After many years building networking experience, I took the Routing & Switching CCIE lab exam back in 1998. The technologies were different from today, but the challenges still the same, just on a different technology environment. My experience also comes from having managed the CCIE Routing and Switching track at Cisco for several years, as well as an author and technical reviewer for Cisco Press.
Passing on any CCIE lab exam is a very difficult task and requires a good combined amount of time on studying, experience, and hands-on practice. The CCIE Program and CCIE R&S lab exam were first introduced and it has been a standard on hands-on testing for more than 18 years.
The CCIE R&S lab exam is currently at version 4.0. The exam covers layer 2 switching, IPv4, IPv6, MPLS layer 3 VPNs, IP Multicast, Network Security, Network services, QoS, Troubleshooting, and Network monitoring. Considering this is a hands-on expert level exam, the level of detail can be extreme, and the scope of the questions can be very complex.
- Types of Questions: The exam is presented in two sections, the Troubleshooting and Configuration sections:
- Number of Questions: The exam is presented a series of tasks covering different areas, and the number of questions varies.
- Passing Score: You most achieve 80% exam score to pass, combined between the Troubleshooting and Configuration sections.
- Cost: $1,400.00 (Costs may vary due to exchange rates and local taxes (VAT, GST)). The cost is per lab attempt and does not include travel and lodging expenses.
- Time Limit: eight-hour hands-on exam, divided in two parts: a two-hour Troubleshooting section followed by a six-hour configuration section.
- How to Register: For additional information on how to schedule your lab exam, lab locations, payment options, etc., visit the CCIE R&S section at the Cisco Learning Network
The Troubleshooting questions are presented on a form of trouble-tickets on a pre-configured network, so you need to identify and fix the problems. The TS lab section uses a virtual environment under Cisco’s IOU platform which offers a simulation of router (Layer 3) features and switches (Layer 2) features, on a virtual environment.
The Configuration section questions are presented on a form of tasks specifications under certain criteria. The Configuration lab section utilizes actual physical devices in racks.
Each question, on each section of the exam has a specific criteria and it is important you do pay attention on those criteria. The questions are mostly graded based on ultimate results or outcomes. Proctors use automatic tools to help gather exam results but the final decision is ultimately made by the proctor.
Candidates can request a reevaluation of their lab results within 14 days after a lab attempt.
Candidates must wait 30 days on failed exams to retake it.