CCNA v3.0: The Full Story

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Update: CBT Nuggets now has both CCENT/CCNA ICDN1 100-105 and ICDN2 200-105 training available online. Happy training, and good luck!

Cisco’s CCNA Routing and Switching v2.0 will sunset on Sept. 24, which marks a milestone in the evolution of the CCNA certification. The original CCNA came out in 2007 and was not majorly updated until 2013, when Cisco announced the CCNA v2.0. 

Why the sudden change?

The new edition of the CCNA retains around 95% of previous material found in v2.0, leading many to wonder: what’s all this about? Cisco’s decision to update the CCNA was clearly influenced by the need to keep the CCNA material as current as possible, much to the benefit of CCNA-certified job seekers in a competitive market.

The new material reflects how the networking landscape is adapting to recent and emerging trends such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Cloud solutions. On the flip side, topics on obsolete technology (e.g. ye olde hubs) have been gracefully retired.

How Do I Get My CCNA?

To earn the CCNA you need to pass two exams: the ICND1 (100-105) and ICND2 (200-105). Alternatively, there is a composite exam that combines the two ICND exams into one meta CCNA exam, identified by the exam code 200-125.

The composite exam, 200-125, is a single exam combining both parts of the ICND curriculum. It will also earn you the CCNA. However, it is generally more difficult than the separate exams by themselves and is not recommended for beginners. This exam is for those looking to renew their existing CCNA in one shot.

There are no prerequisites for the ICND exams, so if you have networking experience but no certifications you can start studying for your CCNA right now.

What is ICND?

ICND stands for Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices, and successfully passing the ICND1 exam grants you the CCENT certification (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician). Once you are a CCENT, you simply need to pass the ICND2 to obtain the noble title of CCNA.

Anyone holding a CCENT is encouraged to pursue the CCNA as a next step, because you will already have passed one of the two exams required for the CCNA – the ICND1. The CCNA is a necessary requirement for more advanced certifications, such as the CCNP (Cisco Certified Networking Professional) Routing and Switching. The CCNA R&S can also serve as a prerequisite to qualify you for other Associate-level certifications such as the CCNA Industrial, CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless, and CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate).

What’s New in ICND1 and ICND2?

The new ICND1 remains much the same as the previous version, while the ICND2 exam has seen the most dramatic changes.

Here’s a summary of Cisco’s key revisions to the CCNA v.2.0. Please note these are only the most noteworthy changes, and not a comprehensive list.

CCNA v3.0 Update Highlights

ICND1 v3.0

  • OSPF has been moved to ICND2 alongside OSPFv2 and OSPFv3. RIPv2 (Routing Information Protocol) for IPv4 replaces OSPF in this exam as a more suitable introduction to IP routing protocols for CCENTs.
  • The exam touches on DNS, DHCP, Firewalls, Access Points, and Wireless Controllers in order to give an overview of how these components shape enterprise networks.
  • Sections on hubs and bridges have been removed from the new exam due to obsolescence.  
  • Cisco Express Forwarding (CEF) and IPv6 Dual Stack material has been abandoned in the new exam.
  • Static route networking with IPv4 / IPv6 stays mostly the same, but with slightly greater focus on IPv6 and related features like Anycast on the new exam.
  • New material on IP Services has been added to the new exam, particularly, how to configure NTP and NAT.

For more detailed exam information, review the full list of ICND1 v3.0 Exam Topics [PDF].

ICND2 v3.0

  • Now mostly obsolete, Frame Relay and serial WAN technologies have been removed from the new exam to make space for more current topics like Broadband PPPoE, MPLS, BGP, Multilink PPP, MetroE, GRE Tunnels and RADIUS / TACACS+ authentication.  
  • New sections have been added on Software-Defined Networking and Cloud architectures. These are not seriously in-depth and mostly cover high-level Programmable Networking concepts, for example, Network Function Virtualization and correct separation of the control plane and data plane.
  • New concepts dealing with Programmable Networking APIs and how they are used to communicate in an SDN or Cloud environment have been added to the new exam.
  • The new exam includes an introduction to BGP (i.e. single-homed eBGP) and modern WAN topologies and configuration.
  • The new exam includes a new section on APIC-EM (Application Policy Infrastructure Controller – Enterprise Module) and how to diagnose ACL deployments using the Path Trace analysis tool.
  • The new exam added material on QoS (Quality of Service) and how to optimize QoS with automation provided by Programmable Networking techniques.  
  • LAN Switching includes a few new additions such as Switch Stacking and Chassis Aggregation on the new exam.
  • VPN topics have been expanded for the new exam to include DMVPN, Site-to-Site VPN, and other enterprise VPN technologies in common use.

For more detailed exam information, review the full list of ICND2 v3.0 Exam Topics [PDF].

CCNA Composite v3.0 (ICND1 & ICND2)

For changes to the composite exam, refer to the revisions above for ICND1 and ICND2. The material is the same – it’s just all bundled into one exam.

For more detailed exam information, review the full list of CCNA v.3.0 Composite Exam Topics [PDF].

CBT Nuggets now has both CCENT/CCNA ICDN1 100-105 and ICDN2 200-105 training available online.

Don’t Miss Out

If you passed the ICND1 v2.0 and are in the midst of studying for the ICND2 v2.0 exam, you have until September 24 to take the v2.0 ICND2 exam (200-101) and still earn your full CCNA.

After that date, you will have no option but to take v3.0 of the ICND2 in order to certify. ICND1 was retired on August 20, 2016.

Exam Details

Exam number: 100-105 ICND1 v.30

Duration: 90 Minutes (45-55 questions)

Exam number: 200-105 ICND2  v3.0

Duration: 90 Minutes (45-55 questions)

Exam number: 200-125 CCNA

Duration: 90 Minutes (50-60 questions)

All certifications are valid for 3 years.

CCNA v3.0 Study Resources

CCNA Routing and Switching Training Videos

Cisco Press Official Cert Guide Library at CiscoPress.com

Start training for the CCENT/CCNA ICDN1 100-105, or ICDN2 200-105 exams today!