Most people who work with Cisco equipment know that there are some routers out there that are the real carrier class type of kit. So what would it take to get your hands on those? CCIP Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional is good step in that direction.
As with most Cisco Professional certifications a valid CCNA is a pre-requisite in order for you to obtain the CCIP. Again, as the other Cisco Professional certifications, this one is valid for 3 years.
Now where would a person start his or her CCIP quest? 4 exams are needed but where do you begin? BSCI, Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks [642-601] is a good place to start. It will count towards your CCNP and CCIP and gives you a good overview of interior routing protocols and basic BGP introduction. This is not an easy exam because of the broad spectrum of knowledge you need to acquire but who said that CCIP was a walk in the park.
Now there are 2 options you can sit the BGP [642-611] and MPLS [642-611] exam separately or you can do a composite type of exam BGP+MPLS [642-691]. Both exams build on each other so sitting the composite is good way of testing your knowledge of the ISP core protocols. The exams are really the heart of the CCIP certification and are the proof that this certification is categorized under the Service Provider on Ciscoís career certifications part of their website.
Finally 1 exam has to be mastered in order to obtain the CCIP and that is QoS, Quality of Service [642-642]. A benefit of this exam is that is also counts towards CCVP, Cisco Certified Voice Professional. This one will cover he QoS methods used in a service provider/voip environment.
To recertify your CCIP you need to sit either the current BGP+MPLS exam or the current versions of the two separate exams. Another way to recertify is by passing a current CCIE written exam.
Overall the CCIP is good stepping stone into the service provider world. It is a very though path, but it will open doors into the challenging world of the ISPís, big telcos, etc. And on a personal note, passing my CCIP made me more interested in taking the steps to achieve my CCIE Service Provider because of the technologies and challenges involved in the internetworking world we live in today.