Updated – February 10 2013
What is the RouterGods Meetup Group?
Back in 2009, I started studying for my CCIE Routing and Switching and formed this meetup to help others get their CCNA, CCNP and CCIE certitications. We meet several times a month and practice Cisco router contiguration. As of summer 2012, most of our meetings are held remotely via Google Hangouts, but we do occasionally meet in person at restaurants/coffee houses in Southern California.
Our meetings are hands-on… you will be rocking command line. if you just want to watch and listen, this is NOT the meetup for you.
Purpose of this Meetup
Karma… no I’m not a flower child, but I do believe that if you help others then eventually something good will happen you. This meetup’s primary purpose is to teach members the necessary skills to be successful on the job and, as a consequence, pass the Cisco certification exams.
Secondarily, going for my CCIE and one of the best ways to reinforce my skills is to teach them to others.
What makes our group different?
- We config….. A LOT
- 30+ meetings a month
- Meetings times are spaced to accommodate people in different time zones.
- We welcome all skill levels
- Most of all, we have a long and proud history. In the three+ years of existence, we’ve had more than 230 meetings and over 250 members around the World.
Other Cisco Groups
There are many awesome Cisco groups… I encourage you to join them for more practice and networking (of the human kind) opportunities.
- Cisco Networkers New York – Meets in-person and remotely, all skill levels
- Southern California Cisco User Group – Meets in-person Glendale. California and Irvine, California
- East Coast CCIE R&S (Virginia) – Meets remotely, for CCIE candidates
What is the RouterGods.com page?
My blog where I post up study tips, the Meetup calendar and GNS3 topology fìles.
What is the RouterGods Meetup.com page (www.meetup.com/routergods)
Before you can sign up for the training sessions or study groups, you need to become a member of our meetup group. Go to www.meetup.com/routergods and click on Join Group. Answer our initial questions and you should be admitted to the group within a few days.
You will be able to RSVP for the sessions after being accepted to the group.
Why was my first name and last name required to sign up for the Meetup?
We are a professional meetup group and requiring ñrst/last names keeps out a lot of the riff-raff, spammers and con-artists.
I get distracted by all the videos on the RouterGods YouTube channel, is there a nice listing of Cisco-only videos?
I have several playlists configured on my YouTube channel. The playlists are organized by topics like OSPF, EIGRP, etc. I’m working on updating the routergods.com menu system to make videos easier to find.
What Skill Level is required to join this meetup
All skill levels from beginner to expert are welcome.
Do I have to live in Southern California to join this meetup?
No. Almost all our meetings are currently done remotely.
Are there any membership fees?
This meetup is free, however, if the meetups are held at Starbucks/Panera Bread, please buy something from the store as they are giving us free power, seating and Internet.
Do we have a group-wide mailing list?
Yes, we have a mailing list (it can get really active) and any RouterGods member can email the list at this address below. Please note that all emails are held in a review queue and won’t appear immediately.
What can we post to the mailing list?
- General questions
- Job opportunities
- Gear trades/sales/buys
- Exam results (yay I passed or boo I failed) – lf you do post your exam experiences, please remember to never break NDA, but you can say what study materials you used.
My email inbox is going nuts, help !!!
Our mailing list can get busy and since we have many meetings a month, you will be bombarded with meeting information and updates. You can change your meetup settings to prevent many of these messages. Go to the meetup.com page and go into “My Profile” and change the appropriate checkboxes.
Our meetings are held both remotely and in-person
Meetings done through your Internet browser. currently using Google Hangouts On Air. Participants can talk through their Webcams and/or microphones.
We meet at Panera Cafe, Starbucks or other locations around Southern California. As of May 2012, we also have access to a corporate training room at Panda Restaurant Group in Rosemead thanks to Daniel Mayo.
Types of meetings
We have three meeting types, an orientation meeting for new members, one for CCNA/CCNP folks and one for CCIE candidates.
All members must attend this meeting to set up their laptops and GNS3. After attending this meeting, you will be allowed into the regular meetings. We don’t have these meetings too often, so you can watch a recorded version on YouTube
These are open to anyone trying to get their CCENT/CCNP. These are also open to more advanced members who wish to have extra practice.
These are open to people who have passed their CCNA and/or have extensive network experience. CCNP/CCIE-level topics are covered and we use Intemetwork Experts CCIE R&S workbooks. All attendees MUST purchase their own workbook.
The pace is FAST because Iwant you guys to get used to the time pressure of the CCIE lab. It is assumed that people in these meetings have NO PROBLEMS with GNS3 and command line.
What is Google Hangouts and Hangouts on Air?
Google Hangouts is a free web conferencing program that is part of Google+. It functions much like Cisco’s WebEx and Skype. Hangouts on Air are hangouts that are livestreamed to YouTube. Note, as of February 10 2013, we still do Google Hangouts, but no longer run our meetings on Hangouts on Air.
What is Google+ ?
Google+ is Google’s competitor to Facebook. Hangouts is the only good thing about Google+.
Why do you use Google Hangouts instead of Cisco WebEx?
Hangouts is free and is hooked into YouTube. In my opinion the interface is much cleaner.
What features are available in Google Hangouts
- Audio and video chat
- Text chat – turn it on by clicking chat in the upper-left comer
- Screensharing – all attendees must share their terminal windows
Are the remote meetups recorded?
Regular skill-level remote meetings are live-streamed, recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Expert-level meetings are NEVER recorded. You can watch the recorded sessions at www.youtube.com/routergods
What’s the maximum number of people that can attend the remote meetings?
Google Hangout rooms are limited to 10 people in the “live section”. The folks in the live room get a high-quality feed and can interact with everyone else.
lf the live Hangouts room fills up, where can I watch the stream?
As of February 10 2013, we don’t stream our Hangouts. If the room fills up, you just have to watch the recording.
What resolution are the recordings?
The recordings are done in 1080p resolution.
When are the recordings made available?
It takes approximately three hours of processing (combination of local and YouTube rendering).
What happens at each physical/in-person meeting
First few minutes.. introductions, booting of laptops, eating
Grab the Meetup notes and contìgurations from the Files section of the Meetup Group
Go over some routing theory – usuallyjust a few minutes
Router contîguration, veritîcation and troubleshooting with GNS/Dynamips
Stuff to bring to each in-person meeting
Laptop AND charger. Sometimes there aren’t enough outlets at the restaurant or coffee shop, so
it‘s essential that your laptop be fully charged. Some paper/pens may be useful for taking notes.
Where can I see a calendar or schedule of meetings?
A nicely formatted calendar is at http://www.routergods.com/train-calendar/
Where’s the link to join the remote meetings?
The invitation will show up in your Gmail/Google+ account a few minutes before the meeting is scheduled to start. You must add Humphrey Cheung, email address email@example.com to your Google Circles for the invitation to show up.
Help!!! I didn’t receive an invite to the hangout session!!!
The most common reasons for not receiving an invite are
- Forgetting to add Humphrey Cheung (firstname.lastname@example.org) to your Google+ circles
- Not being logged into Google+ or Gmail during the session
- Not being a member of the RouterGods Meetup.com group
I emailed you or posted to the Meetup.com during the meetup, why didn’t you invite me?
If the meeting is in session, I’m focused on the meeting and generally not paying attention to my
email and Meetup.com page.
Is there any special software needed to join the remote meetings?
No, everything loads in your browser.
Is there a password required to join the remote meetings?
No, just click the link in your Google+/Gmail
Do I need any special webcam, audio or other hardware for the remote meetings?
Headsets are MANDATORY if you want to talk in our meetups. A headset reduces audio background noise and feedback.
Logitech and other manufacturers make decent USB headsets for $30 to $403. NewEgg headset link
I also recommend having at least two monitors so you can watch the Hangout on one monitor and
use the other monitor for your terminal windows.
What are the virtual machines and how do I connect?
Some meetings has 3-5 virtual machines available for people who can’t get their GNS3 working on their computers or are having issues with their physical racks. These VMs are Linux Mint 13 64-bit running inside VMWare Workstation. GNS3 is already runnging and any required topologies for the session will be ready at the start of the meeting.
If you want to use one of these machines, please install a VNC viewer like TightVNC BEFORE the meeting starts. A VNC viewer allows you to remote control into the virtual machines. A URL and port number to remote control into will be given at the start of the meeting.
Can I sit in on the expert-level sessions ?
If you are a complete beginner… no, it would just be completely over your head and you would slow down the expert attendees.
lfyou have some experience or going for CCNP, yes but if distract the group, then I will ask you to leave. We do hardcore configuration (on a completely different level than CCNP) in the expert sessions and this is something most CCNP folks aren’t used to.
Please remember that the expert-level sessions are for CCIE candidates. lt’s expected that these folks already know how to contìgure most technologies accurately and quickly.
What is GNS3?
GNS3 is an emulator that runs Cisco IOS images. This lets you practice with actual Cisco command line software on any computer. GNS3 emulates Cisco images much in the same way as VMWare runs guest operating systems.
Jeremv Cioara of CBT Nuggets has created a great introduction video to GNS3
What do I need to run GNS3?
GNS3 runs on either Macs or PCS and can be downloaded at gns3.net You’ll also need to obtain a router image.
Suggested computer upgrades
Laptop users – Get the biggest damn monitor you can afford as a secondary screen for your laptop. Also upgrade your RAM to the max
Desktop users – Get a second monitor! This is especially important for remote meeting participants.
How do I get a router image and what image should I use?
Search on Google or Bittorrent for the image.
We only use the 3725 images in the meetings. This image is sufñcient for all your CCNA, CCNP and CCIE studies. This image is the most stable out of all the available images.
What is idle pc and how do I set it?
The first time you start your topology, you’|| notice your CPU usage goes through the roof. The reason is GNS3 doesn’t know how much CPU time/power to give the virtual router. Setting the IDLE PC value throttles this usage down to a manageable level. You only need to do this once.
You set the IDLE PC value by dragging a single router into the main GNS3 window. Start the router and console into it. Get past all the start screens and go into enable mode. Then right-click the router in the GNS3 screen and select “Idle PC”
How do I add more interfaces to the router?
Drag routers into the main GNS3 Window and right-click on the router. Click on configure and go to the third tab called “slots”. Select the appropriate interface modules. Interfaces can only be added/removed when the router is off.
How do I connect the routers?
Click on the “Add Link button” in the top toolbar of GNS3.
Where can Ifînd more videos about GNS3?
What is a topology in GNS3?
Your topology is the map of routers and links in your main window. Generally this is wiped out when you stop GNS3.
Where are all the practice topologies used in the RouterGods sessions?
How do I save my GNS3 topology?
Click on and “save topology as” The resulting is known as a .NET and can be opened and edited with most text editors.
What is a GNS3 .NET file?
The .NET tile is a text tile that contains information about your GNS3 topology. In addition to the
names of the routers and links, there are four important pieces of information in the tile.
- Path to your router image
- Path to your contigs
- IDLE PC value
- Hypervisor information
I have downloaded a .NET file from the Internet, but it doesn’t work. What do I have to change to make it work on my computer?
Any time you get a .NET file from the Internet or a friend, you must change the following things to make it work on your system.
- Path to the router image
- Path to the configs (if any)
- IDLE PC value
When I try to load in a .NET file, I get an error pop-up that says, “Exception detected, stopping importation”
You are getting this error because GNS3 can’t find your router image. There are possible reasons why
- You don’t have a router image – Solution, get a router image
- The image path points to the wrong place or file
The image path looks something like
Change this to point to your router image path…. be careful as CASE and the direction of slashes are important.
I’m getting a speed/duplex mismatch on my Ethernet links
Sometimes you need to statically set the speed and duplex in GNS3. First, you must set the speed to 100 Mbps and then the duplex to full.
When I start NAT on a router in GNS3, I get a memory allocation error… what is happening?
You probably have the router memory set to 128 MB. Stop your GNS3 topology and right-click the router icon. Change the memory to 192 MB or higher.
Can you do switching in GNS3?
Yes… well sort of. You have to add the 16-port Ethernet switch module to the virtual router and voila, you now have a decent amount of switching features like VTP, making vlans, spanning tree, etc. For CCNP and CCIE candidates, it’s recommended that you get real switches or rent remote labs.
How do I save my router configs?
There are two steps to saving your router configs. First, go into each router and issue a “wr” or “copy run start” at the enable prompt. Then click on the “Import/Export start-up configs” in the GNS3 top toolbar. Click on “Extracting to a directory” in the pop-up window and select a folder to put your configs.
How do I restore my router configs?
Load in your GNS3 .NET and then click on the “Import/Export start-up configs” in the GNS3 top toolbar. Click on “Importing from a directory” in the the pop-up window and select the folder where the configs were saved.
What is this RelativityDrive file I keep hearing about?
CCNA/CCNP folks don’t need to worry about this.
RelativityDrive is a user on the Internetwork Expert Forums. He is going for his CCIE and converted the INE Workbook 1 configs and topology to work with GNS3. Workbook 1 was designed for real gear and several interface names had to be changed in the GNS3 topology. The RelativityDrive topology is only for CCIE candidates… It is expected that expert/extreme meeting participants have RelativityDrive loaded and working without problems.
For more information about RelativityDrive, read the following RouterGods.com blog post
What is GNS3 Workbench?
GNS3 Workbench is a pre-built VMWare image of Ubuntu Linux with the Linux version of GNS3 installed. The image included several pre-built topologies and might run faster than the normal version of GNS3. Be advised, that GNS3 Workbench does not come with a router image, so you will need to add your own.
You can download GNS3 Workbench from – http://rednectar.net/gns3-workbench/
Recommended laptop for GNS3
For most of the regular meetings, any dual-core laptop is OK. For extreme meetings, I suggest bringing a quad-core/i7 if you are running Windows or any dual-core if you are running Linux. I highly recommend that you upgrade the memory on your laptop to 4GB or more (or whatever the maximum is for your laptop). Try to buy a laptop that has the highest resolution possible because you will have several router terminal windows open.
What are all the Cisco certs?
There are three main levels of Cisco certs. Listed from bottom up, they are as follows
Associate – has the CCNA and specializations like CCNA Voice, CCNA Security, etc. CCDA, or the Cisco Certified Design Associate, is also in the associate group
Professional – The professional group has CCNP, CCNP Voice, CCNP Service Provider, CCNP Security and the design certification, CCDP. These certifications require passing multiple tests.
Expert – The expert group is the CCIE and CCDE certifications
Should I take the CCNA in two parts or one part?
This depends on your study habits and pain threshold. Some people like to get the whole thing out of the way in one shot. Others like to study the topics for the first exam, pass it, and then study for the second exam. Either way, you still get your CCNA. The total cost, either way, is the same.
What order should I take the CCNP?
The generally accepted order is to take ROUTE first and then the rest in whatever order.
What are CCNA specialization certs?
After you pass the CCNA exam, you can take specialized exams in Voice, Security and Service Provider. Passing these test allow you to go for the corresponding CCNP specialization tracks. As an example, if you wish to become CCNP Voice certified, then you must pass CCNA Voice.
What are these design tests all about?
There are four Cisco design tests: CCDA, CCDP, CCDE and CCA. The difficulty levels correspond to CCNA, CCNP, CCIE and holy-fuck-are-you-kidding-me. The CCA test is Cisco top cert and candidates must construct a network and then defend their decisions against a board of Cisco experts.
The design exams test theory, Cisco product/sales knowledge and network design skills. There are no simulations in the design exams.
The design certifications are meant for experienced architects only. People with no network job
experience are highly encouraged NOT to take these exams.
Do my certifications expire?
Oh yes they do. In order to renew your certification, you must pass an examination that is at the same level or higher within 36 months.
What is CCIE?
CCIE stands for Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert and is the highest technical (hands-on) certification you can get in the Cisco world. There are different tracks for CCIE. The most common is Routing & Switching (R&S) and Service Provider. Another popular track is Security. You can get multiple CCIEs in different tracks.
How do I get a CCIE?
Pass a written examination at a VUE testing center and then pass a one-day lab at a Cisco testing location. The written costs $350 while the lab costs $1500. It is common to fail the lab exam multiple times before passing.
In the United States, you take the lab exam at either San Jose or RTP NC. CCNA and CCNP are NOT required to get your CCIE, but a HIGHLY recommended.
What study materials are there for the CCIE?
There are several workbook vendors. Workbooks contain exercises and practice labs you can do on GNS3, real gear or rental racks. You also must read dozens (yes dozens) of books.
What books should I read for the CCIE R&S?
List of CCIE R&S books – Have fun All CCIE candidates also supplement their reading with hundreds of pages worth of PDFs from the Cisco Doc site.
Who are major workbook vendors and who makes the best workbook?
There is no “best” workbook. Good candidates will pass no matter what workbook they use. Major
vendors are Internetwork Expert (INE), IPExpert and Micronics Training (Narbik).
As a member of RouterGods, do we get any discounts?
Members are eligible for a 20% on Ruhann’s Routing Bits PDF – http://routing-bits.com/handbook-for-rs/ Mention RouterGods when ordering.
How difficult is the CCIE test?
The written is fairly easy (if you’ve been studying for the lab)… the lab is extremely difficult. CCIEs are the Navy SEALs of networking. You must configure and troubleshoot a screwed up network, with crazy conditions, all under time pressure.
I just got my CCNP and I’m a badass… how much more difficult is CCIE compared to CCNP
CCNP is about 10% on the way to CCIE in terms of knowledge and skill.
How long does it take to get CCIE?
The written exam is easy and will take most CCNP-level people a few months of reading/studying to pass. The lab will take several months to years of hardcore studying to pass. Most successful candidates will lab six to eight hour a day in the final months of preparation.
The generally accepted average is 1000 hours of labbing. Prepare to sacrifice a lot of your free time!!!!!
When should I take the CCIE written exam?
I recommend taking your written exam when you are ready to take the lab exam. When you pass your written, it starts an 18-month timer. You must take your CCIE lab within this time period. If you don’t take the lab, then you must take the written exam again. Taking, but failing the lab, extends this timer by 12 months.
There is no prerequisite to taking the CCIE written exam. It currently costs $350.
What are brain dumps? What is your stance on brain dumps?
Brain dumps are a word for word replication of the actual test questions and answers. You’re a damned fool if you use dumps! A good interviewer will tell if you’ve used brain dumps.
Don’t bother joining or staying in this group if you want to use brain dumps. Talking about them earns you an instant ban.
Should I attend a technical school or community college?
As a former technical trainer I can honestly say that most private trade and technical schools are pretty worthless. The gear is often lacking (not enough and old) and the instructors usually have no work experience. In extreme cases, the instructor may have just passed the very same certification that he is now trying to teaching you.
Community colleges are a great value for the money as classes only cost twenty-something dollars a unit. Many colleges are actual Cisco Networking Academies and have tons of decent gear. If you live in or near Orange County, then Coastline Community College in Garden Grove has CCNP classes and several racks of Cisco gear. For those living in San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena City College is a great choice.
Colleges are also great for networking opportunities (of the human kind). You’ll meet other people working in the computer industry and they can help you find jobs. Remember this is a two-way street – if you piss off people in class, they might actively hinder your job search.
The only drawback of taking Cisco classes at a college is that they follow the Networking Academy schedule which is one semester per course. This can make CCNA and CCNP a multiple year journey (that is if you don’t double up on classes).
What are the links to decent community colleges in Southern California?
I’m working on a consulting project and need to do XXXXXX. Can you email me the exact configs to do this?
No, do you own damn work. And yes, people have asked me to do this.
I’m applying for a job. Can I use you as a recommendation?
I’m more than happy to give good recommendations to people who deserve them. However, don’t ask me for a recommendation if you never come to meetings and alway have trouble with GNS3.
What is Cisco IOU?
It is an internal Cisco tool that simulates routers AND switches. Only Cisco employees are authorized to use it.
How do I make the training videos on the YouTube page?
I record the screen using Camtasia. It’s usually done in one or two takes.
How do I open CD/DVD image files (like .ISO, .NRG) ?
Amateurs will burn the ISO to a physical disc and then stick it into the computer’s optical drive. Hopefully you are a bit smarter than this. Download Daemon Tools Lite (it’s free) onto your pc and “mount” the image file. Then you can browse to the file like a regular drive.
What is Packet Tracer?
Packet Tracer is a Cisco application that simulates routers and switches. It is generally only available to Cisco Learning Academy students. Since Packet Tracer is a simulator, only a small subset of commands are available.
For CCNA studies, Packet Tracer is just fine, but you will need to switch to real gear and/or GNS3 for your CCNP and higher certifications.
Most meetings don’t use Packet Tracer, but every few months we have a switching session that is taught using Packet Tracer.
Should I buy routers/switches?
Having your own routers and switches is a great help – if you can afford it. During the meetings, we can simulate almost all router functions with GNS3/Dynamips, but it helps to have actual router (if you don’t play with routers at work). Switches are a different story. GNS3/Dynamips can only simulate very basic switch functionality. If you’re going for your CCNP/CCIE, then you’ll need to buy your own 3550 or 3560 switches or rent remote racks.
You can buy routers and switches from eBay. Look for sellers that are highly reputable (feedback scores of 500+). Pay attention to the IOS version of the equipment and whether you will get free shipping. As a basic guideline, you want 3-4 routers (real or GNS3) and two switches for CCNA studying. People going for their CCNP/CCIE should plan on getting at least 4 routers (real or GNS3) and 4 switches.
The 3550 switch is just fine for CCNP and has approximately 90% of the functionality required for the CCIE. Many CCIE candidates purchase four 3550s and use the money saved to rent rack time. Currently prices for 3550s are hovering betwen $250 and $350 each while 3560s are significantly higher at $800+.
What are my options for CCIE study gear?
- Complete rack of real gear – It’s real gear and you don’t have to schedule with anyone else
- Complete remote – Don’t buy ANY gear and just rental remote racks, scheduling problems
- “FrankenRack” – GNS3 connected to four real switches. This configuration does require a fair bit of set up.
- GNS3 Jockey – Get a nice laptop and/or desktop and run GNS3 for most of your studies. Then polish up your switching and missing features on a rack rental. (this is what I do)
- Cloud Kamikaze – Run a virtual rack on Amazon EC2 or RackSpace
Miscellaneous recommendations to new members
Increase your typing speed! It will make your life easier
- Slow typing makes you look dumb to other techies. Slow typing in an interview will really hurt your chances of getting hired.
- Find/buy/steal a typing tutor program
- Free online lessons at – www.powertyping.com
- Online typing races at typeracer.com
- Facebook users – search for Typing Maniac