The modern world will always associate itself with lots of things, whether it be people, objects or events. But there is one thing that incessantly comes into mind when we think about the Internet and its advances. And it’s Cisco. Having been founded in late 1984, the company rapidly gained a huge success in IT industry by providing high-end networking equipment to large companies and corporations worldwide. What’s more important, the company was one of the first to adopt newest telecom innovations in their products, which resulted in Cisco having acquired the status of the largest Internet service provider in the world.
As a leading manufacturer of high-tech networking equipment, Cisco is concerned with having qualified staff involved in installing, managing and maintaining their networks in various technological realms. That is why the company continues their extensive sponsorship of IT professional certifications in Cisco’s primary technologies and architectures.
If you want to become an expert in networking systems and would like to gain field-specific skills and qualifications, Cisco certification is a perfect choice for you. And, although Cisco has its own specialized training resource allowing anyone to prepare for any existing certification exam (namely, the
Table of contents
- 1 Entry Certifications
- 2 Associate Certifications
- 2.1 CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Official Cert Guide Library by Wendell Odom
- 2.2 CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide: Exam 100-105, Exam 200-105, Exam 200-125 by Todd Lammle
- 2.3 CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide (ICND1 100-105, ICND2 200-105, and CCNA 200-125) by Scott Empson
- 2.4 CCNA Wireless 200-355 Official Cert Guide by David Hucaby
- 2.5 CCDA 200-310 Official Cert Guide by Anthony Bruno and Steve Jordan
- 3 Professional Certifications
- 4 Expert Certifications
- 5 Other specialized guides on Cisco technologies
CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 Official Cert Guide by Wendell Odom
This is an official Certification Guide published by Cisco Press itself, which makes it the most reliable preparation material. Moreover, it’s one of the newest editions of the guide which includes recent changes in Cisco’s Certification System (as of 2013). According to the updates, to obtain the CCENT Certification, you must now pass the ICND1 (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices) exam which at the same time comprises the half of the score required for obtaining the CCNA Routing and Switching Certification.
The guide follows the set exam structure to help you fully prepare for each of its elements. In addition, each chapter of the book starts off with self-check tests to ensure you don’t have any gaps about the topic being discussed. If you wish to refresh only certain topics of the exam, you can make use of a specialized topic list that will allow you to review only those parts you need. The most important thing about this guide is that it goes together with an additional CD containing all the questions you might face during the actual exam, so you’re not going to miss any relevant information to pass all tasks in no effort.
This preparation guide covers all essential topics for the ICND1 exam, including:
- Basic networking concepts;
- Dealing with basic Ethernet networks;
- IPv4 addressing and subnetting;
- Managing IPv4;
- IPv4 design and troubleshooting;
- Using IPv4 major services: NAT and ACLs;
- Managing IPv6;
- Managing network devices;
- Network Security.
You can purchase this guide directly from Amazon. A hardcover copy is now $33.99, but you can also address other sellers with more reasonable offerings.
CCENT ICND1 Study Guide: Exam 100-105 by Todd Lammle
This book is written by an experienced networking specialist and includes all theoretical concepts and practical techniques you need to grasp in order to pass the ICND1 exam successfully. Apart from covering exam-related topics, such as building IP data networks, working with IPv4 and IPv6, switching and routing, etc., the guide also covers real-life case studies and tips that can become handy to networking technicians in their daily routine.
The most appealing thing about this guide, however, is a completely free access to various interactive online tools that will allow you to make the best of your exam preparation. These tools are, in fact, a comprehensive
In addition to online test samples, you can also review the material through a set of more than 100 flashcards available online. And to make yourself even more comfortable with your studies, Sybex also provides you with a 30-day free access to specialized video tutorials conducted by professionals from ITPro TV.
All of this is guaranteed to you after you purchase a copy of this hands-on guide which currently costs $31 for a paperback copy. You can also buy an e-book version for $21.59.
CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Official Cert Guide Library by Wendell Odom
This guide is aimed for passing CCNA Routing and Switching #200-125 which is a combined exam containing ICND1 and ICND2 parts. And because it covers the topics from both separate exams, the size of the book reaches 1600 pages. However, it’s totally worth the efforts.
As any other specialized source on Cisco Certification exams, this guide is provided by a series of additional learning materials that include online practice exercises, around 600 exam questions, handy video tutorials, and 43 unique Network Simulator labs.
This is an official CCNA study guide that meets the latest Cisco Certification requirements. Moreover, it includes ambiguous network management cases that you should be able to solve in order to pass the exam. Together with extensive coverage of every topic, the book also provides a great number of self-assessment tasks to ensure your proficiency in the field.
As for the content itself, it corresponds to the available CCNA Network Simulator labs which are divided into two parts:
- Configuring Hostnames
- Configuring Local Usernames
- Configuring Switch IP Settings
- Interface Settings I, II and III
- Interface Status I, II, III and IV
- Setting Switch Passwords
- Switch CLI Configuration Process I and II
- Switch CLI Exec Mode
- Switch Forwarding I
- Switch IP Address
- Switch IP Connectivity I
- Switch Security I, II, III and IV
- Switch Security Configuration Scenario
- Switch Interfaces and Forwarding Configuration Scenario
- Port Security Troubleshooting Scenario
- EIGRP Serial Configuration I, II, III, IV, V and VI
- EIGRP Route Tuning I, II, III and IV
- EIGRP Neighbors I, II and III
- EIGRP Auto-Summary Configuration Scenario
- EIGRP Configuration I Configuration Scenario
- EIGRP Metric Manipulation Configuration Scenario
- EIGRP Variance and Maximum Paths Configuration Scenario
- EIGRP Troubleshooting Scenario
- Path Troubleshooting Scenario IV
A hardcover copy of the book costs $50.99, and, unfortunately, it has no digital version available at the moment.
CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide: Exam 100-105, Exam 200-105, Exam 200-125 by Todd Lammle
And again, Todd Lammle’s Cisco Cert guide is the second important exam preparation source. It perfectly suits to those preparing for a composite CCNA exam (200-125) as well as those willing to pass ICND1 (100-105) and ICND2 (200-105) separately. The book provides a detailed overview of all topics presented in these (currently popular) exams, together with online labs designed to give you some practical experience in the networking field. Apart from that, you’ll have an access to a full-fledged network simulator which you can use to train your skills in configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting networks of different types. All online learning features are available for free as a part the Sybex learning environment. However, if you need more practice, you can also get a paid year subscription allowing you to make use of Sybex’ premium labs.
With this guide, you can be sure to have passed your exams without headaches, mastering key skills that you will need as a qualified networking specialist in the future, specifically:
- IP data network operation;
- Troubleshooting issues and keeping the network secure;
- Understanding switching and routing technologies
- Working with IPv4 and IPv6 addressing
The book is available on Amazon in paperback ($44.02) and as a Kindle e-book ($31.99).
CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide (ICND1 100-105, ICND2 200-105, and CCNA 200-125) by Scott Empson
This is a rather concise reference book that’s intended primarily for practical or refreshing purposes and is therefore not considered a comprehensive learning material. However, you can surely use it as an addon to your main CCNA study guide. This reference book is, in fact, a full collection of CCNA-related commands, keywords, terms, tips, and instructions you might need during your exam preparations. As a result, you will manage to easily cope with real-world tasks and scenarios when it comes to network configuration and management.
The guide is divided into several categories to help you access relevant commands faster, namely:
- Basic network concepts: VLSM, subnetting,, route summarization, cables/connections, CLI;
- LAN Switching: Switch configuration, VLANs, VLAN trunking protocol, inter-VLAN communication, STP, EtherChannel;
- IPv4/ IPv6 Routing: Router configuration, static routing, RIPng, EIGRP/EIGRPv6, OSPFv2/OSPFv3;
- WAN: Point-to-point protocols, eBGP, GRE tunnels, QoS;
- Infrastructure Services: DHCP, FHRP, HSRP, NAT;
- Infrastructure Security: Switch port security, ACL traffic management, device hardening;
- Infrastructure Management: Backup/restore, password recovery, CDP, LLDP, IOS tools, device monitoring, IOS licensing, network troubleshooting.
Every concept presented is described in the shortest and comprehensible manner, following the logical structure of the book. This allows for the most effective material review just before your exams. In addition, the book has a specialized “Create Your Journal” section allowing you to personalize your learning process in accordance with your preferences. Finally, the whole guide is just a perfect means of learning, as it helps you learn and practice on your own pace – productively and without pain.
You can purchase this quick reference guide on Amazon for as much as $26.16. An e-book version is also available for $14.36.
CCNA Wireless 200-355 Official Cert Guide by David Hucaby
The CCNA Wireless exam is designed to test one’s knowledge of wireless LANs and how to configure, implement, and troubleshoot them. As a result, you will manage to become eligible for maintaining wireless networks at small and medium enterprise level. And with this official hands-on guide published by Cisco, you will get everything you need in order to pass the exam successfully.
The book starts off with explaining basic concepts, including Radio Frequency signals, standards and modulations, 802.11 standard typology, Cisco wireless architectures, and much more. Afterwards, you will be gradually moved to actual WLAN implementation types and techniques in regard to Cisco hardware and its primary technologies. Every chapter is supplied with comprehensive self-check questions and tasks to help you reinforce your knowledge on the topic and corresponding skills.
This guide is also provided to you with compulsory simulation software and video-tutorials to enhance your overall learning process. And, as a final point of your preparation routine, you will have an access to several sample tests to help you feel more confident during the actual exam.
You can now purchase Cisco official CCNA Wireless guide on Amazon for $44.69 in hardcover, and you can also download a digital e-book version for $31.99.
CCDA 200-310 Official Cert Guide by Anthony Bruno and Steve Jordan
This is another official Cisco Certification guide aiming to help you prepare for the CCDA 200-310 exam. Having sufficiently completed the aforementioned test, you’ll acquire the design associate level giving you the opportunity to build, configure, and maintain scalable, flexible, and business-oriented networks.
Among the most relevant topics discussed in this guide, you will find:
- Primary design methodologies, such as Personal Broadband Mobile (PBM), network characterization, and top-down/bottom-up approaches;
- Major network design objectives, namely: scalability, hierarchy, modularity, and resilience;
- How to configure addressing and routing protocols in the given network;
- Dealing with various network designs, such as campus, enterprise and branch;
- Scalability in action: developing existing networks into wireless ones, improving security, improving virtualization and programmability, and even more.
Overall, this book will allow you to master all CCDA-relevant exam topics, refresh and improve your knowledge with the help of chapter-opening quizzes, and practice key network design techniques by going through a special set of exam preparation tasks.
The book is more often purchased in digital format due to its relatively low price (just $35.36). However, hardcover and paperback copies are also available.
CCNP ROUTE 300-101 Study Guide by Chris Bryant
According to Cisco’s latest updates for Professional Certification exams, starting from the beginning of 2015 one should complete the 300-101 ROUTE exam as a necessary element of CCNP and CCDP Certifications. The exam has acquired the status of the toughest one to pass, which is why this guide has been written in the first place.
This guide is a hands-on material aimed to simplify your exam preparation process eliminating the need for using any further specialized books and tutorials. In fact, the book contains everything you need to know for your exam, starting from complex OSPF configs, advanced route distribution techniques and VPNS and ending with the most difficult part of professional network management – Border Gateway Protocol and its use specifics.
Every topic described in the book is accompanied with real-world straight-forward configurations and screenshots from actual Cisco routers that the author and his colleagues used to work with throughout their career. This alone guarantees that you will practice things that you are most likely to face during the CCNP ROUTE exam.
The guide reviews agree that the main advantage of this book is that it’s much easier to read and digest, if compared to guides of proclaimed authors like Odom or Lammle. Moreover, the book is said to truly provide sufficient illustration of every concept or technology, which makes it even a more reliable source.
The book is available in paperback ($28.04) and as an e-book (just $9.99).
CCNP Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide by Scott Empson, Patrick Gargano and Hans Roth
One of the authors of this book is already familiar to you – he specializes in writing concise reference books on Cisco certifications. This one is another portable hands-on guide designed to help you master all CCNP commands faster and in the most efficient way. Despite the fact that the book does not cover the 300-135 TSHOOT exam commands, relating to maintaining and troubleshooting IP-based Cisco networks, it is still a valuable source for quick refinement of one’s knowledge in ROUTE and SWITCH exam topics.
With this compact reference book, you’ll have a regular access to any specific commands and command arguments you need during your CCNP exam preps or in your daily professional routine. Apart from that, this guide will provide you with detailed configuration examples to let you better understand how these commands are used when dealing with an actual network building process. In addition, the book has lots of useful tips and original solutions to standard problems occurring during typical network management.
Most of reviews show that the book gives more than enough options for the successful CCNP exam preparation. Many reviewers find it exceptionally useful to make notes on last pages of the book designed specifically for the reader to structure their knowledge in the most suitable manner. There are a few commands, however, that are missed in this guide, but further editions are said to include them as well.
A hard copy of the guide is now $34.44 on Amazon, and its corresponding digital version – $21.59.
CCNP Routing and Switching v2.0 Official Cert Guide Library by Kevin Wallace, David Hucaby, Cristian Matei and Wendell Odom
This is a rather thick offline manual containing everything you need in order to prepare yourself for the CCNP Routing and Switching exams. The book is published by Cisco itself thus presenting the most reliable Cisco certification material currently available on the web. Moreover, it completely satisfies the new CCNP exam updates valid since the beginning of 2015.
The book basically consists of three key components that correspond to three exam parts that are to be taken in order to get the CCNP qualification, namely:
- 300-101 ROUTE;
- 300-115 SWITCH;
- 300-135 TSHOOT.
As an official exam preparation source by Cisco, this book provides multiple real-world case studies and examples that are essentially relevant for a future networking professional. Online labs and DVDs designed for the most effective practical experience are, of course, included in this edition. Overall, the book offers sufficient theoretical background for you to easily grasp all the featured exercises and sample tests which are the key to the successful completion of CCNP exams.
Due to its size and a rather extensive content, the full hard copy edition will cost you $128.29. A digital copy is, unfortunately, not available at the moment.
Routing TCP/IP, Volume 1 and 2 by Jeff Doyle and Jennifer DeHaven Carroll
Becoming a certified expert is the toughest challenge among all existing qualification exams designed by Cisco Systems, which is why there is a two-volume preparation material awaiting the bravest and the most determined of this world. This is a comprehensive book on TCP/IP routing protocols and how to implement them on Cisco routers to design complex, stable, and secure networks.
The first volume of the book puts emphasis on discussing the oldest and the most basic IP protocols, including RIPv1 & RIPv2, EIGRP, OSPFv2 and, particular to IPv6, RIPng and OSPFv3. The latest edition also touches upon major Cisco IOS updates, namely IPv6 and how to integrate it with IPv4 as well as other existing interior protocols. However, a more detailed IPv4 and IPv6 review is contained in the second volume of the book, recently revised.
In the second volume, you will find lots of practical routing and switching techniques as well as other self-assessment tasks and exercises to help you prepare for CCIE exams. Every concept presented in this book is an up-to-date feature widely used in every modern network or routing system. More specifically, this part will cover the following:
- Overview of all inter-domain routing concepts that has been described in detail in the previous volume, explaining how exactly exterior routing protocols have come to life;
- Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and its major components;
- How to effectively configure and troubleshoot BGP;
- How to define better routes for your network;
- Understanding Network Layer Reachability Information (NLRI) and major routing policies;
- Mastering load balancing and improved network scalability;
- How to extend BGP to multiprotocol environments via MP-BGP
- How to effectively deploy, configure, manage, troubleshoot, and scale IP multicast routing
- Using Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) and its basic variants: Dense Mode, Sparse Mode, and Bidirectional PIM;
- How to operate, configure, and troubleshoot NAT in IPv4-IPv4 (NAT44) and IPv6-IPv4 (NAT64) environments;
- Troubleshooting policy errors and other network-related damages.
This two-volume source on TCP/IP routing protocols is definitely a must-have reading solution for those willing to acquire the CCIE Certification, no matter what. So don’t spare money for its purchase and get it as soon as you can. The first volume of the book is now $76.50 for a hardcover copy and $51.20 for a Kindle e-book version. The second volume is $65.35 for a hardcover copy, and also $51.20 for a Kindle e-book version.
In-Depth CCDE by Orphan Ergun
CCDE is a more advanced and specific expert certification that allows you to acquire a higher level of expertise than an average CCIE certification. And, although you’re not supposed to take any minor exam as a prerequisite for the CCDE exam, it is still a tough challenge for those who decided to become proficient in network design. Which is why the In-Depth CCDE book was written.
As the author of this handy guide suggests, you need lots of effort in order to understand CCDE-related concepts and perform corresponding tasks, but you will only manage to succeed if you follow the path of those who have certain experience in the field. This will help you eliminate unnecessary mistakes in the future, whether you are planning to design networks of your own or while working with Cisco products and services.
The guide contains a detailed overview of major CCDE concepts and technologies which are equally relevant to modern service providers, mobile operators, data centers and businesses of all types. For instance, you will learn the basic network design principles and try to apply them for analyzing various network design cases. By the end of each chapter, you will find useful questions and tasks to help you better memorize the most relevant content. In addition, you’ll be able to go through an extensive practice work by using lots of complementary learning resources.
At present, a paperback copy of the book is available on Amazon for $68.79, but there is also a cheaper Kindle version costing $49.99.
CCDE Study Guide (Quick Reference) by Marwan Al-shawi
This one is a complementary CCDE material presenting a rather concise overview of network design topics which are essential to those willing to complete the CCDE exam. The guide is written by an authoritative Cisco expert who doesn’t attempt to provide you with fundamentals but rather tries to discuss not-that-obvious topics, including:
- The existing limitations and advantages of various network design options in terms of each major objective and the ways of getting more flexible with deciding on the most accurate technology, protocol or design type for the given network;
- The overview of various protocols and technologies used for designing a full-fledged network, as well as their design peculiarities;
- Describing the purpose of implementing those protocols and technologies in regard to the size or type of business involved.
Unlike other Cisco certification guides, this one also helps you choose the right approach to building powerful networks that would meet technical requirements and goals of the given business. You’ll be introduced to the most frequently used network architectures, such as converged enterprise network architectures, service provider network architectures, and data centers, with a further consideration of both the technical and non-technical design limitations of each. In addition, the book covers other important network concepts and technologies, like high availability, IPv6, multicast, QoS, security, and network management design considerations,
The book is sold on Amazon at the same price for both Kindle and paperback version, which equals $79.99.
Other specialized guides on Cisco technologies
The VIRL BOOK: A Step-by-Step Guide Using Cisco Virtual Internet Routing Lab by Jack Wang
The Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL) is a specialized Cisco simulator which allows you to practice certain Cisco equipment and technologies at home with no need to deal with physical hardware. Accordingly, this book is a hands-on guide on how to use this software for training and learning purposes by those willing to successfully pass CCNA, CCNP or CCIE exams. However, it will also perfectly suit general IT specialists who would like to learn how Cisco products and technologies actually work if applied to networks of various types and configurations.
This book is equally accessible to practicing network engineers as well as instructors and students aiming to master key skills for acquiring their Cisco Certifications. As a practitioner, you will find here a comprehensive step-by-step guidance on how to configure your VIRL Cisco devices to get the best testing tool for your up-to-date needs. You can also use this platform to monitor the work of your network and its interaction with servers. All available network operation samples are taken from the author’s personal experience, so no major technique is going to slip out of your attention.
For students, this book will be a meaningful source of practice, as it contains numerous examples of network implementation that are likely to be faced during the Cisco Certification exams. For teachers, correspondingly, it’s a perfect teaching tool that will help them guide their students through the hard journey of network building and management.
A paperback copy of the book will cost you $31.91, and its Kindle version – $28.99.
IP Routing on Cisco IOS, IOS XE, and IOS XR by Brad Edgeworth, Aaron Foss and Ramiro Garza Rios
With this book, you will gain the practical knowledge of how to implement IP routing protocols by using major Cisco operating systems. As a result, you’ll manage to successfully maintain and troubleshoot networks of small and large businesses, enterprises and service providers.
The book concentrates on three primary Cisco operating systems, namely:
- Cisco IOS;
- IOS XE;
- IOS XR.
But before moving to actual network configuration tasks, you will be first introduced to major Cisco concepts that are most often used while working with various network architectures, including static routing, EIGRP, OSPF, IS-IS, and BGP routing protocols. Later on, the guide shifts to discussing more advanced routing techniques with policies and redistribution involved. Furthermore, a detailed overview of IPv6, BGP-based traffic engineering and multicast is discussed. And, to help you better distinguish the main peculiarities of the three operating systems, the book gets to comparing their features and commands in relation to specific network design tasks and components.
After you succeed in IP routing on the given operating systems, you will at large prepare yourself for a set of Cisco Career certifications, including CCNA, CCNP, CCIE Service Provider, CCIE Routing & Switching, Cisco IOS XR Specialist Certification, and some others. However, these skills are also essential to acquire if you intend to improve your network productivity and learn how to get your company to the highest performance point.
You can purchase this book in paperback for $63.99 and as a digital e-book – for $51.19.