BGP Labs: a Year Later

Last summer, I started a long-term project to revive the BGP labs I created in the mid-1990s. I completed the original lab exercises (BGP sessions, IBGP, local preference, MED, communities) in late 2023 but then kept going. This is how far I got in a year:

That completes the BGP technologies I wanted to cover. I’ll keep adding the challenge labs and advanced scenarios. Here are some ideas; if you have others, please leave a comment.

The labs are free of charge and can use more than a dozen different network operating systems. There’s just a tiny gotcha: unless you’re OK with a device that can run as a container (in which case you can get started in a few seconds), you will have to invest your time into building the infrastructure first, but even then, you can build it with free/open-source software (apart from the network devices, of course).


  1. Hi Ivan, thanks for the great tool you have been developing, it's a real pleasure to use.

    Do you think, realistically in 2024, netlab would suffice to prepare the CCIE lab exam? Particulary for the SP flavor, since netlab support a lot of routing protocols. Thanks!

    1. It would help, but it would not suffice. You need challenge scenarios to work on. More in an upcoming blog post.

  2. Hi Ivan,

    If you ever want to do something similar for IS-IS, I'd be happy to help.

    I think it would already be helpful to just cover the basics of IS-IS. There is so little knowledge about IS-IS out there, that any new good resource would be awesome.

    I would hate to see in a few years how BGP is remaining as the only IGP in the world. These days, every toy-network thinks it needs BGP. I hear people arguing that BGP has traffic-engineering knobs, and IGPs don't. :/ They even seem to have forgotten that IGPs have metrics (let alone old fashioned TE, flex-algos, etc).

    If people would be interested to learn about the basic of IS-IS, there is always more to teach later. Segment routing, network design, scaling & robustness, fast convergence, and how to troubleshoot it all.

    I think your audience is mostly Enterprise Network engineers. They might be more interested in OSPF and BGP. But if you ever wanna do IS-IS, I'd be happy to help.

    1. That's a lovely idea; thanks a million. Will get in touch with you once I have the basic scaffolding in place.

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