Cisco Changes #CCENT and #CCNA for First Time in over 5 Years (Overview)

By certskills March 26, 2013 08:50

Yep, it’s official. Cisco just announced changes to #CCENT and #CCNA, that is, the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certifications. This post gives the overview, and lots of links.

Exam Structure Unchanged, But Exam Numbers and Cert Names Change

First off, Cisco always changes the exam numbers when they CCNA and CCNP level exams. (The CCIE exams often keep the same numbers over time.) The structure for these new CCNA exams stays the same: pass the ICND1 exam to get your CCENT, with two options to get to CCNA: pass both ICND1 + ICND2, or pass the CCNA exam.

The name changes a bit as well. CCNA officially becomes CCNA Routing and Switching. I’m sure everyone will shorten it like they do for CCIE Routing and Switching, to something like CCNA R/S.

Content Changes (Summary)

The content of course changes with the new exams. First off, while IT does change rapidly, if you look at what’s changed in the last 5+ with the basics of routing and Ethernet switching, the only major shift is towards IPv6 (finally). The big buzz in switching lately has been about Software Defined Networking (SDN), but I imagine SDN features will need to be pretty much in the mainstream before it ever hits CCNA.

Most of the movement of topics out of CCNA, and added into CCNA, have to do with the age of technology features. Cisco made lots of small movements here.

Breaking it down by ICND1 and ICND2, ICND1 grows noticeably compared to the 2007 edition (based on the 640-822 exam.) The new ICND1 adds VLSM, ACLs, and deeper IPv6 than is even in the current ICND2.

ICND2 actually loses some major topics that move to ICND1. You could easily argue ICND2 has few topics than the 2007 version. However, ICND2 has deeper IPv6 coverage than the old ICND2 for sure. ICND2 also takes the previous ICND2’s heavy emphasis on troubleshooting and even adds more. It also picks up some new smaller topics, like FHRP, IOS licensing, NetFlow, and SNMP.

I’ve got some more detail in these planned blog posts. If you’re looking for these on announcement day, give me a few hours to get the content adjusted.

The IOS version bumps up three versions as well. First, Cisco does not publish an IOS version, and they avoid version-specific questions. That said, we get enough information behind the scenes to have a good read on what IOS versions are the best versions to use when grabbing the output to put in the books. Comparing those, we based on the books for the old exams on router IOS 12.4 mainline. Since that time, router IOS versions have moved to mainline versions 15.0, 15.1, and 15.2. We used 15.2 (on 2901 routers, by the way) for the new books, and recreated the lab examples for most of the book, specifically for any and all whose command output may have changed due to the large bump in IOS version.

Books and Blogs

Ah yes, books. I’m done with the updated books. The timeline allowed time to finish the actual books, and the book covers. As of the morning of the announcement the timing of availability of both the print and eBooks was uncertain. So, I’ll come back here to update in a few days, but feel free to remind me at Facebook or Twitter. Regardless, for those of you anxious to get the books quickest, at a new release, the fastest way to get a printed version of the books will be to purchase direct from Other US print-book sellers should get their print book shipments, and be ready to ship to customers, within a week or so after the publisher receives the books.


So, eBooks available now or close to it, with print books (US) likely available by late April, maybe early May, depending on speed to distribute.

I will be on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging at my CCNA Skills Blog ( over the coming day and weeks about these changes. The following lists give some useful links to related sites, like some Cisco sites, publisher sites, and my own sites. Note that the blog posts that don’t work yet are placeholders for what I hope to get to this week!

Cisco Sites:

Cisco CCENT landing page

Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching landing page

CCENT announcement page

CCNA Routing and Switching announcement page

Cisco Learning Network

Social Media:

Wendell’s Facebook

Wendell’s Twitter Feed

Cisco Press Facebook

Cisco Press Twitter Feed

Cisco Certifications Facebook

Cisco Certifications Twitter

 Planned Blog Posts: (Note: Some Links not Live Yet)

Cisco Changes CCENT and CCNA for the First Time in Over 5 Years (this post)

What’s Changed for the #ICND1 Exam and the #CCENT Certification

What’s Changed for the #ICND2 Exam and the #CCNA Routing and Switching Certification


Polls Related to the new CCENT and CCNA Routing and Switching Certs

Cisco Moved My Cheese – Options, Part 1

Cisco Moved My Cheese Part 2 – Going Deep in Routing and Switching

Cisco Moved My Cheese Part 3 – Going Wide to a non- R/S Cisco Technology

Using the Old Books to Study for the New Exams

Simulator Plans for 2013

The Ins and Outs of eBooks

Premium Edition: Best eBook Option

Oh Yeah – the New Books are Out, Too!


More blog posts likely – watch the CCNA Skills blog ( for more

CCENT Answer 104 and 105: Answers Part 2
Just a Place to Keep Some Polls Related to the New #CCNA and #CCENT
By certskills March 26, 2013 08:50
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  1. Pat March 28, 18:00

    Just a general question — I am going to be purchasing I did heard that Cisco is retooling the exam. Should I still purchase the CCNA 640-802 Network Simulator? Or should I wait?

    Reply to this comment
  2. certskills Author March 28, 20:47

    Hi Pat,
    There’s no new Sim yet. So, the only one to get right now is the CCNA 640-802. There is a deal through which you can upgrade later to the new version if you purchase the 640-802 Sim 3/26/13 or later. Go to the CCNA page at the publisher, and scroll down for the note about Simulators. There are specific rules to follow.

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