Saturday, May 10, 2008

Books for MPLS

I have just started my preparation for the MPLS exam (last one of CCIP) and i'm looking for some relevant books to buy.

I need a book that covers the basics and another one (or two) for the advanced stuff plus design principles/architectures. Preferably a book from the 2nd category should help me in the CCIE SP track too.

During the last week i've been doing an online research and after reading many customer reviews, i think there is something missing from the world of MPLS books. There is no such book as a MPLS bible (although Ivan's 1st -quite old- book has received many good reviews). Do you also wonder why there isn't any recent book about MPLS that covers "everything"? I hope Jeff Doyle will decide to write one...

So, these are the ones i have come up until now:

Basic MPLS
MPLS Fundamentals (2006)
MPLS: Implementing the Technology (2001)
MPLS: Technology and Applications (2000)
Rick Gallaher's MPLS Training Guide: Building Multi Protocol Label Switching Networks (2003)
MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software (2005)
MPLS and VPN Architectures (2000)
MPLS and VPN Architectures, CCIP Edition (2002) (anyone know the difference between this and the above one? is it more recent?) - check "Update 11 May 2008" below for details

Advanced MPLS & MPLS Design
MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume II (2003)
Traffic Engineering with MPLS (2002)
Advanced MPLS Design and Implementation (2001)
Definitive MPLS Network Designs (2005)
Layer 2 VPN Architectures (2005)
MPLS-Enabled Applications: Emerging Developments and New Technologies (2005)

Do you have any (other) recommendations?

PS: Has anyone living in Europe ordered a book from Cisco Press? Any problems? I have earned a coupon code for 35% but i'm afraid i'll pay that in taxes when entering my country. I wonder, why isn't there a Cisco Press online bookstore in Europe, like
Keep in mind that buying from a local (greek) bookstore is not an option for me, because i'll pay double the price (i learned my lesson from the CCIE books).

Update 11 May 2008...
I got an answer from Ivan Pepelnjak regarding his books, which clarifies many things:

Here is the full story: MPLS and VPN Architectures Volume I and II are completely separate books with only slight overlap. Volume I was written when MPLS and MPLS VPNs were an emerging technology, thus the coverage of some solutions (like Carrier's Carrier architecture) was scarce (as they were mostly on the drawing board at that time). We've later released CCIP edition of Volume I, which includes a few bug fixes and two chapters on troubleshooting to match the requirements of the early version of Cisco's MPLS course.

The Volume II covers advanced MPLS topics, including remote access, inter-AS MPLS VPN, Carrier's carrier architecture, IP Multicast in MPLS VPN etc. Reading Volume II without having sound foundations from Volume I does not make sense.

Update 15 May 2008...
Added the "MPLS-Enabled Applications: Emerging Developments and New Technologies" book.


  1. Hi, taxes on books from Ciscopress seems kinda random.. I've had to pay tax on only one of my three orders from there so far, and I live in Sweden.

    Great post listing MPLS-books though, I'm about halfway through MPLS Fundamentals, and I have the MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software untouched on a shelf. I Ivans MPLS and VPN Architectures will be my next buy in the MPLS-series :)

  2. I live in Ireland and I got a shipment of book from ciscopress in 3 days but got a bill for taxes from Fedex 2 weeks later.

    All in all, still way cheaper than buying them here.


  3. I have had the same story, occasionally need to pay taxes. One time I got a double shipment of books and Cisco Press had no problem refunding.

    However, I have now signed up to Safari from O'Reilly which has _every_ Cisco Press book (past present and future) for about USD$400 per year.

    If you think of signing up to Safari please use my code so that I can donate money to charity (see my website if you want to know more) . I will break the URL so you don't click accidentally.



  4. I passed the MPLS exam two weeks ago. I recommend "MPLS and VPN Architectures" for the basic stuff and "MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software" for the more advanced topics (such as AToM and MPLS-TE), with lots of configuration examples and covering all the topics. I hate to read a book several times, reading this one was good to review everything and consolidate my knowledge. That should be enough for the exam. (To my surprise, the exam had many MPLS-TE questions)

  5. I'd also like to know the difference between the MPLS and VPN Architectures, and CCIP edition. The CCIP edition has been marked "This publication currently is not for sale." on Ciscopress for months, so I'd like to know if there is something to wait for, or to buy the 'regular' edition instead.

  6. I order books from Ciscopress all the time I live in the UK and there are no taxes on educational materials so I do not have to pay taxes on them. Not sure what the story in Greece is. On some of my orders Fedex send me a tax invoice but I write back to them to tell them that they were books and I do not have to pay the tax. Apparently this only happens when Ciscopress fail to mark the fact that they are educational materials on the box.

  7. Kevin Dorrell12 May, 2008 21:56

    Hi Tassos,

    I did try buying from CiscoPress with a voucher, but after import duty, handling charges, shipping, VAT, it was more expensive than I could have got it from my usual source - do books in English as well as in German. As Greece is in the EU, there should not be any import duties or extra VAT to pay.

    If you attend Networkers, the cheapest way is to save up your booklist and buy them there. Assuming that you don't have to pay excess baggage, that is.

    Kevin Dorrell
    CCIE #20765

  8. @gregferro: I wish i could use the online library, but i dislike heavy reading on my computer screen (although you can print a number of pages, if i understand correctly). But i think it's a very good solution when used for any extra online searching.

    @Kevin Dorrell: I'll be visiting networkers, but i don't want to fill my bags with extra books on the way home. Also, if everything goes well, i plan on having the MPLS exam there (there are some nice MPLS sessions i could use for last moment review), so i must be prepared before i get there.

    I made some calculations and these are my results for 5 (yes, five!) books: : 160€ : 190€ : 262€ : 233€ (one book is missing) : 285€ : 221€

    All prices are final; they include shipping minus any coupon codes.

    As it seems, the american bookstores are the cheapest ones, but i heard many frightening stories about import fees (from 20% to 40%!) when passing though the greek customs, so i decided to avoid them. It's mostly a matter of luck and i don't think Cisco Press will be willing to write "gift" on the outside. seems a very good choice in Europe and i'll probably choose them (i would also like to know if anyone has any good or bad experience with them).

    I'm not sure whether i'll buy all 5 books now, or just 3 now and the other 2 at a later time.

  9. Btw, i found "Mpls and Vpn Architectures: Ccip Edition" (hardcover) only in Australia!!!

    It's a little bit strange (and annoying i must say) that the older edition is available almost everywhere, while the "newer" one isn't.

  10. hi,
    i know this book isn't published by cisco but is a very good book. it's only theoretical so no configuration examples. the people that wrote it are working with juniper. you should just take a look,who knows, maybe it will be a good read :

  11. @dannys

    Quiet strangely, i had seen the same recommendation for a mpls book in the cisco-bba list. Also it's recommended by Jeff Doyle.

    I'll keep that in mind and update the list accordingly.

  12. Why Buying those books ?
    I use safari and I have all the colletion

  13. @Anonymous,

    I can't spend more than 60 mins reading something on screen. I usually print it if i want to make a good reading/understanding of it.

    On the other hand, i can spend 8+ hours reading on paper.

    Online libraries are very good if you want to search for something or have a quick look at it.

  14. aptly said, book from Juniper people is really good for a theoretical approach.


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