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What's New in Cisco CCNA v3.0?

What's New in Cisco CCNA v3.0?

Cisco’s most popular certification, the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), is undergoing an overhaul by upgrading from CCNA v2.0 to CCNA v3.0. That means new exams for ICND1, ICND2, and CCNA, and that also means new training courses. Note: The last day to test for the 200-120 CCNA v2.0 and 100-101 ICND1 v2.0 exams was August 20, 2016, and the last day to test for the 200-101 ICND2 v2.0 exam will be September 24, 2016.

According to a recent Network World article, "The refreshed CCNA Routing and Switching certification reflects new skills requirements brought on by digital transformations." Cisco is refreshing its core certification to ensure that network pros have the most relevant skills, as companies move towards technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, network programmability, and policy-based network management.

But what if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into learning the v2.0 material? Does that mean if you don’t pass your exams by August 20th, you’ll have to start over?

The simple answer is no. You won’t have to start over.

I’ve just finished going through the new courses, and to everybody’s great relief, I can report that the new courses are not a major change. The v3.0 classes will still teach you how to interact with Cisco’s IOS, how to subnet, how to configure routing protocols like OSPF and EIGRP, and how to create and manage VLANs and access lists. There are some differences, but overall, I’d say the new material is 95% consistent with the old material.

What is Changing in Cisco CCNA v3.0?
The biggest and most important change in the new courses is Cisco has decided to put a much greater emphasis on labs. This is very good news. As good as the lectures are, there always comes a time for us instructors to get out of the way and let you get your hands dirty. That time comes earlier with new classes.

I count 45 labs for ICND1, and another for 43 ICND2. That’s a lot of labs, more than twice the number of labs from the old courses! 

I can’t emphasize enough how important they will be in helping you learn how to manage Cisco routers and switches. I have no doubt these labs will vastly improve your configuration skills, which will, in turn, make you both better at your job and more likely to pass the exams.

New Cisco CCNA v3.0 Topics
When it comes to new topics, the first that stands out is Cisco has revamped and modernized the section on WANs. That means no more Frame Relay, a technology that probably peaked in the late 1990s. Instead, Cisco spends that time introducing more current technologies. These topics include PPPoE, MPLS, BGP, Multilink PPP, and authentication with RADIUS and TACACS+. 

Many of these technologies received brief mentions in the v2.0 courses, but the v3.0 classes make a better effort to introduce these concepts and offer at least some of the most basic configuration commands.

Other technologies that get more play than in the past are SPAN, HSRP, and QoS.

Oh, and did I mention that Routing Information Protocol (RIP) is back? De-emphasized in the v2.0 courses, configuration of RIP is back in ICND1. Sure, it’s a technology that isn’t used very often anymore, but I like this addition anyway. Routing protocols can be challenging to learn, so it just makes sense to start with the most basic of all routing protocols before jumping into the more complicated OSPF and EIGRP.


To wrap up, you won’t find any major changes in the subject matter, although Cisco scores major points for modernizing much of the content. The big story here is the labs. The v3.0 courses offer more labs with greater variety, and that means a vastly improved opportunity for learning.

If you would like to weigh in, please leave a comment below—I would love to hear from you. Until next time, I will see you in class! Lastly, if you would like to take a look at any of our upcoming Cisco courses, simply visit our Cisco Training page on nhls.com.

Warren HammondAuthor: Warren Hammond, Technical Instructor
MCT, MCSE, CCSI, CCNA

A New Horizons instructor since 1994, Warren has taught classes to many thousands of satisfied students. Always curious about new technology, Warren has dabbled with products made by vendors as varied as Novell, Citrix, and Computer Associates. However, his primary focus has always been Microsoft. Having taught every operating system since DOS, his resume reads like a history of the tech industry for the last two decades.


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