Thursday, 1 September 2016

Cisco updated their CCNA Routing & Switching Certification - Here’s everything you need to know:

On the 17th of May Cisco announced some major changes to their flagship CCNA Routing & Switching certification moving from version 2 to 3 – here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about the new and improved version 3.

What is the CCNA Routing & Switching?

The Routing & Switching certification aims to teach you the knowledge and skills needed to install, operate and troubleshoot a small-to-medium enterprise branch network as well as the basic network security and complex connections. The course is made up of ICND1 (CCENT) and ICND2 (CCNA), which collectively equate to the CCNA.   


Why has the CCNA Routing & Switching Certification been updated?

Although characteristic of Cisco to update their leading courses every four to five years, Pim Leemans, Cisco instructor, suggests there are additional reasons behind the revamp. “The way we learn has been changing a lot in previous years. Unlike before there will be less theory and more learning by just doing”. Cisco reflect these changes in learning through the introduction of Discovery and Challenge Labs, which teach and test students through practical tasks. Cisco state that the developments of the Routing & Switching certification also aims to meet the advancements in technology and better empower IT professionals with “the understanding of software defined networking (SDN) and the integration of virtualised resources utilised in Enterprise network architectures”.

What do the changes look like?  

Course
Exam
Course
Exam
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)
100-101 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)
100-105 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)
200-101 ICND2
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)
200-105 ICND2
Composite CCNA
200-120 CCNA
Composite CCNA
200-125 CCNA

Aside from the changes in the exam numbers, the content of the Routing & Switching certification has changed.

Changes from ICND1 v2.0 to ICND1 v3.0:

Pim Leemans describes the largest changes within ICND1 as the treatment of RIP as the only routing protocol and subjects on device management being moved from ICND2 to ICND1.  


Key topics removed or moved to ICND2:

  • OSPF (single area) and other OSPF topics were moved to ICND2 since RIP is used to introduce CCENT candidates to IP routing protocols.
  • Dual Stack was removed as there are multiple IPv4 and IPv6 transition technologies being used.
  • Cisco Express Forwarding (CEF) has been removed.  

Key topics added:

  • High level knowledge of the impact and interactions of infrastructure components, such as:
    • Firewalls
    • Access Points
    • Wireless Controllers
  • An awareness of the Collapsed Core architecture instead of the traditional three-tier architectures. This effectively joins Distribution and Core into a single tier with Access as a second tier.  
  • Required to configure and verify IPv6 Stateless Address Auto Configuration (SLAAC).
  • Added Anycast to the list of IPv6 addressing types.
  • Required to have knowledge of Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP). An L2 discovery protocol used in addition to Cisco Discovery Protocol.
  • RIPv2 for IPv4 serves as a primary focus for routing protocols.
  • Added requirements to understand DNS and DHCP related connectivity issues.
  • Understanding of Syslog message logging for device monitoring.
  • Skills and knowledge for backing up and restoring device configurations.

Changes from ICND2 v2.0 to ICND2 v3.0

Pim Leemans believes the ICND2 “has changed the most” with the emphasis on outdated technologies such as Frame Relay being replaced by Multi-Link PPP and PPPoE. The more challenging subjects of EBGP, RADIUS and Tacacs+ authentication are now also addressed.

Key topics removed:

  • Frame Relay and Serial WAN technology has been omitted
  • Only HSRP remains from First Hop Redundancy Protocols (VRRP and GLBP removed).

Key topics added:

  • Required to have knowledge of dual-homed vs single-homed Intelligent WAN topology options.
  • Need basic knowledge of external BGP (eBGP) used to connect Enterprise branches.
  • VPN topics now include; DMVPN, Site-to-Site VPN and Client VPN in common Enterprise use.
  • Must have an understanding of how Cloud resources are being used in Enterprise network architectures e.g.
    • How Cloud services will affect traffic paths and flows
    • Common virtualised services and how these coexist with legacy infrastructure
    • Basics of virtual network infrastructure (Network Function Virtualisation)
  • Awareness of Programmable Network (SDN) architectures including:
    • Separation of the control data plane
    • How a controller functions and communicates northbound to network applications and southbound to the R&S infrastructure using API’s.
  • Using Path Trace applications for ACLs, which is an essential new network application enabled by the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller – Enterprise Module (APIC-EM).
    • The tool is designed to automate the troubleshooting and resolution of complex ACL deployments.
  • Understanding QoS concepts related to marking, shaping and policing mechanisms for congestion management.
    • Need an understanding of how QoS is used for prioritising voice, video and data traffic. Plus an understanding of the automation provided by programmable networks to implement business critical QoS policies.  

For even more detail on the curriculum changes:



What does this mean for the old exams?

The exams 100-101 ICND1 and 200-120 CCNA can no longer be taken (August 20th deadline). The ICND2 exam, however, can still be taken until the 24th of September this year.

Can I combined exams?

Yes, if you already have the ICND1 (CCENT) certification v2.0 then you can get the ICND2 (CCNA) certification v3.0 and still end up with your CCNA qualification.