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Introduction to CCNA certification
The CCNA certification is the most popular certification of the IT industry’s Network segment. It assesses the foundation concepts of networking that a technician or engineer may require while configuring small, medium and large sized LANs and WANs.
Individuals who are beginning their career and want to move towards LAN/WAN management may also pursue the certification, as it is a basic level certification and there are no prerequisites.
Details about CCNA Certification
The certification path for CCNA is split into two. You may possess this certification by going in for the:
CCNA 640-801 certification
INTRO 640-821 and ICND 640-811.
The CCNA certification has gradually evolved through several revisions to encompass the changing trends of the networking scenarios in the IT world.
Difference between previous and current version of CCNA 640-801 certification
IP addressing deals with various advanced concepts along with the usual basics. Advanced concepts being:
IP routing along with basic routing concepts, RIP and IGRP deals with:
Questions from these topics would be scenario based as well as troubleshooting oriented.
Switching along with basic switched network concepts moves on to:
– 2950 Catalyst Switches
– Advanced concepts of switches such as Portfast, Ether Channel etc.
– VLAN related questions, contribute significantly to the simulator based configuration questions as well as troubleshooting oriented questions along with testing concepts.
While Network Management and Network Design testing pattern remains the same, the questions will be based on higher end routers/switches and higher version of IOS.
WAN – basic concepts and technology
Concentration will be more on:
– DDR configuration
– Frame relay configuration as well as troubleshooting
– Remote access network
The testing on PPP concepts as well as configuration still remains
Cisco IOS – basic IOS concepts and configuration commands
Testing in this area will concentrate on:
– RIP commands
– IGRP and EIGRP commands
– OSPF commands
Along with the above list you will surely be tested on Switch configuration as well as VLAN configuration
The CCNA is a foundation certification path and hence needs no prerequisites.
Details about the Exam
The CCNA 640-801 was launched on the 30th of June 2003 and allows the flexibility of achieving certification through one track the CCNA 640-801 or through two tracks the INTRO 640-821 and ICND 640-811.
The most popular or sought after track is the CCNA 640-801 as it obviously has just one exam that you need to get through.
Although Cisco claims this to be an entry level or a foundation certification, it pays to have an experience of at least 1 year in implementing at least a small sized or medium sized LAN and having a basic idea about OSI layers.
The objectives are still divided into 4 sections as mentioned below:
Planning & Designing
– Design a simple LAN using Cisco Technology
– Design an IP addressing scheme to meet design requirements
– Choose an appropriate routing protocol based on user requirements
– Design a simple internetwork using Cisco technology
– Choose WAN services to meet customer requirements
Implementation & Operation
– Configure routing protocols and router administrative functions
– Configure IP addresses, subnet masks, and gateway addresses on routers and hosts
– Configure a switch with VLANS and inter-switch communication for specified network requirements
– Implement a LAN
– IOS and Configuration files management
– Router and Switch configuration and factory default settings
– Implement access lists
– Implement simple WAN protocols
– Using OSI model for troubleshooting LAN and WAN
– Troubleshoot routing protocols
– Troubleshoot IP addressing and host configuration
– Troubleshoot a live network device
– Troubleshoot an access list
– Describe network communications using layered models
– STP and VTP
– Evaluate routing protocols for a given scenario
– TCP/IP suite and comparison with ISO model
– Describe the components of network devices
– Evaluate rules for packet control
– Evaluate key characteristics of WANs
– Number of Questions: 55 to 65
– Question types:
o Single choice
o Multiple choices
o Drag and Drop
o Simulation based
– Passing Score – must be 850 and above
– Time given – 90 minutes
The Simulator based questions will have a button on the exam screen, which when pressed will take you to an interface that looks exactly like the hyper terminal screen of a router or a switch.
Although it is a simulator, you will feel like you are configuring or troubleshooting a live router or a switch. The IOS commands possible on the live devices will be possible here too.
The drag and drop question will be mainly the match the following type. You will be presented with 3 columns, the one on left will be static, the cells in the right most will be moveable and the middle column will be empty place holders. You will be required to drag a cell from the right column to these empty place holders to match the content in the left column.
The single choice and multiple choices will usually be accompanied with instructions such as “Choose the best” or “Choose at least two” respectively.
Why the two track path?
Although CCNA 640-801 is the most sought after rather than the two track path, it is easier for beginners when the content gets split into two levels of foundation. The Intro exam essentially serves this purpose.
Also another reason being, the CCNAs who have a certification in the previous version only need to take up the ICND exam to recertify in the newer version, that is the 640-801 CCNA.
While the exam pattern along with the technologies keep changing with the new additions, the basic concepts of network assessment still remains intact in the CCNA 640-801 track.
Well, with all this information you are well armed to take up the CCNA 640-801 exam and score well too!!! Best of Luck!!!