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CCIE Service Provider version 5.0 Lab Exam Review

CCIE Service Provider version 5.0 Lab Exam Review

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification is highly regarded in the IT industry and is recognized as one of the most prestigious networking certifications worldwide. The CCIE Service Provider (SP) certification focuses on the skills required to design, implement, and troubleshoot service provider network infrastructures.

The CCIE SP version 5.0 Lab Exam is a rigorous eight-hour exam that tests candidates’ ability to configure, optimize, diagnose, and troubleshoot a complex service provider network topology. This exam tests the candidate’s ability to handle real-world scenarios that service providers encounter in their daily operations.

The CCIE SP version 5.0 Lab Exam comprises three modules: the Troubleshooting module, the Diagnostic module, and the Configuration module. Each module is designed to evaluate specific skills and knowledge areas required for service provider network engineers.

This exam review will provide a comprehensive overview of the CCIE SP version 5.0 Lab Exam and its requirements. It will cover the exam format, the topics tested, the recommended study materials, and tips and strategies for success. By the end of this review, you will have a solid understanding of what to expect from the CCIE SP version 5.0 Lab Exam and how to prepare for it effectively.

What Is the CCIE Certification Track?


The CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) certification is a prestigious certification in the networking industry offered by Cisco Systems. It is the highest level of technical certification provided by Cisco and is recognized globally as a mark of expertise and proficiency in designing, implementing, and managing complex network solutions.

The CCIE certification is available in various tracks, including

Each CCIE track has its own set of requirements, exams, and training programs. The certification process involves passing written Exam# 350-501 SPCOR and hands-on lab exams that test the candidate’s ability to configure and troubleshoot complex network systems.

Both employers and IT experts value this certification highly. It shows an individual’s deep understanding of networking technologies and ability to solve complex network problems. Achieving CCIE certification requires significant time, effort, and resources but can lead to career advancement and higher salaries in the networking industry.

How Do You Obtain the CCIE Certification?

To get the CCIE certification, there’s a strict process with several steps you need to follow.

1. Choose a CCIE track

CCIE Collaboration
CCIE Data Center
CCIE Enterprise
CCIE Security

First, you must decide which CCIE track to pursue, such as Enterprise Infrastructure, Enterprise Wireless, Data Center, Security, Service Provider or Collaboration. Each track has its own set of requirements and exams. Often, people choose a CCIE path that offers them real-world experience. 591LAB advises at least 5+ years of experience in the networking deployment field.

2. Pass the Core Technologies Exam

Pass the Core Technologies Exam

To qualify for the CCIE certification, you must meet specific prerequisites, including passing the relevant qualification exams or having equivalent knowledge and experience. Each track has its own Core Technologies exam with various topics tested. The written exam SPCOR 350-501 tests the theoretical understanding of your chosen CCIE track. 591LAB has written real Lab dumps that you may consider availing of their services.

3. Prepare for the Lab Exam.

Preparing for the CCIE lab exam requires technical knowledge, hands-on experience, and strategic planning. You can find more details about this in a specific topic listed under the 591LAB blog content.

4. Schedule and Pass the lab exam

After passing the written exam, you must schedule and pass the lab exam, an eight-hour, hands-on exam that tests your ability to configure, troubleshoot, and optimize complex network scenarios. Cisco holds lab exams at designated testing centers, such as in Beijing, China.

5. Maintain the Certification

After obtaining the CCIE certification, you must maintain it by completing ongoing professional development requirements, such as continuing education or passing a recertification exam every two years.

Maintain the certification

The CCIE certification is challenging and requires a lot of time, but it can lead to significant career advancement and higher salaries in the networking industry. It requires dedication, hard work, and a deep understanding of networking technologies.

CCIE Service Provider v5 Certification

CCIE Service Provider Prerequisites

Before sitting for the practical lab exam, you must pass the Core Technology exam, Implementing and Operating Cisco Service Provider Network Core Technologies, or SPCOR.

The SPCOR (Implementing and Operating Cisco Service Provider Network Core Technologies) exam is a certification exam that tests a candidate’s knowledge of the fundamental technologies and concepts required to implement and operate service provider networks. It is one of the core exams for the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) Service Provider certification. It is a requirement for the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) Service Provider certification.

The exam is 90 minutes long and consists of 70-80 multiple-choice and simulation questions. It costs 300$. The passing score for the exam is typically around 825 out of 1000 points. Candidates can take the SPCOR exam at a Pearson VUE testing center or online through the Pearson OnVUE platform.

CCIE Service Provider Exam Location and Cost

The CCIE lab exam is a hands-on, practical exam administered at Cisco’s designated testing facilities, known as CCIE labs, located worldwide. Cisco equips the labs with the hardware and software required to simulate real-world network environments, allowing candidates to work with the same technologies and tools they would encounter in a real-world networking environment.

There are currently eight CCIE lab locations around the world:

Exam location

Candidates must book their CCIE lab exam at one of these designated testing facilities through Cisco’s online scheduling system. The availability of exam slots can vary depending on the location and time of year, so candidates need to plan and schedule their exams well in advance.

As of April 2023, the CCIE lab exam cost for an attempt is $1,600. The price for re-attempts of the exam is $1,600, so you get no discount if you fail for the first time.

It’s worth noting that these fees do not include any travel, accommodation, or other related expenses a candidate may incur when taking the exam. Candidates must make arrangements for these expenses, which can add significantly to the overall cost of the exam.

CCIE SP Exam Format

The CCIE SP lab exam consists of two main sections, during which candidates are presented with scenarios and must complete a series of tasks related to those scenarios.

CCIE Module Design

Module 1 – Design (3 hours)

The Design section consists of scenarios requiring candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in service provider network architecture, network security, QoS (Quality of Service), network availability, network scalability, and network management—typical scenarios like real-world service provider network environments and design solutions that meet specific business and technical requirements.

To prepare for the Design section of the CCIE Service Provider lab exam, candidates should focus on developing their CCIE Service Provider design skills and their knowledge of Cisco technologies and best practices in a CCIE Service Provider lab context. They should also practice analyzing service provider network requirements and designing solutions that meet them while considering scalability, availability, and security.

Module 2 – Deploy, Operate and Optimize (5 hours)

The DOO module consists of scenarios requiring candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in service provider network operations, network maintenance, network troubleshooting, and network optimization. Cisco based their scenarios on real-world service provider network environments, and candidates must demonstrate their ability to implement and troubleshoot service provider technologies and networks.

This module tests a candidate’s ability to configure and optimize network devices and services. Cisco presents the tasks in the same order and format as the blueprint, and you are also informed about the number of points each task has.

Tips & Tricks for Passing the CCIE SPV5 Lab Exam

The exam requires technical knowledge, hands-on experience, and strategic planning. You will need more than just one of these (like technical knowledge) to ensure your success. Here are some steps you can take to prepare:

Review the Exam Blueprint.

The exam blueprint outlines the technologies and topics covered in the exam. It is essential to review the blueprint thoroughly and ensure a deep understanding of all the topics.

You can use the exam blueprint to grade yourself, learn the topics you are familiar with and confident about, and understand where to improve. You can grade yourself from 0 to 100% and update the status every week. Here’s an example of the LDP and MPLS TE chapters. It would be best to reach an average of at least 80% before taking the exam.

Review the exam blueprint

Build a Lab Environment.

Creating a lab environment is crucial to prepare the CCIE lab exam. You can use Cisco’s CML or GNS3 to build a virtual lab environment that matches the exam blueprint.


EVE-NG is a network virtualization platform for emulating and testing complex network topologies. It allows users to create virtualized network environments using physical and virtual network devices and software. It can be deployed in different ways depending on your needs and infrastructure.

Deployment Options for EVE-NG

Here are three standard deployment options:

  1. Bare-metal installation: It includes installing EVE-NG directly onto a dedicated physical server. This approach provides high performance and dedicated resources but can be costly and require maintenance.
  2. Virtual machine installation: It includes installing EVE-NG as a virtual machine on a hypervisor, such as VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, or VirtualBox. This approach provides flexibility, lower costs, and easier management but may sacrifice some performance.
  3. Cloud deployment: It includes deploying EVE-NG on a cloud platform, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This approach provides the most flexibility and scalability but can be more expensive than other deployment options.

A big plus with the Service Provider track is you can copy everything you find in the lab. Here’s the full list of devices (virtual equipment) you can use:

  • RR, P, and PE role: Cisco ASR 9000 Series running IOS-XR 6.5 Release
  • RR and PE role: Cisco ASR 1000 series running IOS-XE 16.6.5 Release
  • PE and CE role: Cisco Edge Routers running IOS-XE 16.6.5 Release
  • Access and Aggregation: Cisco Access series running IOS 3.2.1S Release
  • Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO) running 5.2 Release

For this purpose, consider buying an old Dell server with 24 vCPU, 128GB of RAM and 2TB of storage and deploying EVE-NG as a bare-metal installation. You can get old servers for a fraction of the price without worrying about old technology. Older Intel generations or DDR technology like DDR3 will work perfectly for this use case.

Here is a screenshot from the eve-ng resource calculator, which helps you forecast the resources needed. From experience, the actual amount of resource usage is half.

resource calculator

I recommend using the Cisco XRv 9000 software for PE node emulation and Cisco XRv for P nodes. This way, you will save resources and be able to deploy more nodes which is crucial in developing the speed you need to pass the exam.

Cisco XRv for P nodes

Practice Hands-on Lab Scenarios

Practice hands-on lab scenarios

Practising hands-on lab scenarios that simulate the exam environment is critical to prepare the CCIE lab exam. You can use Cisco’s CCIE lab exam practice scenarios or create scenarios that match the exam blueprint. You should not just use them to practice the technologies but also to build speed, which is one of the essential skills if you want to pass the lab exam.

Starting with the same physical topology, you can configure routers in different Autonomous Systems (ASs) and implement various services, which is an excellent foundation.

CCie topologies

From here, you can develop different topologies and practice all topics in the blueprint.

topologies and practice all topics
CCIE Tpoplogies 3

Use study materials

There are many study resources available, like Cisco’s official guides, books from other publishers, and online courses. These can all help you get ready for the CCIE lab exam. We suggest the 591LAB CCIE SP lab full-package services to pass the exam on the first attempt. For anyone looking to learn more about service provider topics, here are additional suggestions:

Luc De Ghein’s “MPLS Fundamentals”

MPLS technology

Luc De Ghein’s “MPLS Fundamentals” is a comprehensive guide to MPLS technology. Here’s a brief review of the book:

  • The book provides a clear and concise explanation of MPLS technology, including the underlying principles, protocols, and architectures.
  • The author explores complex subjects like MPLS VPNs, traffic engineering, and QoS. This makes the book a good fit for both beginners and seasoned network engineers.
  • The book is well-organized and easy to follow, with clear illustrations and diagrams to help readers understand complex concepts.
  • The book was published in 2006, so some of the information may need to be updated, although the fundamental concepts of MPLS remain relevant.

Jeff Doyle’s Book “OSPF and ISIS: Choosing an IGP for Large-Scale Networks.”


Jeff Doyle’s book “OSPF and ISIS: Choosing an IGP for Large-Scale Networks” is a comprehensive resource on OSPF and ISIS routing protocols. Here’s a brief review of the book:

  • The author provides a clear and detailed explanation of both OSPF and ISIS routing protocols, covering both the theoretical and practical aspects of implementation.
  • The book provides a detailed comparison between OSPF and ISIS, showcasing each protocol’s advantages and drawbacks. It also gives practical advice on choosing the most suitable protocol for different network settings.
  • The author provides real-world scenarios and examples to help readers understand the practical implementation of OSPF and ISIS, including configuration examples and troubleshooting tips.
  • The book can be pretty technical and may not be suitable for beginners with little networking knowledge or experience.
  • The book focuses exclusively on OSPF and ISIS and does not cover other routing protocols, which may limit its usefulness in specific network environments.

INE CCIE SPv5 Learning Path

INE CCIE SPv5 learning path

INE (Internetworking Experts) is a popular online training platform that offers IT professionals a wide range of courses and certification programs. Their CCIE Service Provider (CCIE SP) online training program is one of the most comprehensive and highly rated for preparing for the CCIE SP certification exam. Here is a brief review of INE’s CCIE SP online training program.

  • INE’s CCIE SP, online training program covers all the topics required for the CCIE Service Provider certification exam, including MPLS, OSPF, BGP, QoS, and more.
  • The program includes video lectures and hands-on labs. This offers a complete learning experience that helps students develop the skills required for the CCIE SP exam.
  • INE’s experienced CCIE instructors deeply understand the exam and provide practical tips and advice for passing the exam.
  • The training program includes various study materials, including practice exams, lab exercises, and course notes, which can help students prepare for the exam more effectively.
  • INE’s online training platform is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it easy for students to access the course materials and track their progress.
  • The course is quite expensive compared to other CCIE training programs, which may be a barrier for some students.
  • Some students may find the course too focused on exam preparation and need to provide more real-world context or applications.
  • The self-paced course may not suit students who prefer a more structured learning experience with set deadlines and schedules.

BGP Design and Implementation by Randy Zhang and Micah Bartell

BGP Design and Implementation by Randy Zhang and Micah Bartell

“BGP Design and Implementation” is an excellent resource for network engineers to gain an understanding of BGP technology. The book provides clear explanations, practical examples, and advanced topics, making it valuable for both beginners and experienced network engineers. Some of the information may be outdated. However, the fundamental concepts of BGP remain relevant, making this book a valuable resource for anyone working with BGP technology.

Clarence Filsfils’ “Segment Routing Part I & Segment Routing Part II: Traffic Engineering”

Segment Routing Part I & Segment Routing Part II

Clarence Filsfils Segment Routing Part I & Segment Routing Part II: Traffic Engineering is an excellent resource for those interested in learning about segment routing technology. The books provide a comprehensive overview of the technology, including its operation, benefits, and practical applications. The books may be too technical for some readers. However, they are well-written and organized, and the practical examples and case studies make the material easier to understand. Moreover, they may be a bit pricey. Still, they are worth the investment for those serious about learning about segment routing technology.

Cisco Live videos

Cisco Live videos are educational and informative videos covering various topics related to Cisco products and technologies. Presented by Cisco experts, these cover many topics. You can them to gather a basic understanding of new topics like Multicast, Multicast VPN, Segment Routing, EVPN, etc.

Join Study Groups

Finding a study group for the CCIE SP lab exam can be a great way to prepare, as it allows you to collaborate with other like-minded individuals working towards the same goal.

Several online forums and groups, such as Cisco Learning Network and Reddit, are dedicated to CCIE SP lab exam preparation. Joining these groups can help you connect with other candidates and form study groups.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can be great resources for networking and connecting with other CCIE candidates. Use these platforms to search for and connect with other candidates preparing for the exam.

If you work in the networking industry, chances are you know other professionals also preparing for the CCIE SP lab exam. Reach out to your peers and see if they would be interested in forming a study group with you.

Join Boot Camps

Even though I have not participated in any of the boot camps because they are costly (thousands of dollars), I could recommend one based on reviews. Many candidates who have attended Narbik’s CCIE boot camp recommend their program. Many candidates have reported that the boot camp provided them with the knowledge and skills to pass the CCIE exam. However, some candidates have also said that the boot camp can be challenging and requires significant preparation time and effort.

Time Management

Time management is crucial during the CCIE lab exam. Candidates should practice time management techniques during lab practice sessions to ensure they can complete the tasks within the allocated time.

Typing Speed and Accuracy

Typing speed is essential in the CCIE lab exam because it is timed and requires the candidate to configure and troubleshoot a complex network topology within a limited time. There’s a saying that more than 90% of the candidates would pass if they had 24 hours to finish the lab. But in reality, you only get five hours, so you must be fast.

In addition to typing speed, it’s also essential to have good typing accuracy. Mistakes can lead to wasted time and potential errors in network configurations. Therefore, candidates should also focus on improving their accuracy while typing. Practising and improving these skills can increase the chances of success in the exam.

Practice With the Same Mouse and Keyboard

CCIE mouse and keybad

It’s useful to practice with the same mouse and keyboard model you would find in the lab. Using the same keyboard and mouse is vital in the CCIE lab exam for several reasons. The exam is a high-pressure environment, and you must work as efficiently as possible. Using a keyboard and mouse that you are familiar with can save valuable time and prevent errors due to unfamiliarity.

Final Thoughts on CCIE Service Provider v5.0

Achieving the CCIE Service Provider v5.0 certification is a challenging but rewarding journey that proves you are an expert in networking for service providers. The path includes several important steps, from selecting the right CCIE track to preparing for and passing the lab exam. Each part of this journey requires careful planning and hard work.

Building a good lab setup, using EVE-NG for network virtualization, and using study materials and groups are essential for success. Resources like “MPLS Fundamentals” by Luc De Ghein and joining special boot camps can give you useful information and hands-on experience. Moreover, learning time management and being comfortable with your tools, like your mouse and keyboard, are key to improving your lab exam performance. Getting the CCIE Service Provider certification shows your high skill level and opens up many job opportunities, making all the hard work worth it.

What do I need to do to keep my CCIE certification valid?

A: CCIE certifications need to be renewed every two years. You can maintain your certification by passing a recertification exam or earning continuing education credits from other various professional development activities.

How Do I Start My CCIE Service Provider Journey?

Choose a specific CCIE track that aligns with your interests and career goals. Next, prepare for and pass the Core Technologies exam to ensure you have the foundational knowledge needed for the more advanced lab exam.

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