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Diving into Cisco's new SWITCH, ROUTE, and TSHOOT Exams with Cisco Press Authors

Article Description

Linda Leung interviews Cisco Press authors Denise Donohue, Jay Swan, Kevin Wallace and Sean Wilkins to get a detailed look at the new CCNP exams.

Questions About ROUTE

Linda Leung: BSCI 642-901 is replaced by ROUTE 642-902. What are the major differences between the two? What topics are new and what have been dropped?

Kevin Wallace: The primary focus is still on routing protocols (e.g. EIGRP, OSPF, and BGP). BSCI did cover IS-IS, and that has been dropped from ROUTE. Also absent from the 642-902 exam blueprint is multicasting. IPv6 remains on the exam blueprint. Layer 3 path control is a new topic appearing in the blue print, along with a few VPN topics brought over from the soon-to-retire ISCW exam.

Jay Swan: IS-IS remains a widely used and critically important protocol in the service provider market, but it is rare in the SMB and enterprise markets in which most CCNP students work. Similarly, some material has been removed from the BGP coverage that was specific to very large enterprise and service provider networks. The BGP coverage now focuses mostly on issues involved with connecting mid-sized enterprise networks to service providers.

Denise Donohue: Many people are thrown by the addition of MPLS and Ethernet over MPLS (EoMPLS). Candidates aren't required to know how MPLS or EoMPLS work from a service provider's point of view, just how to route EIGRP and OSPF over those types of WAN. I feel it's a good addition, since these are widely used WAN technologies and network engineers need to know how routing works over them.

As with SWITCH and TSHOOT, the course designers concentrated on what engineers at a CCNP level are typically expected to do in their jobs, and tried to provide the information they would need to accomplish those tasks. So there is a greater emphasis on planning, implementation, documentation, and testing. IS-IS and Multicast have been removed, prefix lists have been added, and the IPv6 section has been expanded.

ROUTE now contains a section on mobile workers. It assumes a security specialist will be setting up the firewall for VPNs, but CCNP candidates need a high-level understanding of the VPN types and the network changes needed to provide mobile connectivity.

LL: How do you recommend students should study for the ROUTE exam? Anything different that they should do for this exam than for previous Cisco exams? How does your new study book reflect this?

JS: I don't recommend a different approach: a strong hands-on, troubleshooting-oriented approach combined with a solid theoretical understanding of the protocols is still the way to go. Candidates who may have previously tried to shortcut the study process with rote memorization may find the new exam more difficult due to the increased emphasis on planning and troubleshooting.

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