By James Hanback
You've spent all these weeks and some of your hard-earned cash studying for Cisco's 640-816 ICND2 exam only to discover that there's a brand new Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) version 2.0 track. Cisco's 200-101 exam, along with its 100-101 ICND1 prerequisite, was announced on March 26 and is now available to candidates pursuing CCNA certification or recertification. Cisco also released a new version 2.0 of the composite exam, which is numbered 200-120. Among the many questions these new developments raise in your mind as you consider heaving your old 640-816 study guide toward the trash bin might be "Have I wasted my time studying for 640-816?"
The good news is that you haven't wasted your time. Candidates who want to continue pursuing CCNA certification on the old version 1.1 track (640-822 and 640-816, or the composite 640-802) have been given until Sept. 30, 2013 to complete those exams. So you can pluck that old study guide from the garbage, wipe away the coffee grounds, and fire up your NetSim labs and your Boson Exam Environment (BEE). The old exams will be available to you for another five months.
The even better news is that you can mix and match exam revisions in order to obtain CCNA certification. For example, if you were certified as Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) by passing the old 640-822 ICND1 exam, you can certify as CCNA either by taking the new 200-101 ICND2 exam or by taking the old 640-816 ICND2 exam before Sept. 30. However, Cisco recommends that candidates who intend on staying up-to-date with evolving roles in technology pursue the newer track because the topics that are covered by the old version of the track have been significantly realigned and updated in version 2.0.
To some extent, Cisco has streamlined the newer track and made it more difficult by moving some of the topics that can now be considered basic networking skills, such as variable-length subnet masking (VLSM) and IP version 6 (IPv6) addressing, to the ICND1 exam. Make no mistake: you still need to know about those things before you sit for the ICND2 exam. After all, how can you expect to be able to troubleshoot and resolve common network problems if you don't know how to subnet?
Other topics that seem to have migrated entirely from ICND2 to ICND1 include Network Address Translation (NAT), Port Address Translation (PAT), and access control lists (ACLs). Therefore, if you are studying exclusively for the new ICND2, you might not need to spend as much time practicing NAT and ACL configuration as you do if you're studying for the old version.
Lest you get the idea that you can get away with studying fewer topics by taking the new version of the exam, Cisco has also added new topics to ICND2 that were never on the previous version. For example, you need to know about the characteristics and differences of first-hop redundancy protocols (FHRPs) that are available on Cisco equipment, such as Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) and Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP). You also need to be familiar with configuring Syslog and be able to distinguish the differences between Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) version 2 and version 3.
Speaking of network management, Cisco has devoted an entire topic on the new ICND2 exam to troubleshooting, including the use and monitoring of NetFlow, which is Cisco's IP traffic monitoring protocol. Although you might be asked to troubleshoot scenarios that cover older ICND2 topics, such as routing protocol issues and wide area network (WAN) issues, you might also find that you need to understand NetFlow output. Additionally, switch topics like Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and all its variations are still a big part of the ICND2 exam. You need to know the differences between them, how to configure them, and how to troubleshoot them. You might also need to know about switch technologies that weren't part of the old ICND2 exam, such as EtherChannel. Finally, you should expect to have to rely on the knowledge you gained from your ICND1 experiences (old version or new) in order to effectively troubleshoot the problems with which you are presented in the new ICND2.
If all else fails and you find yourself wholly bamboozled by trying to piece together 200-101 study material based on all the 640-816/640-802 material you previously assembled, take heart. New study materials for the version 2.0 exam track are on the way. Meanwhile, learning the knowledge available from existing version 1.1 study aids and applying them in a lab or in the real world can help give you a leg up on the bulk of what you need to know for version 2.0.