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CCNP SWITCH Exam - Router Redundancy Protocols

SWITCH Practice Exam

By Josh E.

Being able to implement first hop router redundancy protocols is one of the objectives listed for Cisco’s 642-813 SWITCH exam. Cisco supports three first hop redundancy protocols: Gateway Load Balancing Protocol (GLBP), Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), and Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP). This article provides an overview of each of these protocols.

GLBP is a router redundancy protocol that also provides load balancing. GLBP enables you to configure multiple routers as a GLBP group; the routers in the group receive traffic sent to a virtual IP address that is configured for the group. Each GLBP group contains an active virtual gateway (AVG) that is elected based on which router is configured with the highest priority value, or with the highest IP address if multiple routers are configured with the highest priority value. The other routers in the GLBP group are configured as primary or secondary active virtual forwarders (AVFs). Up to four primary AVFs can be configured in a GLBP group, and the primary AVFs can participate in forwarding traffic. Consequently, multiple routers can be used simultaneously to provide load balancing for the GLBP group.

TSHOOT - How to Tackle Cisco's 642-832 Exam


By Michael Aldridge

Hi! I'm Michael Aldridge, Senior Content Developer at Boson Software. We've recently released our new ExSim-Max for TSHOOT product, and I'd like to share with you some thoughts about how to prepare for Cisco's new 642-832 TSHOOT exam.

The TSHOOT exam, which is part of the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) track, is quite different from Cisco's previous exams. In addition to traditional questions, such as multiple choice and drag-and-drop questions, you will also receive several troubleshooting labs to diagnose by using a unique trouble ticket system not found in any of Cisco's other exams.

CCNA Certification Tools and Easter Eggs

640 802 practice exam simulation

By Brian Scheibe

For those of you who don’t know, an Easter Egg is an undocumented feature, freebie, or some other type of good thing that is available if you can find it. Do you look for them when you visit Web sites? For those of you studying to attain a CCNA certification there are Easter Eggs at Several people find these Easter Eggs every day using search engines and I bet you want to know what and where they are.

Here is a calculator and a study guide that should help.

Why Create your own Lab Packs in Boson NetSim?

netsim cisco network simulator software

By Brian Scheibe

I had a chance to talk to a customer on the telephone this week who was planning to teach a CCNA 640-802 class to students located around the country. His plan was to use laptops configured with NetSim for CCNA in the classroom so that he did not have to transport bulky Cisco equipment.

As we talked I realized that he was unaware that he could create custom lab packages that contain personalized documentation, topologies, and configurations. In fact, NetSim allows an instructor can create custom lab packages that have the school logo, grading functionality, and beginning configurations using the Lab Compiler. The Lab Compiler is included in every version of NetSim.

A Case Study on EIGRP Graceful Shutdown

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By Andrew Messier

The topology for this study consists of two routers connected on a LAN. FastEthernet 0/0 on Router1 connects to FastEthernet 0/0 on Router2. Full connectivity exists between both routers, and Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) using Autonomous System (AS) 100 is configured to run on both FastEthernet ports. Below is sample configuration for this setup:

Router1#show running-config
hostname Router1
interface FastEthernet0/0  
 ip address
router eigrp 100  

Router2#show running-config
hostname Router2
interface FastEthernet0/0  
 ip address
router eigrp 100  

What is a graceful shutdown, what do the contents of an EIGRP packet look like when the message is sent, and what does the receiving router do with the message?

EIGRP Timer Talk

describe the image

By Andrew Messier

The topology for this study consists of two routers connected on a LAN. FastEthernet 0/0 on Router1 connects to FastEthernet 0/0 on Router2. Full connectivity exists between both routers, and Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) using Autonomous System (AS) 100 is configured to run on both FastEthernet ports. Below is sample configuration for this setup:

Router1#show running-config
hostname Router1
interface FastEthernet0/0  
 ip address
router eigrp 100  

Router2#show running-config
hostname Router2
interface FastEthernet0/0  
 ip address
router eigrp 100  

Device’s configured to run EIGRP require adjacencies, or neighbor relationships, to exchange EIGRP topology information. Each device sends EIGRP hello packets out every interface configured to run the routing protocol. Hello packets are sent as multicast traffic with the destination address equal to When a device receives a hello packet on an interface configured to run EIGRP, it will form an adjacency with the sending device. A router will by default display a message to the console when it forms a new adjacency. Sample output from Router2 is shown below:

NAT and PAT - What's the Difference?

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By Brian Scheibe

Network Address Translation (NAT) and Port Address Translation (PAT) both map IP addresses on an internal network to IP addresses on an external network. Which method of address translation you use depends on the types of networks that you are translating and the number of available IP addresses that you have.

If you are connecting a site in the network to a site in the network, you could use NAT to translate IP addresses to available IP addresses so that hosts on the network can access data and use network resources on the network. However, for this scenario to work, you must have an address pool that contains enough available IP addresses on the network to accommodate every host on the network, because NAT requires a one-to-one relationship when translating IP addresses.

TSHOOT: Inside Look at our TSHOOT Practice Exam (Study Hint!)


By Brian Scheibe

If you’re studying for the Cisco 642-832 TSHOOT exam, here’s an inside look at the best way to study and understand what to expect by using the Boson ExSim-Max TSHOOT practice exam.

Hint: For each ticket, there might be an obvious problem, but it might not answer the question that is being asked. Look at every possible issue before answering the first question of the trouble ticket.

VRRP, HSRP and the Master Router

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By Brian Scheibe

Does VRRP choose a Master (Active) router in the same way as HSRP?

Well that depends. Is preempt enabled and are priorities set on the routers in the VRRP group? Which router has the highest IP address? Which router owns the IP address for the VRRP group? All of these matter when determining which device will become the Master VRRP router.

Cisco Network Simulator: Can it be Used in a Classroom? (Part 3 of 3)

Cisco Network Simulator Custom Lab Pack

By Brian Scheibe

Step 5: Use the Lab Compiler to Create the Lab Pack

You’ve now created the required files (lab document and topology) and optional files (loading and grading configurations) needed for your lab, but you still have to create the lab file so you can share it with students. This section will detail how to use the Lab Compiler to create the lab and export it so that you can share it.

Cisco Network Simulator: Can it be Used in a Classroom? (Part 1 of 3)

NetSim Network Simulator

By Brian Scheibe

Can Boson's Cisco Network Simulator - NetSim 8.0 - be used in a classroom? You bet! You can create the components needed in lab packs so that you can deliver customized labs in the classroom or as homework for students.

Boson's Practice Exams Sold Separately

Boson ExSim-Max Practice Exams

By Brian Scheibe

So, you got a CD with your study guide, and it might seem unclear what the material from the CD is. Is it a study guide, a book review, or a practice exam? Let’s start with trying to define the features of each so that we can then compare them.

  • Study Guide – covers all of the published concepts that could appear on a live exam
  • Book Review – reviews topics covered by each chapter of the book
  • Practice Exam – covers topics and concepts you are likely to see on the live exam in a way that simulates the actual exam

Now that you know what the material might be, how can you determine which you have? Well one way is to consider how the material is presented. Logically if you can sort the questions by chapter on the CD, it is a book review. If you can sort the CD by concept or topic, it is either a study guide or a practice exam.

NetSim 8.0 Network Simulator Updates

NetSim 8By Brian Scheibe

You have been asking for multi-monitor support so that you can view the lab document on one monitor while entering commands in the command-line interface (CLI) on the other monitor. Well, we added that and went one better—we added Telnet mode to the NetSim 8 update. That means that after the update, NetSim 8 will support multiple monitors in two ways:

Cisco Network Simulator: Can it be Used in a Classroom? (Part 2 of 3)

NetSim Network Simulator

By Brian Scheibe

Today we'll pick up on part two of our three-part blog explaining how you can use Boson's Cisco Network Simulator - NetSim 8.0 - in a classroom. In this installment, we're going to cover steps 3 and 4 - Creating the Loading Configuration Files and Creating the Grading Configuration Files.

Step 3: Create the Loading Configuration Files

My Experience with the Cisco TSHOOT Beta Exam


By Bryan Baize, CCIE #16139

Last week I took the beta exam for the new TSHOOT class from Cisco. The test has a new type of question in addition to the standard multiple choice and drag-and-drop questions. The new questions have an elaborate trouble ticket based scenario. I was quite impressed by the quality and creativity in this new question type. This will be a real test of an engineers knowledge, and seems nearly impossible to brain dump! I am limited by non-disclosure, so I can't reveal much about the test, however for $50 you can still take the beta yourself, if you have the time, go take a look at it!

Changes to the CCNP Program


By Bryan Baize, CCIE #16139

Cisco has recently announced a revamp of the CCNP program. To begin this process, Cisco ordered a Job Task Analysis (JTA) to discover what the marketplace really expects from a CCNP certified professional. The participants in the JTA included subject matter experts from all over the world.

The results of the JTA indicate that it is time for the CCNP to get back to the basics of routing and switching and also bring back troubleshooting. Overall, the marketplace would like the CCNP professional to be a more a self-sufficient and freethinking network engineer. The IT professionals surveyed indicated that the CCNP job role would include three items:

  • planning
  • network maintenance
  • troubleshooting

Cisco developed the new program around several goals, including:

A Case Study on Root Port Selection

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By Bryan Baize, CCIE #16139

ASW1 is connected to DSW1 on F0/1 and F0/2, F0/1 connects to F0/11 on DSW1, F0/2 connects to F0/12 on DSW1. With default configuration on both switches. Initial show spanning-tree has DSW1 as Root, ASW1 is using F0/1 as the root port.

ASA Technology Update Part 2 of 4


By Ryan Lindfield

Botnet Traffic Filter

Another exciting feature released in the 8.2 release is the Botnet Traffic Filter. This new technology enables the ASA to monitor both inbound and outbound traffic and to compare the external IP addresses and hostnames to a dynamic database, or blacklist, of offensive IP addresses and domain names. Essentially, after purchasing the license for this feature (a 30 day trial is available), your firewall gains insight into the latest known locations of botnet control points, SPAM distribution points, and other known hostile hosts.

The Cisco Security Intelligence Operations Group (CSIOG) maintains this real-time blacklist. The CSIOG is comprised of hundreds of engineers and researcher who analyze terabytes of data each day and build a global correlation rule set. Cisco has leveraged technologies that were originally part of the Ironport product (SenderBase) and is now referring to that technology as SensorBase

Cisco Network Simulator - What's cool about NetSim?

Cisco Network Simulator

By Chad Altman

Boson NetSim Network Simulator is an application that simulates Cisco Systems' networking hardware and software and is designed to help you learn the Cisco IOS command structure. That alone is pretty cool, but it gets better. NetSim uses its Virtual Packet Technology® engine to create individual packets that are routed and switched through the simulated network, to build an appropriate virtual routing table and to simulate true networking. NetSim doesn't just look like a real network, it acts like one too -- same telnet window, same shortcut commands, same hands-on experience.

What else? NetSim supports the technologies and commands necessary for the CCENT, CCNA and CCNP certification exams and provides a great solution for individual self-studiers, classroom training and corporate IT departments. Equipment can be expensive and at times is simply not practical. NetSim makes it possible for you to design and configure a network with 47 different router models and 3 different Catalyst models to choose from. It is simply the most robust and cost-effective choice for meeting your certification goals. Don't put off your studies -- get certified with NetSim today!

NetSim Advanced Features
(Click the links below to see a screenshot of each feature.)

• Simulates 47 different Cisco devices
• Simulates network traffic with Virtual Packet Technology
• Provides two different viewing styles: window-in-window mode or a
telnet client
• Supports up to 200 devices on one
network topology
• Allows instructors to include their own
labs and offer grading for them
• Allows users to create their own simulated networks with the
Boson Network Designer.
• Supports
SDM simulation
• Enables keyword and curriculum
searches by users who want to access specific labs

For more information about NetSim, visit

How to use ExSim-Max Practice Exams

ExSim-Max Practice Exams

By Kelly Mansfield

There are many ways to learn the technology for your certification exam. You can read books, attend training classes and get actual experience. But even with all that knowledge, do you really know if you can pass the certification exam? Let me go ahead and answer that one for you. Well, not really. With ExSim-Max™ Practice Exams, you will know what to expect when you are ready for the real exam.

ExSim-Max is designed to simulate the complete exam experience, including topics covered, question types, question difficulty and time allowed. Plus ExSim-Max includes accurate and detailed explanations for each question. You don't just learn the answer; you actually learn the technologies too.

How to use ExSim-Max :

  1. First, get an ExSim-Max product. (In case you didn't know, ExSim-Max products include multiple practice exams.)
  2. Take Exam A, and don't peek at the answers.
  3. View your score report to see what areas you need to improve upon.
  4. Review the questions and detailed answers provided in order to learn the material; don't just memorize the answers.
  5. Use the references provided, and study the topics where you are struggling.
  6. When you think you are ready, take Exam B.
  7. If you don't pass, repeat the previous steps.
  8. If you do pass, just for fun, go ahead and take Exam C to increase your knowledge of the required material.
  9. When you can pass the ExSim-Max practice exams, you will know you are ready for the real exam.
  10. Go take the IT certification exam with confidence.


ASA Technology Update Part 1 of 4


By Ryan Lindfield

For those of you who have taken the Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) course with me in the past (8.0 and earlier), this article will serve as a brief introduction to a few of the new features recently released by Cisco that I thought you may be interested in. This may also prove helpful to those of you who have not taken the course but who administer or those who are considering using the Cisco ASA 5500 series firewalls.

Microsoft Vista Tips and Tricks


By Val Bakh

1. Vista

1.1. Boot architecture

Starting with Windows NT, all versions of Windows that are intended for business include built-in support for multiboot configurations. You can install multiple instances of Windows on the same computer and choose which instance to boot to when the computer starts. The multi-boot architecture of legacy versions of Windows is based on a text file named Boot.ini. To control the boot menu, you can edit the Boot.ini file in a text editor, such as Notepad.

Microsoft Windows 7 Tips and Tricks | Editions (part 2)


By Val Bakh

2. Windows 7

2.1 Windows 7 Editions

2.1.2 Support for multiple languages

Don’t breathe a sigh of relief; the fun may not be quite over yet. This depends on your linguistic requirements. It is easier if you are a home user. You simply buy any consumer edition of Windows 7 in your preferred language and enjoy the ride. But if you are an IT pro responsible for deploying and maintaining Windows 7 in a multilingual environment, then you are entitled to some more fun.

Windows 7 core binaries are language-neutral, but the graphical user interface (GUI) is not. Indeed, what you see on the screen ought to be in some language. Localization is implemented through language packs. There are two types of them: one is called simply language packs (LPs), and the other is referred to as language interface packs (LIPs). An LP provides complete localization, and one LP, designated as the default, is mandatory for any WIM image and for any installed instance of any edition of Windows 7. A LIP provides partial localization in a supplementary language and is dependent on a parent LP. Microsoft provides LPs through its volume licensing programs, and LIPs are freely available on the Internet.

ASA Technology Update Part 4 of 4


By Ryan Lindfield

Netflow (8.1)

Technically, NetFlow support was introduced in 8.1, but I still consider it an exciting and relatively new feature. Also I’ve found that many administrators are not aware of it, and it’s something I think everyone should be using. As you may already know, Cisco Systems developed NetFlow as a way to export information regarding IP flows for detailed monitoring and auditing of network traffic. A flow is essentially the combination of the following pieces of information:

ASA Technology Update Part 3 of 4


By Ryan Lindfield

AnyConnect Essentials

AnyConnect Essentials is a new licensing option for Secure Socket Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN) client on the ASA. With the introduction of SSL VPN, Cisco began charging “per connection fees” for remote VPN connections. This came as a shock to many of you who were accustomed to connecting as many users as the box allowed with IPSec and never giving a thought to licensing. The default WebVPN license on the ASA is for two concurrent WebVPN users; each additional user requires additional licensing.

The traditional WebVPN licensing is a fairly cost-prohibitive option for many administrators but it is only required if you are using WebVPN. The traditional IPSec VPN connections either site-to-site or remote access work with no licensing fees. The problem is that Cisco did not release a Windows 7 or a 64-bit Windows IPSec client, which means that for each remote user who has a 64-bit operating system (OS), you will need to have a license for each user if all users will be connected to the ASA at the same time.

Microsoft Windows 7 Tips and Tricks | Editions (part 1)

Microsoft Certifications

By Val Bakh

2. Windows 7

2.1 Windows 7 Editions

2.1.1 Choosing the right edition can be fun

Essentially, Windows 7 is an improved version of Windows Vista. In addition to most of the features and functionalities that are available in Windows Vista, Windows 7 has been enhanced with many new ones, some of which are pretty cool. But before you get all excited about it, there is one important decision that you need to make—choose the edition of Windows 7 that is right for you. Microsoft has done a reasonably good job of streamlining Windows edition sets since Windows XP. However, you may still find that choosing the edition best suited for your needs is not exactly a trivial task, whether you are an individual home user or a corporate IT professional.

How to Train for CCNA Certification?

CCNA Certification

By Kevin Harris

Real equipment and/or network simulator

Self-studying for the CCNA certification can be a daunting task. The amount of information a CCNA candidate is required to know and the skills that candidate is required to possess are quite extensive. Where to start?

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