Total Cost

This page will be kept updated with everything I’ve spent on the CCIE so far.


  1. Routing TCP/IP Vol. 1 – £34.79
  2. Internet Routing Architectures – £25.79
  3. MPLS Fundamentals – £31.16
  4. Troubleshooting IP Routing Protocols – £23.54
  5. CCIE Routing and Switching Certification Guide – 4th edition – £36.73
  6. Routing TCP/IP Vol. II – £38.26
  7. BGP Design and Implementation – £33.28

Total: £223.55

Dynamips/Dynagen box:

  1. MSI 770T-C45 motherboard – £47.02
  2. AMD Athlon II X4 620 – £75.07
  3. Abit Airpace PCI-E Wi-Fi – £8.96
  4. Kingston 4GB 800Mhz DDR2 – £43.50
  5. Case with 450Watt PSU – £28.24
  6. Radeon X300 SE – £7.95
  7. 3 X Sun Quad Fast PCI Ethernet Card 501-4366 – £46.50
  8. Dlink DFE-580TX Quad server card – £ 29.98

Total: £287.22

Real Switches/Routers:

  1. WS-C3550-48-SMI (Loaded with EMI) – £110.00
  2. WS-C3550-48-SMI (Loaded with EMI) – £110.00
  3. WS-C3550-48-SMI (Loaded with EMI) – £110.00
  4. WS-C3550-48-SMI (Loaded with EMI) – £110.00

Total: £440.00

3rd party training material:

  1. Internetworking Expert CCIE R&S Lab Workbook Volume II – £176.50
  2. INE All access pass for 1 month – £100.00
  3. INE Advanced Technologies class (4.5) – £95.00
  4. INE Mock lab 3 – £80.00
  5. INE Mock lab 5 – £65.59
  6. INE Mock lab 6 – £63.40

Total: £580.49

Exam fees:

  1. CCIE R&S Written 350-001 – £206.40
  2. CCIE Lab – 27th April 2012 –  £1200.00
  3. CCIE Lab – 25th January 2013 –  £1200.00

Total: £2606.40

Other great books:

  1. BGP4 – £10.21
  2. TCP/IP Illustrated – £31.96
  3. JUNOS Enterprise Switching – £30.88
  4. JUNOS Enterprise Routing – £0.00 – I got this from Juniper for free! :D
  5. IPv6 Security – £37.39
  6. JUNOS High Availability – £42.77

Total: £153.21

Books that I still need to buy:

  1. Cisco QOS Exam Certification Guide (IP Telephony Self-Study) (2nd Edition)
  2. Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH) Foundation Learning Guide
  3. Developing IP Multicast Networks, Volume I

The last book above could really do with an update, hence I’m holding out for now. Also why do I have a CCNP book in here? Well Cisco don’t seem to have a good updated CCIE switching book, it’s all about the routing. This is the latest CCNP switch book, so it’ll be handy to go over STP and the like again

Real Switches/Routers:

I get enough exposure to Cisco devices everyday at work. I also have my dynamips box for my really complex topologies. I’ve now bought 4 3550’s. I can’t afford any 3560’s for my home lab, but as soon as I need to test QoS and PVLAN’s I’ll either use online rack rental or borrow one from work (hopefully)

29 Replies to “Total Cost”

  1. Hi Darren,

    Is this Quad Fast PCI Ethernet Card 501-4366 is compatible with normal core 2 duo and win XP platform. I have PC and want to simulate my real 3550 Swithes with my desktop. I need these card so before ordering i want to confirm from you wheather is it working fine or not.I think these are server cards.

    [email protected]

  2. Parveen.

    These are server cards, but work just fine in regular PC’s. Your CPU would not matter at all. I have not tried compatibility with Windows XP, only Linux and it works fine in there.

  3. Helo darren sir

    You are very good with the router!!! I am very blessed to read your words that you right most often.

    Please accept the blessing of my hindu gods, with all his arms in all the directions.

    Many good lucks to you and god bless you sir.

  4. You are going to want to use linux with this. You will be able to run far more routers in linux then in a windows box because linux better utilizes the CPU/Memory. One question I have for you, some have noted problems getting these SUN Quad NICs working under a 64-bit operating system. Your machine has 4GB of ram, so you would need to have a 64 bit linux kernel, right? Did you experience any issues with the NICs under 64 bit? Great blog and I wish you the best on your studies. I am currently going for CCNA, but after only a semester in tech I know I am going to want to take it further. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi xtropx.

    I do indeed use linux, and have so ever since I started this project. I’m currently running Ubuntu 9.10 64bit server.

    I have no trouble with these NIC’s under 64bit Ubuntu. As a test, they do NOT work under Windows 7 at all, at least the 64bit version that I tested.

    Some more details:
    [email protected]:~$ uname -a
    Linux dynamips 2.6.31-22-generic #65-Ubuntu SMP Thu Sep 16 16:21:34 UTC 2010 x86_64 GNU/Linux

    [email protected]:~$ lspci | grep Sun
    05:00.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    05:00.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)
    05:01.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    05:01.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)
    05:02.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    05:02.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)
    05:03.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    05:03.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)
    06:00.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    06:00.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)
    06:01.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    06:01.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)
    06:02.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    06:02.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)
    06:03.0 Bridge: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. EBUS (rev 01)
    06:03.1 Ethernet controller: Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. Happy Meal 10/100 Ethernet [hme] (rev 01)

  6. Hi Darren , what’s your typical cpu load when run all the topology of your labs with dynamips. I have trouble running my dynamips because it always eats the cpu resources a lot (100% usage ) all the time.
    I know how to use idlepc but maybe my box is not powerfull enough to run a lot of routers (old Pentium 4).

    btw .. your labs is awesome :)

  7. Hi Optimus.


    Initially I would’ve said that your idlepc was wrong, however one of my colleagues also has a P4 and has struggled to run dynamips. It seems no matter we we tried, we could never get CPU usage down to less than 90% when running more than 1 router.

    Alas, it might be time for an upgrade :( – However I’m sure the parts I listed above have more than come down in cost. AMD Quad’s are pretty cheap, and you don’t need the expensive ones. The cheaper Athlon X4’s are more than enough.

    My load with my biggest topologies never really goes above 50% across all cores.

  8. Hi Darren,

    Greta info,i have been always thinking of writing exams and somehow it gets derailed.I am wishing after visiting your blog i will have concrete plans this time.


  9. Cool gear! Wish I had a home rack, let alone the gear!! Where did you acquire the 3550’s from, if I may ask?

  10. Hi Zach.

    I picked them up off ebay. They varery greatly in price, so I bought 2 at first, then bought another 2 a month later as all other prices were high. You can sometimes find them even cheaper than what I bought them for

  11. Hi Darren,
    What did you use the Dlink DFE-580TX Quad server card for when you already have 3 X Sun Quad Fast PCI Ethernet Card 501-4366.

  12. Hi Osdj.

    I had to buy a Dlink as the Sun Quad are very long cards. Unfortunately I had another chip on the motherboard that was preventing me from installing it properly. The Dlink card is shorter, so I bought it to use as my 3rd card.

    I gave the one Sun card to a work colleague

  13. a cheap way to have quad cards for dynamips server is to search for old Cisco PIXes (515, 525 or 535 ones)
    They includes 4-Ethernet extension modules which work perfectly as PCI cards on a linux server


    (by the way, I hope you succeed in your lab Darren !!!)

  14. Darren, how long it took for you to complete your CCIE certification? Can you please share your study method/

  15. I also want sir that, how long you take to complete your CCIE certification, and also studying steps ?

  16. Hi Darren,

    I am trying to install D-Link DFE-580TX card on the motherboard which is Intel DH67CL. But its not working with win 7 ,even not detecting the cards.

    Now I want to use it in ubuntu which is in vmware within Win7.

    What are the ways to install the DFE-580TX driver in ubuntu…
    Please suggest me…Or which motherboard I should use???????

  17. Darren, I gone thru some of your posts(originally got thru google search), amazing passion you had and appreciate your efforts sharing knowledge in simple form.

  18. Hi Darren

    I due to pass my CCNP this friday :0) – CAN’T WAIT! (T-SHOOT)
    then im straight onto CCIE studies to re-enforce everything and start the journey again :0)

    Couple of questions;
    1) In your opinion do you prefer IP Expert or INE more, or both?
    2) Have you passed you CCIE yet, i see you have had 2 attempts, how did you find them?
    3) in the CCIE practical, do you configure real kit or is it simulators?

    Keep going dude! we know you can do it :0)

  19. Sparky

    1) Both are good. I did the majority of my stuff through INE however
    2) Yes – CCIE #38070
    3) – TS was around 25 routers running IOU. Config was real devices

  20. Hi Darren

    I’m looking to purchase a complete INE topology based CCIE rack (R1-R6,SW1-4…). I’m finding it difficult to get the parts on eBay. They either look a little naff or are inappropriate (e.g, old switches). Anyone looking to sell, then please do get in touch. I’m based in Berkshire. UK.


  21. Hi Zak.

    Alas my topology has been sold already. If you stick with the above it should do you good. I do know the blueprint is going to change sometime within the next 6 months so the switches might change…

  22. CCIE v5:

    Moved in Written ( but NOT in Lab ):

    Describe IPv6 Multicast
    Describe RIPv6 (RIPng)
    Describe IPv6 Tunneling Techniques
    Describe Device Security using IOS AAA with TACACS+ and RADIUS
    Describe 802.1x
    Describe Layer 2 QoS
    Identigy Performance Routing (PfR)

    Removed from Lab:

    Flexlink, ISL, Layer 2 Protocol Tunneling
    Frame-Relay ( LFI, FR Traffic Shaping )
    IOS Firewall and IPS

  23. Hey Darren,

    How come there aren’t any QoS books in there? Were you already well versed in QoS? I understand it’s a big part of the CCIE exam.

  24. Thank you Darren for share this valuable notes This is very helping information/notes for those who are preparing for CCIE.

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