Here is another great book by Wendell Odom.
This review is based only on the e-book version, without having access to all the information available on the DVD that comes with the hardcover version of the book.
The book covers the 200-101 exam needed to complete the CCNA certification.
The format is consistent with ICND1 v2.0 book: diagrams in colors, mind maps to ease the building of connections between theory and configuration commands, DIKTA quizzes, and part review questions. The author, once again, is able to deliver complex information in a straightforward way to the intended audience.
The book handles advanced topics that a CCNA certified engineer should master. These topics were either barely touched in ICND1 book or they weren’t discussed at all.
If, in the ICND1 book, you were told about basic information on Ethernet LAN and switches, the ICND2 book takes you one step further. The topics discussed are advanced concepts and configuration of spanning tree protocol (STP) and VLANs. In a simple and comprehensive case study, the author is able to present the most common methods to perform STP troubleshooting. From what I could tell, if you get that right, then you shouldn’t be intimidated by possible spanning tree questions during the exam.
An interesting topic is layer 3 redundancy protocols. While you get a short description of HSRP, VRRP, and GLBP (called altogether first hop redundancy routers) and after that an extensive description and configuration examples of HSRP and GLBP, which are Cisco proprietary protocols, the book is missing a detailed explanation of VRRP, which is the open standard protocol that can be used for interworking with other vendors.
I would have expected the book to include VRRP in more detail, even though it is not one of the exam topics, because there are situations in which a recently CCNA-certified engineer would have to implement VRRP to provide interworking with another vendor.
Another interesting addition is GRE tunneling, which is covered in detail in the book; I must confess that not that much was left to be said about this technology. Using a simple topology, the purpose of GRE tunneling is clearly explained by the author.
The OSPF (both v2 and v3) topic is started in the ICND1 book and it is continued to a more advanced level in the ICND2 book.
EIGRP is added to the ICND2 book as the other important interior gateway protocol.
One thing that I like in the ICND2 book is the fact that the author decided to cover the IP routing protocols troubleshooting.
Instead of treating them as two separate topics, the author split the issues that can occur with these two protocols in two categories: interfaces problems and neighbor relationship problems and, using the same topology and specific configuration for each of these two protocols, he demonstrated how one can troubleshoot each IGP protocol using the “show” and “debug” commands.
The book also covers EIGRPv6 and there is a nice comparison table where you can see the differences and similarities between EIGRP and EIGRPv6. I found this useful, as you can make associations to remember what is needed to configure either of them.
The chapters for WAN technologies haven’t changed from what I remember reading in older CCNA preparation books. However the author mentions some of the new technologies, such as Metro Ethernet, VPLS, and MPLS.
The book also includes topics related to device management, such as SNMP, Syslog, NetFlow, and licensing. While the configuration of these services on Cisco devices is pretty straightforward and somehow standard (there’s not that much that you can play with), more work has to be done on the server side, where the data sent is collected.
From the point of view of someone who passed the CCNA exam more than few years ago, I must say that the information needed nowadays to pass the CCNA exam is way more comprehensive than what was needed back then. Fortunately, using the ICND1 and ICND2 books, the reader should be prepared to pass the exam as long there is commitment to spend time to understand the topics.
In contrast with preparation for ICND1 exam, the ICND2 exam assumes more hands-on preparation time. This is because a network engineer is more likely to have to configure and troubleshoot STP, OSPF(v3) or EIGRP(v6). Everything that is needed to master these is found in the case studies of ICND2 book.