Goodbye, CCNP: Say Hello to the New CCNP Routing and Switching

Finally the day has come when Cisco has announced the retirement of traditional CCNP, which is now going to be replaced by CCNP Routing and Switching, thus aligning with the current job market and the latest Cisco technology. Yes, it’s the official confirmation from Cisco that the last day to test traditional CCNP ROUTE (642-902), SWITCH (642-813), and TSHOOT (642-832) will be January 30, 2015; after that, you will have to face new CCNP Routing and Switching exam ROUTE (300-101), SWITCH (300-115), and TSHOOT (300-135). Cisco is revising the CCNP training curriculum because of increasing business demands and technology advancements, and introducing new v2.0 exams for ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT.

The new CCNP Routing and Switching is a more job role-focused certification program for network engineers that help them to gain the latest meaningful industry knowledge in networking. Individuals who are looking to gain or enhance their networking knowledge and skills can benefit from this certification program designed by Cisco, the industry leader in IP networking. In addition, the new CCNP Routing and Switching certification is loaded with advance knowledge and skills to configure, manage and troubleshoot LAN, WAN with Expand on IPv6, and Cisco StackWise, VSS, and DMVPN technologies.

Benefits of New CCNP Routing and Switching Certification

CCNP Routing and Switching certification offers professional job-ready training and skills that will help you to get a job as network administrator, network engineer, or network analyst.

The new curriculum includes Cisco switches, routers, basic mitigation of security threats, and introduction to newly added technologies, DMVPN, StackWise, VSS, and IPv6 expansion and performance-based skills. The curriculum also covers the use of the following protocols: IP, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Serial Line Interface Protocol, VLANs, VTP, STP, PVST, MST, Ethernet channels, and network security technologies. The curriculum also includes extensive troubleshooting on described technologies.

Let’s have a brief overview of newly added technologies in CCNP Routing and Switching:

Cisco StackWise

Cisco StackWise is Cisco proprietary technology that allows you to use up to nine Catalyst switch 3750 series switches to operate as though they were one switch. One switch from the stack will act as the master switch, allowing you to configure and monitor the whole stack as though it was one switch, via a single console. If the master switch fails, the next switch in the stack will automatically take over as master. This feature provides greater redundancy, as one switch’s failure will not bring about a failure of the entire stack.

Virtual Switch Services (VSS)

A VSS combines a pair of switches into a single network element. This virtualization of the two physical chassis into a single logical switch fundamentally manages redundancy and load balancing on the port channel and enables a loop-free Layer 2 network topology. In addition, VSS also incorporates many other Cisco innovations, such as stateful switch over (SSO) and multi-chassis EtherChannel (MEC) —that enable non-stop communication with increased bandwidth to substantially enhance application response time.

Dynamic Multipoint Virtual Private Network (DMVPN)

VPNs traditionally connect each remote site to the headquarters; the DMVPN essentially creates a mesh VPN topology. This means that each site (spoke) can connect directly with all other sites, the spoke will contact the hub, obtain the necessary information of the other end, and create a dynamic IPsec VPN tunnel directly between them. DMVPN eliminates the need of multiple IPSEC configurations and uses a combination of the following technologies:

  1. Multipoint GRE (mGRE)
  2. Next-hop resolution protocol (NHRP)
  3. Dynamic routing protocol (EIGRP, RIP, OSPF, BGP)
  4. Dynamic IPsec encryption

IPv6 Enhancements

IPv6 transition mechanisms are technologies that facilitate the transitioning of the internet from its initial (and current) IPv4 infrastructure to the successor addressing and routing system of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6). As IPv4 and IPv6 networks are not directly interoperable, these technologies are designed to permit hosts on either network to participate in networking with the other network.

Prerequisites for CCNP Routing and Switching Certification

A Valid Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification or Cisco CCIE certification can act as a prerequisite for CCNP Routing and Switching certification.

Required Exams and Recommended Training for CCNP Routing and Switching

After completion of the CCNP Routing and Switching curriculum, a candidate must pass required exams to obtain CCNP Routing and Switching Certification. CCNP Routing and Switching required exams and recommended training are shown in the table below.

Any combination of version 1 and version 2 exams is acceptable to achieve CCNP Routing and Switching certification.

Some FAQs for CCNP Routing and Switching

Q. What is new in CCNP Routing and Switching?

A. Cisco removed wireless, VoIP, and video content and added advanced IPv6, Cisco StackWise, VSS (virtual switch services) and DMVPN (dynamic multipoint VPN). With this increased focus on routing and switching technologies, Cisco is renaming CCNP to CCNP Routing and Switching and introducing new v2.0 exams for ROUTE (300-101), SWITCH (300-115), TSHOOT (300-135).

Q. What are the benefits to candidates with the new CCNP Routing and Switching?

A. The new CCNP Routing and Switching:

  • * Enables you with more job skills that will help you to fulfill current business demands and technology advancements within routing and switching.
  • * Helps you to develop real-world IPv6 skills, including dual stack transition technologies and other services: Cisco StackWise, VSS (virtual switch services), and DMVPN.
  • * Cisco Learning Labs give you the experience of a real Cisco IOS Software lab environment
  • * Leverage the ROUTE and SWITCH knowledge toward CCDP certification

Q. Does my current CCNP certification remain valid?

A. If you are currently a CCNP, you will automatically become a CCNP Routing and Switching certificate holder in the Cisco database.

Q. Are the CCNP Routing and Switching exams changing?

A. Yes, exams are changing with new CCNP Routing and Switching; if you want to get current CCNP certification, then you must take and pass the exam before January 30, 2015.

  • * Exam 642-902 (ROUTE) is being replaced by 300-101 ROUTE and 642-902 ROUTE will reach its end-of-life on January 30, 2015.
  • * Exam 642-813 (SWITCH) is being replaced by 300-115 SWITCH and 642-813 SWITCH will reach end-of-life on January 30, 2015.
  • * Exam 642-832 (TSHOOT) is being replaced by 300-135 TSHOOT and 642-832 TSHOOT will reach end-of-life on January 30, 2015.

Q. I want to start the CCNP program. What should I do?

A. If you want to start the CCNP Routing and Switching program, you should take the newer exams because they are better aligned with current job roles.

Q. How long will the CCNP Routing and Switching certification last?

A. The CCNP Routing and Switching certification will be valid for three years.

Q. Will Route and Switch exams remain applicable for CCDP?

A. Yes, leveraging the ROUTE (300-101) and SWITCH (300-115) knowledge toward CCDP certification will be applicable.

Q. Can I mix the current exams with newer exams to achieve CCNP Routing and Switching?

A. Yes, it is possible to mix version 1 and version 2 exams, but if you completed version 1 exams for ROUTE or SWITCH, then you will need to prepare version 2 ROUTE & SWITCH as well in order to pass the TSHOOT v2 exam because the TSHOOT v2 exam assumes knowledge of ROUTE v2 and SWITCH v2 topics.

In 2013, Cisco announced two very important pieces of news regarding Routing and Switching training. They first introduced the new CCNA (200-120) with some changes in the training curriculum and, later, in December 2013, they announced CCIE v5. I really appreciated both of those decisions toward introduction of new technologies in CCNA (200-120) and CCIE v5.

But something was missing from these two announcements — nothing new was announced for traditional CCNP. I was little unhappy for CCNP because sometimes candidates have to learn outdated technologies that are not even used in current industries; they have to learn these outdated technologies just to pass the examination. Regular updates in the curriculum with the introduction of new technologies per current business demand and technology advancements can make more productive candidates; that’s why I am always in favor of learning new and updated technologies to be in competition. This announcement finally filled the technological blank between CCNA Routing and Switching and CCIE Routing and Switching.

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Nitin Vashisht

Nitin Vashisht is a Network Engineer and holds Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Information Technology with Five+ years of experience in network engineering, Windows system/server administration. He also holds industry leading professional certifications in Cisco & Microsoft Technology. He always keen to learn new technologies and day to day he tries to make Technology easier so everyone can understand it easily. He is currently working as Senior Technical Trainer cum Network Engineer where he is responsible for delivering high end technological trainings & Solutions to Corporate Clients.