CCNP – Study Aids for ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT exams

Yesterday’s post covered the example/demo of what you can expect to see on the TSHOOT exam. With already haven taken one pass as the ROUTE exam and being caught off guard, I wanted to make sure I had the tools available to do everything reasonably expected to be able to pass the exam. I wasn’t concerned as much about the questions I would expect to get but the number of simulations that I had on my exam was far higher than I expected.

I had been looking for several weeks for study tools that would address what I will refer to as the new generation of simulations that appear to be the norm in the latest round of CCNP Exams. I found a mixed bag of the usual suspects but after checking into a few of them, I was surprised to find questions for technologies that Cisco has pulled from the latest question pool information that I found on their website. While I was doing the research where I found the topology diagrams on Cisco’s website, I saw a mention about Boson’s study aids.

My next step was to go to Boson’s website. With my writing for Network World for the past 16 years, I had been to several Interop’s and Cisco Networker’s (I know they call it Cisco Live! but us old timers still call it by the previous name, it seems to make a little more sense than the newer name). After doing researching the different options available and looking at the Demo video, the next step was to get a copy of the products I would need to study for the exam. Due to the level of sophistication of the product for the TSHOOT exam, you wont be able to download a demo version of the product. The video on Boson’s website pretty well speaks for itself and make me feel a lot more comfortable with going ahead with the purchase of the product. I was a little surprised to find the ExSim-Max products because the last time I was aware of their products they only had the Network Simulator product.

My concern was that since I am using a MacBook Pro was the ability to run the different Boson products. Since they are written for the Windows platform, I hoped they would run under VirtualBox or similar virtualization product. After doing a bit of checking, I was told that this shouldn’t be an issue. While not officially supported, you have a problem with running Boson’s products in a virtual situation. I ran into a few problems as I started bringing up VirtualBox to run the Boson products. Let me say to start that none of the problems I ran into were a problem with the Boson products. It apparently had been a while since I last used VirtualBox, so I was way behind on versions. After several attempts to update and getting failure messages, I uninstalled VirtualBox on my MacBook Pro, rebooted and then proceeded to install the latest VirtualBox. What I had to do to get past the problems I was running into was to run the uninstall script that came with the latest version of VirtualBox which gave me a message that said a reboot was necessary to complete the uninstall process. I was happy to see that all of the previously installed Guest OS’s were still present on the system.

I never could get XP to be stable. It kept dropping it’s network connection and wouldn’t ping anything. I started to go with Vista but thought better of that and went ahead and bit the bullet and brought things up on Windows 7. I added the ExSim-Max one by one without any problem. I will be using this as a part of my studying when class starts this coming Monday. Be sure to watch for my daily updates from BootCamp to see what you can expect when going to a BootCamp type class situation.

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