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What's the certification all about?...

What is CCNA?

CCNA Cisco Training

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IT Net academy have offered to support me in any way possible as I go through my final preparations. I recommend these guys to anyone at any level wanting to learn and take their CCNA exam

— David Shales - Previous Student

What is CCNA?

Similarly to Microsoft having their own range of Technology certifications, Cisco have a range of certifications designed to show that a certified individual is highly skilled in general network technology and Cisco products in particular. 

CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate. CCNA is a beginning-level program that aims to certify a solid foundation in networking. Cisco’s certification programs are about certifying the competence of Internetworking professionals in routing, switching and connectivity. CCNA requires passing only one written exam 640-802.

The certification is not just centred around Cisco hardware, but rather around networking as a whole. Over 60% of the curriculum is based on general networking principles. A CCNA certification will provide you with enough knowledge and competence to work with non-Cisco hardware too.

How you prepare for CCNA depends largely on your current knowledge and experience of networking. Certification preparation options include instructor-led training, e-simulations, practical labs, practice tests, study materials, etc.
If you have the funds and time, it is always advisable to include instructor-led training in your preparations. There really is no substitute for having an instructor answer your queries the moment they arise. You can't ask a video to elaborate.

Why should I get CCNA Certified?

It is important to know why you are getting certified. CCNA is meant for anyone involved in implementing or supporting networks. A CCNA professional should be able to manage simple networked and internetworked environments incorporating routers and switches. Do you have an interest in networks or Internetworking? Do you want to work in the networking field? If so, the CCNA certification is the world's best known "step number one", when it comes to beginning a networking career.

Once this certification has been obtained, it can be a stopping point, as you’ve now become qualified in Routing and Switching (valid for three years), or it can be a starting point for a Professional-level certification like CCNP. You may also wish to branch out into a specialised field, such as Voice or Security.Cisco have a range of other certifications available including telecoms and security specialisms, however most other Cisco certifications will require CCNA as a prerequisite. 

What are my job prospects if I get my CCNA?

A CCNA certification is seen as a highly desirable quality for employers.  It shows that the holder is highly qualified and experienced in networking technologies.  Most importantly it shows an employer that the holder's knowledge is current and up to date as the CCNA must be renewed every three years to remain valid.

Are there any prerequisites for CCNA?

There are no strict prerequisites to studying the CCNA curriculum. Although a student is expected to be computer-literate and to have a fair understanding of networking basics. Any decent training academy will begin with the basics in order to ground your feet well at the start of the course.

So what's covered in the CCNA Curriculum?

So what are you expected to learn in order to pass the exam?

As a first step. You must get comfortable with the technical fundamentals of networking. Practical networking means being familiar with the basics of networking. Can you describe the functions of the OSI model and explain the basic differences between a hub, switch and a router?

Fundamental networking means being able to:

1) apply fundamental data communications and network concepts,
2) identify different types of networks and network topologies,
3) share resources such as printers on a network,
4) install and configure Network components,
5) identify the differences between types of networks,
6) install and configure networks,
7) troubleshoot network problems with proven techniques that are efficient and effective

It is absolutely essential that you have a good foundation in the fundamentals of networking, before sitting your CCNA exam.

The objectives for CCNA can be divided into eight categories. You are expected to master all the categories:

* OSI Model
* Bridging/Switching;
* Network Protocols;
* Routing;
* WAN Protocols;
* Network Management;
* LAN Design;
* Cisco Basics, IOS & Network Basics.

The CCNA curriculum in more detail...

OSI Model
The OSI model was created by the ISO (International Standards Organization) for the purpose of creating a networking standard all vendors could adhere to. The presence of a standard makes it possible for vendors using different operating systems to communicate on the same network.
OSI uses layered communication.
A mnemonic used to memorize the order of the layers is “All People Seem To Need Data Processing”. A solid understanding of this model is required.
The layers are: Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Data link and Physical.

What are bridges? What are switches? You should be able to explain the difference between a bridge and a switch. And you must also know the difference between the methods of switching. What are VLANs? How does the Spanning Tree Protocol work?

Network Protocols
You need to understand the key differences among network protocols, primarily TCP/IP and SPX/IPX. Understand the functions of individual segments of each protocol as well as the addressing scheme used by each networking protocol and have a general understanding of protocol services and access lists

Routing Protocols
What is a routing protocol? What is it designed for? You should know about RIP and IGRP. Understand the different types of routing protocols. This also involves knowing their differences.

WAN Protocols
In this category, CCNA professionals are expected to know how to configure PPP and frame relay connections. You should also understand ATM, HDLC and other technologies.

Network Management
What are DNS and Telnet used for? Do you know the commands specific to troubleshooting for each of the WAN, LAN, and routing protocols? This may involve simulation or actual basic day-to-day usage of Cisco equipment.

LAN Design
You need to know about the various LAN types (Ethernet, Fast-Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and Token Ring). What are their features and benefits? Your network troubleshooting skills are also important.

Cisco Basics, IOS and Network Basics
How can you issue commands on the Cisco IOS - the operating system running on the device that is used to connect the networks? Cisco requires you to be proficient with IOS, its Internetworking Operating System, which runs on almost all of their products. You need to be VERY comfortable at the command line before attempting any Cisco exam. You need to be aware syntax differences and different interface modes.

What's entailed in the CCNA exam?

The Cisco CCNA exam can be taken in one single exam or also in two exam option. 640-801 is the single exam option and the two exam option is 640-821 & 640-811.

‘640-801 CCNA’ is the single exam option of Cisco certified Network Associate certification. This examination was earlier 640-607 and has now been upgraded to 640-801. The duration of the examination is 90 minutes and the number of questions asked will be in the range of 55-65.

‘640-821 INTRO’ is the introduction course on Cisco Networking Technologies. The duration of the examination is 75 minutes and the number of questions asked will be in the range of 45-55.

‘640-811 ICND’ is a course on Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices. The duration of the examination is 60 minutes and the number of questions asked will be in the range of 40-50.

Where do I take my CCNA exam and how much does it cost?

You can book your CCNA exam with Pearson Vue. Simply visit www.vue.com select the exam you wish to sit and enter you postcode. You will then be provided with a shortlist of your nearest test centres. There's usually a couple in most cities in the UK. Just give your local test centre a call and book a date for your CCNA exam.

The exam costs approximately £127 +VAT.

If I train at your academy, what's included in your fee?

Enrol on any of our 5 Day or 5 Week courses and you will receive:
Classroom Teacher Training Real Lab Practice 900+ Pages of Quality Reading No Rush to Finish - Take Your Time! See if You're Ready for the Exam Watch the Curriculum at Home from Another Angle
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Test Exams
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