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This article introduces key areas one of Cisco’s foundational courses: Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND1). As of Spring 2013 this course has been updated to version 2.0, and is the first of two courses that maps to the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification.
Looking back at previous versions, there has been a major shift in the knowledge level that a CCNA candidate needs to achieve the CCNA certification.
One of the major shifts is in the public addressing we use to uniquely identify endpoints. IPv4 has been around since the late 1960s. The industry has been aware for many years that we are running out of these public addresses and, as of last year, we did. Cisco routers and switches are ready to support the replacement version that uses a larger number range known as IPv6.
Included in the new course is a much greater emphasis on IPv6. With IPv6, there are new ways to look at the IPv6 addresses. Included in the updated course are the IPv6 address basics, main features, and configuration. A big change with IPv6 is the discussion of routing protocols and associated labs requiring the setup of IPv6 routing. The emphasis is on static routing of IPv6 and OSPFv3 (Open Shortest Path First) support for IPv6 routing.
When it comes to troubleshooting IPv6, we see great enhancements with ICMPv6. These enhancements include neighbor discovery with ICMPv6, similar to how address resolution protocol (ARP) performs for IPv4.
Major support has been implemented for routing IPv6 with OSPFv3. No longer is an IPv4 address used for the router ID. Now a 32-bit address is used. We now use IPv6 for transport of LSAs (Link State Advertisement) and the IPv6 protocol number is 89. OSPFv3 is enabled per link not per network.
IPv4 is still covered, though, and candidates will still need to understand IPv4 subnetting. Variable-length subnet masks (VLSM) is still included for IPv4. Therefore, it is still very important to have a firm understanding of subnetting in the ICND courses. There may appear to be less of an emphasis on IPv4, but a CCNA candidate will still be responsible for knowing subnetting for troubleshooting type questions.
Network address translation (NAT) and port address translation (PAT) are covered in detail for IPv4 use. All of the public IPv4 addresses are in use and the life of IPv4 depends on company’s still using private IP address ranges internally and the efficient use of public address ranges. PAT provides the many to one address mapping that is needed to prolong the use of IPv4 addresses. Included in ICND1v2.0 is a case study using NAT.
Basics of Configuring a Network
ICND1v2.0 still includes the fundamentals to configure a small-to medium-sized network using Cisco routers and switches. It now includes taking into account applications running on the network, including VoIP, and the importance of Quality of Service (QoS) running on links that might become saturated with traffic.
Host-to-host communication is still covered in detail as well as the OSI model.
Basic commands to start configuring a router or switch are presented in part 1 of the ICND courses and continued in part 2. The ability to configure a host name and interface as well as show commands to view the configuration is covered. The Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) is presented to help identify neighbors. CDP does include IPv6 address as well as IPv4 and others.
Packet Delivery Process
The packet delivery process is still covered in detail in the ICND1v2.0 course. This is very instrumental in troubleshooting layer 3 of the OSI model connectivity. The ARP is covered for troubleshooting layer 2 connectivity. ARP identifies MAC addresses of devices you are attempting to reach.
Routing protocols and the various types of routing protocols are introduced in ICND part 1 and continued in-depth coverage in ICND part 2. Candidates will still be required to know the static and dynamic routing protocols. You will need to know when to use a static route versus a dynamic routing protocol, and be able to identify information in a routing table on a Cisco router.
Access control lists (ACLs) are used to identify traffic types and then perform various actions based on the traffic. ACLs have been covered in prior versions of the course, but now a more modern approach is taken to include uses with QoS. ACLs are used on both routers and switches. ACL focus is still with IPv4 addresses. A candidate will need to work with standard, extended, and named ACLs.
Securing administrative access includes encrypting the privilege exec modes of the devices. Line console ports also need to be secured. To make sure administrative connectivity is secure, a secure shell connection is covered. Knowing the best practices for securing devices is covered, such as disabling an unused port. It is also important to disable services on a device that is not being used. Hardening a device is covered to include unnecessary services that might be running that should be turned off to prevent security breaches.
Configuring the dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) is still included in ICND1v2.0. You will see examples of how to implement DHCP and allow the DHCP broadcast across subnets using the IP helper address. You will also need to understand the network time protocol (NTP), and how to enable it on devices and verify that it is configured properly.
Virtual local area networks (VLANs) are covered in detail. The need for separating traffic into different VLANs is covered, as well as how to create VLANs and routing between them. 802.1q is the trunking protocol covered for inter-VLAN traffic. Spanning tree protocol (STP) is covered in ICND part 1. The need for redundancy in LANs causes looping, and STP is the protocol that prevents routing loops.
Overall, this course gives you great exposure to the various aspects needed for a real-life understanding of basic networking technologies using Cisco products. To learn about the next exam towards the CCNA, read our next article about ICND2v2.0.