CCNP: Which topics to focus on?

Certification: Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching - Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing and Switching


The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification is the certification that proves that the certificate holder has the necessary knowledge and skills related to planning, installation, configuration, implementation, verification and troubleshooting of LAN and WAN enterprise networks. To be able to gain this certification the candidates must gain hands-on skill and practice. The CCNP certification requires the candidates to give three kinds of exams. Each of these exams has two choices for the candidates. Amongst these two choices the candidates will have to choose one. The three exams that the candidates have to sit for are the IP routing, IP switched networks and troubleshooting and maintaining of Cisco IP networks. Based on these three topics, the exam requires the candidates to focus on certain topics.

Cisco IP routing

This portion of exam topic revolves around the IP routing. In this the candidate has to focus on developing their skills and knowledge related to Cisco IP routing. They can choose to give one of the two exams for this portion. They can either sit for 642-902 ROUTE or 300-101 ROUTE exam. These two exams focus on the implementation of IP routing. For the 642-902 ROUTE exam the candidates must focus on the implementation of IPv4 based solution, IPv6 based solution, EIGRP based solution, OSPF network, Layer 3 Path Control Solution , Branch services and Basic Teleworker based on the given requirements and network design. The candidates will have to focus on the creation of the related implementation plan and verification plan, configuration, verification of the solution and documentation of the end results.

For the 300-101 ROUTE exam the candidates will have to focus on Network principles, VPN technologies, Layer 2 technologies, Layer 3 technologies, Infrastructure services and Infrastructure security. They will have to cover some of the basic concepts of network like IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP, networking protocols and IP operations. Some of the other exam topics that they have to cover are:

  • Configuration and verification of PPP
  • Configuration and verification of Frame relay
  • IPv4 addressing and IPv6 addressing
  • Subnetting
  • Default routing and static routing
  • Various routing protocols
  • Concepts, configuration and verification of EIGRP
  • Concepts, configuration and verification of OSPF
  • Concepts and types of VPN technologies
  • Configuration and verification of access control and router security features
  • Configuration and verification of device management, NTP, DHCP, logging and NAT

Cisco IP Switched network

This portion of CCNA certification revolves around the Cisco IP Switched network. In this the candidate has to focus on developing their skills and knowledge related to Cisco IP switched network. They can choose to give one of the two exams for this portion. They can either sit for the 642-813 SWITCH or 300-115 SWITCH. These two exams focus on the implementation of IP switching. For the 642-813 SWITCH the candidates will have to cover topics that are related to the implementation of VLAN based solution, Switch based layer 3 services, security extension of a layer 2 solution and high availability based on the given requirements and network design. They will have to learn how to create an implementation plan, verification plan, configuration and verification of the above mentioned topics.

If the candidates plan to give the 300-115 SWITCH exam then they will have to cover the Infrastructure Services, Infrastructure Security and Layer 2 Technologies. Some of the topics that they have to cover are:

  • Configuration and verification of Layer 2 protocols, trunking, switch administration, VLANs, spanning tree, EtherChannels and LAN switching technologies
  • Configuration and verification of security features
  • Configuration and verification of first hop redundancy protocols

Cisco IP networks troubleshooting and maintaining

This portion of CCNA certification revolves around resolving of any kind of issues that may arise in the networking. The candidates should cover the topics that are related to the troubleshooting and maintaining of Cisco IP networks. They can choose to give one of the two exams for this portion. They can either sit for the 642-832 TSHOOT or 300-135 TSHOOT. In the 642-832 TSHOOT exam the candidates will have to focus on monitoring and maintenance of network performance and troubleshooting of protocol system network. They will have to prepare about developing a plan, monitoring the system, performing routine maintenance and troubleshooting of EIGRP, NAT, DHCP, OSPF, IPv4 routing, IPv6 routing, access ports, VLANs, Layer 3 security and so on.

If they plan to sit for the 300-135 TSHOOT exam then they will have to focus on network principles, Infrastructure security, Infrastructure services, Layer 2 technologies, Layer 3 technologies and VPN technologies. They will have to make sure that they cover the following topics.

  • Application of troubleshooting methodologies
  • Using Cisco IOS troubleshooting tools
  • Troubleshooting Layer 2 protocols, switch administration, trunking, VLANs, EtherChannel, LAN switching technologies and spanning tree
  • Troubleshooting of IPv4 and IPv6 addressing as well as subnetting
  • Troubleshooting of default routing and static routing
  • Troubleshooting of policy based routing, EIGRP, OSPF, eBGP and BGP
  • Troubleshooting of VPN technologies
  • Troubleshooting of router security features and device access control
  • Troubleshooting of logging, device management, NAT, DHCP, NTP, tracking objects and so on

These are the topics that the candidates have to cover if they want to get the certification. Each of these topics has a certain allocated percentage. Based on that percentage their importance can be determined. The main thing that they have to focus on is IP routing, IP switching networks, troubleshooting and maintain of IP networks. If they are able to cover all the topics that are focused on these three points, then they will be able to gain enough knowledge and skill to get the certification.


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