A Day-by-Day Review Guide for the ICND2 (200-101) Certification Exam

There are lots of books available on the market that claim to be the best study guide for passing the CCNA certification exam and so much competition between them to offer the best CCNA study material. It is quite tough to find one book which can make you confident enough to pass the CCNA exam with learning technologies in a way to develop foundational skills relevant in the networks of today and tomorrow.

Today I have come to review 31 Days before Your CCNA Routing and Switching Exam, A Day-by-Day Review Guide for the ICND2 (200-101) Certification Exam, Third Edition, written by Allan Johnson. Instead of exploring chapter-by-chapter topics, this book offers a day-by-day study approach which might help you to pass the CCNA exam more easily. The book breaks down exam topics into 31 days of review sessions using key topic summaries, examples, and graphical representations.

About the Author: Allan Johnson has a passion for teaching and holds both an MBA and an M.Ed in occupational training and development. Allan currently works full time developing CCNA instructional support and training materials.

This book follows a strict day-wise study approach, to understand what and when to use required configuration commands to implement & troubleshoot network technologies like Ether-Channel, STP, and EIGRP/OSPF over IPv4 & IPv6 protocols. These technologies are presented in a very matter-of-fact way, and the diagrams are clear and correctly annotated. Command output is easy to follow. The main objective of this book is to help in passing the CCNA Routing and Switching exam ICND2 (200-101), which is pretty clear from the title. The book contains 31 daily chapters to cover ICND2 (200-101) Certification Exam topics. These topics prepare you with a foundation to learn data communication technologies.

This book has the capability to explore key exam topics with theoretical and practical approaches to understanding the required certification exam process and commit to taking the exam. As I already mentioned, this book does not contain chapters. Exam topics are covered with daily deadlines. This book contains the following CCNA 200-101 ICND2 exam topics:

  • * LAN switching technologies (STP, PVST, PVST+, Ether-Channel)
  • * Router’s Introduction (Booting Process, IOS Back-up/Restore)
  • * IP routing technologies (IPv4/IPv6 EIGRP,OSPF implementation and troubleshoot)
  • * IP services
  • * WAN technologies (Frame Relay, PPPoE, Serial connections)
  • * Troubleshooting (Above described technologies)
  • * NAT
  • * First Hop Redundancy Protocol (HSRP, VRRP, GLBP)

Each day starts with the key topics covered to fulfill the exam and business requirement. The book assumes that you have ICND 2 (200-101) certification exam scheduled after the 31 days. First, three days are designed to cover switching technologies (STP, PVST, RPVST+ and Ether-Channel) from ICND 2 (200-101) examination. The next four days explains the conceptual fundaments of Routers (Boot up, Backup /Restore IOS etc.)

After covering seven days of learning, you will come to learn routing protocols EIGRP & OSPF over IPv4 and IPv6 as well. The author breaks up the routing protocols review into five days of continuous sessions. The first two days are reserved for OSPF (one day to review OSPFv2 and another for OSPFv3) then you will have three days for EIGRP (one for EIGRP overview, another two days for IPv4 and IPv6 EIGRP implementation).

The chapter titled “EIGRP Concepts” is very well designed and compiled. It is one of my favorite chapters, with in-depth representation of EIGRP message format and EIGRP packet header. I am also fond of the way of EIGRP convergence representation in Figure 22-4, which summarizes the process EIGRP uses to reach convergence and respond to network changes.

After covering routing protocols, you will be able to review First Hop Redundancy Protocols (FHRP) and some network services like SNMP, Syslog, and net-flow.

Now let’s talk about the best part of this book, Troubleshooting. Implementing technologies might be easy. For example, if you are not aware of any technology like MPLS or Multicast routing, just Google “How to implement MPLS/ Multicast routing” and you will get lots of sources to provide proper implementation guidelines but in case of troubleshooting networks, Google might not be so useful because no one knows about our network topology design/implemented technologies.

The troubleshooting section delivers six continuous day-by-day chapters to provide best of methods to diagnose and resolve network issues of STP, EtherChannel, routing, inter-VLAN routing, EIGRP and OSPF. The Chapter titled “Troubleshooting Methodology” describes a very good approach to reviews some of the more common issues at each layer of the OSI model with the brief explanation of common causes and symptoms. I really appreciate this approach to resolve layer-wise issues and I found this methodology very useful to troubleshoot network issues.

Finally, you will find the space for WAN technologies including serial connections, frame relay, PPPoE with some of useful troubleshooting WAN methods and NAT. Last day / final chapter is dedicated to configuration of CCNA Skills Review Topology. This practice example includes many skills from network technologies and a good sampling of skills from the CCNA exam topics.

This book meets the exact requirements of today’s Cisco certification requirements and I found this book very engaging and loaded with accessible Instructional approach that would be a surety to pass the exam with in-depth coverage of every ICND2 (200-101) exam objectives including: Network planning, designing, Implementation of LAN and WAN Communications technologies.

You will also find some useful information as follows:

  • * Do and Don’t on Exam Day
  • * What you should receive after exam completion
  • * Post Exam Information
  1. Receiving your certificate
  2. Carrier opportunities
  3. Advanced certifications after CCNA
  • * What if you failed the exam

I am always looking for reference materials that bring a new and different view on network technologies that get stale during my studies. EIGRP and OSPF were both covered in very good detail, probably even more than a pass on the ICND (200-101) exam would require.

If you are preparing for ICND2 (200-101) Certification Exam or looking for a great book to learn the fundamentals of IGP routing (EIGRP & OSPF), Spanning Tree Protocol and WAN technologies then this book is must have for you. You will have to prepare this book’s topics thoroughly before facing the exam and you will come to know your level of understanding with review example exercises covering in this book.

When it comes to ICND (200-101) lab questions every candidate will have to practice exam topics in real Cisco Switches and Routers. It’s a known phenomenon that without appropriate practical practice it’s hard to achieve any Cisco exam.

Overall I found the title 31 Days before Your CCNA Routing and Switching Exam, A Day-by-Day Review Guide for the ICND2 (200-101) Certification Exam, Third Edition as a one of the best study guides to date to present the ICND2 (200-101) exam syllabus in very disciplined manner, while at the same time delivering the comprehensive examples which are so useful in real-time implementation and troubleshooting

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