Over on the Reddit CCNP Forum Drewbert87 asks:
I’ve been working through the ROUTE syllabus and I’m hoping for a little clarification on how far I need to study certain items. In particular frame relay, though this question applies to more categories than that. It’s best summed up as this: When Cisco asks you to “explain” something in the syllabus, will they ever ask you for configuration or verification commands related to it on the exam?
From the ROUTE syllabus: 2.2 Explain Frame Relay 2.2.a Operations 2.2.b Point-to-point 2.2.c Multipoint
This to me says they simply want us to be able to explain how these items work, not necessarily recall the CLI commands to configure or verify them. For contrast:
2.1 Configure and verify PPP 2.1.a Authentication (PAP, CHAP) 2.1.b PPPoE (client side only)
Clearly here, you will need to know the configuration and show commands related to PPP.
I know that the response from the community is typically “Just study all bout the topic and learn it, you should know it anyway”, but I feel that both in an effort to maximize my time and study efforts, and because frame relay is a relatively out of use technology, that it would be time saved if I didn’t have to spend several hours reading/labbing to make sure I still have the commands for it down cold on test day.
The pedagogy (that’s a fancy educational pseudo-science term) of learning fundamentals is that you learn basic concepts so that you will be able to think better as technology changes.
The reason you are learning Frame Relay & PPP is to comprehend basic networking principles. In this case, Frame Relay is about frame-based virtual circuits, PPP is about circuit authentication/negotiation, and PPPoE is learning Circuit over Packet. Today, these technologies are no longer widely used (although Cisco sells rather a lot of them to people running obsolete but useful/valuable networks).
But in a few years we are likely to see them return as we see the rise in technologies that use overlay Networking (Packet over Packet) which needs security (Circuit authentication).
See Also RFC 1925, Rule 11: “Every old idea will be proposed again with a different name and a different presentation, regardless of whether it works.”
In years gone by, I learned about ATM, Apple Talk, Frame Relay, Token Ring, and Arcnet before I learned Ethernet. At layer 3, it was Banyan Vines, IPX, and NetBEUI before I learned IP/TCP/UDP. I learned about name resolution systems like NetBIOS and SPX before I learned DNS.
Before I learned MPLS tagging I was learning about VLAN tagging (they are pretty much the same, though the control protocol is a bit different).
Because I built a strong foundation, when new technologies come around like LISP (as used in Cisco’s Campus Fabric) or TRILL/FabricPath/ACI (all similar tech, just using different control planes), or BGP EVPN, I don’t have much problem picking them up. The basic ideas keeps coming around again and again.
When I say, “Just learn it” that’s me shortening a very long explanation that you probably aren’t ready to hear from someone like me anyway.
Link: Cisco Campus Fabric Design Guide – Cisco Systems (BTW, this seems like a bad idea to me.)