ICND2 200-105 Exam Topics, Part 1: New CLI Topics, Analyzed

 In 200-301 V1 CCC No Category on Purpose, News

This post continues a series designed to reveal the details of the content as listed in the various exams’ listing of exam topics. The focus here: the new ICND2 200-105 exam (the second half of the CCNA R&S content). There are many changes to the ICND2 exam comparing the new to the old. Today’s Part 1 post details the new exam topics that require CLI skills, while Part 2 picks up the rest of the discussion.

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Exam Topics – What They Are

First, just to be clear: this post discusses the exam topics. And honestly, we can only discuss the exam topics, rather than what we each see on any particular occurrence of the actual exam. So with this post and others like it, I am reading the publicly posted exam topics and giving my personal opinion as to what those words mean. I do not represent Cisco Systems, and these opinions are my own.

The exam topics give us general guidelines as to what is on the exam. Here’s an excerpt of standard wording from the top of the pages with some good reminders and perspective:

“The following topics are general guidelines for the content likely to be included on the exam. However, other related topics may also appear on any specific delivery of the exam. In order to better reflect the contents of the exam and for clarity purposes, the guidelines below may change at any time without notice.”

Data Organized for the Transition

This post breaks down the new ICND1 200-105 exam in a way that should be helpful for folks who have been working towards the old exam. For context, keep in mind that Cisco has provided two paths to CCNA R&S certification since 2003: A two exam path and a one exam path. Using current terminology, to become CCNA R&S certified, you can either take and pass the ICND1 and ICND2 exams or the CCNA exam. Then, from a content perspective:


But for now, with a focus on the transition to the new exams, this post has the following upcoming sections:

  • New ICND2 CVT Topics: Cisco makes a habit of using exam topic verbs like “configure and verify” or “configure, verify, and troubleshoot”. This first section (which is the majority of this post) discusses the new configure, verify, and troubleshoot (CVT) topics in ICND2 200-105.
  • New ICND2 Conceptual Topics: The upcoming Part 2 post begins with a look at all the new conceptual topics in the ICND2 200-105 exam, that is, those with verbs like describe, compare, or contrast. There are quite a few brand new conceptual topics added to ICND2 as well.
  • Moved from ICND1: Topics formerly in the old ICND1 100-101 exam, but now moved to the new ICND2 200-105 exam. It’s a short list.
  • Troubleshooting Performance Levels: Cisco bumped the performance level of the verbs for a few subject areas up to “troubleshoot”; this section details those topics.
  • Topics Removed from CCNA and ICND2: Topics that were listed in the old ICND2 200-101 exam and appear to be completely removed from the new exams.

The rest of this post explores the first bullet in the list.

Analysis from Cisco

This post and three other upcoming posts are an analysis of the literal exam topic documents, old and new. However, Cisco actually posted some analysis of the new exams as well, with more details than I personally remember seeing for previous editions. I’ve taken a different approach to my analysis, so make sure and check out Cisco’s details about the new exam topics as well.

The List: New CVT Topics for ICND2 200-105

Even a cursory review of the ICND1, ICND2, and CCNA R&S exam topics pages shows a large number of exam topics with either “configure and verify” (CV) or “configure, verify, and troubleshoot” (CVT) as the verbs. To kick off the discussion, the following list paraphrases ICND2 200-105 exam topics that use a CV or CVT verb. The list includes exam topics whose subject is either all new for the ICND2 200-105 exam, or the exam topic lists at least some new information compared to the old exam. For those that are partially new, the list details the part that is new:

1.1.a CVT VLANs (mentions voice VLANs specifically, which is new)

1.2.a CVT… DTP and VTP (v1 & v2) (The VTP mention is new)

1.5 CVT Layer 2/Layer 3 EtherChannels (the mention of Layer 3 is new)

2.1.b CVT Intervlan routing …SVI (the SVI mention is new)

3.1 CV MLPPP (Multilink PPP)

3.3 CVT GRE (Generic Route Encapsulation; GRE is new in the exam topics, although I had included it in the old edition of the books)

3.6 CV external BGP

4.4 CVT IPv6 ACLs

Figure 1: New ICND2 200-105 Exam Topic Subject with Verb “Configure, Verify, and Troubleshoot”

I’ve picked a few from the list to give some overall impressions about the task ahead of you now that I’ve spent 3-4 months revising the old ICND2 book to be the new ICND2 200-105 Cert Guide. Also, give your opinion about your personal most and least favorite new CVT topic in the new ICND2 exams!

Poll 5: Most Favorite New ICND2 CVT Subject


Poll 6: Least Favorite New ICND2 CVT Subject


Small Efforts to Learn

Three of the exam topics stand out to me as subjects that will not take a lot of extra time and effort to learn. Specifically:

1.1.a CVT Voice VLANs

3.1 CV Multilink PPP


First off, from a starting point of configuring access VLANs (a topic in the old exams dating back to the beginning of CCNA), adding voice VLAN configuration is simple both in concept and in configuration.

Multilink PPP requires a little more thought, but not a lot, with just a few configuration commands. Picture two routers with multiple serial links between them. MLPPP lets you make the parallel links act like a single link from a layer 3 perspective, with one IPv4 and/or IPv6 subnet. The routers then balance the traffic across the links. So, from a starting point of understanding PPP (which was in the old exams), adding MLPPP should not take a lot of study and practice.

Finally, GRE probably requires the biggest leap in concept before learning the CVT part of the exam topic. GRE allows devices to encapsulate incoming packets inside another packet, for example, to encrypt and forward private IP packets over the public Internet. The configuration can be a little tricky as well. I considered putting this one in the medium effort column.

Bigger Efforts but Actually Straightforward

Three of the exam topics stand out to me as subjects that will not take a lot of extra time and effort to learn. Specifically:

1.2.b CVT VTP V1&V2

3.6 CV external BGP

4.4 CVT IPv6 ACLs

In the new ICND2 Cert Guide, each topic gets its own chapter, so they do require some time. However, they are all relatively straightforward.

For example, by the time you get to eBGP study with the new exams, you should already understand three other IPv4 routing protocols (RIPv2, OSPFv2, and EIGRP). Additionally, the exam topic actually states the following:

Configure and verify single-homed branch connectivity using eBGP IPv4 (limited to peering and route advertisement using Network command only)

All those small qualifiers take a truly large topic – BGP – and constrain it to a limited environment in which you would not need to use most of BGP’s features. Think of it like learning to ski on the kiddie slope – it’s a great place to learn, but not a place where adults would expect to go skiing once they learn how. With this exam topic, you learn the very basics.

With the IPv6 ACL exam topic, you have probably already learned all about IPv4 ACLs and all about IPv6 addressing. As a result, adding IPv6 ACL skills is relatively painless.

Surprising challenges: Layer 3 Forwarding (AKA Routing)

Two of the exam topics, to me, can be a bit more of a challenge:

1.5 CVT Layer 2/Layer 3 EtherChannels (mention of Layer 3 is new)

2.1.b CVT Intervlan routing …SVI (SVI mention is new)

Keeping those in mind, add to that a few other exam topics that add material on the wide gamut of layer 3 switching options in a layer 3 switch. However, that fact isn’t completely obvious until you learn about the above exam topics. First, consider the exam topic 2.1 as literally stated:

    1. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot Inter-VLAN routing
      1. Router on a stick
      2. SVI

Items 2.1.a and 2.1.b both reference how to route. Topic 2.1.a speaks of a feature on routers (router-on-a-stick), while SVI refers to a feature on a layer 3 switch. However, neither mentions another method of configuring routing on a layer 3 switch, namely, the use of routed ports on a switch. However, exam topic 1.5, about layer 3 Etherchannels, does require us to understand the ideas about routed ports on layer 3 switches.

In summary, you need to work through all the methods of routing between VLANs in both a router and a layer 3 switch before you can get through all the details in these new ICND2 exam topics.

Related CLI Exam Topics

In addition to the above list of traditional exam topics with the CV or CVT verbs, two other similar exam topics list new subject areas as well, as paraphrased here:

4.5 Verify ACLs with APIC-EM Path Trace ACL Analysis

5.3 Use SPAN (Switched Port Analyzer)

I may try and give you a little more detail on these two in a later post. For now, I have listed them here to be complete in the list of new CLI topics that were not listed in the old exam. In part 2, I’ll discuss the new conceptual topics, and close up several loose ends about other changes – including a couple of topics that get promoted to require more CLI skills.

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