This week, Cisco has announced a few big updates. The company is launching three new specialist certifications (which we’ll talk about later), and is introducing a new version of CCNP Routing and Switching Certification: CCNP R&S 2.0.
According to Cisco, the new CCNP Routing and Switching targets to provide candidates with more current topics and forward-looking approaches. For example, it pays close attention to how IPv6 addresses workforce mobility and the proliferation of Internet-connected devices. The refreshed exams also include network scale support and accommodating the continued growth of IoT (Internet of Things, see below).
The refreshed CCNP R&S validates that you have the skills to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot complex network solutions The new CCNP Routing and Switching exams are:
- Implementing Cisco IP Routing (300-101)
- Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (300-115)
- Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (300-135)
The current CCNP Routing and Switching exams can be taken until January 29, 2015. So, until that date, to achieve your CCNP R&S certification, you need to take and pass 3 exams:
- 642-902 ROUTE (Last day to test: January 29, 2015) OR 300-101 ROUTE
- 642-813 SWITCH (Last day to test: January 29, 2015) OR 300-115 SWITCH
- 642-832 TSHOOT (Last day to test: January 29, 2015) OR 300-135 TSHOOT
After January 29, only 300-101 ROUTE, 300-115 SWITCH and 300-135 TSHOOT will be available for CCNP Routing and Switching candidates. Before that date, Cisco allows candidates to mix and match old and new exams, so, for example, you can take the old version of the ROUTE, the new version of the SWITCH and any version of the THOOT – or any other combination of the old and new exams.
So What Is the Change About?
Overall, Cisco is stepping up the level of CCNP Routing and Switching credential, bringing it closer to the expert level, as well as other CCNP certifications. CCNP R&S updates have been long overdue, so now CCNP Routing and Switching has been brought up to the same level with other CCNP-level credentials, such as Data Center, Security and Voice.
The new CCNP Routing and Switching 2.0 curriculum emphasizes IPv6, including running dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Cisco believes that since the IPv6 demand will keep growing, needs to be matched accordingly. There is also a strengthening emphasis on the Internet of things (IoT) that exists in the form of manufacturing sensors, household gadgets, and other devices that require network connection.
In the new version of CCNP Routing and Switching, Cisco requires candidates to be proficient in StackWise and Virtual Switching Service (VSS) technologies. Both are used to make multiple physical switches behave like a single switch, but there are a number of design considerations and implementation details that impact their behavior in production networks.
Another thing to keep in mind while looking at the new version of CCNP Routing and Switching certification is DMVPN (Dynamic multipoint virtual private network). This technology creates an overlay of secure tunnels across public or leased networks, and it has also been added to the CCNP Routing & Switching track.
This is a huge update for this challenging certification, but, as usual, Cisco accompanies the changes with comprehensive blueprints that list all topics and the weight they carry on each exam. You may find the blueprints here.
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