Five Impressions for the new CCNP R&S

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

#CCNP is an obvious next-step for many who pass #CCNA. Today’s post diverts from our usual CCNA study focus to look at Cisco’s announcements for the new revision to CCNP R&S. I’ll toss out a survey about your likely plans as well, and give some general impressions about what Cisco has done with their CCNP announcement.

Survey First!

What will you do, or did you do, right after finishing CCNA R/S? Seems like a good time to ask, given the changes to CCNP R&S. Join in this completely unscientific poll!



Leave a comment here at the blog if you checked “some other cert” or “some other CCNA”!


The Basics of the new CCNP R&S

Let me spell out the basics, and the basics only. You can read all the details at to your heart’s content.

  • The structure stays the same: ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT, with new exam numbers.
  • The name officially changes from “CCNP” to “CCNP Routing and Switching”.
  • The new exams start with “300”.
  • Each exam retains their major topics!
  • Cisco gives the usual 6-month transition: last date to test with the old exams is Jan 29, 2015.
  • You can get CCNP R&S certified with any mix or match of old and new exams
  • The exam topic documents are much more detailed (hooray), and worth a thorough read!



Cisco Press will be announcing their new products in the coming days. That said, no, I won’t be updating the CCNP ROUTE Cert Guide. It’s in good hands, though – updated by one of my favorite authors. But I’ll let him and Cisco Press do the announcing. I promise to Facebook/Tweet/LinkedIn more when CiscoPress pops some info!

Impression 1: ROUTE is Poppa Bear; Switch is Baby Bear

ROUTE was the beast of the bunch before today. Now it’s an even bigger. Gone are a few odds and ends. Added are a bunch of smaller topics, plus an overall larger emphasis on IPv6 (no surprise there). Just rambling about a few I’ve noticed that are new:

  • TCP and UDP operations
  • EVN
  • SNMP
  • Frame Relay
  • RIP. Yes, RIP.

Switch, however, while it adds a few topics, remains a smaller test in terms of topics. SWITCH was noticeably smaller with the old exams, and the majority of the volume of the new content is in ROUTE. In my opinion, SWITCH has a shorter prep time by far.

For instance, look at the ROUTE and SWITCH exam topics. Look at the PDF versions of the exam topics. Then mentally remove the couple of introductory paragraphs from each. You end up with just a tad over 1 PDF page of SWITCH exam topics, and around 4 times that for ROUTE! (I’ll be curious how long the various books and courses will be!)

Impression 2: Exam Topics are Detailed (Hooray)

The previous CCNP exam topics were woefully sparse. The new ones follow Cisco’s trend towards listing more detail. Check them out by navigating from the main page! The exam topics also list weightings for the topics, another helpful trend. So we should know much more about exactly what to study.

Impression 3: TSHOOT is Weighted towards ROUTE

TSHOOT continues to be a test about troubleshooting what ROUTE and SWITCH cover. In fact, the TSHOOT exam topics mirror the core of the ROUTE and SWITCH exam topics. Take the ROUTE and SWITCH exam topics, side by side with TSHOOT, and you’ll see entire sections in TSHOOT that substantively mirror ROUTE and SWITCH – just with verbs that imply troubleshooting rather than implementation.

The new TSHOOT takes the largest one section of both the SWITCH and ROUTE exams’ exam topics, and gives each a 40% weighting in the TSHOOT exam – making 80% of TSHOOT about the core of the ROUTE and SWITCH topics. Of course, the TSHOOT exam assesses your ability to troubleshoot those topics. Then, TSHOOT includes three other smaller topics from ROUTE, plus a little about the troubleshooting as an end to itself, as shown in this Figure.


Impression 4: Alignment Decreases Gaps between Levels

In the CCNP intro video at Cisco’s CCNP R&S web page, Ramesh mentions that the new CCNP aligns with CCNA and CCIE. At first, you might think that’s just marketing fluff. Instead, you can see that directly in the exam topics.

For example, when Cisco revised CCNA R&S in 2013, they added some IP services topics not formerly included in CCNA: NetFlow, Syslog, and SNMP. CCIE R&S had long included IP services as a part of the blueprint. Now CCNP R&S aligns better, with these same three topics added to the ROUTE blueprint.

Hopefully, this alignment will close the gaps that have existed. It used to be that there was a sizeable gap between CCNP and CCIE R&S, and a smaller gap from CCNA R&S and CCNP R&S. The effort to align will hopefully make it easier to march through the R&S track.

Impression 5: Start with SWITCH Instead of ROUTE? For Everyone?

In the old days, I used to tell people to start with either ROUTE or SWITCH based on which they knew best. That is, if you knew routing better, start with ROUTE. TSHOOT, because you are troubleshoot both routing and switching, makes sense as the final ex

However, I wonder if the order ought to be SWITCH – ROUTE – TSHOOT for everyone now.

I personally believe that you should start with the easiest-to-complete exam for a multi-exam cert. Once I see the books, hear some scuttlebutt, and maybe even go take the tests, I’ll have a better idea. But for now, ROUTE is just a lot more study than SWITCH. As of now, I’d at least tell a routing-focused person to consider taking SWITCH first.

Your Impressions?

Fire away!

If I find a few minutes, I’ll try and give a little more detail on the exam topic breakdown.





STP Vs. RSTP – Answer 4
Config Museum: OSPFv2 Single-area
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Bojan Landekic

Great info Wendell! I am doing my CCNA R&S this September and then moving to CCNA Security before going for CCNP R&S. Do you think this is a wise track to do for someone interested in network support?

Ben Story @ntwrk80

My next cert was actually CCDA and then CCSP, but that was before the CCNA sub genres.


Thanks for the info. I think you got a mistype for the last date to test, it should be Jan 29, 2015.

Jair México

Thanks by opinion. Currently Im prepearing to these exams. I Hope finish soon.
Only I think that the New date is wrong. Must be 29 Jan 2015.


Do you know if Cisco has a plan to upgrade CCDP course too?
I think it’s reasonable to change CCDP because two of the exams (Route and Switch) is related to CCDP.


I have a question about what test to start with. I thought routing would be better so you understand layer 3 switching better when you come to it. Not looking at the tests I’m not sure what’s in there to be tested on. so maybe this isn’t in there. so question would be would it be better to understand routing for layer 3 switching or would the layer 3 switching help you better understand routing.

Bill @stilgar

I had been preparing for the CCNP R/S but work and family had really eaten into my time. With this announcement, it’s time to buckle down and finish it off before the end of the year.


Just passed CCNA Data Center, and now moving on to CCNP DC! It is closer related to my primary focus which is infrastructure!

Guezouri Mohammed

I can pass the new CCNP R&S now ? or wait until january when the old exam finish


Thanks for the guidelines Wendell.
So, my personal conundrum is that I have just finalized my CCNA Security and was just about to kick start my CCNP track with a personal goal to have the exams completed by end of summer 2015… But now with the exams being updated its placed a brake on that.
So, my question is – how long before we start seeing the study books/material from you and other authors?
Personally, while the new CCNP track is being released, I will head on over to Juniper and get my (gasp!) JNCIA. Yes, there are other companies besides Cisco out there. 😉 Then I will get back with Cisco sometime mid-2015 once the dust has settled with the CCNP changes.



Hi Wendell,

Wonder when will your book on CCNA Data Center will come out? I was about to start on CCNP R and S but stop due to the new changes. I am awaiting for the new books and video tutorials to be available. Instead, i opted to pursue CCNA Data Center, is this a good choice?




Hey Wendell,
I am really grateful to you, for making this post. Initially to begin with, when I was preparing for CCNA R&S (boom), the new version came along. It was like, we are gonna be screwed but fortunately new got certified in the newer version of CCNA R&S. Similarly, we expected that this would happen CCNPv2, so my doubt is that by the time when we pass CCNPv2 R&S, will CCIE R&S be revised to a newer version?
And I would also be pleased to know when will the Cisco press releases the CCNPv2 R&S, so that I could pursue on the preparation.
Further, what would be your advise for me towards CCNPv2 R&S? I am planning to get certified within Dec 2016.
Thank you very much.


Great article Wendell,

I have been studying for the ccnp R&S for a couple months now. I started with the old route material (pre-announcement) and have just made it through BGP. Things are progressing slower than hoped but I really want to go for the new exam, as it appears more relevant to my work.

My question is what does cisco mean by Identify in the blue print? Example: Identify Cisco Express Forwarding Concepts.


bankole temi

I completed my ccna r&s exams some couples of month back.I want to ask what is the advantage ccnp security have over ccnp r& considering which one to go into and which one pay’s at the end.thanks


I would like to know if a network simulator similar to your excellent 200-120 version will ever be released for the new ccnp. I would also like to ask if you recommend I obtain your old route and kevins tshoot books to supplement the new book series.I ask this because I have been using your ccna books and am comfortable with your style of presentation. I have also used kevins book for net+.


Hi Wendell,

Thank you for your advice it is much appreciated.

Regards Dan

Alen Trklja

Greetings Wendell.
First of all, thank you for great CCNA PDF’s, sure helped me a lot to pass that exam with 1000 points 🙂
Now, my question..
Is it better investment/option to enroll into CCNA Security and then after that to go for CCNP R&S, or just go straight for CCNP R&S?
I’m short on money, so I really don’t want to make any bad decisions.

Best Regards,

Alen Trklja

Thank you man!
Your advice help me a lot, because here in Bosnia, if you want a reasonable job/paycheck and so on…, you need the highest degree of education possible.
I would like to finish all CCNA’s and then all CCNP’s, but A LOT of money is needed, and no jobs can be found here even with all CCNA’s.

So, I will go straight for CCNP R,S and TSHOOT 🙂
I just hop I find more of your books, because they are the simplest and the best ones I ever found when preparing for CCNA exam.

Thanx a lot! 🙂

Herbert Davis

Yes its really a helpful and good trend that exam topics list weightings for the topics but for this the knowledge about your study program must be complete ..


hi sir! this is prabhu.I completed my bachelors in I’m enquering about ccna course.I don’t about this course and if I go with that means how my future will be?so,please clear my doubts.

thanking you sir,


hi sir! this is prabhu.I completed my bachelors in I’m enquiring about ccna course.I don’t about this course and if I go with that means how my future will be?so,please clear my doubts.

thanking you sir,

Rana Irfan

Hi, i did my ccna 21may2014, now i wish to pass my ccnp R&S route paper. please suggest me is it my right decision to do that or this is quite early for me. Because i am now guy in networking field.

Rana Irfan

Let me explain one thing, is it possible that my friend who is in Saudi Arabia can pay my ccnp exam fee through credit card but i am in Pakistan……????


Thank you for the valuable advice, Mr Odom!
Your CCNA books helped me a lot to really understand what I was doing at my work, and get my CCNA R/S!
I’m going now to CCNP, I already bought the new books (it looks really hard when I compared the old and new versions) but seems to be more interesting!
Thanks a lot!


Dear Mr. Wendell Odom ,

First of all thank you so very much for the great book and the advice you provide us. I am going to take CCNP-Switch paper, would you like to tell me the Fees for CCNP-Switch Exam, currently i am based here in Saudi Arabia please also tell me can i have to pay for CCNP Switch\Route & T-Shoot separately or as a whole. Looking for your prompt reply. Thanks in advance.

Kind Regards,


Great Post !

Marcus Hansen

Hello, Wendell!

I’m a CCNA thanks to your priceless contribution to the Cisco Press publications. I have planned to obtain the certification, CCNP R&S. I am, however, also wrapping up my Associates Degree in Software Development, and of course pursue the Bachelors.

What is your perspective on the intermingling of Software Development, and the future of Networking Infrastructure, most notably “SDN”



Hello Odom,

Thanks for all the great work you did on the icnd1 and 2 books. it had to be a looot of work to gather all this relevant information. Much respect.

I am finishing my CCNA, and start wondering what i am going to do after that, so i decided to go for the CCNP R&S.

Day to Day i work with routers with basics configurations like static routes, floating static routes, dhcp server, ROAS…

But i don’t know which one to take first the SWITCH or ROUTE..

Can you please help me ?

Best Regards,


Thanks for your answer.

Just passed ICND2 today!!

I’ll go straight on ROUTE since my work is 90% Routing and 10% Switching.

Thanks again !

Jexter Fabriga


I am a CCNA certified already and working as part of a Firewall team but I am still confuse if I should take first CCNA Security or pursue the CCNP R&S track.

May I have your thoughts please?

Thank you!

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