The Cisco CCIE® Wireless Lab Exam is an eight-hour, hands-on exam which requires candidates to configure, diagnose, and troubleshoot a series of complex network scenarios. The candidate will need to understand how the network and service components interoperate, and how the functional requirements translate into specific device configurations. Knowledge of troubleshooting is an important skill and candidates are expected to diagnose and solve issues as part of the CCIE lab exam. The candidate will not configure all end-user systems; however, the candidate will be responsible for all devices residing in the network.
The CCIE Wireless Lab exam is made up of two modules:
Module 1: Diagnostic (the act or process of identifying the root cause)
Module 2: Configuration & Troubleshooting (implement and fix)
These modules are delivered in a fixed sequence: candidates start with the Diagnostic module, which is followed by the Configuration and Troubleshooting module. The entire lab exam lasts up to eight hours. The Diagnostic module has a fixed length of 60 minutes. If a candidate finishes this module before the designated time, the candidate will have to wait until the 60 minutes come to an end, before proceeding to the Configuration and Troubleshooting module.
It is important to note that the system does not allow going back and forth between the two modules. Once the candidate starts with the Configuration and Troubleshooting module, the candidate will not be able to go back to the Diagnostic module.
For the CCIE Wireless Lab exam, the Configuration and Troubleshooting module runs a mixed environment, where some equipment is physical while other, is virtual. The web-based delivery infrastructure supports both these environments. The Diagnostic module however, although is based on real equipment, there are no actual devices to be configured during this module. Please refer to the equipment and software list on the Cisco Learning Network. Topologies used within both modules represent realistic enterprise wireless scenarios and can differ between modules. The main focus of the lab exam is to test and validate troubleshooting, diagnosing and configurations skills, rather than evaluating specific platforms and/or software knowledge.
Module 1: Diagnostic
The Diagnostic module focuses on the skills required to properly diagnose network issues, it is all about the act or process of identifying the root cause of the problem. The objective of this module is to demonstrate that the candidate is able to analyze network issues, identify, and describe the root cause of an issue. It can also be identifying series of events that lead to an issue, by correlating and discerning information from multiple sources such as email threads, network topology diagrams, console outputs, logs, and even traffic captures.
Candidates do not have device access for the Diagnostic module. The topology and documentation provided to candidates were extracted from labs, specifically setup for this purpose. The Diagnostic module provides a set of documentation that represents a snapshot of a realistic situation; at any given point in time during an investigation process performed by a network engineer. For example, a support engineer might need to provide the root cause analysis to a customer, or might need to help out a colleague who is stuck in a troubleshooting process, or might have to summarize the investigation steps performed.
All tickets are close-ended, which means, the grading is deterministic to ensure fair and consistent scoring.
Within the Diagnostic module, the items are presented in similar format to the written exam. They can include multiple-choice (single answer or multiple answers), drag-and-drop type style, or even point-and-click on diagrams. A major difference between the written exam and diagnostic module is that the items (called tickets) contain a set of documentation that the candidate must consult in order to understand the problematic scenario. Then in turn, the candidate needs to analyze and correlate all this information (after discerning between valuable and worthless pieces of information) in order to make the right choice from the pre-defined options listed in the item.
Typical questions for the Diagnostic module are:
What is the root cause of the issue?
Where in the network or what device is causing the issue (within the given network topology diagram)?
What is the critical piece of information that points you to the root cause?
What piece of information is missing to be able to identify the root cause?
What could resolve the problem without disrupting traffic?
Module 2: Configuration & Troubleshooting
In the Configuration and Troubleshooting module, candidates need to demonstrate that they can implement specific functionality, while respecting specific requirements (and restrictions) provided within a set of documentation. Candidates need to demonstrate that they understand how different technologies and features interoperate, how they can verify implemented solutions, and how they actually work. The Configuration and Troubleshooting module provides a real enterprise wireless network scenario. Any given scenario will be composed of multiple domains/items that could have interdependencies. Candidates have full visibility of all questions upon starting the module, and have the choice of working on the items in sequence or not, depending on their chosen strategy.