Cisco is a leading IT vendor throughout the world. Cisco certifications are evolving along with changes in technology. Given this, the company offers several credentials to its candidates who have been trained or experienced in using its networking solutions.

Cisco Certifications

Cisco certifications are offered at different levels and paths, and it’s up to candidate’s professional goals which track to follow. Having Cisco certification on your CV list is an advantage, as it is a mark of a real professionalism.

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Cisco certification path has been designed in such a way, that the candidate sees the clear steps to follow. Here one can choose the area one is interested in and going to make a successful career. The main compulsory level one needs to go through is CCNA (Associate) certification. It is designed for entry-level professionals in networking to gain the skills required to work with networks.

Cisco CCNA Routing & Switching Certification

Since CCNA Routing & Switching certification is the most popular one, candidates thrive for taking exams to get it.

200-125 Exam

Here they have a choice: either to take 2 exams (100-105 and 200-105) or just one (200-125). The last one includes the topics of the two previously mentioned exams, which include Network Fundamentals, Lan Switching Technologies, Routing/WAN Technologies, Infrastructure Services/Security/Management. That’s why it’s considered to be more complicated and requires proper preparation.

The next stage is to pass exams and get certifications of professional level -CCNP.

CCNP Routing and Switching Certification

This article covers the professional level of Cisco certifications, and Routing and Switching in particular. To get this credential, candidates need to take a set of exams.

So, to earn CCNP Routing and Switching certification, an individual has to pass three exams: 300-101, 300-115 and 300-135.

300-101 Exam

To pass CCNP 300-101 Route exam, candidates need to have routing knowledge and skills, be able to use advanced IP addressing, manage highly secure Cisco routers and others.

300-115 Exam

Cisco 300-115 SWITCH is an exam that undertakes highly secured integration related to WLANs and VLANs. It is the second-level test for the candidates looking for a professional career in working with switches.

300-135 Exam

And the third exam out of this set is 300-135 Tshoot. To sit for it, the candidates need to possess knowledge and skills to work with complex enterprise routed and switched networks and to troubleshoot using ITIL-compliant approach.

But in this guide, we will discuss only one test (the first exam among the necessary ones) – 300-101 ROUTE. This Cisco exam validates one’s advanced network routing and switching skills. Specifically, this test covers topics, such as network principles, IP addressing, routing security, and Layer 2/Layer 3 technologies. However, the candidates require a valid CCNA Routing and Switching credential to sit for this certification exam.

The Implementing Cisco IP Routing exam contains 45-65 multiple-choice questions with multiple or single answers and lasts for 2 hours. It is available in the English and Japanese languages. Besides the CCNP R&S certificate, the ROUTE test is associated with the CCDP credential. The target audience for this exam is network engineers/technicians, CCIE R&S professionals, and CCNA graduates.

Passing 300-101 test requires that the students demonstrate competency in Cisco routing concepts, solutions, and technologies. Besides, the candidates must have the ability to implement, scale, and connect secure Cisco routers to LANs, WANs, Cisco DMPVN, StackWise, and VSS.

Benefits of Cisco CCNP R&S Certification

Cisco recently revamped the CCNP R&S program to better align it with new technologies and standards. As a result, the candidates who train under this new program benefit in several ways. One of the key advantages of earning this Cisco credential is that the individuals obtain job-ready skills fulfilling job roles, such as:

  • Network Administrators
  • Network Analysts
  • Network Engineers
  • Network Technicians
  • Dynamic IPsec Encryption
  • Dynamic Routing Protocol (EIGRP, BGP, OSPF, RIP)
  • Multipoint GRE (mGRE)
  • Next Hop Resolution Protocol (NHRP)
  • Create a study plan and follow it through.
  • Identify a learning path that fits your habits and lifestyle.
  • Manage your time wisely.
  • The Internet is a good source of exam prep materials and other resources.
  • Use official Cisco recommended guides.

Although the new curriculum still covers traditional CCNP routing, switching, and security topics, Cisco introduced the following new technologies: DMVPN, Expand with IPv6, VSS, and StackWise. So, those candidates who are pursuing this credential have a head start in these technologies. Besides, you gain advanced knowledge of networking concepts, such as: IP addressing, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), and Open Shortest Path Fast (OSPF). Other concepts that are included in the CCNP R&S certificate are Serial Line Interface Protocol (SLIP), MST, PVST, STP, and VTP.

Here is a brief description of the introduced CCNP Routing and Switching technologies:

  • Dynamic Multipoint Virtual Private Network (DMVPN)
  • Expand with IPv6
  • Virtual Switch Services (VSS)
  • Cisco StackWise

All spokes of a conventional VPN network are connected to a central point. However, the implemented DMVPN network is essentially a network of VPNs. Like a networking topology, DMVPN allows the spokes to connect to each other independently. Once the spoke obtains routing information from the hub, it creates a dynamic tunnel between the two. An advantage of DMVPN is that it eliminates multiple IPSEC configurations between the spokes. Here is a list of technologies that DMVPN uses:

The IPv6 protocol is the successor to the IPv4 infrastructure. Presently, IPv4 and IPv6 technologies aren’t interoperable. Given that, Expandwith IPv6 provides interoperability between these two architectures.

VSS combine a pair of switches into a single network component. It uses virtualization technology to fit to do so. This creates an additional Layer 2 element resulting in better load balancing and reduced redundancy. Cisco uses proprietary technologies such as Multi-chassis EtherChannel (MEC) and Stateful Switchover (SSO) to implement VSS.

This is another of Cisco proprietary technologies that combines nine Catalyst 3750 switches into one network element. In this model, one switch acts as the master for configuring and administering StackWise. This reduces redundancy as other switches can take over in case a master switch fails.

Tips for Cisco 300-101 Exam Preparation

The candidates who pass this exam obtain a prestigious distinction in Cisco networking products and solutions. But before preparing for this certification test, the students should note the following:

Take a look at these 5 tips that will help you pass 300-101 exam at the first attempt:

  • Understand the Exam
  • Enroll in Formal Training
  • Practice, Practice, and Practice!
  • Hone Your Hands-on Skills
  • Look for and Join an Online Community

Review the exam objectives before acquiring any study resources, enrolling for training, or purchasing exam prep materials. In this way, you grasp the depth and scope of the challenge before you.

After knowing the exam objectives, identify a suitable training approach (self-study or formal training). Preferably, you should go for instructor-led training. In this way, you benefit from interacting with experts and proficient tutors in pursuing the CCNP R&S certification.

Regrettably, some candidates depend on study notes during their exam preparation. But to pass Cisco 300-101 test, you need more than that. Given that, you need plenty of practice hours to grasp the nuances of the exam syllabus. For this reason, you should find and obtain online practice tests to make your preparation process more dynamic. For example, you can take the PrepAway Cisco CCNP Route Certification Practice Test Questions Part 4 300-101 Exam.

A major portion of this exam focuses on technical skills. So, you should create a lab for honing much-needed hands-on skills. In doing so, you increase your chances of passing the exam and ability to apply the skills you learn in real world scenarios.

Finally, the Internet hosts many online forums where you can interact with other Cisco 300-101 candidates. There you can get relevant study materials and other preparation tools from those who have already passed this certification test.

More Popular Cisco Certifications

Since Cisco certifications are so popular, not all candidates choose to get only Routing and Switching.

CCNA Data Center

Some prefer to get CCNA Data Center for example. It equips candidates with skills necessary to work with data center technology.To get this certification, candidates need to pass 200-150 and 200-155 exams.

CCNA Cyber Ops

Some prefer to get CCNA Cyber Ops certification, but for that candidates need to gain primary skills to work in cybersecurity and take two exams 210-250 and 210-255.

CCNP Collaboration

Among the certifications of professional level, candidates choose to get CCNP Collaboration.

To pass the four compulsory exams (300-070, 300-075, 300-080, 300-085) one needs to possess advanced collaboration skills to provide top quality business. For example, 300-075 exam checks your skills to manage Cisco IP Telephony and Video.

Final Remarks

Cisco provides certifications of various areas and levels: CCNA Data Center, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCNP Collaboration and others. Any candidate can choose the credential up to one’s career goals. Still, Routing and Switching certification is one of the most popular.The Cisco Routing and Switching certification pathway churns out highly capable networking professionals who transform how business, governments, and individuals interact with the Information Superhighway. With most of the world’s Internet traffic dependent on Cisco solutions, obtaining the CCNP R&S credential confers prestige, global recognition, and job opportunities. Choose the certification up to your taste and become a real professional.


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