Friday, September 30, 2011

CCNP - Job Done.

Yesterday I passed the TSHOOT exam and thus completed my CCNP. I had a tense afternoon as I eagerly waited for my certification tracking account to sync to with Pearson Vue but late last night the e-mail came through from Cisco Training telling me I had achieved the CCNP and I could claim my logos.

My experience sitting the TSHOOT exam was a much improved one from the previous test centre I used to go to. I was advised that my usual company had actually gone out of business. So here I was at a strange test centre hoping to claim my prize.

I'm not going to test the NDA but I will say that the experience of the exam was like none I've ever encountered. It's on record that you can dip in and out of the tickets as you see fit. If you get stuck on one question you can select Abort and check the config in another ticket so see if you're right. I found I needed to do this on 2 occasions to confirm my line of thinking and but it felt like I was cheating some how. In all other Cisco exams once you move on to the next question you can't go back.

If I'm honest I'd have to say they could probably do that on this exam. You have to answer all the questions any way and I submitted them in order so that I could manage my time correctly.

In previous posts I've mentioned approaches to tackle the exam, Kevin Wallace recommended the Abort method above, one other method I used was to let the question guide me. On more that one question I had narrowed the problem to a particular device (so that's Q1) and could tell that a particular technology was the issue (so that's Q2 sorted) but I struggled to pin point the cause. I simply reviewed the answers available to me in Q3. Once you eliminate the ridiculous answers you're left with 2 or 3 plausible answers that you can work with.

My final point is about time management. I found this exam very enjoyable and once you pinpoint the cause a problem you rattle through the 3 part trouble ticket quickly. If you know your show commands and can comfortably recall the correct command to display the most helpful information then I genuinely think you shouldn't worry about the time.

Right. Time for a rest then I'm going to put some serious consideration as to whether the CCIE is worth my effort...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CCNP - ENTERPRISE - EIGRP Troubleshooting Targets

For EIGRP issues look to the following:

- If Adjacencies are not forming check:
Timers match, AS number matches
In Frame-Relay topologies check that you have included the 'broadcast' option to allow the multicast packets that are sent to to be forwarded.
Check for any ACL's blocking EIGRP specifically or the subnets in general
Check that the router interfaces are up, you can ping the neighbour ( if it isn't up then troubleshoot the interface config as appropriate)

- If Static/Dynamic routes are not being redistributed in to EIGRP check:
Routes learned by EIGRP are in the Routing Table
Check the EIGRP topology table to see if the route was learned at all
Check the EIGRP config to ensure you are advertising the correct networks
Are there any Distribution Lists filtering your network?
For discontiguous networks check that no auto-summary is applied.

- For the Error 'Not on common Subnet' check:
IP addressing the interfaces that should be forming an adjacency.
Remember EIGRP packets are sourced from the Primary IP address on the interface. As such you can't use a Secondary IP to form the adjacency.

- If Load Balancing does not operate as expected check:
Ensure you have correctly used the Variance command in the Router process (not at the interface)

- Do you get 'Stuck in Active' (SIA) errors?
Check that the router has enough resources to respond to EIGRP updates (#sh processes cpu)
Check the bandwidth parameter on the interface is set correctly
Check #sh interfaces for interface resets, input/output errors.
If you do observe these issues look at hardware upgrades.