Minor CCNA Blueprint Update, but Major Book Updates for 2024

 In News

Cisco just announced (April 2024) a new version of the CCNA 200-301 blueprint. It’s a minor change. But with almost five years of time since the last blueprint announcement, there’s much more to do in the books. We’ll have new editions out in the June-to-August timeframe, with much more than blueprint updates. Learn about the details below!

Read this Post, or Watch this Video

I launched the YouTube channel Network Upskill in April 2024. You can watch a video about the same topics in this blog post or keep reading – your choice!

Cisco Reveals CCNA 200-301 Version 1.1 (April 2024)

Other Posts/Videos in the 2024 Announcement Series

My current plan has about 10 posts and matching videos related to the 2024 announcements. I made them, and even I’ll get confused about what’s what. So, here’s a repeating reference to the blog posts and matching videos.

New CCNA Official Cert Guides in 2024

We will release a new two-book CCNA Official Cert Guide set in 2024. We have finished most of the work, with just some final edits and layout to complete.

Interestingly, the books change far more for this next edition for reasons other than the new blueprint. Because of that, I thought you might find it interesting to hear some of the why and wherefore, along with some of the more prominent changes in the books. Summarizing the reasons, after which I’ll work through those in order:

  1. The CCNA V1.1 blueprint update
  2. The late 2022 interim blueprint update
  3. Rescoping
  4. Modernization

 

Quick Review: The CCNA 200-301 Version 1.1 Blueprint

Cisco announced a new Version 1.1 of their CCNA blueprint in April 2024. It’s a minor update. Figure 1 shows the key dates, with links to pages and a video with more detail just below the figure.

Figure 1: CCNA 200-301 Version 1.0 to Version 1.1 Timeline

The above links detail what’s removed (just a little) and what’s added (more, but not a lot) to the blueprint with the V1.1 update. I won’t repeat it here – instead, use the links above. Unsurprisingly, we’re revising the books, and yes, we’ll cover all the new exam topics!

 

Late 2022 Interim Blueprint Update

In late calendar year 2022, Cisco updated the CCNA V1.0 blueprint. Cisco did not note the changes in the blueprint or update the version number, but the document changed. Observing that effect, it falls into the category of actions Cisco mentions in the paragraph at the top of the blueprint document: That they can change the blueprint at any time without notice.

Figure 2: Timeline with Interim Blueprint Changes Late 2022

I am 100% certain the changes in 2022 were expected to have little or no impact on those pursuing CCNA. Most of the changes improved the wording of the exam topics without changing their literal meaning. However, a few of the wording changes did change the plain meaning of the exam topics, expanding the exam scope.

Focusing on the blueprint document, so that you understand, if you had downloaded the CCNA V1.0 blueprint from its announced date in June 2019 through sometime in late 2022, that document would differ from what you find listed as the CCNA V1.0 blueprint today. As a result, after November 2022, when you look at the Version 1.0 blueprint, you see the blueprint with those November 2022 changes included.

The Exam Updates Appendix in each of the two CCNA OCG volumes give me a place to deal with changes like this mid-edition. For instance, we published updated versions of the Exam Updates Appendix of Volume 1 and Volume 2 back in early 2023, with material about the updated exam topics. Anyone who owns my books and reads the details will be reminded to check for updates to those Appendices, download them, and see the updated material. Note that each Volume’s Appendix B is unique, with some new topics in each Appendix.

Figure 3: CCNA Volume 1 and 2 Exam Updates Appendices B

Knowing all that: The new editions include new content based on the 2022 interim exam topic changes. For perspective, here’s a list of the exam topics that changed in late 2022 that resulted in new content in the new books:

  • ET 3.5: FHRP functions and concepts
  • ET 5.5: IPsec remote access VPNs
  • ET 5.10: Verify WLANs using the GUI
  • ET 1.12: Explain containers and VRFs

If you’re studying for CCNA 200-301 based on the V1.0 blueprint, check on the Appendices at the links below:

 

Rescoping Exam Topics

I rescope the exam topics (ETs) in each edition. Scoping refers to the process of taking the general wording in the exam topics and thinking about how Cisco is testing against those ETs on the current exam. Then I adjust the content in the books, making choices about what to keep, what to remove, and what to add.

To give a little insight on the need for scoping, the blueprint is about five pages in a PDF – but the Official Cert Guides require two volumes. Scoping refers to how I take those brief general words in the blueprint, plus a lot of outside information (which remains private), to determine what I should include and exclude from the books. It’s not an exact science, and it’s difficult – probably the most difficult part of writing the books.

To give a little perspective about scoping, the next figure shows a small slice of the blueprint. It shows a CCNA domain. The Volume 1 book includes one larger-than-average chapter about VLANs (Chapter 8 in Volume 1), covering ETs 2.1 and 2.2, plus all their subtasks except 2.1.c. The scoping process takes those few ETs and expands them into the topics I chose for that chapter.

Figure 4: Terms that Break Down the Blueprint and Exam Topics

In comparison, the scoping for some ETs shows a need for more content, while others create a need for just a little. For instance, ET 2.1.c gets an entire chapter to itself, while ET 2.3 receives about half a chapter of content.

For every edition, I rescope the exam topics based on where the exam moves over time. I wonder if each ET needs more, less, or the same coverage, and update the chapters accordingly. Why I make the specific choices must remain private. But the larger rescoping changes are more obvious – for instance, removals or additions of entire chapters.

I probably made a typical number of rescoping changes to the new editions of the two-book set, most of which are a page here or two pages there. But here are a few of the more noticeable rescoping additions for these new editions in 2024:

  1. Reintroduced a chapter seen in the 2016 editions about IP Subnetting Design: How to find all subnets of a network and how to choose a subnet mask to use when subnetting a network.
  2. Expanded the IPv6 book part from four to five chapters to dedicate a chapter to IPv6 on hosts, including IPv6 host commands and address assignment.
  3. Wrote a new chapter about applied IP Access Control Lists (ACLs).

The books also include about a dozen additions of two pages or more. Watch for more discussion on this level once the books release in a few months.

 

Figure 5: Rescoping Changes to the CCNA OCGs for 2024

 

Modernization

The CCNA 200-301 Version 1.1 blueprint represents the ninth blueprint in the history of CCNA (see Figure.) The new books are the 10th editions (we published two different editions for the long-lived books for the 640-802 exam.)

Figure 6: Long-Term Averages: Time Between CCNA Revisions

As you can see from the statistics at the bottom of the figure, Cisco averages about four years between CCNA blueprint releases, with this latest release arriving at the 4.5 year mark.

Why does the release timing matter? For the books, sometimes the books need to be updated just to modernize the content. Hardware changes. For instance, faster interfaces become common. During the years of CCNA, serial interfaces were at first common and now are ignored by the exam topics. Software also changes, with command syntax, command output, and sometimes feature behavior changing.

The best time to update the books for these kinds of modernization changes happens when we produce a new edition, and in the past that’s been about every four years.

Let me give you one straightforward example. Router IOS has supported IP ACLs since the earliest days of Cisco, and IP ACLs have been part of CCNA since the first CCNA blueprint. In the past, you could have one IP ACL, per router interface, per direction. IOS XE added a feature that allows two ACLs per interface, called a Common ACL. For close to 30 years, people have been repeating the “one ACL, per interface, per direction” adage. Well, it’s changed. That’s the kind of thing that the modernization process attempts to find so I can update the books to continue to be a great technical resource over time.

This list details the big modernization projects for the 2024 editions.

  1. A complete review and reorganization of Vol 1 Part 6 (OSPF). The former three chapters are now four chapters. The fourth OSPF chapter includes a more detailed discussion of OSPF neighbor troubleshooting, plus an improved section about how routers make a forwarding decision.
  2. A complete review and update of Vol 1 Part 7 (IPv6). The former four chapters are now five.
  3. A complete review of the former two ACL chapters. The second of those chapters has significant rewrites.
  4. A complete review of the Vol 2 NAT chapter

 

Wrap

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about what goes into building a new edition of the books. With the new editions here in 2024, the new content specific to the new CCNA 200-301 V1.1 blueprint makes up less than half of the new content. The other three major factors in the revision process drive the rest of the updates.

Figure 7: Factors that Drive CCNA OCG Changes

 

Next Post: Your Choices

Wait, there’s more! (Yes, really…)

What do you do now? You’ve been studying for CCNA, and now it seems you have a choice: old or new. In the next post, due out Wednesday of announcement week, I’ll break down the pros and cons of each choice.

Key Links

Here are a few helpful links related to the announcement.

Wendell Odom

Cisco Press

Note: Pages for the new products will be available 1-2 days AFTER Cisco’s blueprint announcement.

Cisco

Cisco Reveals CCNA 200-301 Version 1.1 (April 2024)
Which CCNA Blueprint Should You Pursue? Old vs New (2024)
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x