The latest version of the CompTIA Network+ N10-006 exam has been launched this year, and with it comes a few changes. The exam tests the candidate’s knowledge about configuring, troubleshooting and installing network components, both wired and wireless. These skills include:
Network design and connectivity considerations
Network documentation, including how to create and maintain it effectively
Identify and resolve network limitations and weaknesses
Network security implementation, and the standards and protocols associated with each type
Once a candidate has successfully passed their Network+ examination, they will possess fundamental knowledge of commonly-used technologies such as unified communications, mobile device implementations, cloud computing and virtualization.
What Domains Are Covered On the Network+ Exam?
There are five domains in total, and each one has its own weighting within the context of the overall exam. This weighting is represented with a percentage value that shows how much of a passing score is dependent on each domain. The current version of the exam carries the designation N10-006 and has a maximum of 90 questions. The question format is a mixture between multiple-choice and performance-based questions and lasts 90 minutes.
Candidates do not have to possess any other qualifications in order to sit for the Network+ N10-007 exam. However, it will certainly help if they have experience in network support and/or administration, a CompTIA A+ certification or a similarly-geared academic training certification that teaches basic computer and networking concepts.
The Five Domains
Network Troubleshooting and Tools
How Often Are the Network+ Domains Updated?
The current CompTIA update cycle for the Network+ exam is around three years. This is in line with some of CompTIA’s other certification programs such as the ever-popular CompTIA A+ exam.
How Are the Domain Percentages Weighted for the Network+ Exam?
The exam objectives, also known as domains are scored in the following way:
Networking Concepts: 23%
Network Troubleshooting and Tools:22%
What Topics Are Covered in Each Domain?
There are a wide variety of different topics that are covered in each of the different domains. We will touch on all of the basics that you can expect to find in the exam.
Domain 1: Networking Concepts
This section of the exam tests that the candidate really understands the basic concepts and technologies that are used in modern networks. Domain 1 is broken down into a further eight subsections. These are:
Domain 1.1: Explain the Purposes and Uses of Ports and Protocols
This section requires candidates to have knowledge about and understand the most common protocols that are used today, as well as know the difference between connection-oriented and connectionless protocols. Some examples are SSH 22, DNS 53 and SMTP 25. Knowing the different protocol types is also really important. These are ICMP, UDP, TCP and IP.
Domain 1.2: Explain Devices, Applications, Protocols and Services at Their Appropriate OSI Layers
Knowledge of the OSI model is essential for this section of the exam. The Network+ expects candidates to understand how the OSI model works fundamentally, as well as what each of the different levels are.
Domain 1.3: Explain the Concepts and Characteristics of Routing and Switching
This section tests the candidate’s knowledge of how networks function and what technologies they are likely to encounter on the job. This is knowledge that is very useful for other network-based certifications as well, so understanding these concepts is crucial.
Domain 1.4: Given a Scenario, Configure the Appropriate IP Addressing Components
This section tests the candidate’s knowledge of how IP addresses are structured, how they interact with systems, what the different classes mean, how subnetting works and how different IP address assignment methods work.
Domain 1.5: Compare and Contrast the Characteristics of Network Topologies, Types and Technologies
This section will assess the candidate’s understanding of how different network topologies (such as logical, physical, star, ring, mesh and so on) work, what their strengths and weaknesses are and where you would use each one. Wireless topologies are also tested on, as well as Internet of Things technologies such as Z-Wave, Ant+, Bluetooth, NFC and more.
Domain 1.6: Given a Scenario, Implement the Appropriate Wireless Technologies and Configurations
Wireless technologies feature quite a lot in this version of the Network+ exam, so candidates will need to make sure that they understand 802.11 standards, cellular carrier types, frequencies, speed and distance requirements, channel bandwidth, channel bonding, MIMO/MU-MIMO and site surveys.
Domain 1.7: Summarize Cloud Concepts and Their Purposes
Cloud computing has become very popular for organizations the world over, and the inclusion of more cloud services in this version of the exam is a natural progression. Things that you will need to know include types of services such as SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, and cloud delivery models such as Private, Public and Hybrid solutions. Candidates should also know all of the connectivity methods associated with cloud computing, security implications and considerations, and the relationship between local and cloud resources.
Domain 1.8: Explain the Functions of Network Services
You will need to understand the way that DNS works, including record types, internal versus external DNS, third-party and cloud-hosted DNS, hierarchy, and forward versus reverse zones. DHCP also features here, and things like MAC reservations, pools, IP exclusions, scope options, lease times and TTL as well as DHCP relay/IP helper also need to be well understood. NTP and IPAM also feature, so learning about those services is necessary.
Domain 2: Infrastructure
This section of the exam focuses on the physical and virtual components of the network, from network switch and router placement to cable and connector types, transmission mediums and more. It will test the candidate’s practical knowledge regarding the components of a computer network.
Domain 2.1: Given a Scenario, Deploy the Appropriate Cabling Solution
In this part of the exam, candidates will need to know what media types are used in specific situations, as well as the connector types that are used for each. Transceivers and termination points are also touched on here, as well as copper termination standards and Ethernet deployment standards.
Domain 2.2: Given a Scenario, Determine the Appropriate Placement of Networking Devices on a Network and Install/Configure Them
This section requires that the candidate understands the way that each piece of equipment interacts with the network, what function it performs and where on the network it should be installed. This equipment includes firewalls, routers, switches, hubs and bridges, among others.
Domain 2.3: Explain the Purposes and Use Cases for Advanced Networking Devices
Candidates need to understand how hardware devices with advanced networking features are used, and where an appropriate scenario for their use would be valid for each one. These include multilayer switches, wireless controllers and load balancers.
Domain 2.4: Explain the Purposes of Virtualization and Network Storage Technologies
Candidates must demonstrate their understanding of how virtual machines, virtual networking components, network storage types and connection types all interact with one another.
Domain 2.5: Compare and Contrast WAN Technologies
WAN technologies are an important part of the Network+ exam. Service types, transmission mediums, characteristics of service and termination are all tested in the exam.
Domain 3: Network Operations
This domain focuses on the administration and documentational aspects of maintaining and managing a network. There are several key components tested on in each subdomain which need to be understood in order for candidates to successfully pass the Network+ exam.
Domain 3.1: Given a Scenario, Use Appropriate Documentation and Diagrams to Manage the Network
Candidates must be able to read diagrams and understand the symbols, operating procedures, differences between logical and physical diagrams, rack diagrams and more. Change management documentation is also featured here, as well as labeling best practice and inventory management.
Domain 3.2: Compare and Contrast Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Concepts
In this section, candidates will need to demonstrate their knowledge of availability concepts such as fault tolerance, high availability and load balancing. Recovery and SLA knowledge is also tested in this section.
Domain 3.3: Explain Common Scanning, Monitoring and Patching Processes and Summarize Their Expected Outputs
This section relates to the management and monitoring of a network environment and includes questions on processes such as log viewing and port scanning, as well as event management, SNMP monitoring and the metrics by which all of this information is a judged.
Domain 3.4: Given a Scenario, Use Remote Access Methods
Being able to access remote machines is important in networking roles, and the Network+ covers some of these technologies in the exam. Candidates should know about VPNs and their protocols, RDP, SSH, VNC and others. File access and out-of-band management are also covered in this section of the exam.
Domain 3.5: Identify Policies and Best Practices
This section includes concepts such as privileged user agreements, password policies, on-boarding and off-boarding procedures, and other company-related procedural processes within a company. Topics such as BYOD, NDA and system life cycles are all part of the domain as well.
Domain 4: Network Security
This domain goes into detail around one of the most important aspects of a modern network: security. It covers everything from user access and physical security measures to wireless security protocols.
Domain 4.1: Summarize the Purposes of Physical Security Devices
Candidates must understand what each physical security detector device does, such as motion detectors, CCTV cameras and asset tracking tags. Preventative measures must also be understood, such as badges, biometrics and smart cards.
Domain 4.2: Explain Authentication and Access Controls
Technologies such as RADIUS, LDAP, multi-factor authentication and access control all feature in this section of the exam.
Domain 4.3: Given a Scenario, Secure a Basic Wireless Network
WPA, WPA2, EAP, PEAP, MAC filtering and geofencing are all potentially tested on for this section of the Network+ domains.
Domain 4.4: Summarize Common Network Attacks
Candidates must be familiar with commonly used attack methods such as DoS, social engineering, insider threats, logic bombs and many more.
Domain 4.5: Given a Scenario, Implement Network Device Hardening
Candidates must understand how to strengthen the defenses of their organization by using common techniques such as changing default credentials, avoiding common passwords and other best practices that are recommended when securing a networked environment.
Domain 4.6: Explain Common Mitigation Techniques and Their Purposes
This section includes VLAN, DMZ, device hardening, role separation and penetration testing.
Domain 5: Network Troubleshooting and Tools
This part of the exam objectives deals with the important subject of troubleshooting, as well as the tools that are used in this process. This section makes up 22% of the exam, so be sure that you understand all of the requirements for the exam.
Domain 5.1: Explain the Network Troubleshooting Methodology
Basic troubleshooting is covered here, such as problem identification, understanding and creating theories based on probable causes, testing theories, creating plan of action, resolving the issue, creating preventative measures and documenting the event.
Domain 5.2: Given a Scenario, Use the Appropriate Tool
This domain teaches candidates which specific tools and applications are useful in certain scenarios. Both hardware and software tools are covered here.
Domain 5.3: Given a Scenario, Troubleshoot Common Wired Connectivity and Performance Issues
There are a lot of different concepts that the candidate needs to understand, such as attenuation, latency, jitter, crosstalk and more.
Domain 5.4: Given a Scenario, Troubleshoot Common Wireless Connectivity Performance Issues
Similar to the previous domain, this section troubleshoots the wireless side of a network. These issues are reflection, refraction, absorption, channel overlap and more.
Domain 5.5: Given a Scenario, Troubleshoot Common Network Service Issues
This subdomain gives candidates a long list of potential issues that they could come across on a network. Each problem, as well as the associated solution for each, should be understood by the candidate. Examples include name resolution issues, rogue DHCP servers and many others.
The Network+ remains an incredibly important certification for both newcomers to IT and IT professionals that wish to certify the knowledge that they have gathered over years of practical, hands-on experience. There are few certifications that offer the depth of content that the Network+ manages to deliver without becoming too technical.
The full exam objective PDF can be downloaded from the CompTIA website if you require the full details of each domain, as well as additional information about the company and the exam itself. Good luck!