Eugene McCall, CCIE #41361


The INE material was absolutely key in getting the CCIE Service Provider lab passed. I went through the workbook at least five times with hitting some labs as many as eight. I also watched the SP ATC videos through twice. On top of that, the RS ATC videos and the RS technology labs were of great help. It took me two tries to pass due to my own mistake on the first attempt (got stuck on a question and let my pride get in the way). I studied for 14 months, though 9 of those months were in prep for the RS exam but as I grew more bored, I switched over to the SP because I find the material much more interesting. I put over 30hrs/wk into my studies on average between reading books, watching videos and the all important labbing practice. Thank you, INE! Without you guys, this test would have been difficult to the point of being almost impossible.


Full Blog Post:

Update! June 21, 2015: My journey to the CCIE RS started a couple years ago when I went through the version 4 material from INE. At the time, I was in a location that prevented me from taking the exam so I switched to the SP track for a couple months and passed that instead. Forward two years and as I'm waiting to restart my DC studies (failed that one once), I had some downtime due to scheduling so I decide to start studying for the RS again with some urging from a close friend. Luckily, I have an AAP and I had downloaded and watched the new RSv5 videos previously which were amazing (there were many good things in it, but it was the best explanation of the way OSPF LSAs interacted with each other that I've ever heard). So again with pushing from my friend, I decided to jump directly into the fundamental labs as a test of where I was. Good thing, too, as I found them to be challenging but fairly accurate to my level of skill. So I decided I'd just run through the fundamentals, full-scales and TShoot labs while catching the technology labs for new topics only and then take the test. This worked out well for me. I was able to shake off the rust of not labbing in a couple months, both in my fingers and my brain. The Full-Scale labs in particular from INE are great. Perfect primers for those last couple weeks going into the lab exam. The last week before my exam date, INE also released two Mock Labs. I only did one but I felt much more comfortable with the way the exam was set up after running through it. For the lab exam, this one was not an easy one for my mentality. The troubleshooting exam was not too horrible, but I'm certain I missed two of the smaller tasks. The others though, I am just as sure I got correct. I don't find this something you can study specifically for as much as just knowing the protocols, how they function and what the need to function correctly. The diagnostics section was a lot of information but if you catch a good idea of what it might be, they make it very easy to verify. If you work in operations, this will probably feel like another ticket in your queue. As for the configuration section, there were times during the last three hours where I got extremely frustrated at nothing working. There are tons of requirements that are best served by jumping around in the tasks but even then, it is difficult to do so accurately so I kept pushing through. Unfortunately for me I had misconfigured some important traffic manipulation early on that was breaking several tasks. I ended up finding it, fixing it and things came up with an hour to spare in the exam. So lesson learned, never give up and be thorough... lessons we should all know but sometimes need a reminder of. By the end, I had every task working properly. I received my pass while at a restaurant in Brussels doing a XXL challenge of drinking 15 different Belgian Beers. Luckily, that gave me something to celebrate with :D Good luck to everyone else attempting this bear of an exam. Cheers.
- Eugene McCall, CCIE #41361 (CCIE Service Provider, CCIE Routing & Switching)