Cisco Certified Network Associate Wireless (CCNA Wireless)

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certificate in Wireless technology is an associate level certification to specialize in installing, configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting networks that use Cisco switches and routers. Wireless networking is becoming increasingly popular and gaining this certification can help you achieve a position as a network administrator or network technician. There are many certifications available to those who desire a network administrator role. Which certification you choose can determine your path in your professional career. There are many specializations that are desired by companies looking for network administrators including Microsoft, Cisco, Linux/UNIX, and VMWare among others.

The required exam to obtain CCNA certification is the 640-721 IUWNE Implementing Cisco Unified Networks Essentials. Earning this new certification requires that you hold a valid CCNA via the 640-802 exam as a prerequisite. However, you could opt for the two shorter exams 640-822 and 640-816. Training and preparation for these exams could be covered at local technical colleges, private organizations or directly through Cisco with their Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices study program (ICND). The 640-721 IUWNE CCNA Wireless exam covers topics such as:

  • Wireless fundamentals including the different 802.11x standards, regulations and encryption methods
  • Installing a basic Cisco wireless LAN which involves Cisco Mobility Express Wireless architecture, Cisco Unified Wireless Network architecture, modes of controller-based AP deployment, roaming and stand-alone access points
  • Installing wireless clients and knowing basics of OS WLAN configuration (ADU, CSSC, CCX)
  • Implementing basic WLAN security which involves authentication and encryption methods
  • Configure controllers and APs, Operate basic WCS and Navigator with knowledge of mapping system
  • Conduct WLAN maintenance and troubleshooting for controllers, access points and clients methodologies, describe basic RF deployment, know RF interference sources, describe the use of WLC show, debug and logging, transfer WLC configuration and OS using maintenance tools and commands and also describe the differences of WLC WLAN management access methods.

These skills will make to the network guru of your organization. The job market for these types of jobs is on the rise. Expected annual salary is around $30,000 for entry level experience and around $50,000/year for experienced corporate persons. Acquiring a position as a network administrator or systems administrator is usually company specific as to the particular hardware and software applications they use. Cisco certification is a well known certification to have. Cisco was founded in 1984 by Len Bosak and his wife Sandy Lerner. They ended up creating a multi protocol router device, which eliminated the problem of a unified and standardized local area protocol. Cisco has since evolved to become one of the nation’s leading providers of networking hardware.

Specializing in Cisco certifications will put your resume at the top of the stack and give you a competitive advantage among your peers for employers who desire those skills. However, just about all network administrator jobs involve knowledge of Microsoft products. Like any job, it is easier to acquire a position if you are already working. Entry level positions are steadily deteriorating and finding one means having advanced hands on knowledge of the skills desired by the employer. Certifications combined with formal education provide a solid backbone for employment decisions. The CCNA Wireless certification is valid for three years after which, you must recertify one of Cisco’s administrative exams such as the ICND2 exam, or pass the current CCNA exam, or the current CCDA DESGN exam, or any current 642-XXX Professional level exam.

A CCNA certification is recognized by the US government and the NSA. Anyone with this certification won’t have a problem getting good paying jobs in the military, government agencies or mid-sized privately-held companies. Computer systems need to be secured and monitored for faults and Cisco is a leading manufacturer of this network architecture. Other vendors of routers and switches include: Adtran, Extreme, Foundry, Juniper, NetGear, etc. Each has a unique GUI although architecture is similar. The CCNA Wireless certification is specialized to Cisco products although it does contain a lot of general information relative to networking that could be applied to other vendors of similar devices.

A CCNA certification is great to have and will give you the knowledge to excel as a network administrator, systems administrator or network technician. It is highly recognized in the IT field and being recognized isn’t a bad thing.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert – Routing & Switching (CCIE Routing & Switching)

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Routing and Switching (CCIE Routing and Switching) certification is a sub-track of the most widely recognized certification in the industry, the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification. CCIE is the highest level of certification offered for technical professionals by Cisco. Accepted worldwide, CCIE is the most prestigious industry-wide certification available. Professionals who achieve this certification have demonstrated a solid mastery of network engineering and various Cisco products or services. CCIE holders are routinely deployed to the most challenging and difficult technical problems.

CCIE Routing and Switching is the most popular track within the CCIE framework. Routing and Switching focuses on achieving expert knowledge of networking. Further, this knowledge will be valid across multiple networking platforms including both Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) settings. A wide variety of routers and switches will also be added to the CCIE Routing and Switching holder’s repertoire. The primary goal of the Routing and Switching track is to equip the certification holder with the skills necessary to solve complex connectivity problems. Increasing bandwidth, response time improvement, performance maximization and supporting global operations are all goals of this track.

Who should seek CCIE certification?

CCIE Routing and Switching is most appropriately designed for network professionals who are experts in handling routers, switches and extensive network issues. Cisco considers the CCIE certification along with all of its tracks to be “master level”, the best the company has to offer information technology professionals.

Since the CCIE Routing and Switching process involves a wide range of topics, applicants are encouraged to have at least three to five years of job experience before attempting this certification.

What is the salary range and job outlook for CCIE certified professionals?

According to PayScale, a well-known market research firm specializing in compensation data, CCIE holders can earn quite a bit of money in the U.S. Specifically, five job titles taken by CCIE certification holders are compensated as follows:

  • Senior Network Engineer: $75,000 to $133,000
  • Network Engineer: $50,000 to $120,000
  • Senior Systems Engineer: $61,000 to $144,000
  • Systems Engineer: $47,000 to $132,000
  • Network Engineer: $37,000 to $135,000

Job growth in this category is expected to increase in the United States by over 20 percent between 2008 and 2018. This translates to over 280,000 jobs added in that time frame. Opportunities are expected to be plentiful.

What are the prerequisites and recertification requirements for CCIE?

The CCIE Routing and Switching is an expert-level, highly specialized certification. This certification is recognized globally as the elite networking community that leads the industry. It has become a standard unto itself based upon its extensive written and laboratory examinations. No prerequisites are necessary to obtain the CCIE Routing and Switching certification. Unlike other Cisco certifications, which expire every three years, the CCIE certification and all tracks expire after two years. CCIE holders are expected and encouraged to expand their technical knowledge and familiarize themselves with the latest industry updates. If a CCIE expires, the former holder has one year to re-certify before he must start the certification process all over again.

What should I expect on CCIE exams?

An in-depth understanding and comprehension is expected. Each exam is of high quality and sets high standards.

CCIE Routing and Switching has both a written and laboratory exam, both of which are extensive. The written exam is two hours long and consists of 90 to 110 questions. Multiple choice and complex, interactive questions are used in the exam. No reference materials are allowed; the exam is completely closed-book.

The laboratory exam is eight hours long and consists of multiple, interactive exercises. Examinees are required to troubleshoot and configure a series of complicated networks. Importantly, each network must be configured to a precise set of specifications. Cisco prides detailed troubleshooting knowledge and it is an integral part of the laboratory exam. The examinees do not work on end-user systems. Instead, they are responsible for making sure every device in the network is working properly and meets the pre-specified goals. If the laboratory exam is not passed within three years of having passed the written exam, the applicant must take the written exam over again.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) validates the holder’s skills on virtually everything related to Cisco networks. Planning, verifying, implementing and troubleshooting local and wide area networks for enterprises is all covered in this certification. Integrating various technologies such as video, wireless, security and voice solutions is also included in it. Working with specialists with regard to integration is emphasized. CCNP holders usually work on an independent basis with complicated network problems and try to find innovative solutions. The CCNP is most appropriate for job titles such as network technician, systems engineer, network engineer or support engineer.

Careers for CCNPs

The job market for titles like these is projected to expand precipitously in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is responsible for collecting and organizing data on all of the job categories that currently exist in the United States. To accomplish this goal, the BLS compiles and publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is revised every two years. The Handbook forecasts that the category including job titles related to network technology, engineering and administration will increase significantly in the next several years. Specifically, job growth is projected to increase more than 30 percent, providing plentiful opportunities for entry and advancement in this career path.

As to the available salary ranges, the CCNP certification can put the holder in the high-end of most of them. The market research company PayScale specializes in compensation data for a variety of different industries. It reports that the CCNP certification can fetch anywhere from an average of $43,000 to well over $100,000 per year. Depending on the job, some salaries are over $110,00 per year. The CCNP certification provides a tremendous boost to career goals for most holders.

About the CCNP Exam

Cisco groups its certifications visually in the form of a pyramid. The pyramid has five levels: entry, associate, professional, expert and architect. The CCNP is a professional level certification that specializes in network technology. In 2009, Cisco updated the CCNP to reflect changes in the networking industry. Advancements in routing and switched networks, in particular, made the update necessary.

Prerequisites for the CCNP include one that is beneath it on the pyramid and one that is above it. A Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) that is still in force can serve as a prerequisite. Alternatively, a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification can also fulfill the prerequisite requirement.

Since all professional level certifications from Cisco are valid for a time period of three years, the holder must pass one of four options to recertify and retain his status and the associated benefits. The easiest option is for the holder to pass any currently offered professional level exam in the 642-XXX category. Another option is to pass the written exam for the CCIE certification. The holder may also pass either the practical or the written exam for the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE), an expert level certification focusing on network design. Finally, completing the requirements for the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) will automatically certify him for all of his outstanding lesser certifications.

With the revision and update to the CCNP in 2009, the required examinations and training courses also changed. The courses for the CCNP are now 642-813 Switch, 642-832 Tshoot and 642-902 Route. The courses for these exams teach the applicant everything he needs to know about routing, switching and troubleshooting Cisco networks and associated devices. The courses each last five days. Two of them, Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks and Implementing Cisco IP Routing, have 9.5 and 7.5 hours of self-directed online learning respectively.

Cisco Certified Network Professional Voice (CCNP Voice)

The Cisco Certified Network Professional Voice (CCNP Voice), formerly known as Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP), validates the skills and knowledge necessary to integrate Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology into existing network architecture and infrastructure. This certification also covers a wide variety of skills related to converged Internet Protocol networks. The skills validated include operation, implementation, troubleshooting and configuration. Network professionals armed with the CCNP Voice are able to create solutions that reflect collaborative input and are scalable, manageable and transparent. The CCNP Voice focuses on Cisco routers and Catalyst switches. Cisco Unified Communications Manager devices and protocols are covered extensively, including quality of service (QoS), gatekeepers, gateways, Internet Protocol phones, voice applications and utilities.

Salary and Job Outlook for CCNP Voice Certification Holders

Network professionals with a CCNP Voice are well-placed to enjoy one of the largest job creation surges over the next several years. The United States Department of Labor predicts that between 2008 and 2018, more than 280,000 jobs will be created in the field of computer systems and computer networking. This represents a phenomenal growth rate of approximately 30 percent.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) holders enjoy favorable salary options, as well. The salary that a CCNP holder receives, of course, varies according to his work experience, training level and demonstrated expertise. Data available from PayScale, a market research firm that specializes in compensation information, clearly shows high salary ranges for CCNP holders, including CCNP Voice holders. The salary range was higher for senior or managerial positions. For instance, a Senior Network Engineer could earn between $65,000 and $113,000, while a Network Engineer could earn a lesser range, from $47,000 to $90,000.

The CCNP Voice is a professional level certification that specializes in integrating VoIP technology into Cisco network infrastructure. Cisco organizes its certifications into a pyramid, with entry-level certifications being on the lowest level. Associate level certifications comprise the next step followed by the professional level certifications including the CCNP Voice. The expert level is second to the top of the pyramid with the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) being the highest certification level available. The CCNP Voice requires only one prerequisite certification, the Cisco Certified Network Associate Voice (CCNA Voice).

The CCNP Voice used to be known as the Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP). The CCVP was changed to reflect Cisco’s desire to enhance and round out its Voice certification track. Additionally, Cisco wished to provide a clear career track to individuals who wanted to focus on voice technologies within the context of Cisco products.

CCNP Voice Re-certification Requirements

CCNP Voice holders who wish to re-certify must do so within three years. All professional level certifications offered by Cisco are valid for three years after the date the certification was achieved. The easiest way to re-certify is simply to pass any professional level exam currently offered by Cisco. Alternatives involve passing exams for higher level certifications, such as the written and practical exams for the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certification.

CCNP Voice Exams

To achieve the CCNP Voice, the applicant must pass five exams. These exams are geared specifically to testing the applicant’s skills and knowledge about VoIP, Cisco Unified Communications Manager and various applications. The five exams are 642-437 CVOICE v8.0, 642-447 CIPT1 v8.0, 642-457 CIPT2 v8.0, 642-427 TVOICE v8.0 and 642-467 CAPPS v8.0. The first four are 90 minutes long, but the fifth exam lasts only 75 minutes. Each one features 60 to 70 questions. Recommended training courses for the exams are Implementing Cisco Voice Communications and QoS v8.0, Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Part 1 v8.0, Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Part 2 v8.0, Troubleshooting Cisco Unified Communications v8.0 and Integrating Cisco Unified Communications Applications v8.0 respectively.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP)

What is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP) Exam?

Candidates for Cisco certification who wish to have official validation of their ability to handle service provider infrastructures would do well to obtain the Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP) certification. This validates advanced skills and knowledge associated with Internet Protocol information infrastructure solutions. Network professionals with a CCIP certification under their belts have an advantage over their competitors. The curriculum for the CCIP includes Internet Protocol quality of service, Internet Protocol routing, Multiprotocol Label Switching and Border Gateway Protocol.

Job Growth Outlook for CCIP-Certified Professionals

Network professionals such as network administrators would also do well to achieve the CCIP. They may reasonably expect a growing job market for the foreseeable future. This expectation can be verified by turning to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published biannually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Handbook organizes all jobs in the United States into categories. The category that network administrators and other network professionals fall into is projected to grow by 20 percent over the 2008-2018 decade. This works out to over 280,000 jobs created for that period of time. With such plentiful job growth, demand for network professionals will be strong, creating excellent prospects for them.

The compensation data market research firm PayScale compiles and makes public the salary data for a wide variety of jobs and certifications. An individual with the CCIP certification can earn anywhere from $62,000 to $82,000 per year on average. The job titles themselves vary, from Telecommunications Network Engineer to Senior Network Engineer.

What’s on the Test — CCIP Exam Details

This is a professional level certification that specializes in the infrastructure of Internet Protocol network solutions. Cisco mandates that a candidate for the CCIP must have one of two prerequisite certifications. Candidates must have either a valid Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or a valid Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification in any track to obtain the CCIP.

To re-certify, the candidate must fulfill one of several options before the CCIP expires. All professional certifications offered by Cisco are valid for three years. To re-certify, candidates must either pass any professional level exam, the most recent CCIE written exam, the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) practical or written exam or complete the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) board review and interview. Completing the board review and interview for the CCAr certification automatically extends all lower certifications up to the limit of the CCAr’s expiration date.

The examination and training requirements for the CCIP are complicated. Cisco offers a four-exam path or a three-exam path. Both paths lead to obtaining the CCIP certification, but they have different routes for getting there.

The four-exam path focuses on four key subjects: IP routing, quality of service, Border Gateway Protocol and Multiprotocol Label Switching. These subjects are dealt with in four exams: 642-902 Route, 642-661 BGP, 642-611 MPLS and 642-642 QOS. The difference between the four-exam path and the three exam path is that in the three-exam path, the BGP and MPLS exams are combined into a single test, 642-691 BGP+MPLS. The recommended training courses for both exam paths are

  • Implementing Cisco Quality of Service
  • Implementing Cisco MPLS
  • Implementing Cisco IP Routing
  • Configuring BGP on Cisco Routers

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Overview

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is designed to validate the holder’s ability to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot medium-sized router and switched networks. The certification also includes validation for implementation and connection to remote sites within a Wide Area Network (WAN). The curriculum includes basic countering of security threats, introducing concepts underlaying wireless networking, terminology and skills geared towards performance. CCNA also includes the protocols

  • Ethernet
  • Routing Information Protocol Version 2
  • Access control lists
  • Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol
  • Virtual Local Area Networka
  • IP
  • Serial Line Interface Protocol Frame Relay

Network administrators can take advantage of a CCNA certification to advance their careers and technical expertise. CCNA holders earn an expanded salary range with this certification. Network Administrators and Systems Engineers can earn between $30,000 and $90,000. Managerial positions like a Senior Network Engineer or an IT Manager can earn over $100,000. The U.S. Department of Labor forecasts strong growth in this job market for network administrators. Job growth of 20 percent is forecast between 2008 and 2018, with prospects likely to be plentiful.

The CCNA is an associate level certification. It is a more specialized certification in relation to its sibling, the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification. CCNA is a prerequisite for many other certifications in a variety of different fields. CCNA provides a greater level of technical detail than CCENT, and it gives the holder the ability to seek certifications in multiple fields. CCENT, on the other hand, is accepted as a prerequisite for CCNA, although it is not officially required as such.

Cisco offered the CCNA certification for the first time in 1998. CCNA has remained one of the most popular Cisco certifications since it was introduced. CCNA has been revised four times since 1998, in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007.

There are no prerequisites required for CCNA. Re-certification options are widespread, but all of them fall under a three-year time limit. The CCNA certification expires after three years, and one of the re-certification examinations must be taken before the three-year limit is up.

CCNA applicants have the option of taking a one-exam or two-exam path to obtain it. The one-exam path has the applicant take the 640-802 CCNA composite exam. Two courses, Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) and Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2), provide all the training that the composite exam requires.

ICND1 provides the student with the ability to install, configure and troubleshoot a small network, whether router-based or switched. For the purposes of the course, the definition of a small network is one to 20 hosts connected to a single VLAN switch. The switch is connected to a router using Router Information Protocol. The router, in turn, links to a simulated Internet and corporate office. ICND1 works by layering foundational knowledge from simple to advanced concepts. Students are expected to have basic literacy in using a computer, the Internet, email and programs like Microsoft Word.

ICND2 follows on from ICND1 and takes the student to the next level. Lasting five days, ICND2 trains end-users in using Cisco Catalyst switches and routers. By the end of the course, a CCNA technician will be competent in the configuration, verification and and troubleshooting of a range of Cisco networking devices in a small network environment.

The two-exam path offers the applicant the opportunity to take the 640-822 ICND1 exam, followed by the 640-816 ICND2 test. The courses offered for these exams are the same as those required by the 640-802 CCNA composite.