Implementing & verifying for the CCNP ROUTE exam

September 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Cisco, Study hints | 2 Comments
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As most of you know already, Cisco has retired the exams in the old CCNP track and released three new exams that comprise the new CCNP. As covered in an earlier post here and elsewhere, the new exams are called ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT. Today I would like to discuss the ROUTE exam; specifically, I would like to discuss a topic that has generated many questions among test candidates.

A quick examination of the exam objectives (found here)  will reveal that almost every objective has the following structure:

  1. Create an (insert main objective topic) implementation plan.
  2. Create an (insert the main objective topic) verification plan.

So the question that I keep hearing about the exam is, “What kinds of information will be tested in this sub-objective, and how will it come at me”? In today’s post, I would like to try to fill in the blanks for you.

First, Cisco design practices call for creating an implementation plan and a verification plan for all types of implementations.  Exam questions about implementation and verification will probably take one of two approaches: a conceptual approach, and a command-specific approach.

Conceptual questions

The steps that are included can seem somewhat subjective. You should drink the Cisco Kool-Aid and study the “Cisco steps.” The best references I can offer for that are the following links to information about PPDIOO and best practices:

Cisco Press: PPDIOO Lifecycle Approach to Network Design and Implementation

PPDIOO stands for Prepare, Plan, Design, Implement, Operate, and Optimize. If you are familiar with the CCDP, this will not be a foreign concept to you. It is a design framework that Cisco uses and is the best source for getting a handle on these conceptual questions. When reviewing this document, pay close attention to and learn the bulleted lists such as the following from the section on Implementation steps (taken from the article verbatim)

Each phase consists of several steps, and each step should contain, but be not limited to, the following documentation:

  • Description of the step
  • Reference to design documents
  • Detailed implementation guidelines
  • Detailed roll-back guidelines in case of failure
  • Estimated time needed for implementation

An example item of this type might be:

Which of the following is NOT a step to include in an implementation plan?

  • Description of the step
  • Reference to design documents
  • Detailed implementation guidelines
  • Cost of the step

So obviously (although it won’t be so obvious on the real exam) the answer is Cost of the step.

A higher-level resource is here:

New Solution Deployment: Best Practices White Paper

Step-specific implementation questions

Obviously, these types of questions will ask about the commands or actions that should be performed at a given step in the implementation or verification plans. Here is a sample question from our new Cert 642-902 exam showing this type of implementation question.

A new portion of your OSPF network is in the design phase. You have been presented with a network diagram, a list of implementation steps, and a requirement that transmissions across all routers must be authenticated. The complete implementation plan is as follows:

  1. Enable OSPF process 1 on all routers.
  2. Enable area 0 on routers R2 and R3.
  3. Enable area 1 on routers R1 and R2.
  4. Enable area 10 on routers R4 and R5.
  5. Verify that all routers contain a complete routing table.
  6. Verify that you can ping from one end of the network to the other.
  7. Enable OSPF authentication on all routers.

Which of the following statements is TRUE about this plan?

A. It is complete as written.

B. Router R5 should have area 1 enabled.

C. Router R4 should have area 0 enabled.

D. Router R2 should not have area 0 enabled.

Above you see that the question is less conceptual and has more of its focus on OSPF. Steps are given in the item scenario, and you decide whether the steps are complete or if a vital step is missing. Don’t be afraid to answer that the given implementation steps are complete if, in fact, they are. It’s not a trick!

The same document located at the link I gave you covers verification steps as well as implementation steps. The same approach works for those types of questions.

In closing,

  1. Learn the Cisco verification steps conceptually.
  2. Know how to verify a specific implementation.

Good luck on the exam, and see you next time!

–Troy McMillan


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  1. Just a small note, the last example about OSPF the correct answer i think should be “C” since router 4 & 5 should somehow linked to Area 0 which is not mentioned in the steps, i’m i right ?

    • Alien, You are correct!!! Your logic is perfect. Yes, all areas must be connected to Area 0. You could create a virtual link across another area, but Area 1 has no common routers with 10 either. You can’t create a virtual link across an Area unless the orphaned Area has an ABR that is also a member of the area the link will cross. Moreover, you correctly deduced that that is not offered as an option, and your solution was. Great job! (Now my question is, are you really an alien and if so what planet do you come from?)


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