Sunday, March 28, 2010

DIY point-and-click like on the CCIE Lab exam

Hi all,
after reading several posts on GroupStudy about the point-and-click interface on the lab exam, I've start thinking on how to emulate it, or at least how to obtain something similar.

Basically I need a topology diagram with clickable routers, and a putty window that opens and connect to the clicked router... so what's better of the old HTML image maps?

I've tryed with this online tool:
using one of my lab diagrams (that one you will see in the next post...)

And this is the result:

Obviusly you may have clicked on routers on the image above... if you use M$ Internet Explorer, maybe the browser can't handle a link to that complex applications like telnet :-) (tested on my M$ IE 8.0 only)
But if you used firefox, other good reason to choose it, you have obtained a putty/other terminal emulation program, with an error like "can't connect to localhost:nnnn", if you have your rack ssh-tunneled listening on that ports, or a dynamips running... you where connected!
(if firefox says "cannot handle protocol", see )

Let see step by step how to create it:

STEP 0: create your network diagram, with DIA, M$ Visio, GNS3 or take a screenshot of your favorite's vendor workbook, and save it in a jpg format (use GIMP to manipulate the image if needed)

STEP 1: go to the online tool page ( ) and upload your topology image
The result will look like:

STEP 2: draw CIRCLE shape on routers (be patient on it) and add the target of the link. The trick here is that the link is pointing to "telnet://whateverIP:port", so your browser will start your default telnet application (or ask what it is). Point to putty when your browser asks the first time, flag all the "always do that action"/"don't bother me with that question again" :-)
Oh, by the way, here is the screenshot of the first circle on my diagram:

STEP 3: repeat step 2 for all the devices on your topology, then press the HTML button to view the html code:

STEP 4: copy the html code in a notepad, and add simple html to create a web page:

As you can see, the html code is really simple, just a few lines.
Then save as .html file (not .html.txt!) and open it with your browser (firefox again..).


It will be nice to do an html simulation with various diagrams (L2/L3, IGP, BGP, IPv6...) and the tasks in html too, but I never attemped a lab until now, so I don't know how it looks in the exam (and IF you can tell/reproduce the real graphical interface or it's under NDA).

well, hope this helps someone to feel confident with the point-and-click format of the exam.

Now it's better I go back to studying :-)



impiouspunk said...

Awesome, and it looked pretty easy to emulate. Perhaps the vendors will catch up and start offering this natively to their students.

Marco Rizzi said...

thanks Matthew! and they are welcome to adopt it, it's simply old-style html, nothing else!

Maybe with this people will stop complaining about the interface or terminal emulation :-)