Study Tips for CCIEW Written v3.1

Yesterday (5th Dec), I got through my CCIE Wireless written exam and renewed my CCIE status for another 2 years. In this post, I will describe how I study for it and some tips for anyone who is going for it.


I had a deadline of 14th December to renew my CCIE status. So I went for this exam in 4th August for the first time. I wanted to test myself and went for it without any preparation (first time in my life went for exam like that). 100 questions to be answered with 120 min and I had to rush at the end to finish all the questions on time.To be my surprise, I have scored 713 where pass mark was 825. Even though I failed it, came back with some confidence.

By going through the blueprint (with % weight) & score report, I realized “Security & Identity Mgt” & “Evolving Technologies” were my two weakest area. Nearly 30% of questions from “AireOS & Converged Access” deployments where I have scored only ~60%. I have scored above 80% only in “Planning & Designing WLAN” section.

For the 2nd time I went for it on 17th Nov and went with some preparation. The main challenge was how and what to study for it. There are no Cisco press official cert guide or any formal training material for it. My main source of study was Ciscolive presentations (I will list few of them later in the post for your reference). This time I got 741 and failed. Though each section I have improved,not good enough to score beyond 80% in most of the sections except”Planning & Designing WLAN” section.

Since I did not have any other choices rather go for it immediately (you have to wait 15 days minimum for a retake- Refer Written Exam Policy) as my deadline was 14th. With that pressure, dedicate more time and go through specific areas that I need to score. Finally, I managed to go through it with 867 marks. I have scored above 80% for all sections except “Autonomous (70%)” & ” Security & Identity Mgt (60%)”. Got 100% only for “Converged Access” section.

Like any other exam, you are going to be tested on blueprint topics. So it is important to learn those topics without pre-judging what’s the point of learning certain technologies.If your objective is to pass this exam, then you have to learn them.

So here is my advice for anyone going for CCIEW written v3.1 exam

If you are already a CCIEW & go for it renewing your status

  1. Start at least 6 months prior to your due date of CCIE expiry.
  2. Since you have passed lab exam, you should have enough confidence most of the blueprint topics.
  3. If you have worked on technologies cover in this exam (AireOS 8.0, IOS-XE 3.6, Prime 2.0 & ISE 1.2) then go for the exam & evaluate yourself genuinely. If you haven’t work on these since your lab exam, then you need more time to get familiar with those technologies.
  4. Do not keep high expectation on succeeding through your first attempt.
  5. Based on the skill gaps, do a focused study (Ciscolive material is good enough for you to pass this exam if you have experience working with these technologies)
  6. Never give up, you already sacrificed a lot of your time & effort to become a CCIE , do not let it become “Inactive”.

If you are on your way to CCIEW (haven’t done  your lab yet)

  1. No shortcuts, you have to study all the blueprint topics.
  2. When studying  written exam topics, if they are in the lab exam as well, spend enough time to play with technologies.
  3. Learn AireOS and Converged Access well enough, without scoring high on these two sections, it is difficult to pass this exam.
  4. Familiar with Autonomous AP configurations, practice it in your home lab (if you do not have one, create it- min 2 AP, Switch & PC )
  5. You have to use multiple resources, blogs, CSC forum, Cisco Technotes, Config Guides and Cisco live presentations are some free options.
  6. Once you feel you studied  enough for it, then go for the exam and evaluate yourself.
  7. Do not expect to pass it in first go.
  8. Do a focused study based on the skill gaps until you get a success.

Below shown  CCIEW v3.1 blueprint topics and reference material applicable for each section that I have used for my preparation (video materials URL shown in light blue colour and documentation URL shown in orange colour). Note that it may not be a comprehensive list, but use that as a basic reference for your studies.

11% 1.0 Planning & Designing WLAN Technologies
1.1 Describe WLAN organizations and regulations
1.2 Describe IEEE 802.11 standards and protocols
1.3 Plan & design wireless solutions requirements
1.3.a Translate customer requirements into services and design recommendations
1.3.b Identify ambiguity and/or information gaps
1.3.c Evaluate interoperability of proposed technologies against deployed IP network infrastructure & technologies
1.3.d Select an appropriate deployment model
1.3.e Regulatory domains and country codes
1.4 RF planning, designing and validation
1.4.a RF Design / Site survey
1.4.a [i] Define the tasks/goals for a preliminary site survey
1.4.a [ii] Conduct the site survey
1.4.a [iii] Determine AP quantity, placement and antenna type
1.4.b Architect indoor and outdoor RF deployments
1.4.b [i] Coverage
1.4.b [ii] Throughput
1.4.b [iii] Voice
1.4.b [iv] Location
1.4.b [v] HD
1.4.c Construct an RF operational model that includes:
1.4.c [i] Radio resource management (Auto-RF, manual, hybrid, TPC and DCA)
1.4.c [ii] Channel use (radar, non-WiFi interference)
1.4.c [iii] Power level, overlap
1.4.c [iv] RF profiles
1.4.d Validate implemented RF deployment

BRKEWN-2017-Understanding RF Fundamentals and the radio design of Wireless .11n/ac Networks
BRKCRT-1100 – CCNA Wireless, master the 802.11 protocols! (2016 Las Vegas)

10% 2.0 Configure and Troubleshoot the Network Infrastructure
2.1 Configure and troubleshoot wired infrastructure to support WLANs
2.1.a VLANs
2.1.b VTP
2.1.c STP
2.1.d Etherchannel
2.1.e HSRP
2.1.f VSS
2.1.g Stacking
2.2 Plan network infrastructure capacity
2.3 Configure and troubleshoot network connectivity for:
2.3.a WLAN clients
2.3.b WLCs
2.3.c Lightweight APs
2.3.d Autonomous Aps
2.4 Configure and troubleshoot PoE for Aps
2.5 Configure and troubleshoot QoS on the switching infrastructure
2.5.a MQC
2.5.b Mls qos
2.6 Configure and troubleshoot multicast on the switching infrastructure
2.6.a PIM-SM
2.6.b Auto-RP
2.6.c Static-RP
2.6.d IGMP
2.6.e IGMP snooping
2.6.f MLD
2.7 Configure and troubleshoot IPv4 connectivity
2.7.a Subnetting
2.7.b Static routing
2.7.c Basic OSPF
2.7.d Basic EIGRP
2.8 Configure and troubleshoot basic IPv6 connectivity
2.8.a Subnetting
2.8.b Static routing
2.8.c Basic OSPFv3
2.8.d Basic EIGRP address families
2.9 Configure and troubleshoot wired security
2.9.a ACLs (v4/v6)
2.9.b dot1X
2.9.c Port-security
2.9.d SXP, SGT
2.10 Configure and troubleshoot network services
2.10.a DNS
2.10.b DHCPv4 / DHCPv6
2.10.c NTP, SNTP
2.10.d SYSLOG
2.10.e SNMP
2.10.f CDP, LLDP
2.10.g SDG. mDNS

10% 3.0 Configure and Troubleshoot an Autonomous Deployment Model
3.1 Configuring and troubleshooting different modes and roles
3.1.a Root
3.1.b WGB
3.1.c Bridge
3.2 Configuring and troubleshooting SSID/MBSSID
3.3 Configuring and troubleshooting security
3.3.a L2 security policies
3.3.b Association filters
3.3.c PSPF
3.3.d Local radius
3.3.e dot1x profiles
3.3.f Guest
3.4 Configuring and troubleshooting radio settings
3.5 Configuring and troubleshooting multicast
3.6 Configuring and troubleshooting QoS

18% 4.0 Configure and Troubleshoot a Unified Deployment Model (Centralized)
4.1 Configuring and controlling management access
4.2 Configuring and troubleshooting interfaces
4.3 Configuring and troubleshooting lightweight APs
4.3.a dot1x
4.3.b LSC
4.3.c AP modes
4.3.d AP authentication / authorization
4.3.e Logging
4.3.f Local / global configuration
4.4 Configuring and troubleshooting high availability and redundancy
4.4.a Clients
4.4.b APs
4.4.c WLCs
4.5 Configuring and troubleshooting wireless segmentation
4.5.a RF profiles
4.5.b AP groups
4.5.c Flexconnect
4.6 Configuring and troubleshooting wireless security policies
4.6.a WLANs
4.6.b L2/L3 security
4.6.c Rogue policies
4.6.d Local EAP
4.6.e Local profiling
4.6.f ACLs
4.6.g Certificates
4.7 Configuring and troubleshooting Flexconnect and Office Extend
4.8 Configuring and troubleshooting Mesh
4.9 Implement RF management
4.9.a Static RF management
4.9.b Automatic RF management
4.9.c CleanAir
4.9.d Data rates
4.10 Configuring and troubleshooting WLC control plane security
4.10.a AAA
4.10.b CPU ACLs
4.10.c Management via wireless interface
4.10.d Management via dynamic interface
4.11 Configuring and troubleshooting mobility
4.11.a L2/L3 roaming
4.11.b Multicast optimization
4.11.c Mobility group scaling
4.11.d Inter-release controller mobility
4.11.e New mobility
4.11.f Mobility anchoring
4.12 Configuring and troubleshooting multicast

What’s new in AireOS 8.0 ( There are links to 4 WebEx at the end , it is a MUST watch )
BRKEWN-3011 – Advanced Troubleshooting of Wireless LANs (2016 Las Vegas)
Cisco Support Community – Wireless Mobility (YouTube Channel)

11% 5.0 Configure and Troubleshoot a Unified Deployment Model (Converged)
5.1 Configuring and controlling management access
5.2 Configuring and troubleshooting Interfaces
5.3 Configuring and troubleshooting lightweight APs
5.3.a dot1x
5.3.b AP authentication / authorization
5.3.c Logging
5.3.d Local / global configuration
5.4 Configuring and troubleshooting high availability and redundancy
5.4.a Clients
5.4.b APs
5.4.c WLCs
5.5 Configuring and troubleshooting wireless segmentation
5.5.a RF profiles
5.5.b AP groups
5.6 Configuring and Troubleshooting wireless security policies
5.6.a WLANs
5.6.b L2/L3 security
5.6.c Rogue policies
5.6.d Local EAP
5.6.e ACLs
5.6.f Certificates
5.7 Implement RF management
5.7.a Static RF management
5.7.b Automatic RF management
5.7.c CleanAir
5.7.d Data rates
5.8 Configuring and troubleshooting WLC control plane security
5.8.a AAA
5.8.b Basic control plane policing
5.9 Configuring and troubleshooting mobility
5.9.a L2/L3 roaming
5.9.b Multicast optimization
5.9.c Mobility group scaling
5.9.d Inter-release controller mobility
5.9.e Mobility anchoring
5.9.f SPG
5.9.g MC/MA
5.10 Configuring and troubleshooting multicast

BRKCRS-2888 – Advanced Enterprise Campus Design: Converged Access (2015 San Diego)
CT5760 High Availability AP SSO Deployment Guide
Cisco Catalyst 4500 Supervisor Engine 8-E Wireless Mode Quick-Start Guide

10% 6.0 Configure and Troubleshoot Security & Identity Management
6.1 Configure and troubleshoot identity management
6.1.a Basic PKI for dot1x and webauth
6.1.b External identity sources (AD, LDAP)
6.2 Configure and troubleshoot AAA policies
6.2.a Client authentication and authorization
6.2.b Management authentication and authorization
6.2.c Client profiling and provisioning
6.2.d RADIUS attributes
6.2.e CoA
6.3 Configure and troubleshoot guest management
6.3.a Local web authentication
6.3.b Central web authentication
6.3.c Basic sponsor policy

BRKEWN-2020 – Managing Policies for BYOD Network (2015 San Diego)
BRKEWN-2014 – Deploying Wireless Guest Access (2015 Melbourne)

10% 7.0 Configure and Troubleshoot Prime Infrastructure and MSE
7.1 Configure and troubleshoot management access
7.1.a AAA
7.1.b Virtual domain
7.2 Perform basic operations
7.2.a Create and deploy templates
7.2.b Operate maps
7.2.c Import infrastructure devices
7.2.d High availability
7.2.e Audits
7.2.f Client troubleshooting
7.2.g Notification receivers
7.2.h Reports
7.3 Perform maintenance operations
7.3.a Background tasks
7.3.b SW image management
7.4 Security management
7.4.a Understand rogue management
7.4.b Manage alarms and events
7.4.c Understand security index
7.5 Implement and troubleshoot MSE
7.5.a Management access
7.5.b Network services
7.5.b [i] Location
7.5.b [ii] CMX
7.5.b [iii] CleanAir
7.5.b [iv] WIPS
7.5.c NMSP
7.6 Integrate ISE
7.7 Integrate netflow

BRKEWN-2011 – Managing an Enterprise WLAN with Cisco Prime Infrastructure (2014 San Francisco)
Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.2 Product Training
Prime Infrastructure 2.0 – User Guide
Prime Infrastructure 2.0 – Administrator Guide

10% 8.0 Configure and Troubleshoot WLAN media and application services
8.1 Configure and troubleshoot voice over wireless
8.1.a QoS profiles
8.1.b EDCA
8.1.c WMM
8.1.d BDRL
8.1.e Admission control
8.1.f MQC
8.2 Configuring and troubleshooting video and media
8.2.a Mediastream
8.2.b Multicast-direct
8.2.c Admission control
8.3 Configuring and troubleshooting mDNS
8.3.a mDNS proxy
8.3.b Service discovery
8.3.c Service filtering
8.4 Configuring and troubleshooting AVC and netflow

BRKEWN-2000 – Intermediate – Design and Deployment of Wireless LANs for Mobile Applications (2015 Milan)
BRKRST-2515 – QoS Design and Deployment for Wireless LANs (2015 San Diego)

10% 9.0 Evolving Technologies
9.1 Cloud
9.1.a Compare and contrast Cloud deployment models
9.1.a (i) Infrastructure, platform, and software services (XaaS)
9.1.a (ii) Performance and reliability
9.1.a (iii) Security and privacy
9.1.a (iv) Scalability and interoperability
9.1.b Describe Cloud implementations and operations
9.1.b (i) Automation and orchestration
9.1.b (ii) Workload mobility
9.1.b (iii) Troubleshooting and management
9.1.b (iv) OpenStack components
9.2 Network programmability (SDN)
9.2.a Describe functional elements of network programmability (SDN) and how they interact
9.2.a (i) Controllers
9.2.a (ii) APIs
9.2.a (iii) Scripting
9.2.a (iv) Agents
9.2.a (v) Northbound vs. Southbound protocols
9.2.b Describe aspects of virtualization and automation in network environments
9.2.b (i) DevOps methodologies, tools and workflows
9.2.b (ii) Network/application function virtualization (NFV, AFV)
9.2.b (iii) Service function chaining
9.2.b (iv) Performance, availability, and scaling considerations
9.3 Internet of Things
9.3.a Describe architectural framework and deployment considerations for Internet of Things (IoT)
9.3.a (i) Performance, reliability and scalability
9.3.a (ii) Mobility
9.3.a (iii) Security and privacy
9.3.a (iv) Standards and compliance
9.3.a (v) Migration
9.3.a (vi) Environmental impacts on the network

BRKSPG-1000 – Network Transformation and Essential Skills for NGN Engineers (2016 Las Vegas)
Evolving Technologies Study Guide – By: Nicholas J. Russo


*** Update***

I have asked the question on a twitter poll to see how many times one has gone to CCIEW (v3.0 or 3.1) written exam in order to pass it. If you have done it pls cast your vote for it

How many times it took you to pass CCIEW written (v3.0 or 3.1)

Here is the result so far