So what do you need to know about the recent exam changes and the new curriculum? Well there is a lot! Let's start off with a little bit of why Cisco made the changes to the v2.0 exam. If you look at Cisco's approach to their certification track over the past few years, it is not at all surprising these changes occurred within the CCNA R&S 200-120 exam. Starting with the premier CCIE certification track; Cisco has had that track broken up into multiple specialties such as CCIE R&S, CCIE Voice, CCIE Security, CCIE Wireless and CCIE Storage among others for a few years now. Then in the past 18 months Cisco took the same approach with their CCNP track. Creating the CCNP R&S, CCNP Voice, CCNP Security, CCNP Wireless certifications and others also. So now we get to the track and they have had CCNA Voice and CCNA Security for about 18 months as specific disciplines. Now to complete the restructure, they have officially brought the certification inline by renaming it CCNA 2.0 R&S. You can read about the history of the CCNA certification going all the way back to 1998 after this article by clicking the link as it will open in another window; History of the CCNA Certification.
CCENT & CCNA Certification Exam Options and Requirements
Now that Cisco has the various certifications well organized, they still had to make some tweaks to the 2.0 Routing & Switching exam. If you recall, for a few years now the ICND1 exam which would earn you the CCENT certification. This was for candidates that wanted to break their exam experience into two sittings to maybe make it a little easier for them. For the most part, the CCENT certification held very little prestige in the industry and most associates were not taken seriously unless they actually achieved the CCNA certification. Well when Cisco updated the 2.0 certification, they also updated the CCENT certification with the ICND1 100-101 exam. Basically what Cisco did was take 80% of the old exam and drop it into the ICND1 100-101 exam making it much, much harder! They also made the CCENT certification a prerequisite for the other advanced disciplines such as CCNA Voice, CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless or CCNA Service Provider. That said, they still give you the option of taking a single exam to achieve the CCENT and CCNA Routing & Switching certification in one via exam 200-120. So let's take a look at the exam options below and what each will get you.
CCENT Exam Requirements
ICND1 100-101 Exam
Passing this exam will give you your CCENT certification.
CCNA v2.0 Routing & Switching Exam Options
ICND1 100-101 and ICND2 200-101 Exams
Passing both of these will give you your 2.0 Routing & Switching certification.
CCNA v2.0 200-120 Exam
Passing this single composite exam will also give you your CCNA v 2.0 Routing & Switching certification.
As mentioned previously, the ICND1 100-101 exam for the CCENT certification just got a whole lot harder. Many of the CCNA concepts are now a part of the core of this exam. This is why a CCNA v2 Lab Suggestions is really required even for the ICND1 exam to get the hands-on you need to pass the exam. So let's review what changes Cisco made to the ICND1 exam and why.
Removed from the ICND1 100-101 Exam
- RIP – this is a legacy protocol not really used anymore
- SDM – this is a legacy GUI tool that has been replaced by CCP
- Wireless – this now has it's own certification track CCNA Wireless 640-461
- Understanding Challenges of Shared LANs – this is for a large part legacy technology
- Securing the Network – this now has it's own certification track CCNA Security 640-544
Added to the ICND1 100-101 Exam
- VLANs and Trunking
- Inter-VLAN Routing
- Single Area OSPF
- IPv6 Basics
- IPv6 Theory
- IPv6 Configuration
So you can see Cisco added quite a bit to the ICND1 CCENT exam. Specifically it seems like Cisco feels IPv6 is here to stay and you need to know it inside and out. That is why we have 7 distinct IPv6 labs covering everything from IPv6 Link Local Addressing to IPv6 over Frame-Relay with OSPFv3. Given all these changes, you can see why Cisco is now making the CCENT certification a requirement for all the advanced certifications such as CCNA Security, Voice, Wireless and SP. As it provides the student with the right foundation to build their networking skills.
CCNA v2.0 RS 200-120 Exam Changes
Above we seen what topics were added and removed specifically to the ICND1 portion of the exam. The remaining items are the changes to the ICND2 200-101 exam which would be the second exam you would take to obtain your v2 certification. It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway; if you are going to take the single CCNA 200-120. it will now consist of all the updated concepts of both the ICND1 and ICND2 exams.
Removed from the ICND2 Exam
- Inter-VLAN Routing – this was moved to ICND1
- Securing the Network – this now has it's own certification CCNA Security 640-554
- VLSM – this was moved to ICND1
- NAT/PAT – this was moved to ICND1
Added to the ICND2 Exam
- Understanding STP
- Layer 3 Redundancy Protocols
- Cisco Licensing
- SNMP, Syslog, Netflow
- Managing Cisco Devices
- Troubleshooting VLANs
- Troubleshooting EIGRP
- Troubleshooting IPv4 Network Connectivity
- Troubleshooting IPv6 Network Connectivity
- EIGRP for IPv6
- Multi-Area OSPF
So you will see Cisco things that IPv6 is probably here to stay so there are new IPv6 concepts covered. Also, if you are familiar with the CCNP Routing and Switching track, you will know it has an exam called TSHOOT that deals strictly with troubleshooting. This is where it is critical that you have hands on and really understand what is happening on your Cisco routers and switches. You need very detailed labs that will explain to you how to configure the concepts and why they are working. Not only that, the labs need to show you how to understand the various outputs and which troubleshooting commands to run where. This is where our new CCNA v2 Routing & Switching 200-120 Lab Workbook excels! We have added tons of troubleshooting, EtherChannel, Licensing, IPv6, OSPFv3, Syslog, NetFlow and many more labs covering over 400 pages. With all the changes to the CCNA v2 exam, I think Cisco has gone a long way to weeding out the paper CCNAs and you will need to have the right complimentary study materials to secure your new CCNA R&S certification!