CCENT is the new CCNA

Cisco are making some big changes to the CCNA and CCENT certifications from 1st October 2013. Here is an infographic detailing all the changes to the CCNA.

The CCENT used to be a stepping stone certification that got you half way toward the CCNA, and this hasn't changed, what has changed are the syllabuses for the ICND1(CCENT exam) and ICND2.

The new CCENT syllabus is roughly equilvalent to the current CCNA syllabus, which will make the CCENT a much harder exam come October. The ICND2 has also been changed to include some topics from the CCNP with a big focus on troubleshooting.

By making these changes Cisco has positioned the CCENT as being their core network certification. Once you complete the ICND1 and get your CCENT you are free to continue your studies along your chosen speciality, by either studying for the CCNA Voice, CCNA Wireless, or CCNA Routing & Switching.

The problem with these changes for students, is that employers are aware of the CCNA, they understand that it's a tough certification and they can conclude that you must know your networking to a high level if you have a CCNA. But the same doesn't apply with the CCENT. The CCENT is a fairly new certification (introduced in 2007) and gets you only halfway to the CCNA. Lots of employers don't value the CCENT like they value the CCNA. Hopefully this will change, but in the short term at least, you are going to have to work much harder to get the CCNA Routing & Switching certification which employers are looking for.

This is why we are encouraging all those who are interesting in getting their CCNA certification to get it before 30 September this year. You'll save yourself a lot of time and effort and achieve the same certification as those who take the exam after that date.

Advice from a CCNA Graduate

We asked our latest CCNA graduate TJ Zimmer about his journey to becoming a CCNA for the second time after letting his CCNA lapse over 9 years ago.

1.) A lot of people never know if they are ready to sit the exam, what advice would you give them?
Set a date, study the simulation examples, take a lot of practice exams, and when you are scoring 85% on the exams you will be ready.  Distractions will come and if you aren't ready then push the date.  It is cheaper to push the date and pass the exam then not, rush the exam, fail the exam and have to take it over again.

2.) Revising for the CCNA exam can be daunting due to the amount of knowledge you need to be able to recall, how did you overcome this?
I originally took my exam over 12 years ago and let it expire.  So there was so much more information to grasp.  Repetition on areas that I was weak was very helpful.  If I studied something I wasn't to sure on I would go over that area extra.

3.) What kept you motivated towards your goal of becoming CCNA certified?
Working in IT, people around me were great encouragement in getting the cert.  Also my wife was a huge support in pushing me to succeed, especially since I didn't pass the test the first, second or third time around.

4.) How did you ensure you had studied enough on specific topics?
When I took the practice exams it would notify me of the areas I didn't grasp.  Also taking the exam and failing showed me the areas that Cisco likes to focus on for the exam.  So those were areas I paid special attention too.

5.) What methods did you use to study for the CCNA?
I had books, instructional videos, a Boot Camp, and practice exams.

6.) If you were to begin studying again, what would you do differently?
Make sure I could dedicate more time without interruption.  When you have a full time job and a family it can be difficult to carve out the time.  My family was very supportive.

7.) What difference did our site have on your overall success?
Internetwork Training had great practice questions and theory to follow.  Highly recommend using and the resources that are available.

TJ Zimmer (CCNA)
Senior Network Engineer - Voice

CCNA Syllabus 2013 – 200-120

Here is an unofficial summary of the CCNA 2013 syllabus for the new 200-120 composite exam that is replacing the 640-802 from 1st October 2013.

With this change to the CCNA the barrier to entry into the networking world is becoming higher and more difficult to achieve.

If you want to give your studies a boost and reduce the time it takes you to get to CCNA level, enroll in our online CCNA video bootcamp.

 

CCNA Topics 2013 - Exam 200-120

 

IP Data Networks

  • Understand the operation of data networks.
  • Know the purpose and functions of network devices such as routers, switches, bridges and hubs.
  • Be able to select components to meet a specific network requirement.
  • Understand how certain applications can impact network performance.
  • Know the protocols, purpose and operation of both the OSI and TCP/IP models.
  • Describe the data flow between two hosts on a network
  • Be able to choose the most appropriate cables, media, ports and connectors to connect network devices and hosts to a LAN.

LAN Switching

  • Understand the media access control method for Ethernet.
  • Describe the basic switching concepts and the operation of switches.
  • Configure and verify switch configuration including remote access management.
  • Verify a network and switch operation using basic utilities such as ping, telnet and SSH.
  • Describe VLANs and the need for routing between VLANs.
  • Understand network segmentation and traffic management.
  • Be able to configure and verify VLANs.
  • Configure and verify trunking on Cisco switches.
  • Understand advanced switching technologies:
    • RSTP
    • PVSTP
    • EtherChannel
  • Be able to configure and verify PVSTP operation.
  • Describe the process of root bridge election.

IP Addressing (IPv4 and IPv6)

  • Describe the need for public and private addresses for IPv4.
  • Understand IPv6 addresses.
  • Describe the appropriate IPv6 addressing scheme for a LAN/WAN environment.
  • Describe the appropriate IPv4 addressing scheme for a LAN/WAN environment, including VLSM and summarization.
  • Describe the technologies required to run IPv6 and IPv4 concurrently such as dual stack.

IP Routing

  • Understand the basic routing concepts.
  • Understand the boot process of a Cisco router.
  • Configure and verify a basic router configuration using the command line interface.
  • Configure and verify both serial and Ethernet interfaces.
  • Be able to verify the network connectivity and configuration of a router.
  • Configure a static or default route given specific requirements, then verify.
  • Manage Cisco IOS files and image(s).
  • Understand Cisco IOS licensing.
  • Understand and distinguish different methods of routing and routing protocols.
  • Configure and verify EIGRP in a single autonomous system.
  • Configure and verify OSPF (v2 and v3) in a single area.
  • Configure and verify interVLAN routing using router-on-a-stick.
  • Be able to configure SVI interfaces.

IP Services

  • Configure and verify DHCP on a Cisco router.
  • Understand the features and applications of each type of ACL.
  • Be able to configure and verify ACLs.
  • Understand the basic operation of NAT.
  • Configure and verify NAT based on a set of network requirements.
  • Be able to configure and verify NTP as a client.
  • Recognize high availability FHRP.
  • Understand, configure and verify Syslog and utilize Syslog output.
  • Understand SNMP v2 and v3.

Network Device Security

  • Be able to configure and verify device security features.
  • Understand, configure and verify switch port security features.
  • Configure and verify ACLs for filtering network traffic.
  • Limit telnet and SSH access to a router by configuring ACLs.

Troubleshooting

  • Troubleshoot and correct common issues concerning IP addressing and host configurations.
  • Be able to utilize netflow and monitor data.
  • Troubleshoot and fix spanning tree operation.
  • Troubleshoot and resolve routing issues, including OSPF, and EIGRP.
  • Troubleshoot and correct VLAN problems.
  • Identify and resolve interVLAN problems.
  • Troubleshoot and resolve switch trunking issues.
  • Troubleshoot and fix ACL problems.
  • Troubleshoot and correct layer 1 problems.
  • Troubleshoot and correct WAN issues.
  • Troubleshoot EtherChannel issues.

WAN Technologies

  • Understand and identify different WAN technologies including:
    • Metro Ethernet
    • Frame Relay
    • VSAT
    • Cellular 3G and 4G
    • MPLS
    • T1/E1
    • ISDN
    • DSL
    • Cable
    • VPN
  • Configure and verify a serial WAN connection.
  • Configure Frame Relay on Cisco routers including verification.
  • Be able to configure and verify a PPP connection between two Cisco routers.
  • Configure and troubleshoot PPPoE.

 

CCNA 2013: Your Concerns Answered

We've received lots of questions concerning the changes Cisco is making to the CCNA exam and syllabus, so we thought we'd post answers to the most common queries.

What changes are Cisco making to the CCNA?

Cisco has made some changes to Associate-level certifications and also renamed the CCNA certification to CCNA Routing and Switching certification. 
The CCNA certification has changed from a foundation certification to a concentration certification.

How is the CCNA Routing and Switching different from the current CCNA?
CCNA Routing and Switching is the same certification as the CCNA, however the syllabuses for ICND1, ICND2 and CCNA Composite have been changed to keep up with technology advancements and job roles.

Are the CCNA Routing and Switching exams changing?
Yes, the exams are changing due to the new syllabuses. The current CCNA/CCENT/ICND2 exams will be retired on September 30, 2013.

 

How are the new exams harder than the current versions?
Yes, Cisco has taken topics from the ICND2 and included them in the ICND1 exam, such as OSPF, NAT, IPv6 and VLSM subnetting, making the CCENT certification a much tougher assignment.
The new ICND2 exam will include some topics from the CCNP such as multi-area OSPF, OSPF3, Sysylog, Netflow and EtherChannel. This really makes the CCNA Routing and Switching certificate a hard-to-get cert.

Can I mix and match the current exams with newer exams to achieve CCNA Routing and Switching?
Yes, you can mix current ICND1 exam with newer ICND2 exam or vice versa. However, note that several topics have been added to the new ICND1 and ICND2 syllabus. So if you take the new versions of these exams then you need to be prepared to answer questions on the new topics.

What has changed between the current ICND1, ICND2, and CCNA Composite exams and the newer versions of these exams?
To ensure the certifications are up-to-date with current technology, some older topics have been removed from the syllabus and several new topics have been added.
If you take the new versions of these exams then you need to be prepared to answer questions on the new topics.

What new topics are in the new CCNA Routing and Switching exam?

 

  • SNMP v1 and V2
  • NTP (Network Time Protocol)
  • More emphasis on IPv6
  • High availability via FHRP
  • Be able to troubleshooting everything!

Have I wasted my time learning the current CCNA?
No, the fundamentals of networking do not change, the new exams include some new topics and some have been removed, but the bulk of the syllabus will remain unchanged.

I bought a training package from your company recently, is it up-to-date?
Yes. So as long as you take your exams by 30 September 2013 and pass you will be CCNA certified. Your goal should be to pass by 30 September 2013, which gives you 6 months. We will update our training materials for the new syllabus in due course should you need to sit the new exam.

Should I stop my studies and wait to study the new version?
We advise you to continue studying and aim to take the exam before 30 September 2013. If you wait for the new version you will only delay your career. You'll probably have to start studying from the beginning again, and the new exam will be tougher than the current version.

Is the ICND2 exam required to achieve the CCNA Wireless, CCNA Voice, or CCNA Security certifications?
No. From March 26, 2013, you will only need to pass the ICND2 exam to achieve the CCNA Routing and Switching. You will only need to have a valid CCENT as a prerequisite for CCNA Wireless, CCNA Voice, or CCNA Security certifications.

Is the ICND2 exam required to achieve the CCDA certification?
No. From October 1, 2013, you will only need to have a valid CCENT, or CCNA Routing and Switching or any CCIE certification as a prerequisite.

My CCNA expires within 12 months, what should I do?
We strongly recommend you to recertify before the end of September 2013 before the current exams are retired, otherwise you will need to learn the new syllabus and take the new CCNA Routing and Switching exam.

What are the recertification requirements for the new CCNA Routing and Switching?
The CCNA Routing and Switching certification is valid for three years, then you will need to recertify just like the current CCNA.