So you’re going for the two exam path to #CCNA, and Cisco threw you either a hurdle or an opportunity with their March 26th announcements. So if you go with the new ICND2 200-101 exam, what are you up against that’s different compared to the 5-year-old ICND2 640-816? This post works through some of the highlights, based on the posted exam topics.
What’s on the Test? Exam Topics!
Cisco tells us what’s on the exams, at least a little, through their posted exam topics. The new exam topics take a great step towards being more useful with these new announcements. They list tons more detail than in the old days. This post is based on the old and new exam topics.
The Breakdown: Really New, Moved from ICND2, Moved to ICND2, and Gone Poof
(If you read the similar post on the ICND1 exam, skip to the next heading, because this post mirrors the organization of the “What’s new in ICND1” post.)
This post breaks down the new ICND2 200-101 exam in a way that should be helpful for folks who have been working towards the old exam. This post has the following upcoming sections:
- Topics moved to the new ICND2 exam from the old ICND1 exam.
- Topics added to the new ICND2 exam, period, and not picked up from the old ICND1, ICND2, or CCNA exams.
- Topics removed from the old ICND2 when creating the new ICND2, but which are kept around in the new ICND1 exam.
- Topics removed from the old ICND2 exam when creating the new ICND2 exam, and the topics are simply gone.
Moved from ICND1 to ICND2
Cisco moved a few topics to ICND2 from ICND1. Normally, you would think of ICND1 as the more basic stuff, and ICND2 as the more advanced, so moving topics from ICND1 to ICND2 would be difficult. However, Cisco took a few topics that are not building blocks for other topics and pulled those over to ICND2, as summarized in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Topics Moved from ICND1 to ICND2
Most of the topics can be easily moved, because they have nothing to do with routing and switching. The WAN topic though does have some dependencies. Just like the old exams, some WAN sits in ICND1, and some in ICND2. It’s just a cleaner break now. In the old exams, some of the HDLC and PPP details were spread between the two exams. With the new exams, ICND1 hits WAN just deep enough to allow discussions of routing. All the WAN-centric discussions sit in ICND2, including all the HDLC and PPP config.
Totally New to ICND2 and CCNA Routing and Switching
This next figure shows the topics new to CCNA Routing and Switching that were simply not part of the old CCNA, in either side of the equation, but are now in ICND2. There’s a lot to discuss here.
Figure 2: Topics Totally New to ICND2 and CCNA in 2013
IPv6 is easily the single biggest addition to both ICND1 and ICND2. From an ICND2 perspective, the new ICND2 200-101 exam takes IPv6 topics pretty far beyond the old ICND2 640-816 exam. In fact, even the new ICND1 100-101 exam takes IPv6 beyond the old ICND2 exam, with the ICND2 exam adding even more IPv6. The main IPv6 topics for ICND2 are: OSPF Version 3 (the OSPF version for IPv6), EIGRP Version 6, and troubleshooting for everything in ICND1, with a brand new chapter on each in the new ICND2 OCG book, all based on IOS 15.2.
And while I’m not getting into the decision of whether to take the old or new exams here in this post, taking the old ICND1 (with no IPv6), and then the new ICND2 (which assumes you know a fair amount about IPv6 already), is probably a bad idea. So, if you plan to take the two exam path, pass both the old exams. Or pass both the new exams. But passing the old ICND1 plus the new ICND2 is probably a bad choice.
The IOS licensing topic may be a little scary at first, but it’s something you can pick up with just a little reading in the new books.
The three network management topics – SNMP, Syslog, and NetFlow – should be pretty basic. The book shows each with a little concept, a little config, and a little application.
Finally, First Hop Redundancy Protocols (FHRPs) – namely, HSRP, VRRP, and GLBP – should be one of the more challenging concepts other than the IPv6 topics. These topics rely on a solid understanding of how hosts use their default router, how ARP works, and how switches learn MAC addresses. In the new ICND2 book, I put it just after the IPv4 troubleshooting chapters which review how the host routing and ARP topics work, with the LAN troubleshooting chapter just before those. Hopefully the sequence will work well.
Removed Completely from ICND2 and CCNA
It’s always nice to have less to study! So, what did Cisco pull from the ICND2 exam, without moving it to ICND1? Figure 3 summarizes the big ones:
Figure 3: Topics Totally Gone from ICND1 and CCNA in 2013
While the core VLAN and VLAN trunking topics do move to ICND1, VTP is mostly gone. VTP gets no mention in the exam topics at all. The ICND1 and ICND2 books have to discuss VTP a little, just from a practice perspective: either disable VTP, or make all the switches VTP transparent, and then get on with VLANs and VLAN trunking. But it was a noticable topic in the old ICND2 exam, and now it’s gone.
Removed from Old ICND2, but Still in New ICND1
The biggest news about topics is that Cisco moved a pretty large chunk of the old ICND2 exam topics over to the new ICND1, basically shrinking the number of net topics in the ICND2 exam. Figure 4 summarizes the highlights:
Figure 4: Topics Moved from ICND1 to ICND2
It’s a pretty big list. But if you get your CCNA Routing and Switching certification, whether the old or new, you will need to know most of these items regardless. The only question is, if you take the two-exam path to CCNA, which exam covers which topics.
It may appear that the new ICND2 has fewer topics than the old ICND2. However, some reflection on the troubleshooting topics shows that ICND2, in many ways, requires mastery of the core ICND1 topics. So you have to know a lot of the ICND1 topics to do well with ICND2. When you think of ICND2, you should be thinking more like this:
ICND2 = troubleshooting ICND1 core topics + New topics for ICND2
For instance, here are the ICND2 troubleshooting exam topics that require troubleshooting of topics covered as configure/verify topics in ICND1:
- Identify and correct common networking problems
- Troubleshoot and Resolve Routing Isuses
- Troubleshoot and Resolve Routing Issues
- Troubleshooting and Resolve InterVLAN routing problems
- Troubleshoot etherchannel problems
Summary for the New ICND2 200-101 Exam
So what does this new exam look like if you remove the clutter?
- Focused on troubleshooting mastery of the main ICND1 topics, while adding to those topics
- Deeper IPv6
- New: FHRP
- New: SNMP, Syslog, NetFlow
- Much of the explain/configure/verify has moved to the ICND1 side of the equation