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Changes in the CCNA Routing & Switching certification: a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

CCNAToday, 17th May, 2016, Cisco announces that they will be making changes in the CCNA Routing & Switching certification. What will change exactly? And what does it mean for you?

What will change within the CCNA Routing & Switching certification?

The courses and exams within the CCNA Routing & Switching certification will change from version 2.0 to version 3.0. This means an introduction of 3 courses and exams. The names and abbreviations of the courses stay the same, but the exam numbers change.

v2.0 courses and examsv3.0 courses and exams
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)100-101 ICND1Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)100-105 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)200-101 ICND2Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)200-105 ICND2
CCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC)200-120 CCNACCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC)200-125 CCNA

To certify for CCNA Routing & Switching you need to pass either the ICND1 and ICND2 exams ór the CCNA exam. More about the obtainment of the CCNA certification can be found in my blog post ‘CCNA: how to pass your certification

Why is the CCNA Routing & Switching certification changing?

Pim Leemans, Cisco instructor, says it as follows: “There are several reasons for Cisco to take a closer look at the CCNA courses. The most important reason is not of a technical nature: the way we learn has been changing a lot in the previous years. We see that on (primary) schools, where they expect more independence, and this trend is spreading to the business world. People want to acquire knowledge in their own time and on a location of their own choosing.

Cisco has incorporated this in the newest framework of the CCNA courses. Unlike before there will be less theory and more learning by ‘just doing it’. This is achieved by deployment of the ‘Discovery Labs’. Such labs are also being used at the CCNP courses. During the Discovery Labs part of the theory will be acquired by performing lab practices based upon scenarios from the course material.

When the technological and practical knowledge is acquired at the end of each module, the students are able to use those in the ‘Challenge Labs’. During these assignments the students will not be coached anymore, but expected to rely on previous acquired knowledge.

Because the assignments are performed at the Cisco Virtual Labs the students can also study the subjects in their own time áfter taking the course. Furthermore the dependencies are gone. You will never get ‘stuck’ anymore. So the purchase of hardware to prepare for an exam is ancient history!”

What will change specifically in the courses and exams? Which subjects will be added and which will be removed?

Pim: “Apart from the framework of the courses and the deployment of virtual labs Cisco has also adjusted the courses to new technologies of course. During the ICND1 course only RIP as routing protocol will be treated. Subjects on device management (upgrades, licenses and such) are removed from the ICND2 course and are now part of the ICND1 course.

The ICND2 course has changed the most. The emphasis on outdated technologies like Frame Relay has been replaced by Multi-Link PPP en PPPoE. The tougher subjects of EBGP and Quality of Service, RADIUS and Tacacs+ authentication will also be treated. Those are subjects that were previously part of the CCNP curriculum. So the stakes have been raised.”

When will the new courses and exams be available?

The new courses and exams have been made available today, on 17th May, 2016.

Until when can the ‘old’ exams be taken?

The exams 100-101 ICND1 and 200-120 CCNA can be taken until August 20, 2016, the exam 200-101 ICND2 can be taken until September 24, 2016.

Is there a problem if you take the ICND1 exam on v2.0 and the ICND2 exam on v3.0?

No. The old and the new exams can be combined. After successfully passing the old ICND1 exam and the new ICND2 exam you will obtain the CCNA Routing & Switching certification as usual.

What do you have to do if you are CCNA Routing & Switching certified at this moment?

In that case you don’t have to do anything. The CCNA Routing & Switching certification is valid for 3 years and will also stay valid for 3 years after the changes in the courses and exams.

Can’t find your question in this post?

Do you have another question you can’t find in the above? Please let me know. I will be happy to help.

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CCNP Data Center: how does it work with those 2 options?

Monday, September 7th, 2015

In 2012 Cisco introduced the CCNP Data Center Certification. At this time, 3 years later, there is still confusion about the 2 options for obtaining the Data Center Certification. The result? IT professionals take the wrong exams and attend courses that aren’t necessary for them. With this blog I hope to end all that confusion.

CCNP Data Center and CCNA Data Center

CCNP Data Center is a so called ‘professional certification’ from Cisco’s Career Certifications program[.pdf]. Like all other CCNP certifications the CCNP Data Center certification is based upon a CCNA certification. You can already guess: it is based on CCNA Data Center.

CCNA Data Center is rather straight and narrow: to obtain the certification you have to complete 2 exams successfully. The certification stands on its own: you don’t need a CCNA Routing & Switching certification. That is actually rather logical if you look at the content of the preparatory course.

The DCICN course addresses the base of routing and switching, therefore it has a lot of overlap with CCNA Routing & Switching. The DCICT course addresses Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System) and the switch products within the data center, also known as the Nexus products. You can compare the set-up of the DCICT course with the set-up of the CCNA Routing & Switching course: it addresses the basic skills, but more advanced knowledge and applications require the step towards CCNP.

CCNP Data Center: the 2 options

So far so good. You are CCNA Data Center certified and now you are able to concentrate on CCNP Data Center. This is the moment of choice. For CCNP Data Center has 2 options. I always call option 1 the implementation & design option and option 2 the implementation & troubleshooting option. What do I mean with that?

Cisco indicates: a good designer of Cisco data center solutions needs to know the products well and has to have practical experience. You can compare it to a driving instructor who first has to obtain his own driver license.

So everyone starts with 2 implementation exams and courses:

ExamsCoursesSubjects
642-997 DCUFIImplementing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFI)Implementation Unified Fabric and Nexus, especially Nexus 5000, Nexus 2000 and Nexus 7000.
642-999 DCUCIImplementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCI)Implementation Cisco UCS, including amongst others Fabric Interconnect and Nexus 1000V, and both the Blades and the standalone C series.

After the implementation courses and exams the moment of choice arrives: do you choose the implementation & design option or the implementation & troubleshooting option? Whatever you select, there are still 2 exams left to take. For as a whole the CCNP Data Center certification contains 4 exams, no matter which option you choose. However, the selection of an option is very important.

In the image below I have visualized the 2 options:

CCNP Data Center

As you can see it is your choice either to specialize in the design in both UCS and Nexus Unified Fabric ór in the troubleshooting of both UCS and Nexus Unified Fabric. So you don’t specialize in a technology or solution, as many people think. You base your choice on the role you have or are about to take on.

Which option do you choose?

I wish you good luck with obtaining your CCNP Data Center certification. Making the wrong choice should no longer be a problem. Do you still have questions? Feel free to contact me.

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CCNA: how to pass your certification

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

CCNA certification“I would like to pass my CCNA, but I read on your website that there are several ways I can go about it. What is my best choice? And which courses and exams do I need?” It’s a question that is recurrently asked by IT professionals or their managers.

CCNA, officially called CCNA Routing & Switching, is the basis certification of Cisco and thus it is popular. And indeed: there are several possibilities for obtaining a CCNA certification. So it’s understandable that this is not always clear. Therefore an overview in this blog post.

What does a CCNA certification actually contain?

Pim Leemans, Cisco instructor, gives the following definition:

“CCNA is the basis certification of Cisco. The certification is well reputed and thus in popular demand. CCNA has become a milestone in the networking world.

What you can do with a CCNA certification? A lot! It proves that you have knowledge of several network techniques. Like Ethernet, IP networking and subnetting, Network Address Translation, WAN technologies and dynamic routing with Enterprise Grade Routing protocols as OSPF and EIGRP for instance. But also frequently used techniques like VLAN’s and spanning tree. Many of those techniques can be configured on Cisco routers and switches. You are also skilled in several troubleshooting scenario’s and the scaling of networks.

Passing the CCNA certification is sufficient for many network professionals to perform their daily network and management activities well. Network techniques that return in CCNA are furthermore convenient in the management of operating systems. When you possess the knowledge of CCNA it is for example also a lot easier to interpret, configure and troubleshoot Windows or Linux routing tables.”

How long is the CCNA certification valid?

The CCNA certification is valid for 3 years. To stay certified you can retake the CCNA exam or, if you want to certify yourself further, take an exam that is ‘higher’ than CCNA. Passing a CCNP exam will therefore also extend your CCNA certification.

Passing CCNA, option 1: 2 classroom-based courses + 2 exams

If you have little or no experience in (Cisco) networking and have never operated the prompt of a Cisco IOS switch or router choosing this option is the wisest choice. You will attend 2 five-day courses, both with a corresponding exam.

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1) | 100-101 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2) | 200-101 ICND2

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the ICND1 and ICND2 exams have been revised. (further information)

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1) | 100-105 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2) | 200-105 ICND2

The 2 courses are well matched: the second course offers both the broadening and deepening of the first course.

After the passing of the second exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Pim adds:

“The amount of material being taught is quite large, so I’ve noticed that a lot of trainees chose to take the exams separately. In practice it is shown that even experienced Cisco users have difficulties with an exam. Taking a Cisco exam is a skill on its own. So it may be convenient to use the ICND1 exam as a training with Cisco exams in general.”

Passing CCNA , option 2: 1 classroom-based course + 1 exam

If you have more proficiency in (Cisco) networking, and are in the possession of general network knowledge like IP networking and subnetting, and have expertise in general tools like SSH and Telnet, you won’t need a 10 day course. In that case you can choose option 2. You will partake in a classroom-based course of 7 consecutive days (don’t panic: you still will be free in the weekend :-)) and will take 1 exam.

CCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC) | 200-120 CCNA

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the CCNA exam has been revised. (further information)

CCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC) | 200-125 CCNA

After the passing of the exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Do you find it difficult to assess whether you have enough experience to partake in a CCNA Bootcamp? Try consulting with an instructor. I will be happy to connect you to Pim or one of our other Cisco instructors.

Passing CCNA , option 3: classroom-based training + self-study + 1 exam

If you have, like mentioned in the previous option, already some proficiency with (Cisco) networking, but no time to partake in a classical course of 7 consecutive days, your best option may be this. You attend a FastTrack: a learning program that combines both classroom-based training and self-study. The FastTrack covers approximately 2 months. In those 2 months you partake 6 days in total in a classroom-based course. The classroom-based course is alternated with self-study. A FastTrack always starts with an online kick-off that will clarify what will be expected of you. After the FastTrack you take 1 exam.

CCNA FastTrack (CCNAFT) | 200-120 CCNA

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the CCNA exam has been revised. (further information)

CCNA FastTrack (CCNAFT) | 200-125 CCNA

After the passing of the exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Passing CCNA , option 4: self-study + 1 or 2 exams

When you prefer not to take any classroom-based courses there is the possibility to prepare for an exam by self-study. During self-study you will use the official e-learning by Cisco. The e-learning contains the learning material, several tests and labs.

There is e-learning for ICND1 and e-learning for ICND2.

After following the e-learning you take the separate ICND1 and ICND2 exams ór the CCNA exam. After the passing of the exam(s) you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Something for everybody

It is clear: there is something for everybody with these 4 options. Are you still unsure? Please let me know. I will be happy to help you!

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How to book your Cisco exam in 6 steps

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

“Where can I book my Cisco exam?”, “At what location will the exam be held?” and: “What is an exam voucher actually?” These are but a few of the questions we frequently receive.

In this blog post I will deal with the 6 steps that are necessary to book a Cisco exam online. Because booking a Cisco exam may appear difficult, but if you follow all steps it really is a piece of cake.

Where and how do you book a Cisco exam?

Pearson VUE is the exam institution for all Cisco exams. This means that Cisco exams need to be booked at Pearson VUE.

You can book your Cisco exam in 2 separate ways:
1. By telephone, using one of the free telephone numbers of Pearson VUE.
Belgium: 0800 74 174 | The Netherlands: 0800 023 53 23

When you choose this option you will be helped personally. Keep your CSCO number close. Don’t have one yet? Don’t worry. The CSCO number will be created when you submit your name and address. Keep in mind that the telephone operator is English speaking and that you will need to spell your name and address clearly.

2. Online www.pearsonvue.com. Below you will find the steps that need to be taken on the website.

Step 1: select Cisco as exam program

Click, in the horizontal menu at the upper side of the page, on ‘For test takers’. (image 1.1) A new page will open. Type ‘Cisco’ in the field left. You select ‘Cisco Systems’ from the list that appears. (image 1.2) A new page will open.

Cisco exam - step 1.1

Image 1.1

Cisco exam - step 1.2

Image 1.2

Step 2: log in with your Pearson VUE account

Click, at the right side of the page, on the blue button ‘Sign in’ and log in with your Pearson VUE account. Don’t have an account yet? In that case click on the blue button ‘Create account’ and create an account. (image 2.1)

Cisco exam, step 2.1

Image 2.1

Step 3: search for your Cisco exam

Click on the blue button ‘View exams’. (image 3.1) A new page will open.

Find the right Cisco exam by searching on the code or on the name of the exam. (image 3.2) Select the exam and click on ‘Go’. A new page will open.

Select the desired language (image 3.3) and click on the blue button ‘Next’. A new page will open.

You will now see an overview of the Cisco exam you want to take, including information on the price and language. (image 3.4)

Cisco exam - step 3.1

Image 3.1

Cisco exam - step 3.2

Image 3.2

Cisco exam - step 3.3

Image 3.3

Cisco exam - step 3.4

Image 3.4

Step 4: choose a date and a time

Click on the blue button ‘Schedule this exam’. A new page will open.

To be able to take your Cisco exam you will need to agree with the conditions that are mentioned. Select ‘Yes, I accept’ (image 4.1) and click on the blue button ‘Next’.

You can take your Cisco exam at a Pearson VUE exam center of your choice. You can find an exam center in your neighborhood by searching on street name, postal code or city, or on a combination of these. (image 4.2) Select the preferred exam center and click on the blue button ‘Next’. A new page will open.

Select a date and time. (image 4.3) A new page will open.

You will now see an overview of the Cisco exam you want to take, including information on the chosen location, the date and the time. (image 4.4)

Cisco exam - step 4.1

Image 4.1

Cisco exam - step 4.2

Image 4.2

Cisco exam - step 4.3

Image 4.3

Cisco exam - step 4.4

Image 4.4

Step 5: pay for the Cisco exam with a credit card or an exam voucher

Click on the blue button ‘Proceed to Checkout’. Confirm your personal data. (image 5.1) Make sure that the name on the screen corresponds exactly with the name on your identity papers. Click on the blue button ‘Next’.

Agree with the mentioned terms (image 5.2) and click on the blue button ‘Next’.
You can pay for your Cisco exam by means of an exam voucher or by credit card. (image 5.3) An exam voucher is a code of numbers and letters.

• Do you want to pay for your Cisco exam by means of an exam voucher? In that case click on ‘Add Voucher or Promo Code’, fill in the number of the exam voucher and click on the blue button ‘Apply’. The payable amount will be set on € 0,00.

• Do you want to pay for your Cisco exam by credit card? In that case fill in the credit card information and the billing address.

Click on the blue button ‘Next’. A new page will open.

Cisco exam - step 5.1

Image 5.1

Cisco exam - step 5.2

Image 5.2

Cisco exam - step 5.3

Image 5.3

Step 6: confirm your booking

You will see an overview of the Cisco exam you want to take, including information on the price. Click on the blue button ‘Submit Order’.

Your exam is booked. You will receive a confirmation at the e-mail address that is known in your Pearson VUE account.

Reschedule your Cisco exam to another date or location

Do you want to reschedule your exam? In that case log in again with your Pearson VUE account and use the option ‘Reschedule’.

Attention: you can reschedule without cost until 24 hours before the start of the exam. If you reschedule within those 24 hours ór if you forget the appointment you will be required to pay the complete fee for the rebooking of the exam.

Questions on the booking of your Cisco exam

Do you have any questions on the booking of your Cisco exam? Or do you want to reschedule your Cisco exam, but you aren’t exactly sure on how to do that? Contact Pearson VUE on one of the free telephone numbers.

Belgium: 0800 74 174 | The Netherlands: 0800 023 53 23

I wish you good luck with your Cisco exam. And if you need any help in the preparation for the exam, Fast Lane will of course be happy to help! ;-)

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CCNA Collaboration certification: a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Today Cisco introduces the CCNA Collaboration certification, wherein voice and video are integrated. The CCNA Voice and CCNA Video certifications will cease to apply.

But what if you are preparing for one of those revoked certifications at this moment? Or if you are already in possession of (one of) these certifications? Is there an simple way to transfer to CCNA Collaboration? And how do you obtain that certification?

In this blog post I will explain what you need to do to obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification and what options are available to everyone who (almost) possesses the CCNA Voice and/or CCNA Video certification.

How do you obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification?

To obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification 2 exams need to be taken successfully:

What previous knowledge is required for the CCNA Collaboration certification?

There is no official previous knowledge required for CCNA Collaboration. Cisco does however advise an amount of 1 to 3 years previous experience with working in a unified communications, voice, video and/or collaboration network environment.

In what order do you take the CCNA Collaboration courses?

It is advised to follow the CICD training first, that will provide a base in the area of video solutions, and to start with the CIVND1 and CIVND2 training subsequently.

You are preparing for the CCNA Voice certification at this moment. This certification will cease to apply. What options do you have?

You have 2 options:

1. You take the 640-461 ICOMM exam successfully before August 14, 2015 and will therefore obtain the CCNA Voice certification.
This CCNA Voice certification will stay valid for 3 years. But take into account the previous knowledge: to obtain the CCNA Voice certification you will need to possess a valid CCENT certification.

2. You are preparing for the CCNA Collaboration certification.
To obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification 2 exams need to be taken successfully:

You have an exemption from the 210-060 CICD exam if you have already passed the 640-461 ICOMM exam. In that case you only have to take the 210-065 CIVND exam successfully.

You are CCNA Voice certificated and want to obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification. What do you need to do?

To obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification 2 exams need to be taken successfully:

You have an exemption from the 210-060 CICD exam if you are already CCNA Voice certificated by passing the 640-461 ICOMM exam. In that case you only have to take the 210-065 CIVND exam successfully.

The courses Implementing Cisco Video Network Devices, Part 1 (CIVND1 – web based) and Implementing Cisco Video Network Devices, Part 2 (CIVND2 – classical) are preparations for the 210-065 CIVND-exam.

CCNA Collaboration

When does your CCNA Voice certification expire?

Your CCNA Voice certification is valid for 3 years and will stay valid for 3 years. The CCNA Voice certification can no longer be obtained after August 15, 2015, but already obtained certifications will stay valid.

You are preparing for the CCNA Video certification at this moment. This certification will cease to apply. What options do you have?

You have 2 options:

1. You take the 640-461 ICOMM exam successfully before August 14, 2015 and will therefore obtain the CCNA Video certification. This CCNA Video certification will stay valid for 3 years.

2. You are preparing for the CCNA Collaboration certification.
To obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification 2 exams need to be taken successfully:

You have an exemption from the 210-060 CICD exam if you have already passed the 640-461 ICOMM exam.

You have an exemption from the 210-065 CIVND-exam if you have already passed the 200-001 VIVND- exam.

You are CCNA Video certificated and want to obtain the CCNA Collaboration certification. What do you need to do?

If you are CCNA Video certificated and have passed the 640-461 ICOMM and 200-001 VIVND you will not need to take any additional exams. You are exempted from both CCNA Collaboration exams and fulfill all requirements.

CCNA Collaboration

When does your CCNA Video certification expire?

Your CCNA Video certification is valid for 3 years and will stay valid for 3 years. The CCNA Video certification can no longer be obtained after August 15, 2015, but already obtained certifications will stay valid.

Can’t find your question in this blog post?

Do you have another question that you can’t find in the above? Please let me know. I will be happy to help! Frequently asked questions about the CCNP Collaboration certification, ánd the answers to them can be found here.

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