Monday, August 18, 2008


With today's passing of the ONT examination, I am now a CCNP-certified :-). Yahoo!!! Well on paper anyway. Still a lot to learn and master in the Cisco world. When you look at technical blogs like those on my blog list, you can't help but wonder (if you're me that is) is how these people have so much knowledge and yet becoming more knowledgable every day. Dedication, determination and honesty I believe is the key (influenced by the Olympics fever since 8/8).

With that mindset in mind, after taking care of my wedding dinner reception next month, let the CCIE games er ... studying begin at full-scale! As of now I am viewing IPExpert's BLS videos on switching and Internetwork Expert's ethernet switching videos to start dwelling more into CCIE materials.

Thanks to those who left a comment wishing me luck. I am sure the luck was part of me passing this exam ;-). So virtual beers to you all :P.

By the way, some of you asked what materials I used for my CCNP studies. Well I did attend a CCNP course conducted by a Cisco-certified training centre but the bulk and majority of my studies involved Chris Bryant's study guides (except the ONT). You can look for his materials at And yes, I bought the CCNA and the CCNP ultimate study guides legally. No illegal copies. You can ask the man himself :-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Non CCIE-related = ONT on Monday

I have scheduled the final paper of my CCNP, the dreaded ONT next Monday. If I pass, I will be CCNP-certified, one step closer to earning that CCIE dream of mine. If I fail, I .... NEVER! Never say fail so soon before even trying ... that's what I keep telling myself. As Arden Packeer told me that ONT is the most fun part of CCNP, it seems that way because there is so much you can do with QoS. However, I still love switching the most hence BCMSN still ranks top of my list :-).

Wish me luck this coming Monday. ONT=Over-hyped Nickelby Thane :-)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

CCIE with Olympics

Saturday morning ... still feeling very sick (still having slight fever, really bad cough and sore throat coupled with flu) but still very much in spirit to at least know what's going on in the CCIE community (even though not in the right frame for some serious reading) rather than just lying in bed staring at the wall.

I have gotten my ProctorLabs deal from IPExpert's Mike Down ( so that's 20 sessions of rack time for me and a cool ProctorLabs e-book! Pretty cool if you ask me :-) (yes!!! I have added another debt of USD $297.50 to my credit card :P). So to those who has taken up this generous offer, I believe we won't regret it. To those who didn't take the offer, well ... better luck next time ;-).

I have just finished viewing CCIE Agent's CCIEFlyer website ( It's a pretty cool website with information not really related to the technical aspects of CCIE but rather the 'social' part of it. Social??? Yes, you heard me right, social! (even though you and I know that CCIE-wannabes will frown at this word hehe). This means salaries of CCIEs around the world (still in progress), job advertisements, current trends, etc.

I also added another excellent blog by Brandon Carroll ( who is attempting his security lab in just days from now. He's an active tweeter too by the way ;-). Drop by and give him words of encouragement for his lab attempt. I hope that he'll ace the exam and will be able to tell us his CCIE number very soon.

Olympics are this month in Beijing, China so it would be very interesting to note how I can divide my time between work, Olympics and studies although I will admit the lure of the Olympics is mighty high. Sports always have something in common with CCIE. Determination, dedication and honesty. Think about it ... with all three on hand, your CCIE crown has just gotten a lot more closer to reality. That's what I keep telling myself!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

IPExpert and Internetwork Expert Mini-Review

I have done a preliminary review on both the Blended Learning Solution (the Video-on-Demand module) from IPExpert and also Internetwork Expert’s Class-on-Demand v4.5. Both these products are end-to-end solutions meaning that they are designed to guide you from the start till the end for the CCIE exam. I have not tested/seen the workbooks yet as I am still concentrating on the theory part of the CCIE and not the lab yet hence I would fail miserably at reviewing workbooks at this point of time. (I agree that at some point I will start to work on the labs at least from the focus technology-types or volume I (from Internetwork Expert)).

Now these are my personal opinions only. They do not reflect the general view of the CCIE community and I am not being paid to say good stuff/not-so-good stuff about any products :P. The review is also based on just viewing the first few videos from both vendors, online community/support and physical attributes of the products. So keep that in mind when you read the below. Finally, wherever costs are applicable, I am putting the net cost without any discount vouchers hence the prices are as per advertised on their website. Without much ranting, here are my findings so far.

Blended Learning Solution (from IPExpert (

The instructor is none other than Scott Morris, the uber geek who recently moved to Internetwork Expert from IPExpert hence this was done before the move.

The good about this product.

  1. Cheap, most affordable among the end-to-end by any vendor as far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong :-)) at USD $999.00 and it came in a 100GB hard disk which is not entirely filled. Guess what I did with the extra space? ;-)

  1. Excellent and active mailing lists which a lot of candidates and more importantly the instructors participate.

  1. The lectures are in-depth and Scott explains it with a touch of humour here and there (especially when he said many CCIE candidates think of his voice when they are doing their exams hehe). It makes the class more fun to learn. Fun is VERY important for me in my studies ;-).

  1. The Blended Learning Solution GUI is one of the best GUIs I have seen for a CCIE product. Very simple yet informative enough and also it integrates the modules tightly. You want workbooks? Just click on the icon and you’re on your way! (yes … you still need an active Internet connection for modules like the workbooks but that’s just because the vendor wants you to have the latest and greatest that they can offer on their end).

  1. Excellent support from the IPExpert team. They are very prompt in answering any doubts and currently offering very good discounts on their products (check Mike Down’s blog for cool discounts especially on the ProctorLabs).

  1. Does being a fan of Jared counts? :P

The not-so-good about this product.

  1. To be honest, I am almost fully satisfied with the product except for a quite annoying issue. The sound of the video-on-demand is not exactly to my expectation. The opening short music of each video is very loud but then when Scott came on the screen, his voice is way too soft. I often find myself having to minimize the volume when the intro of each video session begins and then increase the volume when Scott starts to speak.

IE’s CCIE R&S End-to-End Program (from Internetwork Expert (

The instructors are none other than Brian Dennis, a 5xCCIEs holder and Brian McGahan, a 3xCCIEs holder.

The good about this product.

  1. Good plan payment. You are offered a 4-months plan payment for the package instead of forking out the entire cost at the point of purchase.

  1. The workbooks and Class-on-Demand videos are one of the more popular ones among CCIE-certified/candidates and judging from the first few videos, I can see why. The videos are top-notch with Brian McGahan explain the concepts very clearly. I really his style of presentation. I have not seen the videos by Brian Dennis yet so I can’t comment on that just yet.

  1. The audio books are short but they do serve their purpose in giving you a very general review on the technology concepts. That way if you’re like me, you’ll start asking, “That’s it? I need to find out more!!!” and before you know it, you’ll start searching for the answers on CCO or the C-o-D.

  1. They have a very good resources link on their website. IE went to the trouble of even giving you configurations on Dynamips on your PC for free. You don’t see a lot of vendors doing that eh? That’s a big plus point in my books.

  1. Dynamips-tailored labs topologies. Yup even though I have mentioned that I have yet to see the workbooks but I am a very BIG fan of Dynamips. I have been using Dynamips for my CCNA and my CCNP preparations.

  1. Does being a fan of Brian McGahan counts? :P

The not-so-good about this product.

  1. A little expensive. At USD $2,995.00, I had to think very hard before purchasing this product. But after being given a good discount and also the 4-months payment plan, I still ended up finishing my ENTIRE life savings on two CCIE products (both this package and the BLS above).

So that’s it about my mini-review on both products. In conclusion/summary, both these products are top-notch and it gives you a different lab perspective from two different vendors. As a final note since I got two e-mails asking whether these products are similar to the CCIE labs, I can assume they mirror the difficulty of the labs and more than that BUT they are not the same as the labs themselves. These are not labs dumps for crying out loud!

I am currently in the midst of working on two major projects + a wedding dinner reception in September so studies on my CCIE will only start full-blown in October 2008. As of now, I am spending my time reading the Cisco CCIE Exam Guide 3rd edition by Cisco press to spend time :-).