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Inside The CCIE Lab
Or Nightmare on Tasman Street


First off, let me introduce myself, my name is Ray Wilson and when the folks at RouterGod asked me to participate in this investigation, I was only too happy to help, after all the stories and urban legends I'd heard about the Lab, I wanted to once and for all set the record straight about the Lab.  I knew this would violate the Non Disclosure Agreement but I decided it would be worth it.

When I passed the written test for the Routing and Switch lab, I was filled with joy and happiness.  I'll never forget the feeling, it was like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  But as my Lab approached, those feelings were replaced with dread and foreboding doom.  I practiced on my own equipment and telnetted into some online labs but the more work I did, the further behind I felt.  After I spent 400 hours doing complex labs, I was a total wreak.  My Lab date was only a week away.  I spent those last days tying up loose ends, saying goodbye to my friends and family.  I packed my bags and started driving to San Jose.

Cisco Systems

 Once I arrived, a met the other CCIE candidates.  There was a nervous silence as we waited for the Lab proctors.  It was very eerie, I noticed that the floor was earthen and the receptionist would occasionally look over at us and shake her head as if to say you are *so* dead...   After an uncomfortable 20 minutes, the Lab supervisor arrived to escort us into the lab.

CCIE #666

We followed the Lab supervisor through a serpentine maze of tunnels, passageways and rickety staircases.  He was dragging one leg and as we followed we would mimic his leg dragging in an effort to bring some levity to this grim occasion.  It seemed we were lost, but soon our leader opened a large oak door and we entered the Lab itself.

I was awestruck at it's simplicity, I had expected a large room filled with routers and switches but we were in a dungeon of sorts.  The room was filled with many devices seeming medieval in nature, there were stocks, racks and even a bed of nails. Every CCIE candidate must endure his own torture, my torture was that I was to be forced to watch the announcement of Cisco's acquisition of Procket Networks.

Oh my God, Not Procket!

I should have spent less time studying AS Path filtering and more time studying Cisco takeovers, it was truly brutal,  Cisco just swooped in, paid $89 Million for the company and lined up Procket's entire inventory of Pro/8800 routers and with a few well placed explosives, blew away the competition...

Procket Pro 8800 Upgrade

It was terrible watching the devastation, 130 brave men and women absorbed into Cisco's engineering department,  but after watching 8 hours of various Cisco acquisitions, I became callous and uncaring.  I became convinced of my superiority and believed in the manifest destiny of Cisco.  I became a CCIE.

I learned a lot that day in the Lab, I learned that Routing and Switching is not always pretty.  I learned that for some to realize their dreams, others must have their dreams forcefully ripped away from them.  Cisco certification is the best, Cisco products are the best, Cisco will always dominate, however not for these reasons I've just mentioned.  Cisco will always be on the top of the food chain because they're the dominate predator, the ultimate carnivore.

Passed the lab on first try!




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