21 August 2008

CCNA Exam Overview

This is the image I got from http://www.cisco.com, it basically shows how the certifications levels in Cisco. Starting with the entry levels which are the ICND1 and ICND2.
But if you got both ICND1 and 2 exams, you also get the CCNA certification which belongs to the associate level.
Next one is the professional level, and the last one is expert level.

As the pyramid shows, the higher the level, the fewer they are, and the best ones in salary.

Cisco likes to give numbers as their exam code, for example for the CCNA they give #640-802 exam number. This numbers are changed if they have new standards or exam subjects are modified.

I took the course with exam code of 640-801, and after I passed the course I didn't take the exam because I had to go abroad to work. After a year I decided to take the exam, but lucky me, the exam number just changed to be 640-802. In this exam they added the subjects of network security and wireless. I had to learn some more but I was lucky to get passed in just one shot.

For this 640-802 exam they will test subjects as Cisco noted in http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/current_exams/640-802.html

Describe how a network works

  • Describe the purpose and functions of various network devices
  • Select the components required to meet a network specification
  • Use the OSI and TCP/IP models and their associated protocols to explain how data flows in a network
  • Describe common networked applications including web applications
  • Describe the purpose and basic operation of the protocols in the OSI and TCP models
  • Describe the impact of applications (Voice Over IP and Video Over IP) on a network
  • Interpret network diagrams
  • Determine the path between two hosts across a network
  • Describe the components required for network and Internet communications
  • Identify and correct common network problems at layers 1, 2, 3 and 7 using a layered model approach
  • Differentiate between LAN/WAN operation and features

Configure, verify and troubleshoot a switch with VLANs and interswitch communications

  • Select the appropriate media, cables, ports, and connectors to connect switches to other network devices and hosts
  • Explain the technology and media access control method for Ethernet networks
  • Explain network segmentation and basic traffic management concepts
  • Explain basic switching concepts and the operation of Cisco switches
  • Perform and verify initial switch configuration tasks including remote access management
  • Verify network status and switch operation using basic utilities (including: ping, traceroute, telnet, SSH, arp, ipconfig), SHOW & DEBUG commands
  • Identify, prescribe, and resolve common switched network media issues, configuration issues, auto negotiation, and switch hardware failures
  • Describe enhanced switching technologies (including: VTP, RSTP, VLAN, PVSTP, 802.1q)
  • Describe how VLANs create logically separate networks and the need for routing between them
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VLANs
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot trunking on Cisco switches
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot interVLAN routing
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VTP
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot RSTP operation
  • Interpret the output of various show and debug commands to verify the operational status of a Cisco switched network.
  • Implement basic switch security (including: port security, trunk access, management vlan other than vlan1, etc.)

Implement an IP addressing scheme and IP Services to meet network requirements in a medium-size Enterprise branch office network.

  • Describe the operation and benefits of using private and public IP addressing
  • Explain the operation and benefits of using DHCP and DNS
  • Configure, verify and troubleshoot DHCP and DNS operation on a router.(including: CLI/SDM)
  • Implement static and dynamic addressing services for hosts in a LAN environment
  • Calculate and apply an addressing scheme including VLSM IP addressing design to a network
  • Determine the appropriate classless addressing scheme using VLSM and summarization to satisfy addressing requirements in a LAN/WAN environment
  • Describe the technological requirements for running IPv6 in conjunction with IPv4 (including: protocols, dual stack, tunneling, etc).
  • Describe IPv6 addresses
  • Identify and correct common problems associated with IP addressing and host configurations

Configure, verify, and troubleshoot basic router operation and routing on Cisco devices

  • Describe basic routing concepts (including: packet forwarding, router lookup process)
  • Describe the operation of Cisco routers (including: router bootup process, POST, router components)
  • Select the appropriate media, cables, ports, and connectors to connect routers to other network devices and hosts
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot RIPv2
  • Access and utilize the router to set basic parameters.(including: CLI/SDM)
  • Connect, configure, and verify operation status of a device interface
  • Verify device configuration and network connectivity using ping, traceroute, telnet, SSH or other utilities
  • Perform and verify routing configuration tasks for a static or default route given specific routing requirements
  • Manage IOS configuration files. (including: save, edit, upgrade, restore)
  • Manage Cisco IOS.
  • Compare and contrast methods of routing and routing protocols
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot OSPF
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot EIGRP
  • Verify network connectivity (including: using ping, traceroute, and telnet or SSH)
  • Troubleshoot routing issues
  • Verify router hardware and software operation using SHOW & DEBUG commands.
  • Implement basic router security

Explain and select the appropriate administrative tasks required for a WLAN

  • Describe standards associated with wireless media (including: IEEE WI-FI Alliance, ITU/FCC)
  • Identify and describe the purpose of the components in a small wireless network. (Including: SSID, BSS, ESS)
  • Identify the basic parameters to configure on a wireless network to ensure that devices connect to the correct access point
  • Compare and contrast wireless security features and capabilities of WPA security (including: open, WEP, WPA-1/2)
  • Identify common issues with implementing wireless networks. (Including: Interface, missconfiguration)

Identify security threats to a network and describe general methods to mitigate those threats

  • Describe today's increasing network security threats and explain the need to implement a comprehensive security policy to mitigate the threats
  • Explain general methods to mitigate common security threats to network devices, hosts, and applications
  • Describe the functions of common security appliances and applications
  • Describe security recommended practices including initial steps to secure network devices

Implement, verify, and troubleshoot NAT and ACLs in a medium-size Enterprise branch office network.

  • Describe the purpose and types of ACLs
  • Configure and apply ACLs based on network filtering requirements.(including: CLI/SDM)
  • Configure and apply an ACLs to limit telnet and SSH access to the router using (including: SDM/CLI)
  • Verify and monitor ACLs in a network environment
  • Troubleshoot ACL issues
  • Explain the basic operation of NAT
  • Configure NAT for given network requirements using (including: CLI/SDM)
  • Troubleshoot NAT issues

Implement and verify WAN links

  • Describe different methods for connecting to a WAN
  • Configure and verify a basic WAN serial connection
  • Configure and verify Frame Relay on Cisco routers
  • Troubleshoot WAN implementation issues
  • Describe VPN technology (including: importance, benefits, role, impact, components)
  • Configure and verify a PPP connection between Cisco routers
I know, it looks too much to learn but trust me, but it doesn't look that bad, if I can then anybody can do it. If you invest enough time and practice I'm sure you can pass the CCNA exam. And of course look to this blog a lot, because I like to share my knowledge on each of the subject they test.

The duration of the test would be 90 minutes, but if you in a non native English speaking country then you'd get additional 30 minutes to do the test.

There should be 50-60 questions in the test, the amount will vary and you can't tell what question they will ask each time because they use some random algorithm to choose the questions.
Some people say that the test will count what question that you're weak at, and they will post more questions on it. I don't know the truth in that but better be safe then sorry.

Most of the questions will be multiple choice type of questions, some will be drag and drop questions, and some simulations to test your ability in configurations.
What tricks people most, is that they will test you on very basic things in networking, so make sure you don't miss any subject in the test. Some people get cocky to thing they know everything about OSI layers, yet they failed the test on it.

In the test you won't be allowed to back on the questions that you have answered, so you need to be certain of an answer before you go to the next question.

I hope I can help people in understanding Cisco and pass the test, so I'll give you my best.