Sunday, 19 December 2010

Internetwork Expert / Training

My manager has agreed that I can purchase some INE training materials, in lieu of going on courses. They are actually quite happy for me to go to classroom-based training (although budget is frozen now 'til the new financial year), but I have said that i'd be happier using INE's Class-on-Demand and just taking an hour out of work here and there to study, rather than multiple week's out of the office.

To make things even better, INE are currently doing a '12 Days of Christmas' sales event, where everyday there is a different product on buy-one-get-one-free! So I should be able to get a lot of training material for very little of the company's money!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Cisco Live! London

Through my new job, I should be going to Cisco Live! when it comes to London at the end of January (i've been told I can go, but we've not yet received our tickets or any form of registration).

I've never been before, but it looks like there is quite a lot going on and plenty to see, so I'm looking forward to it. Looking through the schedule, I have already found a number of sessions which I would like to attend, and unfortunately many more which I will have to miss because of their timing. I am hoping that once I have registered, I will be able to see some indication of the sessions being recorded and available afterwards online.

I understand you are entitled to a free Cisco Certification exam at the event also, so I may try and go over my MPLS studies again in the new year, and sit the exam.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 13 December 2010

New job

The new job is going well! My first week involved flying to Los Angeles to help with an office-move. Nothing too involved from the data point of view, just some new users moving into a new floor at the existing location, and leaving just clear Internet access for those remaining at the old office until next Spring.

But the main purpose of my trip was to shadow the working going on with the voice guys and the Mitel PBX. Primarily, I was there to watch the integration to Microsoft OCS (using a SIP trunk). I've not really had much to do with Mitel PBX's in the past, but it was all simple enough to pick up.

So much so, that on my first day back in London, I was setting up proprietary Mitel IP-to-IP trunk links (what they call XNET) between PBXs in Mumbai and New Delhi! A fun start!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Busy period... / Safari Books Online iPad App

Ok, so what with starting a new job next week, this have been very busy, and i've not had much time for studying or blog-writing...

However, I have upgraded my Safari Books subscription (I received an email offering a discount) so I now have full access to all books, and with the iPad App can take 10 books with me wherever I like! Hopefully that'll get lots of use when I start commuting to my new job!

The iPad App is good, however I have noticed on occasion pages will fail to load correctly. Usually, switching from 'print' to 'html' mode and back again does the trick to get things working properly.

I know there were a number of questions when the App was first announced, about how the Offline mode works, seeing as you have to sign in. Thankfully, this isn't an issue. If you open the App without Internet access, you are simply taken to your offline Bookbag.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 11 November 2010

New Job

I can now announce that I've found myself a new job. I'm still going to be in the networking arena, but this time there should be more control over what I'm doing, and much more international travel involved. So much so, that I've not even started yet, and i've got my first business-trip planned. I'll be flying out to Los Angeles on my second day!

My new role will involve more work with VoIP, and incidentally, not Cisco VoIP. So my Cisco certification work will be hold for the time being. I need to allow myself time to get settled to the new job, and will have a lot to learn about the new company's network etc.

Given that I'll be commuting for approximately 1 hour, I'm thinking of purchasing the INE CCSP class-on-demand, as I believe it can be downloaded and used on the commute! Plus Cisco have announced that the CCSP will be changing to CCNP Security next year, so I'll have a target to work towards again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Virtual F5 and Apaches

I have successfully created the network above, all virtually. I'm very impressed, even if I say so myself! This will allow sooo much to be re-created in a test environment, using just a single (albeit powerful) desktop.

Next step will be to expand more on the Apache side of things, as i'd like to learn how to setup an Apache-based Proxy solution.

I'll try and incorporate this into my MPLS lab, and at some point get round to sitting that exam and then move onto the BGP exam! Maybe I need to set myself a target... end of 2010 to get MPLS and BGP complete? Is that setting expectations a little high? Hmm... we'll see.

Virtual F5 up and running

*complete nerdgasm*

Following on from this post on Sunday, I have this evening got my F5 LTM Virtual Edition up and running;

I am very impressed at how quick and easy the whole process was - from starting the download to logging in must have taken 30 minutes maximum, and that allows approx. 25 minutes to download the 250MB file!

Now I just need to get it integrated into my virtual Apaches and virtual Clients, and i'll be away!

Safari To Go has been released on the Apple Store

Woohoo!! I've been waiting for this for some time now!! Just downloaded (took just seconds!) and installed, so I'll have a proper update later!

Ok, so starting up the App and logging in is pretty painless (as it should be!), however there did seem to be some lag when typing in my Username and Password... Which didn't give a very good first impression, but then it isn't a word-processing App, so nothing to worry about.

Once logged in, it took me a while to actually find out where my Bookshelf was (I've got the reduced 10-book subscription), and I had to resort to watching the YouTube video to see where I was going. Appears everything in the App is found under 'My Favourites'. Here you will find your Bookshelf and any other folders you may have created.

Update on how the offline book bag works to follow...

UPDATE: for some strange reason, I can no longer see the App listed in the Store.. I thought it was odd that there were no hits on Google when I searched for the release announcement...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Apache and F5

18.30 - I'm currently waiting for my Virtual machine to install Ubuntu, so I can then install Apache and start my big Apache/F5 virtual lab!

18.40 - Ubuntu installed!

18.50 - Apache installed!

19.00 - Apache running a modified default config!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Slow posting...

I seem to have really slowed down in my posting of late... I had been trying to post at least once a week, but appear to have missed at least the last 2!

Here's a quick update on what has been happening;

- MPLS videos are all complete, and I'm currently reading through the MPLS Fundamentals book from CiscoPress (link to follow)
- I've also started reading through a basic book on setting up Apache webserver
- F5 have released a trial version of their BIG-IP LTM VE (some time ago, but I've only just found it!)
- Based on the previous 2 points, I'm looking at creating a good test lab, where I can run 2 instances of Apache and load balance between the 2. I'll probably tie this in to the MPLS lab topology, and play around with Internet service VPNs etc

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


I've just discovered DropBox. Well, I'd heard of it before, but never tried it or set myself up with an account. Now that I have however, i've realised that it is probably a good way to host Dynamips .net files and sample configs, Wireshark captures etc.

Also, if you'd like to sign-up with your own account, please feel free to use this link. In return I'll receive an additional 250MB of free storage, which means I'll be able to post even more .net files, sample configs and Wireshark captures...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 9 October 2010

INE MPLS CoD all done!

I've come to the end of my INE MPLS CoD videos now, all-in-all they were very good!

From knowing basic Frame-mode MPLS (at an ISCW level), I have learned;

  • how LDP works
  • how LDP, the ISPs IGP, and CEF all work together
  • how to run MP-BGP for multiple VRFs
  • how to overlap VRFs and create shared-VRFs between customers
  • how to implement 3 different methods for providing customers with Internet access
  • how to create MPLE Traffic Engineering tunnels
My next step is to run through all of the practical exercises again, run through the MPLS exercises from my INE Vol I CCIE R&S Workbook, and possibly whatever bits and pieces I can find on SafariBooks relating to MPLS.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Basic Layer2 MPLS VPNs

Ok, so as far as I am aware, Layer2 VPNs are not covered in the INE MPLS CoD, or at least, they're not in the first 25 lessons that i've watched. But, as it was something that I was interested in recreating, I did a little Google search, and found the Cisco documentation for such a configuration. It is relatively simple;

PE(config-if)#mpls l2transport route [destination-PE address] [Virtual Circuit id]

This then gets translated (certainly in the IOS that i'm using anyway) to;

PE(config-if)#xconnect [destination-PE address] [Virtual Circuit id] encapsulation mpls

Thursday, 30 September 2010

MPLS Troubleshooting

I'm nearly at the end of INE's MPLS CoD, and the last few lessons are about advanced configurations for Internet Service VPNs etc. Following Keith's advice about making sure I understood the basics before continuing, I started my MPLS lab again from scratch, and came across an interesting problem..

Now, i'm assuming you know the topology for this (if not, it's over here).

I'd configured everything as per the videos, with the 192.168.3.x/32 network as loopback0 for each of the Provider devices, and MP-BGP running between the PE's to exchange VRF routing information.

I ran into a problem with VRF Cust_A, between the sites A1-Central and A2-Remote, and it was a very good test of my Troubleshooting skills...

Both PE-2 and PE-3 had learned the correct routes in their VRF routing tables, but traffic was not passing successfully;

PE-2#show ip route vrf Cust_A <- all as expected
PE-2#ping vrf Cust_A <- timeout

PE-3 could ping the loopback0 of PE-2 (using it's own loopback0 as, but PE-2 could not ping the loopback of PE-3;

PE-2#ping so lo 0 <- timeout
PE-3#ping so lo 0 <- successful

PE-2 was learning the route correctly for PE-3's loopback0;

PE-2#show ip route <- as expected, via interface to router P

The CEF table on PE-2 did not look as expected;

PE-2#show ip cef <- not as would be expected!

I'll leave things there for now, and try and upload the screenshots..

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Cisco IOS Cookbook

I stumbled across O'Reilly's Cisco IOS Cookbook on SafariBooks the other night, and after a quick look at the preview, added it to my Bookshelf.

The book takes a particular technology of selection of technologies, and goes through each one step-by-step, in a 'Problem - You want to configure basic Frame-mode MPLS - Solution - ...' kind of way. The 'Problems' are clearly defined, and as well as giving you the complete config in one section, it then goes through each line separately. I'm looking forward to getting round to the sections on SNMP, TACACS etc, as I feel these are the technologies that suit this clear 'Problem / Solution' approach.

What i've read so far has been really good, i've downloaded the Chapters on MPLS and BGP to have on my iPad as i'm going through my INE CoD.

Speaking of which, i'm nearly at the end of the MPLS CoD now, as i'm on video 22 of 30(ish). It's still very impressive, and we're now moving onto the more exciting elements of MPLS, such as overlapping VPNs and shared services.

My plan next is to work through some scenarios, either made up by myself or from whatever resources I can find. There is an MPLS section of the INE Vol I workbook that i've got setup in Dynamips, but not had much chance to go through properly yet.

Oh, and going back to my Idea from a few weeks ago.. I've managed to get a Radius server running, so i'll try and get to that at some point in the not too distant future!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Dynamips/Dynagen and Wireshark

One of the things I've picked up from my INE MPLS CoD, is how useful Wireshark can be as a learning tool, especially when using Dynamips.

For example, it is exceptionally easy to start a capture on an interface in the middle of your topology, and see exactly what is going across the wire. This is helpful when looking at MPLS VPNs, and understanding the stacks of labels that are applied, and seeing the bottom of stack bit etc.

From your Dynagen window, the command for starting a capture is;

capture device interface filename [link-type]

'capture' starts the command

'device' is the Dynagen name of the device on which you want to run the capture, as seen from the 'list' command

'interface' is the interface on that device on which you want to run the capture

'filename' is the file where the capture will be saved (don't forget the .cap extension)

'link-type' is optional, and I've not yet played around with it myself.

To stop the capture, issue a no capture device interface command. The capture can then be opened up in Wireshark, and you can see all your networking glory ;-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 12 September 2010

MPLS - INE Class-on-Demand

The INE MPLS Class-on-Demand is going well. I'm about half way through now, on video 17 of 30 (but there are two 11's!).

I'm in the middle of a few lessons about how to exchange routes from the CE to the PE. The videos are broken down so there's one video per protocol- eBGP, RIP, EIGRP, and OSPF.

I would thoroughly recommend this course (and all of INE's products in general!).

I've also set my Dynamips up so that I can run through the MPLS sections of INE's R&S Vol I Workbook. It took me a while to modify their initial configs to suit my Dynamips set-up, but it's great now the initial legwork is done. At some point I'll try and work out a way of being able to switch between their initial configs easily..

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, 3 September 2010

INE BGP Class-on-Demand

Checked my INE account this evening, and the recorded BGP class has now been added, yay!

I've now got to decide whether to crack on with MPLS, sit the exam sometime at the beginning of October, work through the BGP CoD before (potentially) attending a real-life course at the end of the month.

OR... take my time with the MPLS CoD, start the BGP CoD, (potentially) attend a real-life course, and then sit the Composite MPLS+BGP exam instead..

Decisions decisions...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 2 September 2010

MPLS - INE MPLS Class-on-Demand

As INE's MPLS CoD came out before their BGP CoD, and as i'm still supposed to be attending a real-life class on BGP, i've cracked on working through the MPLS vids.

Up to 9 of 30 now, and I really like the format. We've not actually seen how to configure anything yet, but gone through the theory of the different LIB, LFIB, and CEF tables, what the Labels consist of, how they're generated and distributed. And everything is backed up with a 'live' demo on equipment, so i've collated a short list of useful 'show' commands that i'd not used before.

show mpls ldp neighbor
show mpls ldp bindings [network]
show mpls forwarding-table [network]

Monday, 23 August 2010

INE MPLS Class-on-Demand

So as I said earlier, i've purchased INE's new MPLS Class-on-Demand.

I've had the chance to go through the first two lessons, and so far i'm very impressed! The course is split into 20-30 minute sections, which is very useful as I try to fit some training in before work, and with their CCNP CoD (the previous generation ISCW/BCMSN/BSCI/ONT version) some of the lessons were sometimes awkward 40 minute chunks.. But now I can easily fit one section in, possibly two.

To go along with the video, there's also the PDF slides. As i've now become a dab-hand at setting up Dynamips, i've created a .net file for the first topology that gets used;

autostart = False
udp = 50000

workingdir = /Applications/Dynagen/Working/INE_MPLS

image = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Images/c3725.image
ram = 128
disk0 = 16
disk1 = 0
mmap = True
ghostios = True
sparsemem = True
idlepc = 0x60ba3a88
autostart = False

[[Router R1]]
model = 3725
console = 2001
F0/0 = R2 F0/0
S0/0 = R8 S0/0
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R1.txt

[[Router R2]]
model = 3725
console = 2002
F0/1 = R3 F0/1
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R2.txt

[[Router R3]]
model = 3725
console = 2003
F0/0 = R4 F0/0
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R3.txt

[[Router R4]]
model = 3725
console = 2004
F0/1 = R5 F0/1
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R4.txt

[[Router R5]]
model = 3725
console = 2005
F0/0 = R6 F0/0
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R5.txt

[[Router R6]]
model = 3725
console = 2006
F0/1 = R7 F0/1
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R6.txt

[[Router R7]]
model = 3725
console = 2007
F0/0 = R8 F0/0
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R7.txt

[[Router R8]]
model = 3725
console = 2008
cnfg = /Users/123and6/Documents/Dynagen/Labs/startup_configs/INE_MPLS_R8.txt

I'll try and find an easy way of updating my starting configs..

Thursday, 19 August 2010

MPLS Class-on-Demand

Woohoo! I purchased INE's MPLS Class-on-Demand at the weekend.

This course was only recorded LIVE last week (11th-13th August) but is now available on-demand!

Their BGP course starts next Wednesday (25th-27th), which I won't be able attend live, but have also purchased.

Looking very good so far! :)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


I had an idea today.. Here's the scenario, we have a number of "Extranet" sites that have limited access to our Corporate Network, and we have a number of people from HQ who visit these sites and would like full access to the Corporate Network..

I was wondering whether it would be possible to set something up with dot1x authentication and a "secondary" range of addresses. Thereby, if an Extranet client connects they are given an address from IP range A, and have limited access to the CN, but if a CN client connects, they obtain an address from IP range B, and have complete access the CN..

The routing / firewall side of things is no problem at all, I just need to read up on the technology whose name escapes me..

We have the technology, we can build this..

PS, BGP labs are in progress, but i've not got round to posting them yet!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 9 August 2010


Reading through Routing TCP/IP Vol II, I skipped ahead a few pages and got to the (good) bits where configuration is explained and there are case-studies.

To make sink-in more, i've created .net files for Dynamips, in order to go through the exercises as in the book.

I'll try and get them posted up here somehow..

Edit.. Here's a diagram (drawn in GNS3) of the Basic BGP Configuration setup from Routing TCP/IP Vol II

Thursday, 5 August 2010

CCIP - BGP update

Of my list from Monday, I have now read all the chapters from the CCNP BSCI ECG. Just the once though, and I didn't take any notes.. Next step is to read them again, make some notes and lab-up a few of the commands etc.

In other news, I have started a Safari Books Online subscription, so I can now add the following to my reading-list;

Although this is quite an old (2000) book, it is on the recommended reading-list for the BGP Exam, and i've seen comments from a number of people saying it's their favourite technical book (EVAR!!!)

Also in other news, i've noticed a few Blogger sites with 'Pages' (like I mentioned about WordPress here), so i'll have to look into that and see what I can do.

Monday, 2 August 2010

CCIP - BGP materials

I'm struggling to find the motivation to actually start my CCIP studies, so have decided to make a list of all the resources I have available to me, in an attempt to allocate time and establish a timetable.. Here goes;

  • ..and i'm supposed to be going on the Cisco Learning Partner course through work, but i'm yet to believe that it will definitely happen..

So i've got a wide selection of Video training, books and hands-on exercises to get on with! Watch this space to see how I get on!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

CCNP - 2 weeks on..

I've been a fully-fledged CCNP for a little over 2 weeks (although my Certificate etc. hasn't actually arrived as yet), and here are a few thoughts;

  • I'd heard someone say before (apologies, but I can't remember where exactly) that the reason they had gone for their CCIE was because completing the CCNP was a little anti-climactic, and I can see where they're coming from.. I don't know what I was expecting, but now that it's over, I feel a little bit "meh, now what?"..
  • Whereas i'd been thinking about going on to the CCDA and then CCDP next, as two more exams means two more complete certifications, i'm finding it a struggle to just sit and read through the material. I'd much rather continue working on actual configuration exercises etc.
  • Trying to make up over 20 Cat5 cables Monday evening, I very soon lost interest.. After the first one in fact, as the pins obviously weren't making enough contact with the cable! Not good, as I wanted to get them all made in one evening, so I could start my INE Vol I Workbook!
In other news, i'm pondering moving the site over to WordPress. I've noticed a number of the blogs i'm following (which will be listed in a future update) are using WordPress, and it has a number of useful features; for example the widgets that let you track which country people are viewing from, proper Pages that are static and can be updated rather than normal Blog entries. Watch this space..

Monday, 19 July 2010

ONT- Done!

Passed my ONT (642-845) on Thursday 15th July, which completes my CCNP!

If i'm being sensible, I think I should go for CCDA (640-863) / CCDP (642-873) next, as each exam completes a certification on it's own..

BUT, i'm sorely tempted to jump in with some more hands-on learning, like my INE CCIE R&S labs.. Hmmm...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Just a quick note to say i've made 'live'.. There's not a lot of content there at the moment, but i'll be using it to organise various documents etc. Watch this space..

Friday, 4 June 2010

I've started another blog over at

As the title suggests, it will be more focussed towards my gradual CCIE studies..

BSCI- Done!

Passed my BSCI (642-901) on Wednesday 2nd June!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

BCMSN- Done!

Passed my BCSMN (642-812) back on April 20th!

'show ip port-map'

I know, I know.. I haven't blogged in ages!

I have actually passed my BCMSN since the last time I blogged, so now working getting the BSCI out of the way before the end of May. Then i'll have a few weeks before and after my holiday to do ONT and complete my CCNP under the current track!

As part of my BSCI studies, i've just come across this command

R1#sh ip port-map
Default mapping: snmp udp port 161 system defined
Default mapping: echo tcp port 7 system defined
Default mapping: echo udp port 7 system defined
Default mapping: telnet tcp port 23 system defined

This will be very useful when creating ACLs etc!

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Gmail SPAM

I checked my emails this morning (as usual), and received a copy of a number of emails from myself to everyone in my Gmail contacts list.. (the Mail client on Mac OS X downloads your Sent items, if an email has been sent from Browser access, rather than itself)

A bit perturbed, I quickly ran a virus check on my machine - nothing wrong there.

I logged in to, to see if there were any warnings about mis-use of my account - nothing.

I then googled 'gmail spam', and checked the News results, where I found this article from the Guardian -

This shows how to check your recent account activity online, so I did -

Seems someone has accessed my Gmail account from Romania at 04:40 this morning (exactly the same time as the spam emails were sent)

I wonder whether Hotmail has a similar facility, as a number of my Hotmail contacts have been sending similar spam recently..

Also, I have to wonder what Google considers 'abnormal activity', as my account is set-up to warn me of such things!

Needless to say, i've now doubled the length of my password!!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Setting up Tumblr with Custom Domain

A friend recently introduced me to Tumblr.. It's kind of like Twitter, but without the 140 character limit, and you can also post videos/photos etc.

As my preferred * domain name had already been taken, I decided to point my account at my own * domain.

This can be done fairly easily.

From your Tumblr dashboard, select Customize for the blog that you'd like to edit.

In the top-left, select 'Info'

At the bottom of that drop-down, select 'Use a custom domain name', and enter your chosen domain.

Now, you just need to create an A record on your DNS server to point to Tumblr's IP address.

And Bob's your uncle.

P.S. If I get round to it, i'll add screenshots and detail how to set up the A record for GoDaddy hosted domains.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

ITDualism is giving away Cisco Press' new ROUTE Cert Kit!

IT Dualism is a relatively new addition to my regular blog reading list. I can't remember how I found the blog, but it's an interesting read, and the author has a similar goal to myself (i.e. get CCNP using the current exams == before 31st July 2010)

The author has also been fortunate enough to receive a copy of Cisco Press' new ROUTE Cert Kit to give away -

ISCW- Done!

Passed my ISCW (642-825) on February 25th!

That's renewed my CCNA and CCNA:Security for another 3 years. Now time to crack on and get my BCMSN, BSCI and ONT out of the way before 31st July..

Monday, 22 February 2010

I'm not very good at blogging..

.. I thought to myself the other day, 'I haven't updated my blog since it snowed last, and I started running dynamips properly on my MacBook'. Then I thought, 'that's not too bad, that was only early-mid January'..

Then I checked, and realised it was the first dumping of snow that we had received, back in the middle of December.. :-/

Oh well.. My studies have continued, and I am now due to sit my ISCW exam (642-825) on Thursday!

Of course, Cisco have officially announced the changed requirements for CCNP, but we'll see how things go!

If everything goes to plan on Thursday, i'll try and knock out ONT in as short a time as possible (the ECG book is at least a third the size of the rest!). Then i'll have a good couple of months to try for the BCMSN, before sitting the new ROUTE exam after the summer.