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Using MPLS VPN books to study for the CCIP exam

Every now and then I'm getting questions from my readers regarding the suitability of my MPLS books for the CCIP exam, for example:

I'm pursuing my CCIP and have a hard time finding the right MPLS study guide. I know you have the CCIP edition that was written in 2002, but I think the exam topics have changed. Can you recommend what book or books are best for the CCIP MPLS exam?
Are MPLS VPN Architectures Volume 1 & 2 two completely separate books or is Volume 2 a newer release. I was thinking of going for the CCIP and wanted to know if I should get both books or just the more recent one.

Here is the full story: MPLS and VPN Architectures Volume I and II are completely separate books with only slight overlap. Volume I was written when MPLS and MPLS VPNs were an emerging technology, thus the coverage of some solutions (like Carrier's Carrier architecture) was scarce (as they were mostly on the drawing board at that time). We've later released CCIP edition of Volume I, which includes a few bug fixes and two chapters on troubleshooting to match the requirements of the early version of Cisco's MPLS course.

The Volume II covers advanced MPLS topics, including remote access, inter-AS MPLS VPN, Carrier's carrier architecture, IP Multicast in MPLS VPN etc. It also contains the MPLS and MPLS VPN troubleshooting information (similar to the CCIP edition of Volume I). Reading Volume II without having sound foundations from Volume I does not make sense.

The current MPLS course that's part of the CCIP curriculum has been significantly redesigned from the original one (primarily shifting the focus from baseline MPLS + MPLS VPN to “a bit about everything MPLS has become”), but at the moment Cisco Press has no plans to release another CCIP edition book to cover the changes. The new course (Implementing Cisco MPLS 2.2) has dropped any ATM-specific information (finally) and includes a chapter on MPLS TE. While Cisco's web site claims MPLS TE is included, it's not listed in their Course Outline section. The information on our web is more accurate, as we build the course outline from student materials, not from supplementary documents.

I would definitely recommend CCIP edition of Volume I (you can still get it as an on-line book) as the basis of your learning efforts, with a few topics from Volume II (EIGRP as PE-CE routing protocol, more in-depth troubleshooting information) also being applicable. MPLS TE is not covered in any of my books, but as Peter Dob suggested, you can get enough information from the MPLS Fundamentals book.

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