I did my CCIE wireless lab attempt yesterday (7th May) & was not able to go over the line.  Here is my experience & have to better prepared for the next time.

1. Approach
I had a basic plan of  reading the questions within 30 min & do initial troubleshooting to fix L2/L3 infrastructure section within next hour. I felt I was too slow on this and nearly It took me 1 hr to go through the questions & note down what they have asked us to do. Troubleshooting is another time killer & you have to do these so fast. I knew what I have to do (verifying IP address, subnet mask, gateway, DHCP options, ping, debugs, PIM, STP, NTP, routing etc), but it took time than I thought. So you have to practice these many times & that’s the only way you can speed this up (Lesson 1- learned)

2. GUI vs CLI
There will be around 20 separate desktop icons for   lab devices connectivity (Telnet & RDP) which you need to open as separate windows (No tab options in SecureCRT). So managing this in order & go back to them without wasting time, you need to well organized.  On top of that in GUI, I felt it is too slow (you have to wait 3-5 seconds each time you click a button in WLC GUI to take effect. Most of the time if that complain about some mistake I have to re-tick everything and time waste is double). Not sure this was the behavior other lab locations. Definitely If you sit for exam at Sydney Lab you will feel it. This impacted most of my unified deployment section & I tried to managed it via CLI as much as I can. but I never prepared to do this purely on CLI. But next time I will ( Lesson 2 – learned)

3. How much do you know ACS 5.2
I knew this was one of my weak area and during the exam it proves me again. Unless you know in and out how to configure advanced policies, troubleshooting you will get trap somewhere. If you are new to this like me, never mind learn it well. Be comfortable with it’s configuration (Lesson 3 – learned)

4. Autonomous – Advance Config
This is another area let me down during the exam. To be honest I haven’t go through all the advanced radio configurations given in the configuration guide. So it bites me trying to find out solutions for what they ask for. Also they have given us half-done configuration, so you need to know troubleshooting commands to find out what’s missing. (Not like you configure everything from fresh).You have to know all  these well if you want to get 100% marks on this section ( Lesson 4 learned)

5. Too many sub items in a given question.
This is one thing I feel really uncomfortable. There are so many items to be completed to claim the point in the question. Sometime this make very hard to claim the point as you may easily miss a piece. You will notice this difference in wireless specific tasks (unified, autonomous) compare to L2/L3 & Infrastructure services questions. I could not get my head around to summarize what they have asked for on those sorts of question. I think that make this CCIE wireless too tough & I do not see a way around unless we face it and absorb as much as we can. (Accept this & keep your mind ready)

6. Technical issues
Before starting the exam, proctor mentioned there may be some issues with the lab. Specially If you cannot see the SSID you created on remote PC let him know straight away. I had that issue during the exam (since I was slow, I was able to test this later part of the exam) & proctor had to reboot the remote PC to fix it. Not sure what are the other known technical issues on this wireless lab, did not encounter this time (may be next time 😯 )

7. Practice, Practice & Practice
This is the most important thing you should have. Even though I knew what I have to do, I could not do it within 8 hrs considering all the challenges I came across (item 1 to 5 above). During the last 2 weeks I managed to get some time off from my work & dedicated for studies. Booked some rack time with IPExpert & Fastlane to practice. Only last week I was able to practice IPX-Volume 2 labs as their racks/workbook not ready until that. But that 5-6 days practice on full scale labs would not sufficient. You have to practice at least 2-3 times of those 5 labs (There are no any other Mock labs to practice)

So what’s next.
Next available lab dates in Sydney in August (3 months time). So I have booked 20th Aug as my next lab date. Now I have to close my skill gaps & be prepared for the next round.

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1. 20th Aug – My Lucky Day
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3. How to Become a CCIE Wireless