Hello to all at the Cisco Learning Network!


If you have seen any of my training classes, you know that I love a movie from 1991 called What Bout Bob? starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. In this film, Bob learns to cope with the many stresses of his life by taking baby steps. Literally in his case.


Well, I suggest to my students that they should take this approach in their exam simulations, and should even consider such an approach when they are configuring real life networks out there in the "wild."


What exactly does a baby step mean when you are making a configuration on network devices? It means taking the high level task, and breaking it up into as many individually verifiable sub-steps as you can. This makes the configuration much easier - and dramatically reduces the troubleshooting you might have to perform should things not go so right.


This is best demonstrated through an example:


Sample Simulation Question Scenario:

Configure OSPF area 0 on a point-to-point (PPP encapsulation) link between SANJOSE and TAMPA. Ensure this OSPF neighborship is authenticated using MD5. The routers have been supplied with hostname's and the logging synchronous command and nothing else.


OK. Sounds fun. And you should note that this particular simulation might be relevant for an ICND2 exam.


So - here is what I do to setup my Baby Step approach Bob. I make a plan of configuration, verification, and troubleshooting for each sub-step. You could even write this out on your scratch paper before you begin:

Step 1

Configure IP addresses and PPP encapsulation on each router interface and enable the interfaces. VERIFICATION - PING between SANJOSE and TAMPA. TSHOOT - did I configure the correct interfaces; did I remember to enable them; are the IP addresses and subnet masks correct?

Step 2

Configure OSPF on each device on this link. VERIFICATION - execute show ip ospf neighbors to ensure proper adjacency. TSHOOT - did I configure the network statements correctly?

Step 3

Configure OSPF MD5 authentication on the link. VERIFICATION - the neighborship fails when partially configured, then reestablished when the authentication is fully configured. TSHOOT - did I configure the authentication correctly; is it the correct format (area vs. link); is it MD5?


Do you see how the Baby Steps naturally assist if something goes wrong. If Step 1 does not properly verify, you know EXACTLY where the scope of the problem lies and can be laser-focused in your efforts. Should you try and configure the whole scenario and things are not working, you might gain some gray hairs. Especially considering the clock is ticking!


Thanks so much for reading and I hope this is helpful to you. I would love to hear some of your approaches to exam simulations!


Bob Wiley - "...baby step onto the elevator... baby step into the elevator... I'm *in* the elevator. AHHHHHH"


Anthony Sequeira


Twitter: @compsolv

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Blog: http://ajsnetworking.com