CCNA v3.0: Why you should not be scared!

Cisco have just announced an update to the CCNA exam(s), moving from version 2.0 to 3.0:

"The CCNA Routing and Switching exams and trainings are being revised from v2.0 to v3.0. Candidates can choose to take either the version 2.0 exams or version 3.0 exams. The last day to test for the 200-120 CCNA v2.0 and 100-101 ICND1 v2.0 exams will be August 20, 2016. The last day to test for the 200-101 ICND2 v2.0 exam will be September 24, 2016.".

CCNA exam updated to v3.0

In this post we will look at the changes and what they mean to you, and how it will shape your certification studies!

Don't be scared!

Firstly, don't be scared. This is annoying, and Cisco do this fairly regularly across all certification tracks, at all levels. They take things out, and add things, and this is to keep in-line with market trends, and making sure that the exams are relevant. We will break down each section and highlight what is new, and then cover what has disappeared afterwards.

1.0 Network Fundamentals

Overview: More design and methodology
There is a large emphasis on network design in the CCNA v3.0. It's bringing in elements of the CCDA certification, which will actually make it easier if you decide to pursue that qualification.

1.3 Describe the impact of infrastructure components in an enterprise network
1.3.a Firewalls
1.3.b Access points
1.3.c Wireless controllers

The key here is that we only need to describe them, not configure them. Probably a few hours of reading, and I'll do some blog posts about these.

1.4 Describe the effects of cloud resources on enterprise network architecture
1.4.a Traffic path to internal and external cloud services
1.4.b Virtual services
1.4.c Basic virtual network infrastructure

This is new and is all about Cisco embracing Cloud services, again, this is something they are doing across all of the certification tracks. We will look at these in separate posts.

1.5 Compare and contrast collapsed core and three-tier architectures

This is design-based, similar to the next section.

1.6 Compare and contrast network topologies
1.6.a Star
1.6.b Mesh
1.6.c Hybrid

As with 1.5, these are design considerations. We'll cover these in some blog posts.

1.8 Apply troubleshooting methodologies to resolve problems
1.8.a Perform and document fault isolation
1.8.b Resolve or escalate
1.8.c Verify and monitor resolution

There are a number of different methodologies, but Cisco will probably favor their own approach. Stay tuned for a post on these.

2.0 LAN Switching Technologies

Overview: Not a huge change!
Minor changes here (in what's been added), the biggest being the different types of access ports, and the inclusion of LLDP and the switch stacking and chassis aggregation.

2.4 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VLANs (normal/extended range) spanning multiple switches
2.4.a Access ports (data and voice)
2.4.b Default VLAN
2.8 Configure and verify Layer 2 protocols
2.8.a Cisco Discovery Protocol
2.8.b LLDP
2.10 Describe the benefits of switch stacking and chassis aggregation

Much of this section remains unchanged, and the new bits will be covered here.

3.0 Routing Technologies

Overview: Nothing to sweat over!
Frame rewrite is new to the syllabus, and there are a couple of little bits added (routing protocol codes for example). The biggest change is that OSPF is no longer restricted to single areas, which is great!

3.1 Describe the routing concepts
3.1.c Frame rewrite
3.2 Interpret the components of a routing table
3.2.d Routing protocol code
3.2.e Administrative distance
3.8 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot IPv4 and IPv6 static routing
3.8.b Network route
3.8.c Host route
3.8.d Floating static
3.9 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot single area and multi-area OSPFv2 for IPv4 
(excluding authentication, filtering, manual summarization, redistribution, stub, virtual-link, and LSAs)
3.10 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot single area and multi-area OSPFv3 for IPv6
(excluding authentication, filtering, manual summarization, redistribution, stub, virtual-link, and LSAs)
3.13 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot RIPv2 for IPv4 
(excluding authentication, filtering, manual summarization, redistribution)

In CCNA and Beyond I actually cover multi-area OSPF already, because you need to know this. I was surprised that it was not on the v2.0 syllabus. In the book I explain how multi-area OSPF works, why single areas are easier, but not always suitable (especially in terms of scalability). I also cover redistribution, stub areas, virtual links and LSAs.

Similarly with EIGRP I also cover redistribution, as it is something you should know as an engineer!

I am surprised that RIP is included, but I cover that in the CCNA and Beyond study guide as well!

4.0 WAN Technologies

Overview: Some new things here! MLPPP, GRE and WAN topologies, as well as the newer WAN access connectivity options. BGP is new to the syllabus, as is QoS.

4.1 Configure and verify PPP and MLPPP on WAN interfaces using local authentication
4.3 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot GRE tunnel connectivity
4.4 Describe WAN topology options
4.4.a Point-to-point
4.4.b Hub and spoke
4.4.c Full mesh
4.4.d Single vs dual-homed
4.5 Describe WAN access connectivity options
4.5.a MPLS
4.5.b Metro Ethernet
4.5.c Broadband PPPoE
4.5.d Internet VPN (DMVPN, site-to-site VPN, client VPN)
4.6 Configure and verify single-homed branch connectivity using eBGP IPv4 
(limited to peering and route advertisement using Network command only)
4.7 Describe basic QoS concepts
4.7.a Marking
4.7.b Device trust
4.7.c Prioritization
4.7.c. [i] Voice
4.7.c. [ii] Video
4.7.c. [iii] Data
4.7.d Shaping
4.7.e Policing
4.7.f Congestion management

I have written books on BGP, MPLS, and different VPNs already, and also have a poll over on to see how many people are interested in one on QoS (and Multicast), but will cover these here as well. These will be some full-scale labs, certainly for MPLS and BGP (QoS is a little harder to lab properly, at least what I call "properly").

If you are interested in something a little deeper, then check out BGP for Cisco networks, MPLS for Cisco networks, and VPNs and NAT for Cisco networks. They are on Amazon, and you will love them!

5.0 Infrastructure Services

Overview: Minor additions here. DNS, DHCP and HSRP were in the v2.0, but it looks like this is a little more focussed.

5.1 Describe DNS lookup operation
5.2 Troubleshoot client connectivity issues involving DNS
5.3 Configure and verify DHCP on a router (excluding static reservations)
5.3.a Server
5.3.b Relay
5.3.c Client
5.3.d TFTP, DNS, and gateway options
5.5 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot basic HSRP
5.5.a Priority
5.5.b Preemption
5.5.c Version

These topics are covered in the CCNA and Beyond book already.

6.0 Infrastructure Services

Overview: Section 6.2 is new, as is 6.4, and 6.6. 6.5 just adds a little extra.

6.2 Describe common access layer threat mitigation techniques
6.2.a 802.1x
6.2.b DHCP snooping
6.2.c Nondefault native VLAN
6.3 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot IPv4 and IPv6 access list for traffic filtering
6.3.a Standard
6.3.b Extended
6.3.c Named
6.4 Verify ACLs using the APIC-EM Path Trace ACL analysis tool
6.5 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot basic device hardening
6.5.a Local authentication
6.5.b Secure password
6.5.c Access to device
6.5.c. [i] Source address
6.5.c. [ii] Telnet/SSH
6.5.d Login banner
6.6 Describe device security using AAA with TACACS+ and RADIUS

Section 6.5 is covered pretty well in CCNA and Beyond, and we do touch on AAA, TACACS+ and RADIUS. These will be covered in separate posts on here though.

7.0 Infrastructure Management

Overview: Some cool additions here! Nothing scary, mostly logical additions to existing topics.

7.2 Troubleshoot network connectivity issues using ICMP echo-based IP SLA
7.3 Configure and verify device management
7.3.a Backup and restore device configuration
7.3.b Using Cisco Discovery Protocol or LLDP for device discovery
7.3.c Licensing
7.3.d Logging
7.3.e Timezone
7.3.f Loopback
7.4 Configure and verify initial device configuration
7.5 Perform device maintenance
7.5.a Cisco IOS upgrades and recovery (SCP, FTP, TFTP, and MD5 verify)
7.5.b Password recovery and configuration register
7.5.c File system management
7.6 Use Cisco IOS tools to troubleshoot and resolve problems
7.6.a Ping and traceroute with extended option
7.6.b Terminal monitor
7.6.c Log events
7.6.d Local SPAN
7.7 Describe network programmability in enterprise network architecture
7.7.a Function of a controller
7.7.b Separation of control plane and data plane
7.7.c Northbound and southbound APIs

I covered IP SLA in my previous post (explaining why in a particular scenario, floating static routes and IP SLA were a better option than HSRP). Most of the core items are covered in CCNA and Beyond (it goes into the configuration register in great depth, as well as password recovery, device management, logging and so on). We will cover Local SPAN (and Remote SPAN because it makes sense to cover both), as well as LLDP in separate posts here. Network programmability will be covered over a series of posts.

What's been removed from the CCNA v3.0?

Most noticeably, Frame Relay has gone. I said (in CCNA and Beyond) that I would expect it to disappear at some stage and it looks like I was correct! Apart from that, not much has actually been removed. Some things have been simplified though.

Overall thoughts.

Most of the new things make a lot of sense, and the harder topics, such as QoS are "describe" only. It really looks like Cisco is trying to bridge some of the huge gap between the CCNA and the CCNP certification exams, which, believe me, is a good thing.

Most importantly, don't worry too much. There is still time to sit the v2.0 exam(s) if you want, and we will cover ALL the new topics here, in a mixture of discussion and labs.

If you sign up to the newsletter, you will get access to the members section of the forum. In there will be some cool stuff, by way of labs, downloadable memory sheets for the different topics, and whatever else I can think of, or that you would like to see.

Many of the new topics (and more) are already covered in the CCNA and Beyond study guide, so do yourself a favor and grab it from Amazon!

You can get the full list of the CCNA v3.0 exam topics from here:

CCIE #49337, author of CCNA and Beyond, BGP for Cisco Networks, MPLS for Cisco Networks, VPNs and NAT for Cisco Networks.

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September 27, 2016 at 6:31 PM delete

Awesome. I'm doing a boot camp next week. Getting rid of the old tech is great!