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    Cisco ccnp certification faq

     

    To earn your CCNP, you've got to pass some very rigorous Cisco exams, and you also need to know the rules regarding this important certification. In this article, I'll answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the CCNP. Q: What exams do I need to pass to get my CCNP? A: You have two options, a three-exam path and a four-exam path. Currently, the four-exam path consists of rigorous exams on advanced routing techniques (BSCI), advanced switching (BCMSN), remote access methods (BCRAN), and advanced troubleshooting techniques (CIT). The three-exam path combines the BCMSN and BSCI exams into a single exam, the Composite exam. Q: Do I have to take them in any order? A: No, the order is up to the candidate. Most CCNP candidates take the BSCI exam first and the CIT exam last, but again this is up to the candidate. Q: What else do I have to do to get the CCNP? A: You must earn your CCNA before you can be CCNP certified (as well as passing the exams, of course). Q: Is there a recertification requirement? A: Cisco CCNP certifications are valid for three years. During that time, you must either pass the Composite exam, the BSCI and BCMSN exams, or pass any CCIE written exam. Q: What if I don't recertify within the three-year period? A: You must then meet whatever CCNP requirements there are at that time, from the beginning. It's easier to make sure you recertify! Becoming CCNP certified is a great boost to your career and your confidence, and as with any Cisco certification, it's up to you to stay current with the CCNA and CCNP requirements. Visit the Career Certification section of Cisco's website regularly to learn about the program's requirements and changes.

         
    Cisco ccnp exam tutorial defining collision domains

     

    CCNA exam success depends on mastering the fundamentals, and two important fundamentals are knowing exactly what the terms "collision domain" and "broadcast domain" mean. In this free Cisco tutorial, we'll take a look at the term "collision domain" and how a collision domain is defined. A collision domain is an area in which a collision can occur. Fair enough, but what "collision" are we talking about here? We're talking about collisions that occur on CSMA/CD segments, or Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection. If two hosts on an Ethernet segment transmit data at exactly the same time, the data from the two hosts will collide on the shared segment. CSMA/CD exists to lessen the chances of this happening, but collisions can still occur. To lessen the chances of collisions occurring, we may decide to create multiple, smaller collision domains. Let's say we have four hosts on a single Ethernet segment. The entire segment is a collision domain; any data sent by one of the hosts can collide with data sent by any of the other hosts. We have one collision domain containing four devices. To create smaller collision domains, we'll need to introduce some type of networking device into this example. Hubs and repeaters have their place as far as extending the reach of a network segment and cutting down on attenuation, but these OSI Layer One devices do nothing to define collision domains. We could connect each host into a separate port on a hub (a hub is basically a multiport repeater) and we'd still have one single collision domain with four hosts in it. The most common and most effective way to create multiple collision domains is to use a switch. If we connect each of these four hosts to their own separate switch port, we would now have four separate collision domains, each with one host; each switch port actually acts as a single collision domain, making collisions between these four hosts impossible. Passing the CCNA is all about knowing the details of how things work, and knowing CSMA/CD theory and how to define collision domains is one of the many details you've got to master. In the next part of this CCNA tutorial, we'll take a look at broadcast domains, and how defining broadcast domains in the right places can dramatically cut down on unnecessary traffic on your network.

         
    Cisco certification a survival guide to the cisco cable jungle

     

    One of the most confusing parts of beginning your Cisco studies is keeping all the cable types separate in your mind, and then remembering what they’re used for. This often occurs when a CCNA or CCNP candidate starts putting together their own home practice lab, and they suddenly realize that they have the equipment to run labs, but not the cables. With this in mind, here are some common Cisco cable types and their primary use. First, there’s the regular old “straight-through cable”, so named because the eight wires inside the cable go straight through the wire. While the wires may be twisted inside to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI), the wire that’s connected to Pin 1 on one end is connected to Pin 1 on the other end, and so on. In a home lab, a straight-through cable is often used to connect a switch port to an Ethernet port on a router, with a transceiver attached to the Ethernet port. Straight-through cables are also good for connecting a BRI interface to an ISDN simulator. The “crossover cable” is so named because the wires do cross over between pins. This allows the devices to both send and receive at the same time, and crossover cables are a must for directly connecting ports on Cisco switches to create a trunk. The “rollover cable” allows you to connect directly to a Cisco console port with your laptop or PC. This is the blue cable that comes with new Cisco devices, and it’s the one that engineers tend to hold on to with their lives. Without a rollover cable (also commonly called a “console cable”), you can’t connect your laptop directly to a Cisco device. Finally, there’s the DTE/DCE cable. To create a frame relay cloud in your home lab (using one of your Cisco routers as a DCE), or to directly connect two Cisco routers via their serial interfaces, you will need a DTE/DCE cable. Remember that the DCE interface will need to supply clockrate to the DTE interface. The different cable types can be confusing when you first read about them, but after tearing down or building your home lab a few times, you’ll definitely have them straight come test day! Best of luck in your lab and your exams, Chris Bryant CCIE #12933

         
    Cisco certification becoming a truly valuable ccna

     

    I've been active in the Cisco Certification track for four years, working my way from the CCNA to the coveted Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert title, and during that time I've conducted job interviews and casual conversations with hundreds of CCNAs and CCNA candidates. The CCNA is an exciting beginning to your Cisco career, but just having the certification simply isn't enough. A recruiter or interviewer isn't going to be impressed just with the cert you've got to have some real-world knowledge to back it up. I've been down that road myself, and sat on both sides of the CCNA job interview table. With that in mind, I'd like to offer to you some tips on becoming a truly valuable and employable CCNA. Get some hands-on experience. I know the trap well. You can't get experience until you get a CCNA, and you can't get a CCNA without real experience. Well, actually, you can, but do you want to? Working on simulators is fine to a certain extent, but don't make the classic mistake of depending on them. I've seen plenty of CCNAs who were put in front of a set of routers and really didn't know what to do or how to put together a simple configuration, and had NO idea how to begin troubleshooting. There are CCNA classes that offer you the chance to work with industry experts on real Cisco equipment. Beyond that, you can put together your own CCNA rack for less than $1000 by buying used routers. Some people think that's a lot of money, but this is the foundation of your career. Treat it that way. The work you do now is the most important work you'll ever do. Do it on real Cisco equipment. The skills I learned as a CCNA helped me all the way up to the CCIE. Besides, after you get your CCNA (and after that, hopefully you'll choose to pursue the CCNP), you can always get some of your money back by selling the equipment. The hands-on experience you gain this way is invaluable. Know binary math. Do NOT go the easy route of memorizing a subnet mask chart for the CCNA exam. I know some people brag about being able to pass the CCNA exam without really understanding binary math. I've seen those people on the other side of the interview table, and they're not laughing when I ask them to do a subnetting question. They're not laughing when they can't explain or create a VLSM scheme. That chart does nothing to help you understand what's going on. If you can add and know the difference between a one and a zero, you can do binary math. Don't let the name intimidate you. Become a REAL CCNA -- learn binary math ! Run "show" and "debug" commands. No commands help you truly understand how things work in a Cisco network than show and debug commands. As you progress through the Cisco certification ranks, you'll be glad you started using these at the CCNA level. Do you need to know these commands for the exam? Probably not. Do you need them to be successul in the real world? Absolutely. The Cisco certification track has been great to me, and it can boost your career as well, whether you stop at the CCNA, CCNP, or go all the way to the CCIE. It's the skills you develop today that will truly make you a networking engineer. Don't take shortcuts or get the attitude of "just passing the exam". It's what you achieve after the exam that counts, and it's the work you put in before passing the exam that makes those achievements possible. Good luck ! Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933

         
    Cisco certification ccna certifcation faq

     

    When you start your CCNA studies, a lot of questions come to mind! Here are the five most common questions CCNA candidates have, answered by Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933. Q. What exams do I have to take to get my CCNA? A. The CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification offers two paths. You can take the one-exam path by taking the 640-801 CCNA Composite exam. If you want to break it up into two parts, you can take the Introduction To Cisco Networking Technologies (INTRO 640-821) and the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devcies (ICND 640-811) exams. Q. Chris, which path do you recommend? A. I generally recommend the two-exam path, particularly for those CCNA candidates that haven't taken a Cisco exam before. The Intro exam offers you a little more time and allows you to become comfortable with the Cisco exam engine, particularly the simulator questions. Let's face it, the CCNA single exam covers a lot of material, from basic networking to OSPF to router on a stick. Most candidates are better off breaking this huge amount of material into two distinct parts. Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of students and customers pass the CCNA composite. It can be done! Q. Do I have to recertify my CCNA, or is it mine forever after I pass? A. One way Cisco protects the value of its certifications is to enforce strict recertification policies. When you earn your CCNA, you must recertify within three years. Q. How do I recertify my CCNA? A. There is a lot of confusion out there on this question. The latest information from Cisco is that you recertify your CCNA by doing any of the following three things: 1. Pass the current CCNA Composite or ICND exam. 2. Pass any 642-level professional level exam or any Cisco Qualified Specialist exam, not including Sales Specialist exams. 3. Pass any CCIE written exam. Q. How do I register for the CCNA exam? A. You can take the CCNA exam at any Prometric or VUE testing center. To find a Prometric testing center near you and register online, visit 2test . For a VUE site, register at vue . Q. Can you give me a braindump for the exam? A. Boy, do you have the wrong guy! :) To your success, Chris Bryant CCIE #12933

         
    Cisco certification don t depend on practice exams

     

    Ask a CCNA candidate how they’re preparing for exam day, and you’ll get different answers. Different books, different websites, different practice exams. One trend I’ve noticed is that some candidates answer the question by reeling off the number and names of the practice exams they’ve purchased. Basically, the candidate is studying by taking a lot of practice exams. And in some cases, I mean a lot of them. The intent of this article isn’t to slam practice exams. I do want to address this trend among Cisco certification candidates of purchasing as many practice exams as they can find, attempting to pass the CCNA exam by “brute forcing” it, as one Cisco employee recently said. I have nothing against practice exams. I sell flash cards that serve as a practice exam, if that’s the way the candidate wants to use them. However, you can’t be dependent on them to pass your exams. As I tell students every day, “When you’re in front of a rack of routers, there is no A, B, C, and D choice. You’ve got to know what you’re doing.” If practice exams are a candidate’s primary tool for exam preparation, though, they’ll most likely be disappointed on exam day. The current Cisco CCNA exams are designed to weed out those who have memorized a chart or two there is a premium not only on knowledge, but the ability to apply that knowledge. Just taking one practice exam after the other will not develop this skill. Simulators are fine to a certain extent as well, but don’t become dependent on them. The simulators I’ve seen don’t really let you make mistakes in your configuration, and it’s when you have to fix your own mistakes that you truly learn what’s going on. Keep the long-range view when preparing for your CCNA exams. You’re not just studying for exam day you’re laying the groundwork for a successful career. The study you do for your CCNA exam will be some of the most important study you ever do, since all the work you do for future certifications like the CCNP (and yes, the CCIE!) are based on the foundation you’re building today. Make it a solid foundation. Stick to a well-rounded study plan, using books, practice exams, and routing equipment, and you’re on your way to success in the Cisco field. Chris Bryant CCIE #12933 [email protected]

         
    Cisco certification don t overreact to exam version changes

     

    Whenever a Cisco exam version changes, there's always a lot of chatter about it on the web. The CCNA exams are no exception. One comment I see often goes like this: " I hear Cisco is going to change Intro / ICND / CCNA exam versions soon, so I'm not going to start studying yet. I'll wait until the new exam comes out." Do not let this happen to you. While some large publishers would have you think these exams change tremendously from one version to another ("updated for the latest exams!"), the simple fact is that the Intro, ICND, and CCNA Composite exams simply don't change much from version to version. Sure, the questions change. The only people who should be nervous about that are those who are trying to braindump their way to a technical certification. The topics covered on the CCNA exams don't change much at all. You know you're going to have to demonstrate knowledge of LAN switching, ISDN, Frame Relay, routing protocol behavior, RIP, IGRP, EIGRP, and OSPF. Perhaps some of the more advanced topics will change, but these will be minor changes at best. Cisco announces these changes on their website well in advance , so you won't be left with no time to study. The only Cisco exams that might change quite a bit are the CCIE Written Qualification exams. Even there, you know what the core topics will be. Cisco's hardly going to take BGP off the written Routing & Switching exam. Whatever you do, don't fall into the "version change" trap. Don't spend $100 - $300 to hurry up and take an exam before you're ready because of an upcoming version change. When you're ready, you're ready. Time spent learning is never wasted. Get started NOW.

         
    Cisco certification in what order should you take your ccnp exams

     

    When you choose to pursue your Cisco Certified Network Professional certification, you've got some decisions to make right at the beginning. Cisco offers a three-exam path and a four-exam path, and you select the order in which you'll take and pass the exams. While every CCNP candidate has to make their own decision, I'd like to share some thoughts based on my personal experience and the experiences of CCNPs worldwide. The solid foundation of networking knowledge you built as a CCNA will help you a great deal on your BSCI (Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks, 642-801) exam. This is the most common exam to take first, and I'd recommend you do so as well. While there are some topics that will be new to you, such as BGP, many of the BSCI topics will be familiar to you from your CCNA studies. The "middle" exams are the BCMSN (Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks, 642-811) and BCRAN (Building Cisco Remote Access Networks, 642-821). There is no real advantage in taking one of these before the other, although most candidates take the switching exam, then the remote access exam. I do recommend you take the CIT (Cisco Internetwork Troubleshooting) exam last. This exam will demand you put into action the skills you have learned while earning your CCNA and passing the first three exams. Again, it's not written in stone and there are always exceptions, but CCNP candidates do seem to have more success on this exam when they take it last. Should you choose the three-exam path, you'll be taking a Composite exam (642-891). This exam combines the BSCI and BCMSN exams, and it's best to take this one first. It builds nicely with your CCNA skills. Again, I would take the BCRAN exam after the Composite, and t he Troubleshooting exam last. Whichever path you choose, you've chosen wisely in which certification to pursue. The CCNP is a true test of your networking skills, and when you make the decision to go after the CCIE, you'll be glad to have the solid foundation of networking skills your CCNA and CCNP studies gave you.

         
    Cisco certification introduction to isdn

     

    From the CCNA to the CCIE, ISDN is one of the most important technolgies you'll work with. It's also very common in the field ISDN is frequently used as a backup connection in case an organization's Frame Relay connections go down. Therefore, it's important to know ISDN basics not only for your particular exam, but for job success. ISDN is used between two Cisco routers that have BRI or PRI interfaces. Basically, with ISDN one of the routers places a phone call to the other router. It is vital to understand not only what causes one router to dial another, but what makes the link go down. Why? Since ISDN is basically a phone call from one router to another, you're getting billed for that phone call -- by the minute. If one of your routers dials another, and never hangs up, the connection can theoretically last for days or weeks. The network manager then receives an astronomical phone bill, which leads to bad things for everyone involved! Cisco routers use the concept of interesting traffic to decide when one router should call another. By default, there is no interesting traffic, so if you don't define any, the routers will never call each other. Interesting traffic is defined with the dialer-list command. This command offers many options, so you can tie interesting traffic down not only to what protocols can bring the link up, but what the source, destination, or even port number must be for the line to come up. One common misconception occurs once that link is up. Interesting traffic is required to bring the link up, but by default, any traffic can then cross the ISDN link. What makes the link come down? Again, the concept of interesting traffic is used. Cisco routers have an idle-timeout setting for their dialup interfaces. If interesting traffic does not cross the link for the amount of time specified by the idle-timeout, the link comes down. To summarize: Interesting traffic brings the link up by default, any traffic can cross the link once it's up a lack of interesting traffic is what brings the link down. Just as important is knowing what keeps the link up once it is dialed. Why? Because ISDN acts as a phone call between two routers, and it’s billed that way to your client. The two routers that are connected by this phone call may be located in different area codes, so now we’re talking about a long distance phone call. If your ISDN link does not have a reason to disconnect, the connection could theoretically last for days or weeks before someone realizes what’s going on. This is particularly true when the ISDN link is used as a backup for another connection type, as is commonly the case with Frame Relay. When the Frame Relay goes down, the backup ISDN link comes up when the Frame Relay link comes back not billed for all that time. To understand why an ISDN link stays up when it’s not needed, we have to understand why it stays up period. Cisco’s ISDN interfaces use the idle-timeout to determine when an ISDN link should be torn down. By default, this value is two minutes, and it also uses the concept of interesting traffic. Once interesting traffic brings the link up, by default all traffic can cross the link. However, only interesting traffic resets the idle-timeout. If no interesting traffic crosses the link for two minutes, the idle-timer hits zero and the link comes down. If the protocol running over the ISDN link is RIP version 2 or EIGRP, the most efficient way to prevent the routing updates from keeping the line up is expressly prohibiting their multicast routing update address in the access-list that is defining interesting traffic. Do not prevent them from crossing the link entirely, or the protocol obviously won’t work correctly. With OSPF, Cisco offers the ip ospf demand-circuit interface-level command. The OSPF adjacency will form over the ISDN link, but once formed, the Hello packets will be suppressed. However, the adjacency will not be lost. A check of the adjacency table with show ip ospf adjacency will show the adjacency remains at Full, even though Hellos are no longer being sent across the link. The ISDN link can drop without the adjacency being lost. When the link is needed, the adjacency is still in place and data can be sent without waiting for OSPF to go through the usual steps of forming an adjacency. This OSPF command is vital for Cisco certification candidates at every level, but is particularly important for CCNA candidates. Learn this command now, get used to the fact that the adjacency stays up even though Hellos are suppressed, and add this valuable command to your Cisco toolkit. One myth about ISDN is that Cisco Discovery Packets keep an ISDN link up. CDP is a Cisco-proprietary protocol that runs between directly connected Cisco devices. There is a school of thought that CDP packets have to be disabled on a BRI interface in order to prevent the link from staying up or dialing when it's not really needed. I've worked with ISDN for years in the field and in the lab, and I've never seen CDP bring up an ISDN link. Try it yourself the next time you're working on a practice rack! Chris Bryant CCIE #12933

         
    Cisco certification making a good impression in your job interview

     

    Okay, you did it! You earned your Cisco Certified Network Associate certification. Now what? People who pass the CCNA exam fall into one of three categories. You may be just entering the IT field you may be working on the LAN side and want to move to the WAN side (that's where I was when I passed the CCNA), or you may already work on the WAN side of the network, and you want to move up the ladder. One way or the other, you're going to have to face the dreaded job interview. Some CCNAs do really well in interviews, and some don't. I've been on both sides of that interview, and I have a few pointers for you to be one of those who do well and get that job. Be confident, but not cocky. The CCNA is a great certfication to have it's where we all start. Do not walk into the interview thinking you know everything because you have a CCNA. (I'm a CCIE and am the first to admit I certainly don't know everything.) Answer questions confidently if you don't know the answer, that's no sin. If you prepared for your CCNA the right way -- getting hands-on experience and understanding tougher topics like binary math and NAT -- you'll be fine. Do not stop studying the day you pass the exam. Knowledge that you don't use quickly becomes forgotten. It's okay to take a day or two off and celebrate, but you have to get back to work after that. Keep reviewing your CCNA topics, and get started on your first CCNP exam. I've seen too many newly-minted CCNAs who quickly forgot everything they learned for the exam because they stopped studying right after they passed. Prepare for the interview like it's another CCNA exam. Because it is. Except there won't be any multiple choice. Start preparing for the interview BEFORE you take the exam. How do you do that? Study for the exam the right way. Get some hands-on experience, either in a class or on your own rack of equipment. Get a quality Cisco education. Ask questions of those already in the field. By doing these things now, you'll come across as a quality candidate on the big day. Good luck! Chris Bryant CCIE (TM) #12933

         
    Cisco certification putting together your own home practice lab

     

    CCNA and CCNP candidates hear it all the time: “Get some hands-on experience”. From my personal experience climbing the Cisco certification ladder, I can tell you firsthand that there is no learning like hands-on learning. No simulator in the world is going to give you the experience you will get cabling and configuring your own routers. Whenever I mention this to one of my students, they always say it costs too much. The truth is, it is cheaper now to build your own CCNA and CCNP lab than it has ever been. The secret? Used routers. The word “used” turns off a lot of people not many of us buy used computers or used servers. Cisco routers, though, are robust. I personally own a Cisco 4000 router that I use as a Frame Relay switch in my lab that I’ve had for about four years, and I’ve never had a problem with it. The good news for current CCNA and CCNP candidates interested in building their own labs is that used Cisco equipment has never been more plentiful or cheaper. eBay is a good way to get an idea of what’s out there and what the prices are, but you don’t have to assemble your lab one piece at a time. Many eBay vendors who sell used Cisco equipment sell ready-made CCNA and CCNP labs for one price, including cables. I asked one major vendor of CCNA and CCNP labs, ciscokits, what the most common questions are regarding building your own home lab. Here’s what they had to say: Why do I need real routers instead of a simulator? You need a physical router, as the simulators just don’t have the ability to give you the “hands on” you need to see what happens when you disconnect a cable or put a cable in the wrong location. You will come to find quickly that mistakes you make on Router 1 are affecting Router 5 all because you did not screw in a cable properly. No simulator can simulate that. How many routers do I need? Two routers really are required to see if anything works. If you have a very limited budget, you can receive value from only purchasing a single router over working with a simulator. However, you will not be able to see the main thing we are trying to accomplish. The propagation of route tables! The only way you can see if your configurations work, is to have at least two routers. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you purchase a dual router kit that comes with all the accessories you need. Otherwise you can spend days trying to find all the little extra pieces you need to get your lab up and running. Do I need a switch? Well, it is nice to have. However, with only about 2 questions on the test dedicated to “hands on” switch knowledge, if you have to skimp on something, skimp on the switch. What routers and switches should I buy? Choices, choices, choices! Which 2500/2600 router do I pick? I will list some pros and cons of each router below, along with current prices (note that prices are generally lower if you buy a dual router kit instead of a single router). Please note that prices are approximations. 1) Cisco 2501 Router with 16 MB Flash/16MB DRAM $94.99. The cheapest introduction router, and it can support a vast majority of the commands that you will need to learn for your CCNA test. All 2500 routers that we will discuss come with a minimum of two serial ports and an Ethernet port. You will need to add a transceiver to this unit to convert the Ethernet AUI port to an RJ-45 style Ethernet port. 2) Cisco 2503 Router with 16 MB Flash/16MB DRAM $119.99. This is the same as a Cisco 2501, except it adds an ISDN port so you can complete all your ISDN commands for the CCNA test. You will need to add a transceiver to convert the Ethernet AUI port to an RJ-45 style Ethernet port. 3) Cisco 2505/2507 with 16 MB Flash/16MB DRAM $109.99. The same as a Cisco 2501 except it has a built-in 8 or 16 port hub so you do not have to purchase a transceiver. 4) Cisco 2514 Router with 16 MB Flash/16MB DRAM $149.99. This router is the same as a Cisco 2501 except instead of one Ethernet port you have two. You may ask, what is the big deal? Well, you can use this as your Cable Modem/DSL Modem router. Now you can test your ability to setup a firewall and router in a live environment on the Internet. Lots of fun! You will need to add two transceivers to convert the Ethernet AUI ports to an RJ-45 style Ethernet ports. 5) Cisco 2520 Router with 16 MB Flash/16MB DRAM $119.99. This is the same as a 2503 but it also adds two more serial ports so you can use this as a frame relay switch later in your CCNA studies. It costs the same as a 2503, so this is a great money saving tip. 6) Cisco 2612 Router with 32 DRAM and 8 MB Flash $199.99. This is a modular router unlike any of the 2500 series routers. So the big benefit of this is you can buy extra modules to add functionality such as more serial ports, ISDN ports, Ethernet ports, WICs and such. However, due to the flexibility you will pay a bit more. One day it is a frame relay switch, the next it is your ISDN router. In the long run it will be cheaper than purchasing a bunch of dedicated routers for each discipline you want to learn. 7) Cisco 1912 or 1924 Switch with Enterprise Software $109.99. This is a good low cost switch. The only drawback is it is a 10 MB switch except for the two 100 MB uplink ports. Not a big deal since you have 10 MB routers. 8) Cisco 2912 or 2924 Switch with Enterprise Software $249.99. This switch will run all the current commands needed for the test and is a full 100 MB switch. And should you desire to sell your lab after you complete your certification, you can either negotiate a price with the vendor who sold it to you, or you can sell it yourself on ebay. It’s my experience that 95% of candidates who earn their CCNA go on to pursue their CCNP within one year, though, so don’t sell it too quickly. In the end, you spend only a few hundred dollars, and you gain invaluable experience and knowledge that will help you both in your certification quest and your job performance. Having worked my way from the CCNA to the CCIE, I can tell you that you will learn much more from actually configuring and cabling your own equipment than you ever will from any simulation of the real thing.

         
    Cisco certification recertifying your ccna and ccnp

     

    Once you get your CCNA and CCNP, you can't just rest on your accomplishment. You've got to continue to study and add to your skill set - and then prove to Cisco you've been doing just that by recertifying. Recertification sounds like a pain, but it's actually one of the best things to ever happen to computer certification, and it helps your career as well. One trap many LAN and WAN personnel fall into is that they fail to keep up with changes in technology, and if they happen to be laid off or want to change jobs, they're unable to because they didn't keep their skill set up. Cisco's recertification policies ensure that if you want to keep your CCNA, CCNP, or one of the other valuable Cisco certifications, you've got to take a recertification exam. As of November 2005, to recertify as a CCNA, you need to pass either the current CCNA exam, ICND exam, or any 642 professional level or Cisco Qualified Specialist exam. (This does not include Sales Specialist exams.) Passing a CCIE written qualification exam also recertifies you as a CCNA. CCNAs are valid for three years. For the CCNP, you need to pass the 642-891 Composite exam, a CCIE written qualification exam, or BOTH the BSCI and BCMSN exams (642-801 and 642-811, respectively.) CCNP certifications are valid for three years. As you can see, you've got quite a few options either way. The one classic mistake you must not make is waiting too long to begin preparing for the exams, and give yourself a little leeway just in case you don't recertify the first time around. Once the deadline passes, your certification is gone, and in the case of the CCNP that means taking all the exams again. As a professional, it's your responsibility to keep up with changes in the Cisco certification world, and this includes changes in the recertification program. Make a point of visiting the "Learning And Events" section of Cisco's website regularly to look for changes in the certification program. And while you're there, you just might see another cert that catches your eye!

         
    Cisco certification suggested home lab setups

     

    When you make the decision to put your own home lab together for your CCNA and CCNP studies (a very wise decision, if I may say so!), the hardest part is figuring out how to spend your budget. Do you spend it all on the routers and go with a cheaper 1900 switch, knowing that the 640-801 (CCNA), 640-821 (Intro), and 640-811 (ICND) exams now place a premium on knowing the ins and outs of a 2950 switch? Do you buy a frame relay switch? Do you buy an access server? One factor to keep in mind when you're starting to put your lab together is that you don't have to put it all together at one time. With some careful planning, you've got a lab that you can use for your Intro studies, perhaps add a router or two for ICND study, and then some more devices for your CCNP study. Of course, it also depends on your budget. If you've got upwards of $500 to spend, great! If you don't, that's okay. The key is that you're going to work with the real deal instead of simulation programs. And remember that you can always sell the equipment when you've achieved your certification goals. You're basically renting the equipment and then passing it on to another CCNA or CCNP candidate. Let's take a look at several different toplogies, from basic to more advanced. One router. You'll have to keep the configurations pretty basic, but getting started with one router is still a start. You can practice setting passwords (and password recovery, perhaps!) and become acquainted with the hardware. You can practice setting the hostname and working with many global configuration commands. There are obvious limitations, but the big plus here is that you've gotten started working with real Cisco equipment. Two routers. You can do more with two routers than you might think. Make sure the first two routers you buy have serial interfaces. You can then purchase a DTE/DCE cable and practice working with directly connected serial interfaces. This is a valuable skill to have on your Intro and ICND exams. You can put PPP on the direct connection and practice working with PAP and CHAP, not to mention the vital troubleshooting command debug ppp negotiation. Two routers, one switch. Your first two routers should have serial and ethernet interfaces. You can connect your routers to the switch via their ethernet interface in addition to the aforementioned directly connected serial interfaces. You can create loopback interfaces on both routers and then practice advertising them via RIP, IGRP, EIGRP, and OSPF. If you can, make sure to get BRI interfaces on these first two routers as well. The cost of an ISDN simulator might prevent you from running ISDN at first, but plan for the future now. It's best to spring for a 2950 switch if it fits your budget. That switch has an IOS as opposed to the menu-driven 1900 switches, so the practice will come in handy on exam day. If you simply can't afford it right now, a 1900 switch is certainly better than no switch at all! Three routers, one switch. I would consider using the third router as a frame relay switch. If your first two routers each have two serial interfaces, as well as the third one, you can buy a couple of additional DTE/DCE cables and configure your own frame relay cloud. The config for a frame relay switch can be hard to find there is one on my website you're welcome to. Four routers, one switch. This setup would allow you to have three routers communicating via the frame relay cloud, two routers connecting through their directly connected serial interfaces, and at least two of the routers communicating through the switch. Quite a setup! I've got plenty of labs you can run on such a setup, and you could even create your own. Five routers, one switch. At this point, you should consider an access server as your fifth router. An access server is a Cisco router with the capability to connect to up to eight other devices via an octal cable. Not just any Cisco router can serve as an access server, so make sure the one you buy for this purpose has the proper async port(s). An access server prevents you from having to continually move the rollover cable into the console port of the router or switch you need to configure. Once you have one, you'll wonder how you lived without it! From this point on, you can add a second switch or an ISDN simulator. The second switch gives you the opportunity to practice influencing root bridge elections and configuring VTP an ISDN simulator will give you priceless practice with ISDN in your home lab. (Don't confuse an ISDN simulator with a router simulator. An ISDN simulator basically acts as the phone company in your practice lab.) New ISDN simulators can run up to $2000 easily there are many used simulators on ebay and from used Cisco equipment vendors.) I know exactly what you're going through when you make the decision to build your own lab I've been there myself. I hope you've found this article helpful in making a decision on how to get started. If you have any questions about a network topology you're considering building, please let me hear from you at [email protected] . I'm glad you've chose to put together you own CCNA and CCNP home lab, and I'll be glad to help with any questions you may have. To your success, Chris Bryant CCIE #12933

         
    Cisco certification the secret key to getting your ccna and ccnp

     

    Whether you're working on your CCNA or CCNP, Cisco certification exams are the most demanding computer certification exams in the IT field. Cisco exams are not a test of memorization, they're a test of your analytical skills. You'll need to look at configurations and console output and analyze them to identify problems and answer detailed questions. To pass these demanding exams, you've got to truly understand how Cisco routers and switches operate - and the key to doing so is right in front of you. The debug command. Of course, there is no single "debug" command. Using IOS Help, you can quickly see that there are hundreds of these debugs, and I want to mention immediately that you should never practice these commands on a production router. This is one major reason you need to get some hands-on experience with Cisco products in a home lab or rack rental. No software program or "simulator" is going to give you the debug practice you need. Now, why am I so insistent that you use debugs? Because that's how you actually see what's going on. It's not enough to type a frame relay LMI command, you have to be able to see the LMIs being exchanged with "debug frame lmi". You don't want to just type a few network numbers in after enabling RIP, you want to see the routes being advertised along with their metrics with "debug ip rip". The list goes on and on. By using debugs as part of your CCNA and CCNP studies, you're going beyond just memorizing commands and thinking you understand everything that's happening when you enter a command or two. You move to a higher level of understanding how routers, switches, and protocols work -- and that is the true goal of earning your CCNA and CCNP.

         
    Cisco certification the importance of building your own home lab

     

    CCNAs and CCNA candidates hear it all the time: “Get some hands-on experience”. From my personal experience climbing the Cisco certification ladder, I can tell you firsthand that there is no learning like hands-on learning. No simulator in the world is going to give you the experience you will get cabling and configuring your own routers. Whenever I mention this to one of my students, they always say it costs too much. The truth is, it is cheaper now to build your own CCNA and CCNP lab than it has ever been. The secret? Used routers. The word “used” turns off a lot of people not many of us buy used computers or used servers. Cisco routers, though, are robust I personally own a Cisco 4000 router that I use as a Frame Relay switch in my lab that I’ve had for about four years, and I’ve never had a problem with it. The good news for current CCNA and CCNP candidates interested in building their own labs is that used Cisco equipment has never been more plentiful or cheaper. eBay is a good way to get an idea of what’s out there and what the prices are, but you don’t have to assemble your lab one piece at a time. Many eBay vendors who sell used Cisco equipment sell ready-made CCNA and CCNP labs for one price, including cables. I personally recommend ciscokits for your lab needs, and there are many other vendors as well. And should you desire to sell your lab after you complete your certification, you can either negotiate a price with the vendor who sold it to you, or you can sell it yourself on ebay. It’s my experience that 95% of candidates who earn their CCNA go on to pursue their CCNP within one year, though, so don’t sell it too quickly. In the end, you spend only a few hundred dollars, and you gain invaluable experience and knowledge that will help you both in your certification quest and your job performance. Having been there, I can tell you that you will learn much more from actually configuring and cabling your own equipment than you ever will from any simulation of the real thing. Chris Bryant CCIE #12933

         
     
         
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