Exam Reviews

Behind the Browser

The IEAK 5.0 exam forces you to prove your knowledge of Internet Explorer and the technologies that make it work.

The Internet Explorer 5.0 Administration Kit exam tests your knowledge of the browser, as you’d expect, but it also tests you on all the technologies that make it work. If you’re going for the coveted MCSE+Internet certification and plan on taking this test to finish it off, don’t think you’ll be able to cruise through with ease. You’re going to have to prove knowledge of TCP/IP networking, Windows NT policies and security, network infrastructure, and, of course, the Administration Kit itself.

Planning and Implementing

As with many recent Microsoft exams, this one poses scenario questions. These take the form: “This is what you want to accomplish; this is what you did. How many of your goals did you actually accomplish by performing those tasks?” For instance, one skill being measured is your understanding of licensing differences for ISPs, companies, and content providers. A scenario question might ask you what licensing requirements you would need based on how you were going to implement IE 5.0. Say you’re a software developer creating an application that uses IE browser technology that you’re going to distribute. What type of licensing would you need to apply for to Microsoft in order to distribute IE with your software?

This exam also tests your knowledge of the various components available with an IE install. For example, if your users need a particular Internet service, such as email, which component of the install will provide your clients with this functionality? Or if users need to edit HTML pages on the company intranet, which component of IE can provide this?

Scenario questions always present several requirements and optional results. You always deploy a specific set of options. Be prepared to sort out what requirements you’ve met with the installation you’ve deployed. Requirements could range from security restrictions to installation options. Make sure you’re up to speed on bandwidth considerations, existing machine configuration, mobile computing, network issues, and international issues. Do you know how to synchronize IE for offline browsing for mobile users? On the international side, understand how to set up IEAK for creating a different language version of IE. Also, make sure you can create different versions of IE for different operating systems.

You might be presented with basic applications of IEAK: the Customization Wizard, Profile Manager, and the Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK). You’ll need to know the role of each application and how it applies to your IE build.

Study the distribution of IEAK. Know the differences between a flat, download, branded, or CD distribution. For example, say you’re going to a tradeshow, and you want to provide clients with an HTML presentation and a company-branded browser to view it with. What method would you use to distribute the build to people walking around the show? (One possible answer: a CD build would work; after all, you don’t want them lugging laptops, hoping to download the site from a nearby T1 connection.)

IEAK 5.0 (70-080)
Reviewer’s Rating: “Definitely not the hardest exam I’ve taken, but it covers a lot of ground.”

Title: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 Using the Microsoft Internet Explorer Administration Kit

Number of Questions: 118 in the beta; about half that on actual exam.

Time allowed: Expect around 90 minutes for live exam.

Current status: Live as of February 2000.

Who should take it? Counts as elective credit toward NT 4.0 MCSE and MCSE+Internet certifications.

What classes prepare you?

  • 956, a two-day instructor-led course that focuses on IEAK 4.0.
  • 1400a, a downloadable self-study course.

Networking

Networking issues are a major part of this exam. Make sure you understand TCP/IP networking, especially the basics of subnets, routers, gateways, DNS, and so on. If you’ve already passed the TCP/IP exam, then you shouldn’t have any problems here. Practice doing an ipconfig in NT and understand what those numbers are that you’re seeing.

Likewise, understand the fundamentals of linking with a Remote Access Service (RAS) connection, Virtual Private Networking (VPN), or hooking up to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Understand what a proxy is and how it works.

Also, break out the JScript books, particularly the sections on auto-proxy script files. Do you know how to evaluate a JScript conditional statement that sets up your client’s Internet connection based on several criteria? Can you detect whether the user is connecting via a RAS dial-in and then connect that person based upon this connection information? The proxy detection script allows you to do tasks like this.

Know how to use the Connection Manager to set up different dial-up configurations for your clients. This could be based on what area code a person is in. Say, for example, you’re an ISP with multiple locations and you want to make it as easy as possible for your clients to call their local service provider. How can you use the CMAK to configure the Internet connection information?

Know how to set up a VPN connection via dial-up networking. Understand how to connect via IP address or domain name and why this even matters. If your network uses DHCP and your VPN server gets an assigned IP address; what would be the best connection string to use in your dial-up connection, domain name, or IP address? Also know what protocols can be used over a VPN connection.

What About the MCSE+Internet?
If you’re wondering which exams you should tackle as electives for the Windows 2000 MCSE, the IEAK test is one to consider. Although the NT 4.0 MCSE+Internet certification requires exams from seven core areas, in six of those areas every single exam has been scheduled for retirement (the exception is the Windows 98 test). For the seventh, the IEAK requirement, Microsoft hasn’t announced anything. Presumably, once the exam reviewed here is live, we can expect version 4.0 to be added to the retiree ranks. (Although Microsoft used to follow the practice of allowing two versions of a product to be represented in live tests, they’ve thrown that habit out the window with their most recent program announcements; it’s a new world.) For now and the foreseeable future, IEAK 5.0 is still a safe bet.
—Editor

Problems and Efficiencies

Troubleshooting and optimization go hand in hand. After your deployment, you will no doubt be presented with problems from users. Through the process of troubleshooting these issues, you gradually develop best practices for optimizing your IE deployment. For the exam, be prepared to diagnose various problems concerning network infrastructure and client configurations.

Also be ready to troubleshoot simple issues like name resolution and problems with a client’s IP configuration. If you’re presented with a network diagram of routers and workstations and their IP configuration, could you diagnose the connectivity problems based upon this schematic?

Other issues might reside at the client but affect your entire network. For instance, your clients could be using synchronization and downloading huge Web sites all at the same time or during a heavy traffic time of the day. You should know how to schedule synchronization of IE offline sites to enhance performance while providing users with the latest content. Also, be acquainted with IE settings, like when to tell it to check for a new version of a page.

Do you have a thorough knowledge of the various components you can install with IE and what they do? For example, to provide users with the ability to edit HTML pages and send and receive Internet email, you’d provide Outlook Express and FrontPage Express as part of your IE distribution.

Tip: Understand the different security zones of IE and how it may apply to your distribution. Say you’re going to set up a kiosk that will be available to any user; you may need to restrict the browser from downloading and installing active content or executing scripts. In your initial build you’ll be using the IE Customization Wizard for this task.

Next, it’s time to prepare for the actual deployment. IEAK provides you with three methods of installation: silent, hands-free, and interactive. Know when to use what method of installation, and then once your install is complete, know how to maintain it using the Profile Manager.

Hands-On

As with most every exam, you need to have some hands-on using the product. I went through an IE 5.0 build and deployment a couple of weeks before taking this test, and it helped me tremendously. Go through applying for the license, creating some builds, and then deploying the application.

Oh, yeah, and make sure you also practice acting as the user—that is, know how to use IE. Know how to set your security settings and what the different zones mean. Don’t be afraid to go to the Tools | Internet Options in the IE menu and then click on the Advanced tab. Have a look around at the advanced settings, and you’ll see that everything here can be pre-configured in the IEAK. Know what these settings do and how they affect the application.

Play around with the applications that come with IE 5.0: Microsoft NetMeeting, Outlook Express, and FrontPage Express. See how they work, how to set them up manually, and the options available.

Additional Information

I’d have to say this definitely was not the hardest exam I’ve taken, but it covers a lot of ground. Make sure you spend time going over the exam matrix located on Microsoft’s site to make sure you’ve covered every aspect of the product. Good luck!

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