It is clear from the changes that Cisco is interested in keeping the CCNP R&S blueprint current with changing trends in modern networks. The inclusion of popular VPN architectures as well as in increased focus on IPv6 are two examples. Topics like Cisco Stackwise introduce practical technologies that network engineers interact with on a day-to-day basis that were previously ignored.
While the new updates will come as a concern to some, Cisco is doing the right thing by keeping the technical topics updated with current operational trends and designs. This helps protect the value of the CCNP certification for current and aspiring network professionals.
|V1.0 EXAMS||NEW V2.0 EXAMS|
|642-902 ROUTE (Last day to test: January 29, 2015)||300-101 ROUTE|
|642-813 SWITCH (Last day to test: January 29, 2015)||300-115 SWITCH|
|642-832 TSHOOT (Last day to test: January 29, 2015)||300-135 TSHOOT|
The last day to take the old exams will be January 29, 2015. Before that date, Cisco allows candidates to mix and match old and new exams. Any combination of the old or new ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT exams will get you certified before February 2015.
If you are already studying for the 1.0 exams, then you have plenty of time to complete your certification under the existing blueprint. If you’d prefer to go for the 2.0 versions, then your studies will still look very similar. There’s not a tremendous amount of difference, but we’ll walk through the changes.ROUTE 2.0 Implementing Cisco IP Routing (300-101)
This is the new version of the ROUTE exam that replaces 642-902. Of all the three new exams, the new ROUTE has seen the most updates.
All of the standard routing protocols and layer three services are still around, but you can see from the blueprint Cisco has provided much more detail around the test topics. It’s interesting to note that some legacy technologies like frame relay are still included – although only in a conceptual environment.
Most of what you find is covered in the current ROUTE exam, but some new additions have been introduced. Details such as BGP private AS and 4-byte AS numbers are called out for example. Another new addition is VRF lite. This is a good step forward in including technologies that are increasingly common in modern networks.
GRE was lightly tested before the 2.0 release, but DMVPN and Easy Virtual Networking are newcomers. DMVPN is an especially common VPN architecture and is now part of the CCIE blueprint, so it’s not surprising to see it added. For those with little VPN experience, keep in mind that this is still a small distribution of the overall exam. Notice also that the word “describe” is used for for both DMVPN and Easy Virtual Networking. It will be important to understand the two conceptually, but the configuration requirement is not included.
One other added blueprint topic is Netflow, which is an invaluable network monitoring service to monitor real-time and historical IP data flows through layer 3 devices.
The 300-115 SWITCH exam builds on its predecessor with a few minor additions. Stackwise, Cisco’s switch stacking technology has been added along with VSS, a widely deployed chassis aggregation protocol. Both are topics that networks administrators should know well and as such make sense to be included.
Perhaps the best part of the new SWITCH 2.0 blueprint is what isn’t included – wireless or VoIP. Both were included in the 1.0 release and have been a point of frustration for testers. Both have their own professional-level tracks, so taking them off Route/Switch is a move in the right direction.
Like SWITCH, the 2.0 release of TSHOOT has seen little change. An interesting addition is SDM templates as well as some of the new topics like VSS and Stackwise.
BGP and appears to have an enhanced focus and it’s clear that Cisco has doubled-down on IPv6. IPv6 will only gain marketplace acceptance over the lifetime of this iteration, so this is another forward-looking move by the CCNP team at Cisco.
Overall, very similar to the 1.0 TSHOOT blueprint.