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Cisco CCNA certification proves your professional worth. It tells prospective employers that you can handle the day-to-day work of running a mid- to large-sized Cisco network....
Cisco CCNA certification proves your professional worth. It tells prospective employers that you can handle the day-to-day work of running a mid- to large-sized Cisco network.

The two-exam CCNA process covers lots of innovative features, which better reflect the skills and knowledge you'll need on the job. Passing both exams is your first step towards higher-level Cisco certification, and trainer Jeremy Cioara has mapped these CCNA training videos to the 640-816 test. This CCNA training is not to be missed.

Here's how one user described Jeremy's training: "By the way, Jeremy Cioara has to be by far one of the BEST Cisco trainers I have ever had the privilege to learn from overall. He not only keeps your attention but his energy is contagious and he provides the information at a level where you grasp it rather easily."

The last day to take the 640-816 exam is Sept. 30, 2013. After that date, the only ICND2 exam available will be 200-101. CBT Nuggets has a training course for the 200-101 exam here.

All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective holders.
1. Review: Rebuilding the Small Office Network, Part 1 (33 min)
2. Review: Rebuilding the Small Office Network, Part 2 (28 min)
3. Review: Rebuilding the Small Office Network, Part 3 (23 min)
4. Switch VLANs: Understanding VLANs (16 min)
5. Switch VLANs: Understanding Trunks and VTP (39 min)
6. Switch VLANs: Configuring VLANs and VTP, Part 1 (35 min)
7. Switch VLANs: Configuring VLANs and VTP, Part 2 (39 min)
8. Switch STP: Understanding the Spanning-Tree Protocol (28 min)
9. Switch STP: Configuring Basic STP (21 min)
10. Switch STP: Enhancements to STP (29 min)
11. General Switching: Troubleshooting and Security Best Practices (29 min)
12. Subnetting: Understanding VLSM (18 min)
13. Routing Protocols: Distance Vector vs. Link State (26 min)
14. Routing Protocols: OSPF Concepts (30 min)
15. Routing Protocols: OSPF Configuration and Troubleshooting (39 min)
16. Routing Protocols: EIGRP Concepts and Configuration (32 min)
17. Access-Lists: The Rules of the ACL (27 min)
18. Access-Lists: Configuring ACLs (34 min)
19. Access-Lists: Configuring ACLs, Part 2 (48 min)
20. NAT: Understanding the Three Styles of NAT (20 min)
21. NAT: Command-line NAT Configuration (35 min)
22. WAN Connections: Concepts of VPN Technology (33 min)
23. WAN Connections: Implementing PPP Authentication (34 min)
24. WAN Connections: Understanding Frame Relay (28 min)
25. WAN Connections: Configuring Frame Relay (30 min)
26. IPv6: Understanding Basic Concepts and Addressing (34 min)
27. IPv6: Configuring, Routing, and Interoperating (23 min)
28. Certification: Some Last Words for Test Takers (13 min)
29. Advanced TCP/IP: Working with Binary (25 min)
30. Advanced TCP/IP: IP Subnetting, Part 1 (55 min)
31. Advanced TCP/IP: IP Subnetting, Part 2 (22 min)
32. Advanced TCP/IP: IP Subnetting, Part 3 (19 min)

Review: Rebuilding the Small Office Network, Part 1

Review: Rebuilding the Small Office Network, Part 2

Review: Rebuilding the Small Office Network, Part 3

Switch VLANs: Understanding VLANs

Switch VLANs: Understanding Trunks and VTP

Switch VLANs: Configuring VLANs and VTP, Part 1

Switch VLANs: Configuring VLANs and VTP, Part 2

Switch STP: Understanding the Spanning-Tree Protocol


It is time to arm ourselves with another tool that we can use in our networks and that is the spanning tree protocol. We're going to take a look at what spanning tree protocol is all about and how it helps in a good switch design. We'll start off by taking a look at some good switch design practices. I mean,


we've moved from the CCENT level now into the CCNA. So our networks have grown from the small business network to a medium to enterprise class local area network environment where our switches tend to be like rabbits. You leave them in a room for a while and you come back and there's just switches everywhere and you go, ah. How do I manage this? We'll take a look at some


good switching design practices to handle the multiplying switches. We'll then look at what switch loops are because that's one of the crises that you run into when you're setting up a large switch network. And then we'll see how to stop the switch loops.


I'll give you the answer right now. It's spanning tree. Spanning tree protocol. So after we talk about what spanning tree does we'll get into the specifics of spanning tree operation. Spanning tree is one of those protocols that has a very simple goal but there's a lot of complexity in how it accomplishes that goal.


When you design a switch network it's best to approach it in layers and to take a layered approach. What you see right here is a picture of an extremely large network that is designed in three separate layers that CISCO has dictated as the access layer, distribution layer, and the core layer. It's kind of hard for me


to talk about this picture without really getting into the growth of a network. Imagine yourself. Imagine you created a company that makes iPhone accessories. You know, the Apple iPhone they make accessories for that. Now when you create this company you start off with you and ten employees. Are you going to deploy a switch network that looks


like this? No. Not for ten people unless you're just going for way overkill. You're going to deploy a network that looks something like, oh, where's my pen? Something like this, where we have one switch with our ten employees attached and maybe some little, you know, not even a CISCO. You've got like a little NetGear or something connecting you off to the


internet. Now, your iPhone accessory store starts to grow and you hire a few more people to produce those accessories. And so you don't move to a model again, like this; you just plug in another switch with the crossover cable and attach those users right there. And you continue to grow and continue to grow and eventually


max out those two switches and, you know, plug-in another switch in there and now you've got your official servers on your network and maybe, well, you're still probably using a NetGear. You've got fifty, sixty different employees that are working out of the office and you're starting to get a little nervous feeling in your system because you know you've been daisy chaining these switches. They're almost all maxed out. But you also know if any


one of those switches go down you're going to cut your network in half and you're going to have a pretty catastrophic outage. Which, when your company has grown to this point people are depending on those systems to be in place. So what you do is you take all the money you've been making out in your store, you take all those switches, put them in a closet somewhere and you buy one of these switches which is maybe a CISCO 4000 series or 6500 series switch that has a bunch of blades. You've got the dual fan tray action.


You've got the dual redundant power supply down here. This is where the plugs go in, and you've got the fans and the power supply that kicks on it makes a lot of noise. You know, you got the big mother of all switch, and all these devices are plugging in there. You now


have upgraded to a CISCO router that connects you off to the internet. And eventually you just, you know, keep on going and max out this switch and you start daisy chaining your old switches that you pull of the closet from this guy to get some more ports.


And, you know, at this point you're probably in the hundreds of employees at the company. And you start to get that nervous feeling in your system again, thinking, well this is a great switch, you know, it's got the dual power supplies and fan trays and supervisor modules and all that kind of stuff. But what if that


switch goes down. That's the core of my whole company. So that's where you buy a second one. You got money at this point, right? So you get a second one. Hook them up to where they're redundant and they back each other up. And now you're starting to approach a model that


looks like this. Where you have distribution layer switches which are providing core services or essentially routing services, VLAN services and so on, that are attached on here to access layer switches. Now with this layered approach it allows you to have easy and manageable growth. This is CISCO's model. They


created this model right here. The access layer is where the devices actually plug into the network. We have servers connecting to the network on their access layer switch. PC's plugging into the network on their switches. The distribution layer is where


your major segments happen. You have kind of these modules that are created here. You know, maybe you've got your sales group over here which has a 100 or 200, 300 different sales people inside of it. Or it could be floor four of your building that you own. You've segmented into


one big group. You've got the dual redundant 4500 or 6500 series switches there. Over here, you've got your server farm network, where all your servers are isolated. You have a separate VLAN over here for that. And now you eventually reach a core layer and when you get to this point you're probably at thousands of employees. The core layer is considered the


backbone of a network. Now think of this as a campus model. And when I say campus I'm talking about a literal college campus. Or maybe you have the college of business over here. You've got the college of art over here. And you know, all the different colleges and they all


tie back to the backbone of the entire campus network which is the core and everything goes through the core and you have other buildings that branch off of here with modules that look like this. So that's the idea of designing a network in a layered approach is designing it with modules. Now you see down here a new term, etherchannel. Can provide


for more bandwidth on key links. What etherchannel is, is where you can do something like this. You see these three lines going between these. Maybe you've got so much traffic passing through the backbone that just one, one hundred megabit per second or one thousand megabit per second port isn't enough. What


etherchannel can do is it can actually take between two and eight ports, you can go up to eight and bundle them together into a single pipe. So you could have your two switches right here. And if these were two one hundred megabit per second ports, etherchannel allows you to tie them together and get two hundred mega bits per second of throughput. So that way you can have


you know, add a bunch of links in there and channel them all to get super high bandwidth links between your switches. Now the last point I want to make. And the reason we're talking about this ideal design right here in this video section, is the redundant connection. The redundant connections eliminate a single point


of failure. So when I have my access layer switch, notice, I always have a crossover cable going to both distribution layer switches. The distribution layer switches always has a cable going to both core layer switches so that if any one device fails in the network, we have a backup path that can get us around that failure. So redundancy is good, we've determined that. But


unless you design it the right way redundancy can be very bad. To understand why that redundancy is very bad or can be bad you have to understand how the switches are going to treat those redundant links. By default the switch will send broadcast packets out all ports. That's how they're designed. So when this computer


sends a broadcast packet into the network, the switch says oh, I don't know where that goes. I'll send it out every single port except the one I received it on. So out those two ports it goes. This switch receives it and sends it out to this computer because that's the port and then as it receives it on this port, it loops it right back to that one. And as it receives it on this board it loops it right back to


that one. Again the switch receives it on both those ports and sends it back out to this PC and then loops right back around. This will keep happening eternally. Meaning this broadcast will cycle the network blowing up all the devices on the network until you shut down the whole network. Meaning turning everything


off. A lot of you might be thinking, well wait a sec. I heard inside of a packet is this field called the TTL. That's the time to live. How long a packet survives but the TTL is a layer three field, meaning it's up at the network layer. Only a router can subtract time from the time to


live. Now looking at that picture right there, do you see any routers? Nope. So what's going to happen is that packet is going to cycle the network round and round and round and round destroying everything that's out there. So while the redundant connections


are necessary in business networks we have to have a system to manage them so they're not all active at the same time. Becaue if they were we'd have that broadcast problem. So the place of spanning tree is to drop trees on redundant links. That's my little


way of remembering it because they're so often, you get all these turns, and then spanning tree comes out there, and you're like, well what did that do? Just think of a falling tree. It's falling on all the redundant links in the network. What spanning tree does


is find all the best links in your organization. For example, it looked at that link and for some reason or another, we'll talk about those reasons in a moment; it said that link is better than that link. So I want that one to be active. So, the tree falls on this redundant link and it goes inactive to where it's not in use. So this one's forwarding along life is


good, until you know, maybe the cable goes bad or the port gets shut down or something like that. Spanning tree's always watching the network and if something occurs it's going to take that tree and lift it right back up. And it's going to say okay life is good let's go ahead and


unblock our redundant connection and allow traffic to forward here until we see our main link, which is better for some reason. Our main link come back on line then we can go ahead and drop the tree on our redundant link again to make it inactive. Spanning tree is one of those concepts that is sometimes difficult for me to talk about. Because what I described to you right then


is all it does. That's the whole goal of spanning tree. But, go to Google and type in spanning tree protocol and just see how many pages and pages and books of information are out there on spanning tree. You might think, well, if that's all it does is block the redundant links, what's the point of writing a book about it. Well networks are not as simple as what I


just showed you where we have two individual switches connected together. Networks have hundreds of switches and spanning tree has to find what's the best ones to block. Because if it blocks the wrong one you're going to have a very inefficient network.


So here's the facts. The original spanning tree protocol it's official standard is 802.1D. That's the technical name for it. Was created to prevent loops. The switches will send probes into the network called BPDU's or bridge protocol data units to discover loops. So what's going to happen


and again, take little topology there of our two switches. If we have two switches that run spanning tree, they will send probes on the network. Now those probes are kind of like broadcast packets. They're actually technically multicast. And they'll come into


the switch and all this probe is, this BPDU is a little identifier for the switch. So say this is switch one and this is switch two. Switch one sends a probe into the network and says, let's say, think of like sonar sounds. And sends out a little probe. Now that message comes into the switch and


since it's a multicast or it's designed, kind of like a broadcast packet. It will loop it back around. Switch one will get the probe, open it back up and look inside and go wow, this is my probe. I sent this out, meaning I see my name inside of this probe that means there's some kind of loop in the network. So that's


when they go into action. These probes also help elect the core switch of the network known as the root bridge. There's our key term. In our switch network, say we've got, you know, bunches and bunches of switches all around the network that are all tied together with redundant connections going everywhere. In that


case we will have one switch which will be elected the root. Now that is considered the core switch of the network because all the switches will find the best way to reach that root bridge then block all the redundant links. Meaning this one's going to look and say well the easiest and fastest way for me to get there is this link so it's good but I've noticed that I can also reach the root through this link and well, not that link down there. So I'll block that redundant connection.


So all the switches find the best way to reach the root and then block redundancy. So the key of spanning tree protocol is to make sure you're very accurate in the one that you elect as the root bridge. The thing that could work out horrible for your network is if you just let spanning tree treat everything at default. I'm jumping a little ahead of myself but


by default spanning tree will elect the oldest switch in your network as the root bridge. Now I don't mean oldest as in how long it's been running. I mean oldest as in manufacturing date. So some little, you know, ten megabit per second 1992 switch that you have stuck in a wiring closet that you forgot about gets elected as the root and everybody is like, hey, that's the root. Let's find the best way to get there, because that must


be the center of the network. Everybody finds the best way to the closet switch and your network performs horribly. And the problem is, is nobody really knows why. Nobody can really put a finger on it because it looks like everything's designed right, I mean, you're using great equipment and servers are working, it's just, things just run slow and people just finally, ah I guess that's that's the way it is and you run this beautifully expensive network that you've invested all this money into that never performs quite like it should.


Now, I should also mention that every CISCO switch runs spanning tree by default. So you can plug in networks together with redundant connections and it's not going to have any loops. It's just that it's going to be a very inefficient network. Now, you should also keep in mind


that you are at a CCNA topic at this point. It's not; this topic isn't in the CCENT material or the ICND 1 video series you might have already seen because this is something that works for enterprise networks. Meaning, in a CCENT level network you're not going to have hundreds of switches.


You won't even have ten to twenty switches because CCENT is focused around small businesses. So when you get to the larger networks, the mid-size the enterprise networks, that's where spanning tree really plays a role, and a big role at that. It has to elect


the best switch as the root bridge. So when we're understanding our spanning tree network, we need to understand more about these BPDU's and how the elections work. The way that the elections will happen is all the different devices in the network have something known as a bridge id.


That's their name to spanning tree. Remember I said we had like switch 1, switch 2. Well it's not that, the switches don't really care about their host name, they care about their bridge id. Now that bridge id is built of two pieces. You have a priority


and you have the switch's Mac address. I'll just put Mac add. You can see I put priority dot Mac address. Now, by default every switch when you pull it out of the box has the same priority. 32768. You know somebody just took a dart and threw it at the dart board, and they were like ah, let's make it 32768. Now I should mention the priority is kind of counterintuitive. When


you think of priority you think, oh, bigger priority that's better right? Not so. Lower is better. So the lower your priority the more chance you have to be elected as the root bridge. Now since all the priorities are tied when you pull these switches out of the box, it has to resort to the Mac address to break the tie.


Now we're getting to the reason why the oldest switch in the network becomes the root bridge. When the manufacturers manufacture switches, they will start with the Mac address that's lowest in their range. Meaning, you know, say you're CISCO. You'll go to the powers that be and acquire a Mac address range that you can use for all your devices. You'll start manufacturing devices


and start from the lowest Mac address and just keep increasing the Mac addresses of your devices as it goes. Now keep in mind I'm talking about the Mac address of the switch, not one of the Mac addresses that it's learned about that's from a device that's plugged in. The Mac at the switch itself has a Mac address. So,


when we have this kind of scenario obviously I just made up these Mac addresses aaa bbb ccc. This one will end up being the root bridge because it has the lowest Mac address of the three. So, once that root election happens all the switches in the network settle and they say okay that one is the root bridge. Now let's


find the best way to get to that root bridge. Now, you notice right in the middle of the picture right here I have a link cost equals nineteen. There's a table, I'm going bring up that table in just a few that shows all the different speeds of links that you have like a 1000 megs per second, a 100 megs per second, 10 megs per second and down and down and out it goes. Now if you


have a 10 meg per second link the cost to spanning tree is actually 100. A 100 megabit per second link is nineteen. And I'll show you the chart later on but that's how it determines the best way around the network is based on the link costs. So it says okay if this is a 100 mega link it's nineteen. 19, 19, we'll just say it's all a 100 meg link everywhere. All the switches in the network try and find the best way to get to the root. This one looks and it says, well, I see a cost of


nineteen to get that way, a cost of nineteen plus nineteen that way so my root port; I'll just out RP on there, is going to be right here because that is the most efficient way to reach the root bridge. This one does the same and elects this one as its root port. That's the best way to get there. Now the root


bridge, you know, it's the king of the network and as its reward it will never block one of its ports. And by the way a root bridge will never have a root port because those are used to reach the root bridge. Obviously if it is the root bridge it doesn't need to reach


itself. So down below you can see the next type of port is a designated port. The designated port is just a forwarding port. I wish, I wish they would have chose that name instead of saying designated port. Designated port means there's one port that is forwarding.


Now there is one designated port per link. This gets kind of confusing. A link is a segment between switches, or I guess you could say a link is just a switch port. Or a link between the switches. If I have a PC attached to this switch, this would be a designated port. Meaning, a port that is


forwarding, because it works. And on another PC over here that's a designated port. It's plugged into to a port that is forwarding. Now when it comes to a link between switches you'll have one forwarding port per link. Now you're kind of looking at this picture and I guess I should back


up a step. Is that picture a demonstration of a redundant topology? Yeah, sure it is. Because if this is, we'll just say this is switch 1, switch 2, and switch 3. If switch 1 goes down and dies well, switch 3 can still reach switch 2 and still has active connections. If switch 2 were to die switch 1 could still reach switch 3. It's redundant. But remember, a broadcast if we don't block something will circle around and around that network everywhere blowing up all the devices. So when you are talking about these links;


we know one of them has to go and we know now that these are using these paths to reach the root. We know that it's going to be this guy. We know that link is going to die. But before it dies we have to realize that every link has to have one designated port. Meaning one of these must stay forwarding.


In this case it will be this one. DP, designated port. The other side will assume a blocking state. Meaning, switch 3 blocks its port. Now, it's kind of obnoxious because if you're sitting on switch 1 doing show commands it's going to be like, oh yeah, the port is great, it's forwarding, life is good and you're going to think to yourself, wow, I thought I understood spanning tree. Why is that


forwarding? I thought that link would go down. Well it is down because if you block one side of the link, the other side can't communicate, so it's disabled but you have to be on switch 3 to be able to figure that out. Now I want to answer a question that I think is probably circling around some of your minds. You might be thinking, well, why is that side


the designated port and this side get blocked? Why didn't this side get blocked and that one be designated? Well, take a guess. Knowing what you know about spanning tree, why do you think that would be so? Remember these. Bridge id's. The bridge id is that combination


of priority and Mac address. It's not only used to elect the root bridge. Whoever has the lowest one in the whole network becomes the root but it's also used to determine who's going to block the link. Again lower is better so since this guy is lower he's


like I'm not blocking my link. Switch 3, you're lower than me or higher so your priority is lower or, wait a sec, I'm just, I'm going to stop talking. Switch 3 is not as good as switch 2, so it's going to block its link and disable that effectively taking the whole thing down. Now if any one of these


links ever dies, spanning tree will recognize that and it will unblock this link to resume the connectivity even though one of the switches failed in your network. I want to point out that even in a network this small, the switch that becomes the root effects what links get used. So


let me just clear off all this chicken scratch. We said this one..woop... let me get to where I can draw again. We said this one is going to be the root so these links stay active and these switches go through this switch to reach each other because this one gets blocked. But


if let's say this one over here gets elected the root then which link gets blocked? This one. Because these switches will say these are my root ports, that's the best way to get to the root bridge and they will go through this switch to reach each other. And now I think you can


start to see why it's so critical that you play a role in who becomes the root bridge. Because if this is the oldest switch in your network and these two switches have to go through that switch to reach each other then this guy is going to become a bottleneck because it's not going to have the speed and capacity that some of the newer bigger switches in the network are going to have. And I think you can already begin pondering how you're


able to influence the root election. You know how a root bridge is elected it's the priority plus the Mac address. Well you can't change the Mac address that's set on the switch. It's hard coded but you can change the priority. So by dropping that number down and lowering that you can influence the election.


At this point I think we're getting the feel for spanning tree in that what it does and how it does what it does. So here are the official two major steps to how spanning tree finds the best path. Step one elect the root. If we had our little three switch


networks, and by the way, anytime you're learning spanning tree that's the normal topology that you have. Once you elect the root then the switches will find the lowest cost path to the root. So they're going to look at the link speeds that they have and say, well, the lowest cost path, these are all 100 megabits per second. They're all a cost of 19,19, 19, and they'll all find the best way to the root. Now just to give you an idea.


If we had a low speed link; let's say this one was a 10 meg link then it will be a cost of 100. So this switch will say well, it's either a 100 to go that way or 38 to go that way so that's the more efficient way. I'm going to block that link. So the cost or the speed of the links


really do have an influence. Now, I want to add in a couple pieces here because I know some of you might be thinking of the bigger more advanced topologies. What if you had a situation like this. What if that was the root and this switch was trying to figure out what link to block. Now, remember this is redundant. We have


to block one of these links but if all of these were equals, let's say they were all 1 gigabit per second connection. Well then both paths are a cost of eight for that switch down here to reach the root. What it's going to do to break the tie, is it's going to choose the switch, the upstream switch, with the lower bridge id. Meaning, again remember that priority


we had, 32768. and then the Mac address. If this Mac address is lower than this one over here then it's going to say you're the best route. If the other side was lower it would say you're the best route and block the opposite one. There's only one more topology that can throw a fork in the wrench and that was the original one I showed you when I was saying what spanning tree did. What if you got a situation like that. Both


of these we'll say are a gigabit per second so they're both the cost of four. That guy's the root. This one, you remember, the root never blocks a port, so this switch has to figure out which port to block to stop this redundancy. The costs are tied; the


upstream switch is the same so it can't use the method we used over here to break the tie. So what it's going to do is prefer the lower port. Just remember in spanning tree lower is better on everything. It's going to say I have to block one so since you are


the higher port I will block you. And this one becomes the active link. This one gets the tree dropped on it. That is the basic concepts of spanning tree. If you want to have a good well-designed redundant network, then spanning tree has to play a role. Because you have to have something to disable


those redundant connections until you need them. So we talked about what some good switching practices were. Some design pictures of how we should design our network in the three layers, access, distribution, and core. With redundant connections across all of them. We saw what switch loops are and how to stop them. The


switch loops happen any time you have redundancy inside of the switch or layer two environment. And we stop them by using the spanning tree protocol. Finally we looked at some of the specifics of spanning tree operation like the root bridge election. Like the bridge


priority and the bridge and Mac address, combining to create the bridge id that's used to elect the root. And then how all the switches find the best way to reach that root bridge. Those concepts are critical for when we get into the next video which is going to be configuring a little bit of spanning tree and then we'll get into some of the enhancements that make spanning tree better and faster for our networks of today. I hope this has been

Switch STP: Configuring Basic STP

Switch STP: Enhancements to STP

General Switching: Troubleshooting and Security Best Practices

Subnetting: Understanding VLSM

Routing Protocols: Distance Vector vs. Link State

Routing Protocols: OSPF Concepts

Routing Protocols: OSPF Configuration and Troubleshooting

Routing Protocols: EIGRP Concepts and Configuration

Access-Lists: The Rules of the ACL

Access-Lists: Configuring ACLs

Access-Lists: Configuring ACLs, Part 2

NAT: Understanding the Three Styles of NAT

NAT: Command-line NAT Configuration

WAN Connections: Concepts of VPN Technology

WAN Connections: Implementing PPP Authentication

WAN Connections: Understanding Frame Relay

WAN Connections: Configuring Frame Relay

IPv6: Understanding Basic Concepts and Addressing

IPv6: Configuring, Routing, and Interoperating

Certification: Some Last Words for Test Takers

Advanced TCP/IP: Working with Binary

Advanced TCP/IP: IP Subnetting, Part 1

Advanced TCP/IP: IP Subnetting, Part 2

Advanced TCP/IP: IP Subnetting, Part 3

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16 hrs 32 videos


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Jeremy Cioara
Nugget trainer since 2003