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What to Expect from Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 2 (ICND2v2.0)

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Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 2 (ICND2) is your next step to achieving the knowledge sought after in today's competitive market for networking skills. This article, along with part 1, will get you that network associate level of certification that is so well-respected in the industry. To see if this career path is right for you, check out the topics presented by Cisco expert Michelle Plumb that you will learn in the latest version of this course.

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This article explains what is included in the new Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 2 (ICND2v2.0) course. This is the second course geared toward the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification track. Prior courses covered small network environments, and the new ICND2v2.0 starts right off into the medium-sized scalable network.

VLANs

Virtual local area networks (VLANs) are a huge part of designing a scalable network. In ICND2v2.0, VLAN implementation and best practices provide the foundational support necessary to design an optimal environment for separating traffic into separate logical broadcast domains.

Another necessary component to allow traffic to span across multiple layer 2 switches is a trunk. The emphasis is on the 802.1Q trunking protocol. Trunks can be configured manually, or you can use the Cisco proprietary dynamic trunking protocol supported on most catalyst switches. You are introduced to the configuration and concepts of the dynamic trunking protocol (DTP). In ICND1, you were introduced briefly to the spanning-tree protocol (STP), which helps prevent loops in a redundant topology. In ICND2v2.0, you see extensive coverage of the different types of STP, including troubleshooting, monitoring, and configuration.

EtherChannel

EtherChannel is a new topic now covered in the ICND2v2.0 course. EtherChannel allows you to overcome some limitations on high-speed links by creating logical links made up of several physical links. The entire design and configuration of EtherChannel is introduced along with verification and troubleshooting.

Redundancy

Redundancy is key to making sure connectivity is not interrupted. Many mechanisms exist to ensure redundancy in a network. A new topic added to the course covers the layer 3 redundancy support using the Hot Standby Routing Protocol (HSRP), Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP), and Gateway Load Balancing Protocol (GLBP). In this course, these three protocols are compared and configured.

OSI

The OSI model is a method used by hardware and software manufacturers to standardize using abstract layers of communication between the seven layers that comprise the OSI model. Troubleshooting at all layers of the OSI Model are covered in detail. This course now focuses on troubleshooting end-to-end connectivity using IPv4 and IPv6. Troubleshooting commands are introduced to help resolve the point of failure in the network, such as ping and tracert.

Physical connectivity issues are introduced along with the troubleshooting tools used on devices to help detect where problems are located. You are introduced to troubleshooting the address resolution protocol (ARP), name resolution, and access control lists. IPv6 troubleshooting tools are also included.

IPv6

IPv6 has become a major focus in both ICND courses. You learn detailed explanations of the IPv6 address space, and how IPv6 functions and the types of addresses provided by IPv6. With IPv6, troubleshooting tools are used to test connectivity, and there are several examples provided to test end-to-end connectivity.

Dynamic Routing Protocols

Dynamic routing protocols such as Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) include support and configuration for IPv6. To support IPv6, EIGRP uses a separate routing context. IPv6 does not use a network statement like IPv4. IPv6 is configured on the link itself. IPv6 still used the DUAL algorithm to choose the best paths through the network. Comparing and contrasting the various show commands and troubleshooting tools for IPv4 and IPv6 round out the discussion.

Another dynamic routing protocol, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), includes support for IPv6 with OSPFv3. Coverage of the configuration of IPv4 and IPv6 with OSPFv2 and OSPFv3 is included. For IPv4 single-area and multi-area OSPF are discussed. The configuration options of both are included. For IPv6, OSPFv3 was developed to support IPv6 addresses and routing. OSPFv2 for IPv4 and OSPFv3 for IPv6 are independent processes running on the router. So for each protocol, you have a different version of OSPF running. The router ID used in OSPFv2 is an IPv4 address; now with OSPFv3, it looks the same but it is not based in an IP address.

Adjacencies and next-hop attributes use link-local addresses with IPv6. OSPFv3 is enabled per link, not per network just like EIGRP. OSPFv3 uses IPv6 multicasting for all OSPF routers the address is FF02::5 and FF02::6 for the OSPF DR and the OSPF BDR.

For both dynamic routing protocols, configuration for IPv4 and IPv6 is included along with troubleshooting scenarios.

WANs

In-depth coverage of wide area networks (WANs) for the mid-size network includes devices, cabling and encapsulation types. Detailed information for configuring frame relay across a WAN link includes point-to-point connections and multipoint connection configuration.

VPNs

Understanding virtual private networks (VPNs) has a dedicated section. Configuring a generic routing encapsulation (GRE) tunnel is included.

Network Management Tools

You learn about network management tools for monitoring and managing devices in a mid-sized network. Simple network management protocol (SNMP) versions are compared and contrasted as network management tools. Syslog messages are looked at to determine troubleshooting options. NetFlow is a Cisco application that collects IP traffic information. This traffic can be analyzed to determine what traffic is coursing through the network and who the top talkers are. Similar to analyzing phone bills to determine if you need more phone lines for your business, NetFlow gives you similar information so the network engineer can determine when more bandwidth or Quality of Service (QoS) needs to be looked at. Turning NetFlow on and off and gathering the data is covered.

Internal Components of a Router

Finally, we take a look at the internal components of the router: memory, and the bootup process, including the steps a device goes through to start up. This includes the configuration files the router loads and where they are stored as well as backing up the files. Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) servers are used to store backup files of the IOS and the configuration files. You’ll also learn about a very important topic of how to perform a password recovery on a Cisco router.

Final Thoughts

I believe the ICND2v2.0 course also prepares you to move to the next certification level: CCNP Route and Switch. The CCNP track includes ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT courses. The ICND1v2.0 and ICND2v2.0 are also the foundation courses for most of Cisco’s network professional certifications.