IPexpert Lab Preparation Workbook Review
"I continue to appreciate this opportunity to look through the IPExpert CCIE™ R/S Lab Preparation Workbook. While I am unable to comment as to the product's similarity to the actual CCIE lab, nor am I able to compare the book to what I may or may not have seen in my own CCIE lab, I can say that I was impressed by the depth of material that the book covers.
by Chuck Larrieu
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First - some bad things. The book could use page number references in its table of contents. Some, including Cisco, may believe that having to repeatedly flip through pages looking for a lab or a drawing is a CCIE level skill, I think it's just plain poor thinking on the part of the publisher.
That said, I believe that the skills one needs to successfully complete the (Workbook's) exercises and the full blown labs are definitely advance, CCIE level skills. It is easy to tell that the folks who developed this (Workbook) spent a good deal of time determining core topics and levels of expertise when creating the materials. Therefore they cover a complex NMBA core, and provide exercises using all routing protocols over that core. Whether or not one sees RIP and RIP v2 on the CCIE lab, I can think of a couple of instances in my own real world job where understanding of both protocols was required - just because Cisco doesn't support anything else on certain low end routers.
All the important topics are covered - redistribution, DDR, switch configuration, NMBA, ATM, access-lists, IPX, DLSw, you name it.
The labs come in a nicely bound book, with pages laid out in such a way that there is lots of room to write notes. the typesetting is quite readable, even to these old eyes. the diagrams in the book are beautiful - full color, and very enlightening. The lab topics are current with regards to the current published topics on CCO. No Apollo or Vines scenarios to wade through.
Cosmetics aside, I would say that the depth of coverage is the best part of IP Expert. One does not get through these labs without spending some time thinking, and some time researching. the issues are there in spades, and you can't fake your way through.
There are technical errors here and there. well, let me put it another way - I am unable to duplicate the desired results here in my own lab using IP expert solutions. since I am looking at the 1.1 book ( 2.0 is due real soon ) I presume that these are corrected in an errata sheet that I do not have access to.
(PUBLISHER's NOTE: The 2.0 Version of the Workbook is now available. All known errors from the 1.1 version were corrected. Plus, a new Preparation Lab for the just-introduced Cisco 1-day lab exam format was also added to the Workbook. You can learn more about Version 2.0 of the Workbook here.)
So, all in all, I would say that the IP Expert workbook is well worth the investment.
Be aware that the scenarios are all written around a pod of 8-10 routers, including ATM, along with a Cat 5 switch. ( I do not see any exercises involving the cat 39xx token ring switch. Maybe the folks at IP Expert think Cisco is going to dump that turkey? ) this makes replicating the details difficult in the typical home lab. IP Expert expects that you will rent rack time from them. their prices are relatively reasonable, considering the competition and the market."
Chuck Larrieu, CCNP