CompTIA A+ domain 2: Networking — What you need to know for the exam
Networking is like the glue that holds together the modern information-based computing world. It would be nearly impossible to provide the workplace, let alone today’s internet-based smart homes, with the connectivity it needs without networking. It is the backbone of the modern technological world and, as a result, it has established a firm position on the CompTIA A+ certification exam as domain 2 of exam material.
Domain 2 of the A+ certification exam is about networking. It presents a comprehensive look at a wide variety of networking concepts you will deal with daily on the job (and even at home). The topics you will be responsible for understanding in this domain are transmission control protocol (TCP) and user datagram protocol (UDP), common networking hardware, protocols for wireless networking, services provided by networked hosts, basic wired/wireless small office/home office (SOHO) networks, common network configuration concepts, internet connection types/network types and networking tools.
Domain 2: Networking
Since networking is a vital aspect of IT, it has its own domain on the A+ certification exam. It makes up 20% of the overall material covered by the exam. While it falls somewhere in the middle in terms of exam material percentage, it has the highest number of subdomains on the A+ certification exam. Below is the list of the domains of knowledge on the A+ certification exam:
- 1.0 Mobile devices
- 2.0 Networking
- 3.0 Hardware
- 4.0 Virtualization and cloud computing
- 5.0 Hardware and network troubleshooting
What’s new in domain 2: Networking?
Similar to some of the other domains in the latest version of the A+ certification exam, 220-1101, some changes have been made in domain 2 – networking. Numbering has changed for some subdomains, and some material has changed, such as a simplified consolidation in the SOHO subdomain and the addition of some new technologies such as bridges and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. However, the internet-based domain has stayed the same, making a comparison of subdomains to the previous exam version unnecessary.
Domain 2: Networking exam outline
Below is an outline of subdomains covered by domain 2 – Networking. Networking is a relatively broad concept, and these subdomains will cover a wide range of considerations you will need to fully understand this domain of the A+ certification exam.
2.1 Compare and contrast transmission control protocol (TCP) and user datagram protocol (UDP) ports, protocols, and their purposes
This subdomain covers two general principles. The first, ports and protocols, covers 15 concepts ranging from 20/21 file transfer protocol (FTP) and 25 simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) to 3389 remote desktop protocol (RTP). The second principle, TCP vs. UDP, covers both the connectionless and connection-oriented types of these protocols.
2.2 Compare and contrast common networking hardware
You will be responsible for explaining common networking hardware from the basics, such as routers, switches, cable modems and patch panels, to the more complex such as power over ethernet (PoE) and software-defined networking (SDN). It is important to remember that while networking has advanced quite a bit since the dawn of the new millennium, there is much legacy networking in use worldwide. Understanding all of it will help you greatly on the certification exam.
2.3 Compare and contrast protocols for wireless networking
Wireless networking is growing in importance, so this subdomain will probably grow in future versions of the exam. This subdomain covers seven concepts related to wireless networking protocols. You will need to be able to explain frequencies, channels and 802.11 as well as Bluetooth and radio-frequency identification (RFID).
2.4 Summarize services provided by networked hosts
For this subdomain, you have to explain four categories of services provided by networked hosts. These categories are server roles, internet appliances, legacy/embedded systems and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
2.5 Given a scenario, install and configure basic wired/wireless small office/home office (SOHO) networks
Despite the growing use of SOHOs in the pandemic/post-pandemic world (whichever way you view it), this subdomain has been consolidated into one concept – internet protocol (IP) addressing. Exam candidates must understand IPv4, IPv6, automatic private IP addressing (APIPA), gateway, and static and dynamic IP addressing.
2.6 Compare and contrast common network configuration concepts
Exam candidates will need a firm understanding of four concepts: DNS, DHCP, virtual LAN (VLAN), and virtual private network (VPN).
2.7 Compare and contrast internet connection types, network types, and their features
This subdomain is divided into two concepts. The first, internet connection types, covers common connection types from satellite, cable and fiber to wireless internet service provider (WISP). The second concept, network types, covers the main network types, from local area network (LAN) to wireless local area network (WLAN).
2.8 Given a scenario, use networking tools
Exam candidates should understand eight networking tools and when to use them. This subdomain covers crimpers, cable strippers, Wi-Fi analyzers, toner probers, punch-down tools, cable testers, loopback plugs and network taps.
Networking is an essential aspect of the IT world, so it should be no surprise that it has its own domain of knowledge on the A+ certification exam, domain 2.
If you plan to take the A+ certification and would like to know more about this domain and the others you will need to know to pass the exam, check out the Infosec A+ hub.
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