Implementing Cisco Switched Networks Chapter 1 Review

This is my review and notes of Chapter 1 of “Implementing Cisco Switched Networks Foundation Learning Guide”.


Chapter 1

Chapter 1 was incredibly boring to read. As per the covered summary below, the chapter was attempting to get the reader in the mind set of different models Cisco has created that can be used as a guideline when creating a network, whether large or medium, and in either a campus or enterprise network.

In terms of the CCNP exam, probably need to know:
– The 3 campus design best practices
– Be able to successfully identify where different features belong in a network using the Hierarchical Network design mode.
– Know the 3 different layers of SONA
– Be able to successfully identify what happens at each step of the PPDIOO model.

– Different models of Cisco switches e.g. Catalyst, Nexus
– Campus Design best practices
– Hierarchical Network Design Model
– SONA (Serivce-Oriented Network Architecture
– PPDIOO (Prepare Plan Design Implement Operate Optimise)

Campus Design best practises
Basically summed up as create a network that is:
– Modular (like building blocks and scales well)
– Resilient (HA characteristics with uptime nearly 100%)
– Flexibility (Businesses are constatntly changing. Able to adapt to new business structures etc).

Hierarchical Network Design Model

Core Layer
– High Speed
– High Availability
– Adapt to changes quickly

– Basically aggregates all the distribution layer switches together with the remainder of the enterprise network.
– Provides aggregation points with redundancy through fast convergence and HA.
– Designed to scale as the distribtuion and consequently the access layer scale with future growth.

Distribution Layer
– Segment parts of the network and isolate network problems in a campus environment
– Aggregate WAN connections at the edge
– Provide a level of security
– Often acts as a service and control boundry between access and core layers

– Availability, load balancing, QoS
– HA through dual paths to Core and Access
– Provides default GW redundancy via HSRP/GLBP/VRRP
– Connects network resources to the access layer, and implements policies for QoS, Security, traffic loading, and routing.

Access Layer
– Edge devices
– Application of security, access control, filters, management etc.

– Access to default gateway redundancy (so dual links to distribution layer switches with e.g. HSRP)
– Converged – So PoE switch with IP Phones and WLAN devices attached.
– Security through: Port Security, DHCP Snooping, Dynamic ARP Inspection, IP SRC Guard.

SONA (Service-Oriented Network Architechture)

Below is my notes from when reading the book. To be honest it all just sounds like a bunch of buzz words and personally don’t feel it was explained very well. Haven’t looked any further into it.

Application Layer
– E.g. Business Apps
– Layer objective is to meet business requirements and achieve efficencies by leveraging the interactive services layer.

Interactive Services Layer
– Enables efficient allocation of resources to applications and business processes delivered through the networked infrastructure

Network Infrastructure Layer
– Where all IT resources (servers/SANs etc) are interconnected across a converged network foundation.
– Represents how resources exist in different places in the network, e.g. branch, data center, WAN etc.

PPDIOO ( Prepare Plan Design Implement Operate Optimise)

– Establishing organisational requirements
– Developing Network Strategy
– High-level conceptal Network Architechture
– Identifying HW and Costs

– Initial network requirements based on goals, facilities, user needs etc.
– Assessing current network and ensuring it will work with what is being proposed

– Well throught out detailed design that meets current business and techical requirements and incorporates specifications to support availability, reliability, security, scalability, and performance.
– Design is basis for implementation.

– Network is built to design specs, with goal of integrating devices without disrupting existing network.

– Final test of the appropriateness of the design
– Involves maintaining network health through day to day operation.

– Proactive management of the network
– Goal of this is to identify and resolve issues before they affect the organisation.
– Reactive fault detection and correction (Troubleshooting) is needed when proactive management can not predict and mitigate failures.

15 Days till CCNP Switch Exam


On the 20th January 2014 I am sitting the Cisco CCNP Switch Exam. For me this is the first of the 3 CCNP exams.

At the moment I’m pretty stressed out about this. I spent a large chuck of last year trying to study for this exam off and on, so I think I should be okay for it. For me, it’s a case of trying to remember all the stuff I’ve learnt at various points. If I don’t use something, I forget it, as do I imagine most people.

I work for Allied Telesis, which is probably considered a small to medium competitor to Cisco. The Allied Telesis switch operating system, AW+, is a very similar CLI to IOS (read industry standard CLI), which is a fantastic operating system, but I find it a double edge sword in terms of the Cisco exams. It’s great in terms of the fact that I was able to come from all the Cisco NetaCad courses and know how to use the Allied Telesis gear, but there are enough small differences that I’ll need to do a bit of labbing before my switch exam. Along with practicing all the Cisco proprietary features again (PVRST+, HSRP, VTP, DTP etc).

So what should you expect to see on my blog for the next couple of weeks?


I’m currently going through the “Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH) Foundation Learning Guide” again as a refresher for the exam. Each day I’m hopefully going to post my notes from the book, along with a quick review of each chapter.


So what other material are you using for studying?

– CBT Nuggets CCNP Switch Video course

I’m lucky in the fact that work has a license for CBT Nuggets.

CCNP SWITCH 642-813 Quick Reference Guide

I’ve read this before when I sat my NetaCad Switch exam. I intend on reading this a day or two before the exam as a final refresher.

– CCNP Switch Student Lab Manual

I intend on spending a day going through all the labs. I’ve got 2x 3750 along with 2x 3550 to study with for the exam.

101 CCNP Labs – Labs

Looks like it could be a good refresher in terms of Labs for the exam.

How to master CCNP Switch

From what I’ve initially looked at, this book is great. It avoids the waffle Cisco Press books have, and explains things in the simplest form possible. I’m not sure how much of this book I’ll get the chance to read, but had I had more time before my exam, I would have quite liked to read this whole book.

– ?????????

Any other decent quick material I can get. I think at this point I need to find good labs I can practise.


So how do you intend on studying for this? How much study have you done so far?

2 years ago I did the Cisco CCNP Switch Netacad course and read the Foundation learning guide which I’m going to be blogging about. Last year I read the Official Cert Guide, purely because it was new material. I decided to reread the Foundation Learning Guide purely because it covers more topics that are in the exam. That and the fact that it is a Cisco Press book, so it should have what’s covered in the exam.

In terms of study so far? I actually only started studying 4 days ago. Other than that I hadn’t done any study for this exam for about 3 months. I could be crazy. I hope not. I really struggle to find time to study for this, as I’m generally doing routing at work, and find it hard to focus on two major topics at the same time. I’ve just had a week off work, and will have the week before the exam off work also. I’m hoping although this is a concentrated amount of time to study for an exam like this, that along with my previous knowledge, I’ll be able to cram enough for the exam.

What study have I done this week? I’ve read the first 3 chapters of the Foundation Learning Guide. My blog posts above will be my notes on the first 3 chapters. My goal is roughly 50 pages of the book a day, along with some CBT Nugget watching. I should finish all this a few days before the exam, in which I’ll do some labbing for a few days, and final review of material along with reading the Quick Reference Guide.

Wish me luck!



Time for a blog update!

Well it’s certainly been a long time since I last did a blog update. Just over a year in fact!

I’d definitely intended on doing more blog updates last year, but due to web hosting issues, I lost my blog for over 6 months. Yes, I was silly and didn’t back up my site. I eventually got it back (yay!).

So why suddenly start posting again?

A few things have gone on since then. I’ve purchased a new laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad y410p , which I intend to do a review of in a couple of weeks.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y410p

The other big thing is I’m sitting the Cisco CCNP Switch exam in just over 2 weeks (15 days!). I’m pretty stressed out about this, but thought I would attempt to blog about each day of studying till then.

FIX: Front audio jack not working on Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H motherboard

Back in May I built a new computer which included a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H motherboard. All was well till I tried getting the audio drivers working correctly. At that point in time, I discovered if I wanted to use headphones say out my front audio jack, I would be forced to turn my stereo off first, as sound would go out both audio jacks at the same time.

This was incredibly frustrating, since I was upgrading from a motherboard that I could choose between front and back audio, and I simply used an AutoHotkey script that would switch between the two using an assigned key on my keyboard.

At the time, I upgraded to the latest Via HD audio drivers, hoping that would have a fix for the situation. Unfortunately not.

Thankfully, I’ve just done a Google again on the situation and came across this thread. Turns out the VIA drivers released some point in August fixed the issue. So If you’re reading this post and you haven’t updated your drivers, you can download the latest VIA version from Gigabyte here.

Speaking of AutoHotkey scripts, below is mine, which is basically a script to assign which audio device is the default. So to activate it, I would need to press Ctrl + Alt + A, which in itself isn’t bad, but I’ve also got a logitech keyboard with some extra keys which I’ve assigned to one of them the above command sequence. Works well 🙂

Run, mmsys.cpl
ControlSend,SysListView321,{Down 2}
ControlGet, isEnabled, Enabled,,&Set Default
ControlSend,SysListView321,{Down 1}
ControlClick,&Set Default
SoundPlay, *-1