Cisco CCIE Service Provider Written and Lab Exams have been refreshed from Version 3.0 to Version 4.0. The last day to test for both the Written Exam v3.0 (350-029) and the Lab Exam v3.0 will be May 21, 2015. Beginning May 22, 2015, the Written Exam v4.0 (400-201) and the Lab Exam v4.0 will be available for testing. The update reflects both changes in technology and the evolution of job roles.

Below is a general overview of updates in v4.0. For detailed information about the changes, please read the official CCIE Service Provider Exam Topic Updates document. It details the logical structure of the overall topics and provides a side-by-side comparison of both versions, stressing out the differences between version 3.0 exams and version 4.0 exams.

Domain Comparison

The new exam curriculum comprises six topic domains. Each topic represents the logical structure defined in most Service Provider teams around the world. The new segmentation into six domains also improves the alignment between the curriculum, the exam sections, and the score report sections:

1. SP Architecture and Evolution 
2. Core Routing
3. Service Provider-Based Services 
4. Access and Aggregation
5. High Availability and Fast Convergence
6. SP Security, SP Operation and Management


CCIE Service Provider v4.0 Topic Changes

The topics were added, moved, or retired based on feedback received from the key industry Subject Matter Expert (SME). All these changes reflect the evolution of the Service Provider environment. The CCIE Service Provider v4.0 should meet the expectation of the candidates working in a Service Provider industry.

Content Updates

The following are some of the key topic updates in CCIE Service Provider v4.0:

  • Ethernet VPN (EVPN)
  • Unified MPLS (Seamless MPLS)
  • Multicast Label Distribution Protocol (mLDP)
  • Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP)
  • mGRE VPN
  • Provider Backbone Bridging EVPN (PBB-EVPN)
  • IPv6 NAT44/NAT64/6RD
  • MPLS OAM & Ethernet OAM

Topics Removed:

  • Describe, implement, optimize, and troubleshoot Frame Relay connections
  • Describe, implement, optimize, and troubleshoot ATM connections
  • Entire domain: describe, implement, optimize, and troubleshoot managed service traversing the core
  • Entire domain: describe service provider network implementing principles


CCIE Service Provider v4.0 New Exam Format

The exam number changed from 350-029 to 400-201. However, the Written exam format remains essentially the same. The format of the Lab exam has changed significantly. The web-based delivery infrastructure that supports the new Lab exam is very similar to the previous version 3.0. However, now the whole exam is delivered using virtual devices only. In the previous exam, XR devices and switch devices were hardware-based. Using this new infrastructure throughout the exam, the topology represents a more realistic Service Provider Backbone scenario. The exam focuses more on conceptual design technologies and troubleshooting, rather than evaluating specific hardware platform knowledge. The Lab exam format is very similar to the CCIE R&Sv5.0, which consists of these three modules:

  • Troubleshoot
  • Diagnostic
  • Configuration

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CCIE Service Provider v4.0 Recommended Hardware and Software Equipment

The CCIE SP Lab exam is based on the Cisco Software release running within a 100% virtual environment. Candidates who want to prepare for the exam using hardware can use this Cisco equipment and Cisco Software releases:

  • ASR 9000 Series running the Cisco IOS XR 5.2 release
  • ASR 1000 Series running the Cisco IOS XE 3.13S.15.4(3)S release
  • Cisco 7600 Series running the Cisco IOS 15.5(3)S release
  • Cisco ME 3600 Series running the Cisco IOS 15.5(3)S release


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