How To: Submit Labs

Perhaps you have some cool labs that you would like to share with us all. That would be great!

There are however some guidelines about creating labs and writing layout so the quality of all our labs and the site will maintain high.

You need to send me an e-mail because I need to upgrade your account to an “author” account so you can post articles. Letting me know on the forum will also work.

Just pick any lab on the website and you will see they are all created with the same layout and style. Use the default font size, the headings I use are “heading 1” for Lab title and “Heading 2” for the other ones. Let’s check out how I write labs:

  1. Lab title:

    The title of the lab should describe what the lab is about. For example: “Multicast PIM Accept RP”. There should be no confusion what kind of lab this is about, if it’s a combined lab try to name the protocols or features. Just don’t call it something like “Awesome Extreme ISP Lab by Rene Molenaar” or something…that doesn’t say anything ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Scenario:

    The scenario is just a little introduction to the lab, I try to think up a little story…just for fun, makes the lab more entertaining I hope ๐Ÿ™‚ Try to include “why are you trying to achieve this”. For example: The multicast sparse-mode lab describes that you want to implement it, to reduce unnecessary  flooding compared to “dense” mode, which might be an advantage.

  3. Goal:

    I’m using bullet points to state all the needed points. For example:

    • Configure all IP addresses as specified in the topology picture (that’s what it normally begins with).
    • Configure this & that.
    • You need to achieve this or that. (eg: full connectivity)
    • Test this by pinging x.x.x.x
    • etc.

    Using bullet points gives you an overview, I try to make sure you can work from top to bottom…so you don’t have to start over because the last bullet point wants you to change something you did in the beginning.

  4. IOS:

    So far i’ve been using IOS Image “c3640-jk9s-mz.124-16.bin”. It doesn’t consume a lot of memory and it has all the features I need, make sure to specify the IOS version if you are using something else.

  5. Topology:

    The first line I add is always:

    You need to register to download the GNS3 Topology File. (Registration is Free!)

    And then I place the topology picture below, there’s a few guidelines:

    • Don’t forget to add the router hostnames.
    • Don’t forget to add the network address and subnet mask, I try to use the color “blue” for this.
    • Don’t forget to add the IP address at the router.
    • Please add the GNS3Vault logo in the bottom left, in case someone downloads a PDF and spreads it around, it’ll at least have the site logo and url on it ๐Ÿ™‚

    This is the picture I use in the bottom left corner:


  6. GNS3 Config file:

    Last thing to do, is to add a GNS3 configuration file. Please compress them (ZIP) and add them to the article. REALLY IMPORTANT: DO NOT ADD IOS IMAGES!

    GNS3 is free software and it’s awesome, but spreading Cisco IOS Images is illegal!

  7. Have fun! I realize I wrote down plenty of guidelines but this will assure the quality of the site and labs will be high, and that’s what we all want right? Your registered name will automatically pop-up with the site, so who knows…perhaps you become famous with your lab! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments please let me know!

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Written by Renรฉ Molenaar - CCIE #41726

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About the Author: Rene Molenaar

Renรฉ - CCIE #41726 is the creator of where he shares CCNA, CCNP and CCIE R&S labs. He also blogs about networking on


  1. Rene,

    I’ve completed probably 70 of your labs so far and I’ve begun building my own. My labs are generally very large and focus on a variety of technologies, on the order of your CCNP lab.

    I wanted to propose a new idea … supply only a GNS3 topology diagram with only routing protocol boundaries shown. No IP addresses, interface numbers, DLCIs, nothing. The candidate has to configure the entire lab from scratch given a set of instructions. They are free to use their own IP schemes and AS numbers. As such, there wouldn’t be much to download, just a topology diagram and task listing which are both available on the main webpage. There can be a 4 hour time limit, for example. I also limit the use of "show run" and "show start" to strengthen troubleshooting skills. Also, minimize use of Wireshark and use debug commands instead.

    As a recent CCNP graduate, I’ve been solidying my CCNP knowledge as I begin my CCIE journey. I think that would be helpful for everyone!

    Here are some sample tasks from my most recent lab. I am currently working on it and I wanted to add some EIGRP traffic engineering, BGP path selection, and PBR too.

    -All protocols must be authenticated on every link using MD5.
    -The serial link between R1 and R2 should be PPP using CHAP.
    -The serial link between R3 and R4 should be PPP using PAP.
    -The frame relay link set between R2/R5 and R2/R6 should be OSPF network type p2mp.
    -The frame relay link set between R3/R5 and R3/R6 should be OSPF network type p2mp nb.
    -The frame relay link set between R4/R5 and R4/R6 should be p2p subinterfaces.
    -All EIGRP hello/hold intervals should be 5/15.
    -All OSPF hello/dead intervals should be 10/40.
    -You must use route tagging for redistribution between OSPF and EIGRP at R2, R3, and R5.
    -To keep R1’s routing table very small, only permit a default route towards R1 from R2, R3, and R4. Accomplish this using the "distribute-list" command and NOT within the redistribution filter.
    -You are not allowed to redistribute BGP routes into OSPF in any way.
    -You must redistribute OSPF routes into BGP at R5 and R6.
    -Use OSPF area 56 for the link between R5 and R6 to assist with iBGP convergence.
    -Use RIPv2 for the link between R7 and R8 to assist with iBGP convergence.
    -For all iBGP peerings, source BGP updates from loopback addresses. Ensure no IGP messages
    are sent to any of the loopback addresses.
    -For all iBGP peerings, use peer groups.

    1. That sounds like a good idea. I love the big labs but they take a lot of time, that’s why i focused on the smaller labs with specific topics, it helped to build the website and create a lot of labs fast.

      If you have some cool labs you would like to share, please send them to me and I’ll add them allright?

      1. I usually build the big labs while I study on weekends because they are the best study aids for those working on their CCIE ๐Ÿ™‚

        When I get back from my business trip I will be sure to send you some of the wacky things I’ve cooked up. I think they will cause considerable pain and suffering for my fellow CCIE candidates (in a good way of course)!

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