Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) is the first level certification offered by the Cisco’s certification system, earned after the ICND1 (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 1) exam, and it can lead up to the CCNA certification and its various specialization, if followed by a ICND2 exam.

It’s proof of fundamental knowledge of Cisco devices and of general networking, necessary for entry-level network support positions: basic configuration skills, troubleshooting, and managing of devices in small networks. For this certification to be awarded, candidates are tested on topics such as:

• Data networks: Basic concepts knowledge of networks. Their functioning, pathways of communication, different types of networking devices, understanding of network diagrams and traffic flow, knowledge of the OSI model, of WAN, LAN, and VoIP.

• Small switch networks: An understanding of different types of connectors on Cisco switches, basic concepts of Cisco switches, of configuration tasks like port security configuration and disabling. Everything aimed at creating a basic network, from the working of switches and routing, and troubleshooting tools, to practical skills as connecting cables and switches.

• IP addressing and services: Knowledge of network services (DHCP, DNS, NAT), IP addressing implementation and trouble shooting of communication issues connected to IP addressing issues.

• Routed network: Router configuration, routing configuration back up and routing process knowledge, implementation of a routed network (static routing and dynamic routing through RIP and RIPv2 protocols), and managing of the Cisco IOS.

• WLAN: Knowledge of administrative tasks for WLAN, wireless terminology, wireless security protocols (ex. WEP, WPA, WPA1), wireless components (ex. SSID), and common wireless issues.

• WAN: Implementation and verification of WAN links, WAN terminology and configuration of links.

• Security: Threats identification, basic knowledge of threats control methods, security principles, networking equipment and equipment location, router configuration.

Why a CCENT certification?

CCENT certification is recommend to anyone looking to start a career into IT, when new to Cisco devices and to fundamentals networking, instead of attempting to pass the combined ICND1-ICND2 exam for a CCNA certification.

Thanks to Cisco’s decision to make the CCNA certification attainable in two separate exams, exam topics are broken up, with the ICND1 exam consisting in an introductory part that verifies theorical skills, and leaves advanced topics and most of the practical knowledge to the ICND2.

This arrangement makes for a easier studying and mastering of the basics, while at the same time offering an immediate certification to begin a career in IT. CCENT has a validity of three years, then it’s required to take the exam again for renewal.

To schedule the exam at the VUE testing center, it’s required either that the candidate is 18 years old or, in the case that they’re between 13 and 17 years old, for them to have their parents’ consent.

The exam lasts 90 minutes in total, and features 40-50 questions, with multiple choice questions (single or multiple answer), drag-and-drop questions, fill-in-the-blank, router simulation, simlet and testlet questions. The passing score to obtain the CCENT certification is 804 on 1000. Signing up costs $150.