamiliar with this topic.

3.30 Describe, configure, and verify BGP peer relationships and authentication – Most of my real life experience with BGP has come though templated Router configs.

3.31 Configure and verify eBGP (IPv4 and IPv6 address families) – Same as above.

3.32 Explain BGP attributes and best-path selection – Same as above.

4.2 Describe DMVPN (single hub) – Understand the concepts of DMVPN, very little real life experience.


1.6 Configure and verify spanning tree – Not so much a weakness, but I don’t deal with Spanning Tree on a day to day basis. The skills I learned in CCNA really aren’t necessary for the networks I work on.

3.1 Configure and verify first-hop redundancy protocols – Again, I don’t see much of this on a day to day basis.


All of the above.


That’s the plan. I’ve paid for and scheduled the first exam. I think the dates might be a bit aggressive, but the people I’ve talked to say it’s certainly achievable. If you want to follow me on Twitter I am @Eric_Stover and I’ll be posting all my updates there. Next week’s topic is going to be the first section of the ROUTE topics “Network Principles”. See you then.