Cisco CCNP Modifications - A New Layered Approach to Achieving the CCNP

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

Most of the software requires modification with the passage of time in order to carry on with the needs of the needs of passing time. Same is the case with Cisco certifications because they deal with the networking technology and networking technology as we all know is changing rapidly with the passage of time. In this analysis the main focus is on the most studied CCNP course that is the CCNP routing and switching course which has gone through massive changes where the entire curriculum is changed by Cisco. The change is not only useful but also covers the current needs of networking technologies. In order to understand the new modifications it is necessary to discuss the causes for these modifications and later on to discuss the new modifications in light of the causes. The cause for modifications can be understood by looking at the history of this certification.

Previous structure of CCNP:

CCNP since its beginning had four exams namely BSCI, ISCW, ONT, BCMSN. All of these courses contained a lot of studying material which was lagging the current needs of networking technology. Cisco removed the length that was unnecessary and produced a refined certification course. Let us discuss the changes made by Cisco.

Modifications in CCNP curriculum

In the journey of modifications, Cisco first of all removed almost half of the unnecessary content which was out dated. Almost every topic of ISCW and ONT is removed. In place of these two exams, Cisco introduced newly created troubleshooting exam. Cisco does not replace ISCW and ONT with TSHOOT technically; rather it adjusted the necessary topics of ISCW and ONT into the ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT courses. In addition to this, Cisco added new stuff in TSHOOT course to make it more useful. This is indeed a bold and timely change where the networking field not only requires routing and switching rather the needs require security, QoS, Wireless as well with routing and switching. The old BSCI is replaced by ROUTE exam and the previous BCMSN is replaced by SWITCH exam. The new set is now as following:

  1. ROUTE 642-902 (replacement for BSCI)
  2. SWITCH 642-813 (replacement for BCMSN)
  3. TSHOOT 642-832 (newly added exam)

The important and necessary topics like VPNs, Internet Access, Wireless, QoS, and MPLS etc were taken from the old exams of ISCW and ONT and were adjusted in these three exams.

After the modification the changes can be shown as:

  • ROUTE exam: contains curriculum of BSCI + contains extracted curriculum of ISCW + new topics
  • SWITCH exam: contains curriculum of BCMSN + contains extracted curriculum of ONT + new topics
  • TSHOOT exam: existed in previous curriculum but modified and added newly in curriculum

These new modifications are more suitable to the current needs. Routing and Switching are the most important in networking and problems related to both these fields are covered in troubleshooting.

In order to have in depth comparison of modifications with respect to previous curriculum, let us examine each of the courses separately. In this way it will be easier to understand the new layered approach to achieve CCNP.


ROUTE is offered with the new 5 day ROUTE authorized course having about 7.5 hours e-learning content. Compared to BSCI, ROUTE is a light and more advanced exam and it does not include IS-IS, multicast and DHCP. A remarkable change in Route is that it comes with more depth on IPv6 including internet access and VPN tunnels.


SWITCH with its new name comes with a 5 day e-learning material. It consists of every necessary switch topic except multicast which was present in its predecessor BSMSN. Switch supervisor redundancy and wireless is added to switch making it more suitable.


TSHOOT has made its appearance with a lot of new and useful material. It is a 5 day course with about 9 hours of e-learning material. It includes topics from SWITCH and ROUTE and few topics from CCNA like DHCP, NAT, SSH and few other topics which are not found in any of the previous exams.

It is important to mention here that Cisco not only offers CCNP routing and switching but also has added new useful certifications like CCNP Data Center, CCNP Security, CCNP Service Provider, CCNP Service provider Operations, SSNP Voice and CCNP Wireless. Another important advancement is that you require a valid Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification as prerequisites for CCNP.

After the above mentioned analysis of the previous and the current CCNP all the modifications made by Cisco let us enlist all the modifications. The modifications are not only related to the curriculum but also there are other modifications like fee and exam time etc.

  • The new CCNP is more suitable, light and to the point as compared to the old one.
  • Routing and Switching has been focused in the new CCNP after modification where all of the other unnecessary old stuff which extended the breadth of CCNP previously.
  • The exam fee for each of the courses was used to be $150 which changed to $200 and now finally it is $250. This seems to be most affecting modification as well as advancement.
  • With the changes in the number and curriculum of the courses, the exam tie is also changed. There are three exams which are to be taken in 120 minutes each. This has replaced the old schedule where there were four exams where each exam was to be taken in 90 minutes. Interesting thing to note is that the net time before and after changes is the same.
  • Cisco has now presented new Cisco combination tool. This tool enables you to easily make combinations to get more than one certifications with combinations of different exams.

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