What’s Different About the New ICND1 100-101 Exam for #CCENT?
While working through revising the #CCENT/#ICND1 Cert Guide for the last 6 months, thinking hard about the revised ICND1 exam topics, some choices made sense to me, and some didn’t. Frankly, my initial reaction was that Cisco just moved way too much to ICND1 versus ICND2. Indeed, on paper, ICND1 has gotten a lot bigger in terms of topics. But Cisco has removed some other topics from ICND1, killing some altogether, and moving others to ICND2.
This post sticks with the objective facts, based on Cisco’s published exam topics. For all you people out there in the middle of studying for ICND1 on announce day, let’s take a look at what appears to have changed – at least based on what Cisco tells the world in the exam topics.
What’s on the Test? Exam Topics!
First, in case you are new to this Cisco cert world, everyone wants to know what’s on the exam. Cisco gives us one official answer: the exam topics for an exam. Then we can all go out to online study sites, like the Cisco Learning Network, and listen to chatter about what may or may not be on the exam. Or, you ask your co-worker what they saw on the exam. Etc. But the true objective answer sits in those exam topics.
Here are the links to the exam topics:
This post is based on the old and new exam topics.
The Breakdown: Really New, Moved from ICND2, Moved to ICND2, and Gone Poof
This post also slants the discussion for folks who already know about the old ICND1 640-822 and ICND2 640-816 exams. The first two topics discuss new topics in ICND1: first, topics moved from the old ICND2 to the new ICND1, and then totally new topics added to the new ICND1 exam. Those totally new topics were not within the scope of CCNA at all before the March 2013 announcements.
After getting through what’s new, this post gets into what’s been removed from ICND1. Again, I’ll break it down into two categories: what’s moved from the old ICND1 to the new ICND2, and what’s completely gone from both ICND1 and ICND2.
Moved from Old ICND2 to New ICND1
This may be the single biggest shock to most people about these new exams. Cisco moved a pretty large chunk of the exam topics over to ICND1. ICND1, and the related CCENT cert, have grown up. Figure 1 shows the quick hit list.
Figure 1: Topics Moved from ICND1
It’s a pretty amazing list at first blush. Before you panic, if you were thinking of going for the new exams rather than the old, keep moving until you read about the removed topics. But the net is that ICND1 has probably grown, topic-wise, by 20%.
To temper the sheer volume a bit, note a few particulars as follows:
- ICND1 introduces OSPF, and ICND2 takes OSPF deeper, so think of ICND1 as intro to OSPF.
- Port Security was already spread across both exams, so now it’s squarely in one place, which makes it better from an exam prep perspective.
- NAT was likewise spread across both the old exams, and now it’s consolidated in one place.
- VLSM and summarization just fit better over here in ICND1 with the rest of the IPv4 addressing math.
So, all in all, other than the sheer volume of ICND1 topics moved from ICND2, it’s maybe a little better organization, with cleaner division of concepts for the exams.
Say you were already headed for CCNA. If you planned to use the 1 exam option, so far, no big deal – you had to learn all those topics anyway. If you planned to take the 2-exam path, for the topics mentioned so far, the changes just when you need to study those topics.
Totally New to ICND1 and CCNA Routing and Switching
Now say you were headed towards CCENT or CCNA before the announcement. You would still have had to learn the topics listed in Figure 1, even with the old CCNA exams. 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 ICND1. If you take the new ICND1 or CCNA exams, you will need to know the following:
Figure 2: Topics Totally New to ICND1 and CCNA in 2013
Of these, both NTP and the troubleshooting topics are a pretty easy lift each. NTP is relatively basic, both in concept and config. The addition of an exam topic about troubleshooting addresses is an addition on paper, but I’m sure the old exams actually tested our ability to troubleshooting IPv4 addressing problems. The addition of an exam topic about layer 2 troubleshooting is much the same.
The depth of IPv6 topics has the biggest impact of all topics new to the ICND1 and CCNA exams. In fact, at face value from the exam topics alone, IPv6 appears to have equivalent coverage compared to IPv4. Some observations:
- The ICND1 IPv6 topics are far beyond what’s in the old CCNA and ICND2 exam topics.
- You can learn a lot about IPv6 by comparing it to IPv4.
- My new ICND1 book has 5 chapters on IPv6 (some are short), with roughly 95 pages of Foundation Topics coverage.
ICND1 hits a wide range of IPv6 topics: basic address formats, understanding global, link local, and special addresses, address assignment with DHCPv6 and SLAAC, OSPFv3, and even static routes. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it is new, and much more than with the old exams.
And just to be clear, when you read Cisco’s ICND1 exam topics, in that section titled “IP Routing Technologies”, “IP” means both IPv4 and IPv6.
(Aside: I took a lot of time and effort to craft the IPv6 chapters in both the ICND1 and ICND2 Official Cert Guides, specifically for these new topics in ICND1, ICND2, and CCNA. All the material is new for the new editions of the book, based on IOS 15.2. The chapters stress the similarities and differences with IPv4. I did not just pull the content from another book, but wrote them to fit exactly with the IPv4 content in this new edition of the ICND1 book. I think you will like what you see with this new content.)
Removed Completely from ICND1 and CCNA
Cisco moved a bunch of topics from ICND2 to ICND1, and vice versa. And yes, ICND1 seems a bit bloated. But Cisco did remove some topics from ICND1 and did not move them to ICND2 – they are simply gone. Figure 3 shows the larger removed topics that leave ICND1 and are NOT moved to ICND2.
Figure 3: Topics Totally Gone from ICND1 and CCNA in 2013
RIP is finally dead! Hooray! Done and gone, no more RIP, no more RIP-1, no more RIP-2. I did mention it a few times in the new ICND1 book for perspective and learning, but as an end to itself, no more!
Cisco also removed Wireless LAN topics (WLAN). This was a very interesting choice in my opinion. (So yes, the rest of this paragraph is opinion!) In real life, today the LAN is the LAN, and the wired (Ethernet) and wireless must be viewed as a cohesive LAN. Cisco’s entry-level cert then removes all WLAN, but keeps tons of wired LAN. I’m sure the division is simply because if you want more on wireless, Cisco has a CCNA/CCNP/CCIE Wireless track.
On what I’m sure will be a popular choice, no more Security Device Manager (SDM), or Cisco Configuration Professional, or any other general GUI configuration interface! Mark one pain-in-the-neck study item from the list!
Moved from Old ICND1 to New ICND2
So, for those of you planning to take ICND1 (for CCENT certification), and then to branch off to some other technology, never getting to CCNA Routing and Switching, you can ignore the topics shown in Figure 4. Cisco took these topics, formerly in the ICND1 exam, and moved them to the new ICND2 exam topics.
Figure 4: Topics Moved from ICND1 to ICND2
The new exams are a bit cleaner about keeping a topic either in ICND1 or in ICND2 to a great degree, and WAN topics are a great example. ICND1 still requires some WAN basics, but the entire WAN configuration, even basic HDLC and PPP, moves over to ICND2.
Cisco also moves some housekeeping items, like router hardware basics, how to load and upgrade IOS, and all those little particulars about managing the router itself over into ICND2.
Finally, with RIP gone, and EIGRP only in ICND2, you still need to know something about Distance Vector concepts. However, Cisco keeps it with EIGRP, over in the ICND2 side of the house.
Summary for the New ICND1 100-101 Exam
So what does this new exam look like if you remove the clutter?
- Focused on doing: identify, explain, configure, verify
- Lots moved from ICND2 to ICND1: VLSM, summarization, ACLs,
- Deeper IPv6