How to take networking notes


I added a debug example (202104241342 debug spanning-tree bpdu). It’s similar to how I would add a config example. Add the command(s), and explain what the output does.

If you want to do CCIE, I would go through the CCNA and CCNP ENCOR/ENARSI material first. Everything from CCNA and ENCOR/ENARSI is in CCIE, so it’s not like skipping them is helpful. You could skip the exams, but I would go through the material.

The advantage of note-taking like this is that you can always make some progress. Even if you only have an hour, you could study something and create some notes out of it.

If you want to study for CCIE, I would focus first on going through all the material. In a nutshell, here’s how to beat the lab:

  1. You work your way through all the topics one by one. First all L2 topics (VLANs, trunks, STP, etc.) and then all L3 topics (IP routing, OSPF, EIGRP, BGP, etc.) and all other remaining topics.

  2. You do “full” configuration and troubleshooting labs until you are ready for the lab.

1 + 2 take about ~1000 hours in total once you are at the CCNP level.

If you are limited in time, you can do #1 but it will just take a longer time to work your way through it. That’s OK. If you can study full-time, it might take 3 months. If you are limited in time, it takes > 12 months. You can work your way through all of the material though. During phase 1, reviewing older topics isn’t very helpful because it’s just too much. The problem is that you will remain stuck in phase 1 if you try to review everything.

Once you start with #2, that’s when you automatically repeat/review all topics you have seen before because these labs cover everything that you have seen in #1. You’ll also figure out your knowledge gaps…that’s when you jump back to reviewing some of your notes and do some labs on your own.

#2 is time-consuming…in the real exam, you have 8 hours to complete the lab so before you are at this level, you have had a LOT of practice labs at home. Ideally, you want an entire day for a practice lab so you know what it’s like to lab for > 8 hours straight. You’ll need time off from work and other obligations if you want to pull this off.

Back when I did my CCIE in 2013, the last 3 weeks before the exams I labbed from 10:00 until 22:00 every day except some Saturdays and Sundays. That’s crazy, but that’s how everything became “muscle memory” and I passed it on my first attempt.

Does this help? :slight_smile: