Part A: Introduction
What is the CompTIA Network+?
CompTIA Network+ is an entry level credential for IT Professionals to identify issues and solve problems with computer networks.
CompTIA Network+ allows you to do the following
- Detect security threats
- Install and configure network components that protect critical systems & infrastructure
- Design security network architecture
- Install and configure identity and access systems
- Implement best practices for risk management and business continuity
- Install and configure public key cryptography infrastructure
You should have
- At least two years experience in IT administration and security
- Day-to-day knowledge of technical security information
- Broad knowledge of security threats
- Experience with computer networks
CompTIA overlaps with
- Networking certifications (Cisco CCNA for example)
- Virtualization certifications (VMWare)
- Storage certifications
What can you do with a CompTIA Network+ Certification?
- System Engineer
- Systems Administrator
- Network Administrator
- Network Field Technician
- Network Analyst
CompTIA is “vendor neutral”
The beauty of networks is that when they work, they all work together regardless of the manufacturers of the underlying equipment. Network protocols are designed to be open. Manufacturers implement these open protocols into their hardware. So, a Cisco router can talk to a Netgear or HP switch or an Aruba Wireless Access Point.
Having said that, each manufacturer has specific commands, best practices, and features implemented into their devices. For example, Cisco devices use the Cisco Discovery Protocol, which allows the Cisco devices to discover neighboring Cisco devices. This feature is not available on products made by other manufacturers.
Each manufacturer has their own set of network certifications. These certifications cover the basics, but also focus on troubleshooting and configuring the manufacturer’s devices. For example, Cisco offers the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification, which covers many of the same topics as the Network+. It also teaches you how to configure Cisco Switches and Routers.
What should you do? You must remember that the Network+ certification is only a basic certification and has no sequel. There is no certification that builds on Network+. Manufacturer certifications can get more advanced.
For example, Cisco offers the Cisco Certified Network Professional certification, the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Certification, and the Cisco Certified Architect certification. Each of these certifications covers more advanced topics and are available in many tracks such as “routing and switching”, “collaboration”,- “voice over IP”, “security”, and “cloud”. Each of these certifications require a basic understanding of the network. It would take a lifetime to become an expert in every track. Many network experts are experts in a single area like VoIP, cloud, or security. Once you know the basics, you can choose a route that interests you.
When you are in the field, you might encounter network hardware belonging to many different manufacturers. Cisco is the most popular, but Netgear, HP, Dell, Brocade, Juniper, Ubiquiti, and Fortigate make similar equipment. If you know how they all work, you may just need to look up the appropriate commands when performing troubleshooting.
I decided when writing this book, to keep it vendor-neutral, but to use examples of popular technologies. What’s new and popular?
• SD-WAN devices including VeloCloud, Meraki, and Viptela
• Cloud managed Wi-Fi and network devices such as Meraki, Ubiquiti, Aruba, and Mist
• VoIP as a Service such as Phone.com and Ring Central
CompTIA Network+ consists of one 90-minute exam
CompTIA Network+ N10-008 has been updated in September 2021 by adding:
- Cloud computing
- Virtualization technology
- A larger focus on security
It will probably be updated again in 2024.
How do I obtain the Network+ Certification?
You must pass the exam, N10-008. The passing score is 720 (out of a possible score from 100 to 900). The exam is 90 minutes long and contains a maximum of 90 questions. The actual number of questions will depend on the difficulty. If you receive an exam with more difficult questions, there may be fewer questions.
About the Exam
- You can register online to take the exam. The online system will show you the dates and times that are available.
- You may be able to write the exam on a Saturday or Sunday, depending on the Prometric Test Center.
- You may reschedule the exam for free, if you do so at least 30 calendar days before the exam.
- You may reschedule the exam for USD$70, if you do so at least 2 calendar days before the exam.
- You may not reschedule the exam if there are less than 2 calendar days before the exam.
- If you do not show up to the exam or are more than 15 minutes late to the exam, you will not be allowed to write the exam, and will forfeit the entire fee.
- At the exam center, you are required to show a piece of government-issued photo ID.
- You will be required to empty your pockets and place the contents in a locker.
- If you are wearing eyeglasses, they will be inspected.
- You may be checked with a metal detector.
- You can only bring your photo ID and locker key into the exam room.
- The test center will provide you with scratch paper, a pencil, and a basic calculator.
- While you write the exam, you will be monitored via audio and video surveillance.
- Each exam is up to 90 multiple-choice questions, and you have 90 minutes to complete the exam.
- You can take a break at any time, but the time on the exam will continue to elapse.
- It goes without saying that cheating will not be tolerated!
- The questions are
- Multiple-choice (single, and multiple responses)
- Drag & Drop
- Performance Based (you are provided with a scenario, which you must explore; you are required to correct the issue)
About this Book
- The Exam has 5 Main Topics
- We’re going to cover each topic in order
- This is the best way because some readers have advanced knowledge and just need to brush up on specific topics, while other people are starting from the very beginning
- Sometimes that won’t make sense because we are explaining an advanced concept before explaining a basic concept, but I will explain concepts as necessary
- Keep everything in the back of your mind; you might choose to go back and re-read a section