How to use Cisco Documentation for CCIE

When you are studying for CCIE you will have to become familiar with the so called “doc cd”. There is no such thing as a Cisco Documentation CD anymore but that’s what most people still call it. Everything that you need can be found on the Cisco support site.

During the CCIE lab exam you will have access to the “configure” section of the Cisco support site. This is the URL that you should save:

You will end up at the following screen:

cisco support configure

Now the big question is…what can you use and more importantly, what is not available to use during the CCIE exam? Let’s start with the things that we can’t use during the lab exam:

cisco support technology

The technology section has some very interesting FAQs, standards, design guides, white papers and config examples but they are NOT available to us during the CCIE lab exam. Don’t ignore it however, this is great stuff as you are studying and preparing at home. Just keep in mind that it’s not available during the CCIE lab exam! So what can we use during the lab exam? Let me show you:

cisco support products ios

We will have access to the products section -> Cisco IOS -> Cisco IOS Software Release 12.4 Family -> Cisco IOS Software Releases 12.4 T. Once you click on it you will see this screen:

Cisco support IOS 12.4THere you will find everything you need for all the protocols that are running on our routers. Things like OSPF, EIGRP, BGP and everything else. You will find the most interesting information in the Configuration Guides. If you click on it and scroll down this is what you will find:

cisco support configuration ip routing

For example you can see the configuration guides for BGP, EIGRP, OSPF and RIP. If you click on them you will find everything you need. You also might want to look at the Master Index if you are looking for one particular command. Go back to the 12.4T overview and click on “Software Downloads, Release and General Information”:

cisco master index

The Master Index is an overview with all available commands. It’s useful when you forgot about a certain command, you can use your webbrowser’s search function to lookup commands.

If you want to lookup something for your Cisco Catalyst 3560 switches you can use the following section on the support website:

cisco support switches

Just click on Products -> Switches -> Campus LAN Switches – Access -> Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches and you will find the Configuration examples /guides. Here’s what it looks like:

Cisco 3560 configuration support

Keep in mind that search is disabled during the CCIE lab exam so you need to become familiar with the navigation. You are able to use your web browser’s search function however. Make sure you become familiar with the documentation support section from Cisco and don’t rely on Google too much as you are studying, this is the only tool that you will be allowed to use.

I hope this is helpful to you, good luck studying!

Forum Replies

  1. Great write up. This is exactly what I needed. Thanks!

  2. Hi Guys - why do you think that Cisco allow access to the Products section but not the Technology during the lab exam?

    What is there specifically that you can find in the Technology section which can not be found under Products?

  3. Hi Rene,

    I stumbled upon this article. I’ve noticed that out of all CCIE studies many instructors and students emphasize how important is it to know how to use CISCO documentation during the exam but nobody speaks about how useful is it in the real world, is it because not many engineers hardly use it in the real world or they don’t have much faith

  4. Hello Walter

    The use of Cisco documentation for the CCIE is of utmost importance because it is your only resource during the exam. Learning how to use it efficiently means the difference between passing and failing. In the real world, Cisco documentation is also important, but it is not as mission critical. You have various additional resources to go to such as forums like this one, consultants, and even colleagues. We all have what I like to call our “Cisco Gurus” which are those people that we go to when we can’t solve a problem or troubleshoot an issue,

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