Prior to go for my 2nd attempt I knew what are my weaknesses through my 1st attempt in May. Here are they.

1. Slow Approach (planned for 30 min, took 1 hr & 15 min )
2. Heavily relied on GUI & GUI was very slow (couldn’t finish task on time, without knowing CLI, stuck in certain tasks)
3. Did not master ACS 5.2 configs
4. Did not know Autonomous advanced config
5. Felt questions was too long…
6. Lack of practice & felt my speed was slow.

This was my winning strategy this time.

Approach: Since it was my 2nd attempt, I was almost familiar with the topology already. Also content was very similar too. So did not have to read to word by word to get what they ask for. In the given A4-rough sheet I did the following while reading the paper in the initial 30 min.

1. Time/Point tracking table (for overall progress tracking)
2. WLAN table (for WLAN creation)
3. Device Connectivity table (for QoS)

Here is a sample rough-sheet which I did during  a practice lab at home. This helped me to measure how I progress with time & then I knew exactly whether I am ok or not during my real exam.

Also if you need to configure QoS for a given network, in this way you do not miss any devices by accident and as long as you know what trusting model you have to use in each types of devices connected interfaces then you are ready for QoS config.

WLAN table helps me to maps all the features into a table where I do not want to read the question again until the final verification done.

CCIE-notePlanning: It was obvious I had to improve my speed & should able to finish my exam within 6 hours to give last 2 hours at the end to verification. There are 3 ways to do the same tasks

1. Use WLC GUI
2. Use WCS templates
3. Use CLI

Based on my last lab experience of slow GUI at Sydeny lab, I do not wanted to take any risk this time. So I decided option 3 as my preferred option. So learn almost every thing (include RRM, Mobility, WLAN creation, Clean Air, Video Stream, SNMP, Syslog, Radius, etc) to do via CLI between my 1st attempt & 2nd attempt. This was the biggest success factor which brings the difference for me.

I spent nearly 45 min to complete my notepad with the CLI command required to complete each tasks. Also the CLI verification commands to run each time once the configuration done.  I aggregate configuration tasks (QoS, Media, CleanAir,TPC,DCA, etc) to be done while radio bands disabled. So when configuring it I apply those commands, so every band specific tasks were configured in one go. So did not want to disable/enable radio band multiple times.Make sure you do this right for the first time & that will save time of reworking.

Used following two alias config in all IOS devices. Every time I do a configuration task I would verify it by typing “d” in either config mode or exec mode in order to configuration addition was accurate. I used the other alias to QoS config verification.(I removed those alias config within last 30 min of my lab)

alias exec q sh run | in (inter|mls|srr|wrr|queue)
alias configure q do sh run | in (inter|mls|srr|wrr|queue)

alias exec d sh archive config differences nvram:startup-config system:running-config
alias configure d do sh archive config differences nvram:startup-config system:running-config

Here are some of CLI verification commands I have regularly used.

sh clock
sh ntp association
sh ip route
sh standby brief
sh spanning-tree root
sh etherchannel summary

show ap  summary
show dhcp proxy
show dhcp opt-82
show interface detailed <int-name>
show snmpversion
show snmpcommunity
show snmpv3user
show ap config global
show logging
show ap config general <ap-name>
show radius summary 
show interface summary
show interface detailed <int-name>
show wlan summary 
show wlan <wlan-id>
show client summary 
show client detail <client-mac>
show mobility summary
show network summary
show advanced {802.11b|802.11a} group 
show dot11 ass

End of the day, I have spent 1 hr & 15 min without doing any lab configuration tasks till that point 😯 , so what is the difference between the 1st attempt & 2nd attempt ? But this time I was very confident it will take very short time to copy & paste from notepad to CLI. Last time I did not have that comfort…

Executing: This time I had very clear plan what would be the sequence of configuration I have to do. I did not have it last time & followed the flow of the question & I did RRM towards end of my exam. That may not be a very good strategy as those configuration will take ~2 hrs to take effect. So In this time below was my sequence of configuration. In this way by lunch time (I was between task 8-9) I was able to test 1 or 2 WLAN with anyconnect client. I managed to finish ACS related config within 30  mins (as long as you master that, this is easy task) & then I only used it for verification only.

1. Check NTP & reachability to NTP server from all switches & WLC. If not work fix those issues
2. Configure the Mobility groups
3. Configure the RRM requirement
4. Register all LAPs to each controller
5. Configura AP modes as requested (H-REAP & OEAP )
6. Configure the ACS policy & Rules
7. Configure SNMP & add controller to WLC
8. Create SSID
9. Check the connectivity in sequentially.
10. Configure Autonomous AP tasks
11. Add MSE & Maps
12. Configure QoS
13. Verify, Verify & Verify

Verification: 2 hours from lunch, I was able to finish everything in the lab & give 2 hours to verify. When I was configuring I have verified for first time using CLI. But in last 2 hours I was going through GUI of the WLC’s to verify configuration in  different way. This was very effective to finding mistakes you have done.

Since I got enough time, I checked WLANs in each controller (by disabling WLAN in other controllers), make sure AP failover works as expected, Guest Tunneling in each controllers, Voice phone works in different authentication methods, etc. So I was very confident at the end of the lab where I gave my best shot this time. According to my tracking table I got around 85 marks excluding points for all doubtful questions.

What about technical issues this time ? I had couple of issues.

When I created WLANs I could not see it on my anyconnect client. I had to report this issue 2-3 times to proctor during my exam & he had to restart the client PC to fix it.(I utilized that time to do some other task & NOT impacted me negatively)

I still felt WCS/WLC’s GUI were slow, There was certain tasks I had to use GUI (as some constraints of doing it via CLI). Specially it it involve screen pop-up it will take noticeable time to do those tasks. Fortunately my strategy did not involve using any of those GUI for more than  5-10% of lab tasks. Therefore I was not fuzzy about that this time 🙂 even though last time I complaint about it.

In conclusion, you have to plan to do this lab exam within 6 hours (including the initial ~1 hr planning exercise). Spend last 2 hours for verification, verification & verification. If you are able to do this definitely you will pass this exam & will get this prestigious certification.

CCIE-Wireless-LogoPS: I never regret failing this exam 1st time & had to encounter this slow GUI issue at Sydney lab, Unless that happen I never learn these CLI commands & get the confidence level now I am having.

Related Posts

1. 20th Aug – My Lucky Day
2. What did I learn from my 1st Attempt ?
3. How to Become a CCIE Wireless