Archive for the ‘ JNCIS ’ Category

Juniper Exams vs Cisco Exams

Juniper exams are interesting.  I’ve written before that they expect you to understand a lot of the underlying concepts before you take the exam.

The exams are entirely written.  They’re multiple choice, single answer and multiple choice, multiple answer.  This format works well, and even with this format they’re extremely difficult questions.  I, for one, am glad there are no labs or drag and drop questions.  Why?

I took a Cisco exam, the ICND1 or CCENT exam.  On this exam was a simulator.  In this simulator a question was asked inquiring about a connectivity issue.  Using the show interface <if-name> command revealed that the interface was up and up.  The problem is that this wasn’t an option in the answers.  And none of the other options were valid, either.  I was at an impasse.  Four options, none of them valid answers.  In desperation, I issued the show ip interface brief command.  I was shocked and amazed to discover that this command showed a different status for the interfaces than the show interface command.  I had my answer, but I almost missed a question because show interface and show ip interface brief showed two completely different statuses for an interface.  They should have had the same output, regardless of what Cisco was looking for.  This question was extremely unfair and very poorly designed and executed.

Because Juniper doesn’t use simulators, it doesn’t suffer from this problem.  Whether these potential bugs or “features” are the reasons for them not using simulators or not, I applaud them.  I cannot praise the simplicity of the Juniper Networks certification exams enough.  Without the complexities, there are fewer potential bugs or issues.  Yet their exams are still difficult enough to ensure their own validity and to validate the knowledge and skills of their candidates.

Juniper, please learn from this post and keep these points in mind.  I fully believe that simulators and the like can, will, and have prevented otherwise successful candidates from passing their exams.  I am even more displeased with Cisco after taking their exams.  And I’m more impressed by Juniper for avoiding the pitfalls that Cisco suffers from.


For the Love of Networking or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

People usually tell you to do what you love. What they may not tell you is that you probably shouldn’t do something unless you love it.

There are obviously exceptions to this. If you need the work and can’t get anything else, you have to do what you have to do. However, with IT, the rule of “do what you love” seems particularly harsh.

I realize more and more that, with IT in general, if you don’t love what you do, you won’t get very far. You’ll probably work at a Tier I help desk for the rest of your life. While someone has to do it (and while it can be an art itself), I think most people aspire for more. Unfortunately, if you don’t love it, you won’t get any further.

As I study for my JNCIS, I have realized more and more that if I didn’t really want this, there’s no way I could pass it honestly. Sure, I could use a brain dump (read here for why not to) and pass, but that wouldn’t get me very far. I would either bomb every interview or get lucky, get hired, and then get fired within 30 days as my employer realizes I cheated on the test.

This stuff isn’t extremely simple. It’s not overly difficult, but you’re going to hate it if you don’t crave it. And if you hate it, how far do you realistically expect to get?

If you love it, don’t worry. It will all come with perseverance and dedication. Just study, ask questions, and delve deeper and deeper.

JNCIS-ENT Question of the Week #1 –


Aggregate Routes and Generated Routes are very similar. What is one of the biggest differences between the two?


Generated routes have a next-hop value of the first contributing route, whereas aggregate routes have a next-hop value of reject. Chris has it.

Certification Future

2012 – The Year of Certifications.

This month alone, I plan on taking three certification exams. I’m waiting on a voucher to be e-mailed to me by the company, and if I get it in time, I’ll be taking my Network+ on Friday, January 13th.

I’ve scheduled my CCENT for Friday, January 20th.

I plan on taking my CCNA SP Ops (SSPO) on Friday, January 27th.

My JNCIS-ENT exam should be on Friday, February 10th.

Wish me luck!

Preparing for JNCIA/JNCIS Labs

Friday will kick of our Feature Lab Fridays.  Before that, though, I’d like to set up a baseline config and go over some of the basics of our lab topology.  I’ll add a graphical logical topology in the next few days, but for now, all you need to know is that for these labs we will have a 4-router topology.  We will sometimes use all four routers, and at other times we may use only two, depending on what we are trying to accomplish.

To start with, let’s look at our baseline configuration.  We’re going to set this up on all routers, with the only difference being the host-name and the em0 address.  Here’s the config from Junos:

root@Junos-Olive-1> show configuration 
## Last commit: 2011-11-17 04:20:15 UTC by root
version 9.6R1.13;
system {
    host-name Junos-Olive-1;
    root-authentication {
        encrypted-password "$1$AncI8FwF$RI6NApLL5Swl8Yb54Z6Vo1"; ## SECRET-DATA
    login {
        class noc-staff {
            permissions [ configure firewall-control interface-control network rollback routing routing-control system trace view ];
        user pkttlk {
            uid 2000;
            class noc-staff;
            authentication {
                encrypted-password "$1$J6qlqzfS$ocaUcf/3B84XWGtaa7HBh."; ## SECRET-DATA
    services {
interfaces {
    em0 {
        unit 0 {
            family inet {

Now that you see the config, let’s see what commands we can use to set it all up, starting with the root prompt (I will leave out the username@host):

% cli
> configure
# edit system
# set host-name Junos-Olive-1
# set root-authentication plain-text-password
# edit login
# set class noc-staff permissions [ configure firewall-control interface-control network rollback routing routing-control system trace view ]
# edit user pkttlk
# set class noc-staff
# set authentication plain-text-password
# up 2 set services ssh
# top edit interfaces em0 unit 0 family inet
# set address
# commit and-quit

Everything above should make perfect sense. The em0 interface will be used on all four routers in different subnets. Tomorrow, we will build static routes that will allow access to your LAN so that you can SSH into each router. For now, just put the em0 interface on all four routers into different subnets. Keep these address in mind. If you’re looking for a simple scheme for now, assign the following addresses:

  • Router 1 –
  • Router 2 –
  • Router 3 –
  • Router 4 –

Once you have built all of these, the last step is to create a rescue config. In the future, we will restore this rescue config at the end of every lab. This will give us practice configuring interfaces and other aspects of our routers. It gives us a baseline with a hostname, root password, a non-root user, ssh access to the box (once it is more completely configured), and a single correctly configured interface that will give us a direct connection to our LAN (after a static route is configured). To create our rescue config, issue the following commands:

> request system configuration rescue save

That’s it. You have a baseline config for all four of your routers, as well as rescue configs on each router that you can use to “start over from scratch” if you botch something horribly. We’ll actually be using these rescue configurations as a way to reset the routers to a baseline at the end of each lab so that when we start the next lab, the router will be clean.

Come back Friday for Feature Lab Friday #1 – Static Routes!

Please note that these labs are not designed to teach you all of the features available in Junos. They are designed to help you in your studies. For further explanation of any command or option used in these labs, please see the official documentation or the information from the FastTrack resource site. You should, at a minimum, read through Study Guide Part 1 and Study Guide Part 2 of the JNCIA-Junos FastTrack website.

JNCIA-Junos Passed – 92%

I passed my JNCIA-Junos Tuesday morning with a score of 92%. JNCIS-SP is next, and I will hopefully have it conquered by January 1, 2012. Look forward to a lot more posts as I ramp up to prepare.

Question of the Week Coming Soon

Starting on Monday, November 14, I will be providing a “Question of the Week” that relates specifically to the JNCIA-Junos exam. It will be drawn from the materials available from the Juniper Fast Track. Some questions may be general networking questions; others will be specific to Juniper.

Here’s how it works: Every Monday, I’ll post a question. Leave comments with your answer,thoughts, or questions, and on Tuesday, I’ll update the post with the answer. I’ll also address any questions from the comments at that time.

Before the end of November, I should also be implementing a JNCIS-SP Question of the Week, which will follow the same format, except that the question will be posted on Wednesdays, with the answers provided in an update to the original post on Thursdays.

By the middle of December, my hope is to have a Lab Feature Friday event where I will develop and post JNCIA-level labs.

So keep an eye out for the new features coming in the next several weeks!

Oops, Question of the Week didn’t happen this week. I was a little caught up in studying for my JNCIA-Junos, which I took on Tuesday, November 15. I’ll be rectifying this immediately, and will proceed forward as intended above.