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A Look at the Network+ Certification

  • September 29, 2003
  • By Steve Rowe
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What Does the Network+ Exam Cover?

You may be asking yourself what exactly do industry experts consider to be baseline skills? Which of these skills are important enough to be on an industry-recognized, vendor-neutral exam that is accepted by corporations worldwide? The following table gives you a topical breakdown by exam domains and the percentage that domain is represented on the actual exam. After the table, we will cover some highlights of each domain to see what topics you can expect to see on the Network+ exam. (To get specifics on what each domain expects of you, be sure to check out the Network+ objective domains on www.comptia.com.)

Domain Percent of Exam
Media and Topologies 20%
Protocols and Standards 25%
Network Implementation 23%
Network Support 32%

Media and Topologies

In this domain, you will have to be knowledgeable of and be able to work with common network hardware items and topologies. You will need to be able to differentiate among topologies such as star, bus, and ring. You will also need to be able to differentiate among, implement, and support common network hardware items such as hubs, routers, servers, gateways, and switches, to name a few.

Protocols and Standards

This domain requires you to be familiar with protocols and services used with LANs and WANs. Not to anyone's surprise, you will need to understand the TCP/IP protocol suite because it is such a mainstay across the Internet and corporate networks. Also, protocols such as NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, and AppleTalk will be covered. Services such as DNS, DHCP, and SNMP, to name a few, will be covered as well. You also will need to be familiar with remote networking protocols and security protocols as delineated throughout this domain. Understanding default gateways, subnetting, private networking vs. public networking, and a host of WAN technologies is also required.

Network Implementation

In this domain, you will be required to understand client connection and configuration fundamentals. Also, you will need to understand the fundamentals of server operating systems, such as UNIX, Windows Servers, Novell, and Macintosh. Topics on disaster recovery, fault tolerance, proxy and firewall technologies, network attached storage, and VLANs are also covered.

Network Support

This section of content will require you to work with given scenarios on the exam and be able to select the proper method of troubleshooting and/or tool set required to solve a networking problem. Topics include identifying a cause of failure in a small office or remote connection, wiring or infrastructure problem, client connectivity, and physical topology problems. You also will need to be well versed in TCP/IP diagnostic tools such as Tracert, PING, IPConfig, and Nslookup, to name a few. Lastly, you will need to be able to solve a given problem using steps from the general troubleshooting strategy list.

This is just a high-level overview of what you will encounter in the different Network+ domains, but it is always advised to visit www.comptia.com to keep current with exam objectives as you complete your course of study. Don't get caught off guard by an exam change you were not anticipating!

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