Difference between Cisco CCENT and CompTIA Network+
- 5th April 2016
- Posted by: Juan van Niekerk
- Category: Networking
An Introduction to CompTIA and Cisco
When looking to break into the field of networking or aspiring to gain a networking certification, the two most popular entry-level certifications are CompTIA Network+ and Cisco CCENT.
What is CompTIA?
CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) is a non-profit trade association that was formed in 1982. The organisation is vendor-neutral and provides certifications in the IT industry. It was at first known as the Association of Better Computer Dealers but the name was later changed to better signify the company’s ever-changing role in the computer industry.
The organisation’s growth saw them eventually include subjects such as networking, imaging, mobile computing, UNIX. In 2010, CompTIA launched the “Creating IT Futures” initiative which sees them offering IT training to individuals with a lower income and veterans returning from their military duties.
Their certifications currently available from CompTIA include:
• A+ certification
• Cloud Essentials
What is CISCO?
CISCO is a company based in San Jose, California in the USA involved in the designing, manufacturing and selling of Network Equipment. It has grown from it’s inception in 1984 (then known as CISCO Systems) to become the biggest networking company in existence. CISCO was added to the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1990 after going public and in by the year 2000 became the world’s most valuable company, showing a market capitalisation of over $500 billion.
CISCOS’s main service target group focus lies with small business, homes, enterprise and service providers. Products offered by CISCO include:
• Datacenter items
• Security equipment
• Catalyst switches
• Remote connectivity
• Wireless Lan products
• Telephony equipment
• IP phones
• WAAS (Wide Area Application Service)
• IRIS (Cisco Internet Routing in Space)
• Operating systems such as Nexus and IOS-RX
• Remote Connectivity
• Telephony as well as many others
The certifications attainable from CISCO include:
• Associate certifications
• CCNA Routing and Switching
• CCNA Cloud
• CCNA Collaboration
• CCNA Data Center
• CCNA Industrial
• CCNA Security
• CCNA Service Provider
• Hardware networking
• Professional certifications
• CCNP Routing and Switching
• CCNP Collaboration
• CCNP Data Center
• CCNP Security
• CCNP Service Provider
• CCNP Wireless
• Expert-level certifications
• CCIE Routing and Switching
• CCIE Collaboration
• CCIE Data Center
• CCIE Security
• CCIE Service Provider
• CCIE Wireless
Understanding Cisco CCENT
CISCO CCENT is the first of two exams that can be passed in order for the student to earn their CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate) certification. The exam relating to CISCO CCENT is called ICND1 (Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1).
This exam will consist of the following topics:
Describe the operation of data networks: The student will be expected to identify the functions of different network devices and to select the correct components in order to meet the network’s specifications. Use the protocols of TCP/IP to explain the flow of network data, explain what common web applications and networking applications are.
Implement a small switched network: Use the correct equipment to interconnect switches, network devices and hosts and describe media access control and technology for Ethernet types. Describe what network segmentation is, describe the operation of CISCO switches and their basic operation, perform initial switch operations and save, and verify them. Work through hardware failures on switched networks.
Implement an IP addressing scheme and IP services to meet network requirements for a small branch office: Create and implement an addressing scheme to a network, assign and verify IP addresses for hosts, networking devices and servers on a Local Area Network. Explain what DNS operations are and verify them, configure, verify and troubleshoot DHCP and DNS on a router and identify and remedy IP address problems.
Implement a small routed network: Explain what the basic concepts of routing are, explain the basic operation of CISCO routers, interconnect routers with networking devices using the correct equipment, connect, configure, and verify device interface operational status. Verify the device configuration using commands and utilities and verify the status of the network and router operation.
Explain and select the appropriate administrative tasks required for a Wireless LAN (WLAN): Explain the standards of wireless media, describe the various components of a small wireless network, describe the parameters and configuration needed for devices to connect to the right areas on a wireless network and identify common issues with wireless networks.
Identify security threats to a network and describe general methods to mitigate those threats: Describe common network security threats and how the correct security policy helps defend against them. Explain what the best security practices to follow in securing network devices.
Implement and verify WAN links: Explain what the different methods are to connect to a Wide Area Network, configure a basic WAN serial connection and verify that network.
Understanding CompTIA Network+
CompTIA has a much broader view of networking than CISCO does, but takes a lighter approach in their individual topics. The topics that are covered in the CompTIA Network+ course include the following:
Network Technologies: Networking protocols and services including TCP/IP suite, default TCP and UDP port numbers, addressing formats for IPv4, IPv6, and MAC addressing, discussing addressing technologies (subnetting, CIDR, supernetting, NAT and PAT), a discussion on routing, and a reviewing wireless communication standards, authentication, and encryption.
Network Media and Topologies: Standard cable types and their properties including transmission speeds, distances, duplexing, noise immunity, and frequencies; cable connector types and common physical network topologies (star, mesh, bus, ring). Various wiring standards, LAN and WAN technology types and properties plus wiring distribution systems and components.
Network Devices: Covers the range of networking equipment like hubs, modems, network interfaces, and media converters, switches, wireless access points, routers, firewalls etc. Functions of specialised networking devices. There is a deeper focus on switch details such as virtual LANs and port mirroring.
etwork Management: An explanation of management at the seven layers of the OSI model, configuration management and it’s documentation, describing how to use documentation to verify a network. Monitoring network performance and connectivity, methods for optimising a network, methods of network troubleshooting and common problem-solving issues.
Network Tools: Different types of software and diagnostic equipment used to identify and troubleshoot networking issues. Basic command-line IP tools, different network scanners. Discovering different types of diagnostic hardware such as cable testers, protocol analysers and TDRs, electrical tools like VOMs, temperature monitors, and various other tools.
Network Security: An overview of security device features and functions, then digs into firewall features and functions, Methods of network access security and user authentication. Device security problems including logical and physical access, secure vs. unsecure network access methods and common security threats and security justification techniques.
CompTIA Network+ vs Cisco CCENT
The choice between CISCO CCENT and CompTIA N+ relies on how deeply you want to delve into the world of networking. CompTIA N+ has a much broader, yet less involved scope towards the subject whilst CISCO takes a more in-depth approach to networking while having a smaller scope as far as topics covered is concerned.
Both the CISCO CCENT and CompTIA certifications are recognised the world over as worthwhile entry level certifications and, whichever of the two you end up choosing, it is sure to set you well on your way to a career in networking or to add that much sought-after certification to your name.