Are you looking to move ahead in a networking job? Are you interested in a career with steady and ongoing opportunities? Then the CompTIA’s Network+ vendor-neutral certification might be a good choice. The credential can be a sure help to a successful network engineer or network administrator career.
According to the official website, the certification “helps develop a career in IT infrastructure covering troubleshooting, configuring, and managing networks,” which are duties central to those roles. The program helps professionals develop and update skill sets that CompTIA believes are essential for qualified IT professionals to master in order to be successful in a variety of entry-level and intermediate networking positions.
The Network+ certification can also be used as a stepping-stone to more advanced networking credentials, allowing a professional to stand out in the field and increase his or her credibility as an engineer or technician in network support and/or administration. From a job perspective, the CompTIA Network+ certification is able to open doors to plenty of employment opportunities. In fact, when evaluating prospective IT candidates, employers frequently look to this certification as an important criterion to fill network-related job roles.
In order to meet the demands of a field in constant evolution, the certification is updated periodically to reflect the skills and duties required today. In fact, the latest version of CompTIA Network+ was released in March 2018, when the new N10-007 replaced the older version (N10-006). The new test provides learning objectives that focus more on security and network resiliency. However, test takers should familiarize themselves with all new domain topics to be better prepared to take and pass the credential exam.
What Domains Are Covered on the Updated Network+ Exam?
Here’s what you need to know about the N10-007 exam.
The older exam version concentrated mostly on technical aspects such as the configuration and management of network devices, as well as technologies including the cloud, virtualization and mobile devices. N10-007, instead, expands the focus to include a stronger emphasis on security and how to create wired and wireless networks that are not only efficient but also resilient. It also concentrates on the necessary interaction of network professionals with IT security staff. Newest advances in cloud computing and virtualizations are also covered, together with their proper implementation and best practices.
Therefore, reviewing these topics to pass the test and obtain the credential can help practitioners to understand today’s challenges for a network professional and the knowledge and skills that employers expect from them.
Exam Objectives (N10-006 vs N10-007)
Because CompTIA Network+ is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to show compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024 Standard, the exam objectives undergo regular reviews and updates. As such, this enables one to stay current with new and evolving technologies and remain a sought-after network expert.
Figure 1: Old Exam Code (N10-006) ⇔ New Exam Code (N10-007)
Domain 1 — Networking Concepts
The first domain concentrates on a detailed review of basic networking topics and terminology. In fact, it covers:
Ports and protocols and their use: IP, UDP, TCP, SSH 22, HTTP 80, NTP 123, POP 100 …
Devices, applications, protocols and services and their OSI layers: Layers 1 through 7, Physical through Application.
Explaining routing and switching
Properties of network traffic: Broadcast, unicast, MTU…
Segmentation and interface properties: VLAN, DMZ, port mirroring
Routing: Types like static and dynamic, protocols and related concepts like IPv6 and its addressing, tunneling, as well as performance, port forwarding, access lists
Configuring IP addressing components in real-life scenarios, including subnetting and address assignment.
Compare network topologies, types and technologies: To include questions on types of network like LAN, WLAN, CAN, SAN, wireless and wired options and IoT technology
Choosing the best configuration in a given scenario: Covering topics like cellular technologies, 802.11 standards, frequencies and channels
Cloud concepts: Services like SaaS and IaaS, delivery models and a strong emphasis on security considerations
Network services: DNS concepts as well as DHCP, NTP, IPAM
Domain 2 — Infrastructure
This domain concentrates specifically on the proper creation of networks through correct cabling, positioning of devices and use of appropriate technologies.
Appropriate cabling solutions in given scenarios: Covers all about cables from media type to connectors, termination points and Ethernet deployment standards
Installation and configurations of devices: It covers essential topics like hubs, firewalls, routers, modems, bridges
Virtualization and network storage: Virtual components like switches, routers and firewalls as well as NAS and SAN storage and connection types
WAN technologies: Transmission mediums, service type and characteristics
Domain 3 — Network Operations
Down to 17% weight from the 20% of the previous exam version, this domain addresses topics like disaster recovery, business continuity, proper documentation and policies as well as monitoring and scanning.
Appropriate documentation and diagrams: Logical and physical diagrams, symbols, labeling, inventory
Business continuity and disaster recovery: Availability (fault tolerance, load balancing, clustering), power management, recovery sites, backup types
Scanning, monitoring and patching: Processes (port scanning, logs review, traffic analysis, vulnerability scanning), event management and metrics
Remote access methods in given scenarios: VPNs, Telnet, SSH, HTTPS, Remote file access.
Policies and best practices: Policies on passwords, remote access, incident response and safety procedures, as well as BYOD and data loss prevention
Domain 4 — Network Security
The weight of this topic was raised to 20% from 18% in the previous test version to signify a stronger focus on security topics. This domain covers subjects like physical security devices, how to secure networks, common attacks and their mitigation.
Physical security devices
For detection: Tags for asset tracking, video surveillance, tamper detection
For protection: Biometrics, FOBs, badges, locks
Authentication and access control: From single sign-on and certificates to Kerberos, multi-factor authentication and ways to implement access control (NAC, port security)
Securing a wireless network: Geofencing, WPA, authentication and authorization (EAP, MAC filtering)
Networking attacks: All common attacks today including DoS, ransomware, phishing, brute-forcing, spoofing
Network device hardening: A list of best practices including frequent patching, choosing the right password, file hashing, disabling unused ports
Mitigation techniques: Switchport protection, segmentation, role separation, penetration testing, use of honeypots
Domain 5 — Network Troubleshooting and Tools
A straightforward domain that covers topics related to the role of professionals in discovering network issues, and the tools at their disposals.
Network troubleshooting: Identification of the problem and possible cause, devise a plan of action and implement countermeasure, verify results and prepare detailed documentation
Hardware: Spectrum analyzer, light meter, tone generator, loopback adapter
Software: Port scanner, packet sniffer, Wi-Fi analyzer, bandwidth speed tester, command line option (ipconfig, ping, nslookup, nmap)
Troubleshoot common wired connectivity and performance issues: Attenuation, latency, bottlenecks, VLAN mismatch, bad cables
Troubleshoot common wireless connectivity and performance issues: To include interference, reflection, refraction, wrong SSID, distance limitation
Troubleshoot common network service issues: Incorrect gateway or netmask, blocked TCP/UDP ports, duplicate MAC addresses, expired IP addresses
To assist candidates as they take the next step in their career, CompTIA’s newest Network+ test (N10-007) “places greater emphasis on network implementation and support, and includes expanded coverage of wireless networking topics,” as per the CompTIA Network+ Review Guide Exam N10-007, 4th Edition. In addition, the exam covers advances in skill sets “needed to install, configure, and troubleshoot today’s basic networking hardware peripherals and protocols,” as mentioned in the CompTIA Network+ Practice Tests (Exam N10-007), 1st Edition. To prepare for the test, it is also possible to obtain the CompTIA Network+ Certification Kit, 5th Edition.
In a rapidly-changing IT world, keeping skills up-to-date can be achieved by continuing education and the acquiring of appropriate certifications. A vendor-neutral option like the CompTIA Network+, which is role-based and covers networking technologies across all vendors and solutions, can be the right solution for professionals to address any knowledge gaps and prove their worth to potential employers.