The CCIE Routing and Switching lab exam is to date by far the most popular track adopted by engineers and there are currently more certified ccie’s in routing & switching than all the other tracks put together.
The reason for this is the sheer amount of training material available for this track and the ease at which you can get access to equipment to practice on.
Using GNS3 or buying some second hand equipment you can easily build yourself a home lab.
As with all the tracks you still need time but the numbers speak for themselves with over 80% of CCIE’s holding the certification in Routing & Switching.
So what does this track actually test?
CCIE Routing and Switching Blueprint
The full routing and switching blueprint is detailed here but to summarise the topics are:
Layer 2 Technologies
Spanning Tree, Vlans & VTP, Etherchannel, Span, Rspan, Frame Relay
IPv4, addressing, GRE, RIPv2, OSPF, EIGRP, BGP, Policy Routing, Performance Routing, filtering, redistribution, summarization and other advanced features.
IPv6, including OSPFv3, EIGRPv6, addressing, tunneling, filtering and route redistribution.
MPLS Layer 3 VPN’s
Network Security, access lists, zone based firewall, AAA, control plane policing, 802.1x & NAT
Network Services, HSRP, GLBP, VRRP, NTP, DHCP and WCCP
QOS, MQC, Nbar, Layer 2 Qos, traffic shaping, RSVP,
Troubleshooting a network and optimising a network.
The full blueprint goes deeper into all these topics, and it cannot be underestimated enough the sheer volume of material that there is to learn for this exam.
One line on the blueprint can equal many months of study.
To pass the ccie routing and switching lab exam you only have to satisfy one prerequisite and that is to pass the ccie routing and switching written exam. After you have passed that you have 18 months in which you must make an attempt at the lab exam.
CCIE Routing and Switching version 5
There have been many rumours going around about the imminent change from the current version 4 blueprint to the new version 5, but to date (March 2013) there has been no confirmation from Cisco as to when this will be. Whenever it happens there will be 6 months notice before the tracks change so you have plenty of time to pass the exam before the blueprint change. If you are further than 6 months away from the lab then there is nothing you can do about it so just keep studying and when the announcement is made, just learn the new topics.
I suspect the version 5 blueprint will contain more performance routing, IPv6 and possibly more MPLS however this is still a side topic as it crosses over into the service provider track.
The big question is if they will finally drop Frame Relay? One thing for sure is the amount of routers is probably going to increase as the current troubleshooting section of the exam contains over 30 devices so it is not going to be that hard to transfer that environment over to the configuration section. The big problem is the switches. The announcement of a blueprint change is usually made at Cisco live. As soon as I hear anything official I will post it here.
One thing to bear in mind is that as soon as the blueprint change is announced lab dates book up very quickly as people rush to get their date in before it changes. So I would recommend keeping a lab date booked so you have a slot even if it is 6 months out. Remember that you only have to pay for the lab once you hit 90 days.
If you are looking for ccie routing and switching practice labs I will be posting some on this site soon.
Cisco have a ccie routing and switching study group here which enables you to connect with other engineers studying for the lab exam.
You can keep track of my progress towards pass the CCIE Lab exam in Routing & Switching on my CCIE Blog where I post regular updates on my study progress and post of interest relating to the CCIE