Cisco CCNA Service Provider Certification Guide

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With the expanding growth of public Internet and networking services it is very important that any new or existing networking engineer looking to work at a Service Provider (SP) be well trained on the technologies that will be deployed. While much of the SP environment overlaps in terms of skillset to that of an enterprise engineer, there are a number of different features and technologies that are simply not required for most enterprises. Cisco's SP line of certifications allows a candidate to follow a clear path when the expected outcome is working for a service provider; this includes preparing the candidate with the knowledge necessary to succeed.

The CCNA Service Provider certification requires the candidate to pass two different exams, including the Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks, Part 1 and Part 2; the CCNA SP certification has no prerequisites. The next two sections will show the current objectives for both of these exams, which are both 90 minutes and ranging 65-75 questions.

Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks Part 1

640-875 SPNGN1

IP Networks

  • Describe the purpose and functions of various network devices (at the core, distribution, and access layers)
  • Identify the functional components required to meet a given network specification
  • Describe the OSI and TCP/IP models and their associated protocols to explain how data flows in a network
  • Describe common network applications and their impact on the network
  • Interpret network diagrams
  • Troubleshoot common network problems at layers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 using a layered model approach
  • Describe differences between LAN and WAN operation and features

IPv4 and IPv6 Addressing

  • Describe the structure of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
  • Describe VLSM, CIDR and route summarization concepts
  • Describe the different types of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
  • Design an IP subnetting plan based on given requirements

Switched Network Technologies I

  • Describe bridging concepts and Layer 2 Ethernet frames
  • Configure basic Spanning Tree operations on Cisco IOS Switches
  • Interpret the output of various basic show and debug commands to verify the operational status of a Cisco switched network
  • Configure basic switch security (i.e, port security, securing unused ports)
  • Describe Ethernet link bundling, LACP, and PAgP and Flex Links

Routed Network Technologies I

  • Describe classful versus classless routing
  • Describe routing protocols basics (metrics, IGP versus EGP)
  • Describe RIPv1, RIPv2, RIPNG
  • Implement EIGRPv4 and EIGRPv6 on Cisco IOS, IOS-XE and IOS-XR routers
  • Describe route redistribution
  • Describe VRF
  • Describe GRE

IP Services

  • Configure NAT (IPv4) on Cisco routers
  • Configure DHCP (IPv4 and IPv6) operations on Cisco routers
  • Describe ICMPv4 and ICMPv6
  • Describe DNS

Cisco Operating Systems and Platforms I

  • Implement basic Cisco IOS, IOS-XE and IOS-XR CLI operations
  • Implement basic Cisco IOS, IOS-XE and IOS-XR routers configurations

Transport Technologies

  • Describe SONET and SDH
  • Describe DWDM, IPoDWDM, and ROADM
  • Configure 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 40 Gigabit Ethernet, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces on Cisco routers
  • Describe Frame Relay
  • Describe ATM
  • Describe Metro Ethernet
  • Describe DSL
  • Describe T1, T3, E1, E3, and ISDN
  • Implement PPP encapsulation on Cisco routers serial and POS interfaces
  • Describe cable (DOCSIS)
  • Describe the main BRAS and BNG routers functions in IP NGN
  • Describe various Passive Optical Network (PON) access technologies and FTTx

Security in the Network

  • Describe Layer 2 security features on Cisco IOS switches
  • Configure management plane security on Cisco routers and IOS switches
  • Describe IPsec
  • Describe control plane security
  • Configure basic AAA (TACACS+ and RADIUS) services on Cisco routers
  • Configure routing protocols authentication between Cisco routers
  • Describe the relationships between users, user groups, tasks groups and task IDs in IOS-XR
  • Describe common types of network attacks

Network Management

  • Configure NTP server or client on Cisco routers
  • Configure IP SLA on Cisco routers
  • Configure CDP on Cisco routers and IOS switches
  • Configure SNMP on Cisco routers
  • Configure NetFlow on Cisco routers
  • Configure logging to Syslog server on Cisco routers
  • Describe the Cisco IOS Call-Home feature
  • Describe Cisco TAC procedure and navigate Cisco support tools (CCO)
  • Implement management access (SSH, telnet, and out-of-band management design)
  • Implement SPAN, RSPAN, and ERSPAN
  • Implement file transfers to manage network devices configurations and images using FTP, SCP, TFTP, SFTP, and RCP

Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks Part 2

640-878 SPNGN2

IP NGN Architecture

  • Identify the functional components that are required to meet a given network specification
  • Troubleshoot common network problems at Layers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 using a layered-model approach
  • Describe the different types of service providers
  • Describe service provider principal and reference next-generation network (NGN) architecture
  • Describe the IP address and autonomous system (AS) number allocation process via the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and Regional Internet Registries (RIRs)

Switched Network Technologies II

  • Configure enhanced switching technologies (including Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol [RSTP], Multiple Spanning Tree [MST], and Per VLAN Spanning Tree [PVST]) on Cisco IOS Software switches
  • Describe how VLANs create logically separate networks and the need for routing between them
  • Configure VLANs on Cisco IOS Software switches
  • Configure trunking on Cisco IOS Software switches
  • Configure inter-VLAN routing
  • Configure Resilient Ethernet Protocol (REP) on Cisco IOS Software switches
  • Configure queue-in-queue (QinQ) on Cisco IOS Software switches

Routed Network Technologies II

  • Configure basic single-area Open Shortest Path First version 2 (OSPFv2) and OSPF version 3 (OSPFv3) routing on Cisco routers
  • Configure basic single-area Intermediate System-to-Intermediate System (IS-IS) routing on Cisco routers
  • Describe the differences between static versus dynamic routing as well as distance vector versus link-state routing protocol operations
  • Configure basic Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing on Cisco routers
  • Describe the address family concept on Cisco routers
  • Describe IPv6 transitioning technologies
  • Configure First Hop Redundancy Protocol (FHRP) (including Hot Standby Router Protocol [HSRP], Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol [VRRP], and Gateway Load Balancing Protocol [GLBP]) on Cisco routers
  • Implement access control list (ACL) on Cisco routers
  • Describe carrier-grade NAT (CGN) and Network Address Translation 64 (NAT64)
  • Describe Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) functions in the service provider IP NGN
  • Configure Label Distribution Protocol (LDP) on Cisco routers

Cisco Operating Systems and Platforms II

  • Manage the Cisco IOS XR configurations and software packages
  • Describe Cisco IOS XE software packages
  • Describe Cisco service provider router platforms, their operating system, and their placement in the service provider IP NGN


As can be seen from the objectives, the CCNA Service Provider is a very wide exam. How deep the questions will be on the exam has yet to be widely known (at the time of this writing). Since much of the coverage areas are similar to the online CCNA course, the Service Provider certification tracks seem like a good idea for anyone looking to become certified in both by beginning with the R&S exams and then following with the SP exams. This is because it looks like the SP certification track has objectives that are wider than the R&S track.

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Sean Wilkins

Sean Wilkins is an accomplished networking consultant who has been in the IT field for more than 20 years, working with several large enterprises. He is a writer for infoDispersion and his educational accomplishments include: a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Network Architecture and Design, and a Master’s of Science in Organizational Management. Sean holds certifications with Cisco (CCNP/CCDP), Microsoft (MCSE) and CompTIA (A+ and Network+).