Since I continue to receive questions regarding my JNCIP and JNCIE certifications; specifically what I did to prepare, I decided to create this FAQ on preparing for the JNCIP-M Lab Exam – hope it helps!

Q: Is an olive lab suitable for exam preparation?

A: Yes, I used an olive lab to prepare for both my JNCIP and JNCIE.

Q: Are there any problems with using an olive lab exclusively when preparing for the JNCIP-M?

A: Yes, there are some issues.  The most obvious is that you will not be able to practice any non-Ethernet interface configurations (no POS or ATM) and even some Ethernet interface configuration will not be possible (most notably MAC address filtering).  This is all due to the simple fact that you can not install PICs in a PC, so all ports must be Ethernet and they all show up as fxp interfaces.  Additionally, I encountered some general bugginess in our olive lab – reboots or process restarts were necessary from time to time.  Overall the problems are far outweighed by the price and availability of building an olive lab vs a full M (or T) series lab, imo.

Q: Which topics should I focus on in my studies?

A: You really do need to understand all of the topics covered in the JNCIP-M Study Guide [PDF].  I remember the system and interface configurations being fairly straightforward, mostly requiring good attention to detail – if you name a router’s hostname or particular log file incorrectly you will lose points.  For OSPF and IS-IS, in addition to understanding how to build a scalable IGP using either, you need to know the function of the various LSAs; some of the requirements will likely be worded to test this knowledge.  If any area requires more focus than others, it is policy – in addition to there being a specific policy section on the test, good policy is needed in many other areas as well (sharing routes between protocols or areas in your IGP for one).  A thorough understanding of BGP (both iBGP and eBGP) is required as well.

Q: What is the format of the test, how will the questions be posed?

A: You will be given a list of requirements, broken into sections – much like the case studies in the study guide.  The sections are also similar  to the chapter separation in that book, they are: System, Interface, IGP, iBGP, eBGP and Policy.

Q: Will I be required to configure all protocols on a single test-bed with different scenarios?

A: Not quite, there are basically four different tests and you will get one of them, they vary based on some combination of the available IGP and iBGP sections.  The possible combinations are:

  • OSPF & route reflectors
  • OSPF & confederations
  • IS-IS & route reflectors
  • IS-IS & confederations

Q: Is the JNCIP Study Guide enough preparation or do I need to take a bootcamp?

A: This is really up to you but I would say that if you already have some good experience working with JUNOS that the book should be sufficient (assuming you have a lab to follow along and practice in).  If you are still quite new to Juniper Networks products, you can not manage access to a lab, or you just want some extra insurance; a bootcamp may be a good jump-start.  I have never taken any exam bootcamps so I can’t say much more.

Q: What do I need to know that is not in the Study Guide?

A: It is very helpful (probably necessary) to be familiar with JUNOS’ command completion and the various ways to load a configuration (or portion of a configuration) in JUNOS – especially one that you cut-and-paste from another router.

Q: Is time an issue?

A: The JNCIP-M is a timed exam and so time and speed are definitely things to consider.  In my experience the 8 hours given is plenty if you take advantage of the shortcuts available.  You are allowed to open as many terminal sessions as you need and to use notepad as well, when combined with a good understanding of both JUNOS load commands and which portions of config can be duplicated easily, this can save you a ton of time that you might waste otherwise.

Q: How will I know when I am ready for the test?

A: If you can independently complete all of the book case studies in less than 90min each, you are probably ready.  In my experience the exam was actually a bit easier than the case studies from the book – less requirements per section.  For a rough comparison; as my last act of preparation, I completed all of the books case studies, back to back in about eight hours and I was then able to finish the actual test in around four hours.  Of course completing all of the case studies meant that I built both an OSPF and an IS-IS IGP and that I completed configurations for both route-reflector and confederation based iBGP topology – duplications that were not required on exam day.

Now it’s your turn – do you have any questions about the JNCIP-M lab exam? Or maybe you have some better answers to these questions?  Leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Published On: August 31st, 2009 / Categories: Juniper / Tags: , , , , /


  1. Ahmed 2 September 2009 at 10:51 - Reply


    Read your wonderful blog about JNCIP and JNCIE.

    Question, exactly how many routers you need to set up a lab
    to practice?

    What version of Junos should I use if I want to
    practice in an Olive environment?


    • Chris Grundemann 2 September 2009 at 10:59 - Reply

      Thanks Ahmed!

      The case studies in the book use 7 routers, plus there are the customer, peer and tran routers. But you don’t need that many if you use logical or virtual routers. If you are using olive(s) instead of real routers, you can use vmware and create all the olive routers on one PC and if you have a “real” router, you can set up many logical routers on one chassis. Because I had a bunch of old p3 PCs laying around and access to a couple M10s, I built my lab with 5 olive PCs and 2 m10s. On one of the M10s, I set up all the logical routers to act as CE and peer/tran routers.

      The tests now use JUNOS 8.1, so that would be the best to practice on but it is not critical – most commands are available across most versions.

  2. Jason 14 September 2009 at 03:26 - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much on sharing your Juniper journey!

    Please would you be able to post your JNCIP configurations for your olives and the two M10’s so I may try to commence my JNCIP book studies? It would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Jason 14 September 2009 at 03:28 - Reply

    ps. I mean baseline configurations (so I can understand how to set up the interfaces etc). Again, any help would be great bud.

  4. Nam 23 September 2009 at 22:30 - Reply

    Hi Chris !
    Thank you so much for your sharing

    I am preparing for JNCIP exam but i have one question :

    Except 7 routers we have to config, we don’t have to config other router peer, transit, customer but can we access these router to show config or show route ,..

    Thanks and Best Regards

    • Chris Grundemann 24 September 2009 at 08:53 - Reply

      Yes, I was able to access all of the peer, transit and customer routers by telneting from the directly connected router – basic show, ping and traceroute commands were available. Best of luck to you!

      • adnan 3 November 2009 at 00:07 - Reply

        Hi Chris,

        I have query regarding JNCIP chapter-2 , how can i do practice of Chapter-2 in Olve ??

        Thanks and Best Regards

        • Chris Grundemann 3 November 2009 at 09:36 - Reply

          Chapter 2 in the JNCIP Study Guide is the chapter on interface configuration. As I mentioned in the post, this is one area where an olive lab definitely falls short: “The most obvious is that you will not be able to practice any non-Ethernet interface configurations (no POS or ATM) and even some Ethernet interface configuration will not be possible (most notably MAC address filtering). This is all due to the simple fact that you can not install PICs in a PC, so all ports must be Ethernet and they all show up as fxp interfaces.”

          In other words, you can not directly practice much of chapter 2 in an olive only lab. This is where real-world experience is very valuable. Beyond that, if you can’t get access to a couple chassis’ with multiple interface types installed, you just have to study the book to gain an understanding of these configurations. Lab practice is much more important with protocols and policies anyway – interface configurations are fairly simple and easy to troubleshoot comparatively.

          Good Luck!

  5. adnan 8 November 2009 at 12:45 - Reply

    Thanks for your valuable answer of last query. i have one more query that all the JNCIP labs in exam is same with JNCIP book case studies , i just came to know that all the case studies task were mentioned in exam was same like in book, would you please help me out , that exam has same task like in book ?????

    Thanks in advance…

  6. Aliou 9 November 2009 at 10:35 - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for sharing those important informations about JNCIP-M lab exam.

    I’m preparing for that exam and I’m using Olive for the hands-on.

    But I have some problems with olive: If I add interfaces on the VM, I cannot see more that 3 interfaces in the router’s configuration.

    I would like to know if you already encountered this kind of issue and how to fix it.

    Thank you in advance!


  7. Ben 11 March 2010 at 15:43 - Reply


    Was the Sybex JNCIE study guide suffice for the exam the way the JNCIP study guide was or are there other study materials or resources you would recommend for the JNCIE? Thanks for all of the great information!

    Best Regards,

    • Chris Grundemann 15 March 2010 at 14:25 - Reply

      The combination of the JNCIP and JNCIE study guides was sufficient – there is a lot of material covered in the JNCIP guide that is included in the JNCIE test. Good luck Ben!

  8. Kashif 14 July 2010 at 22:15 - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I didn’t get a clear picture regarding Hands on practice as some of other persons also asked about this but didn’t get clear answer.
    Is study guide case studies enough for JNCIP-M lab or i should practice labs from some where else also & how much similar these case studies are with real exam perspective??

    Good Day

    • Chris Grundemann 6 April 2011 at 08:04 - Reply

      The case studies in the study guides where harder than the actual test in my experience and are great for preparing. This may change with the new JNCIE-SP which promises to be an even tougher test than the JNCIE-M but I think they are still a great place to focus if you are preparing with self-study.

  9. Noman 6 January 2011 at 06:13 - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I have set up olive lab, which was working fine uptill now. but somehow few routers interfaces stopped responding. i have tried to fix it by rebooting all the routers as well as by restarting routing process, but no luck. have you ever come across with this behavior, if do so then let me know how i can fix it.



    • Chris Grundemann 6 April 2011 at 08:02 - Reply

      Olives can be tricky – restarting routing and rebooting is definitely what I would have tried. I guess the next step would be to rebuild them altogether… :(

      Good Luck!

  10. AMiR+ 8 February 2011 at 04:15 - Reply

    Hi Chris,
    I’m new to JNCIP topic, what should I study? How exam looks like?
    How much time do I need to pass JNICP? as I heard JNCIP-M would retired around jun 2011, Is it correct?


  11. Nguyen Duc Hoa 5 April 2011 at 21:14 - Reply

    Hi all.

    Out company wants to build a lab for studying and getting some JCNIP certificates. Would you give me some recommendation about which Juniper devices, and which kind of devices to fulfill this requirement?

    Thanks all.

  12. ch 15 May 2011 at 04:58 - Reply

    May I know what will be tested in the policy part?
    Do u have any advise in avoiding loop/optimal path ?
    Is traceoption considered syslog?


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