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How Hard Is The Network+ Exam?

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By: Nihad Hassan

December 22, 2021

Data has become the lifeblood of organizations in today's information age. No matter the type and industry, organizations cannot operate without data. As a result, computer networks became an integral component for any organization that utilizes technology to facilitate exchanging data. They provide:

  • Numerous benefits for adopters
  • Ranging from increasing work efficiencies
  • Facilitating sharing of computer resources
  • Saving operational costs
  • Not ending with more competitive advantages.

Digital transformation is accelerating rapidly, and it has witnessed a massive boost since the start of the COVID19 pandemic. This new shift has resulted in the increasing adoption of cloud technology to support the increased remote workforce. Organizations' networks become hybrid; hence, they utilize a mix of IT infrastructure distributed between on-premises data centers and those in the cloud. These facts have raised the need for computer networking experts who can install, manage and maintain computer networks.

This article will discuss CompTIA network+ certification, discuss its main areas, and suggest learning resources to prepare for it. Many people, especially those who decide to follow an IT career path, may find the Network+ exam difficult and may feel worried about attempting it. However, this article will clear any misunderstanding about this exam. First, it will define its objectives in detail so candidates can prepare well for each domain. Then It will suggest many online courses and tutorials to enhance your preparation to attempt this exam in confidence.

What is the Network+ exam?

The most current exam version of CompTIA network+ is N10-008, the version N10-007 will retire in 2022, so it is advised to take the new version.

It helps professionals develop technical knowledge about IT infrastructure, specifically those related to computer networking, and how to maintain and manage them. This certification is vendor-neutral. For example, Frontline and Cisco provide numerous networking certifications based on their products or technology. Network+ covers networking fundamentals that any IT professional needs to learn before engaging in vendor-specific certificates.

Network+ Exam Objectives

The exam objectives are quite broad. It covers everything related to computer networking, from installation, managing, troubleshooting, and security. The following are the five key exam objectives and their sub-components:

First: Network Fundamentals

Includes basic networking concepts, such as:

  1. Understand the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model layers and the services/applications run at each layer.

  2. Differentiate between different network topologies. Such as Mesh, Star/hub-and-spoke, Bus, Ring, and Hybrid.

  3. Understand network types and the characteristics of each one. Such as: LAN, WAN, PAN, WLAN.

  4. Virtual network concepts.

  5. Learn the types of cables and connectors, such as copper (Cat5,5e,6), fiber, RJ45, RJ11, and ethernet standards.

  6. Understand IP addressing scheme – creating subnets.

  7. List standard networking protocols and ports.

  8. Study essential networking services – such as DHCP, DNS, and NTP.

  9. Understand network architecture, including cloud concepts.

Second: Network Implementations

Covers everything related to network deployment and configuration:

  1. Learn various networking devices (Switches, routers, modems, proxy server, firewall, VPN, IoT device), their roles in the network, and decide how to select the best machine according to each network usage.

  2. Understand network bandwidth management and how routing works (static or dynamic routing).

  3. Know and deploy different ethernet and wireless standards and technologies.

Third: Network Operations

Tests candidates about the best methods to maintain network connectivity and optimize it to ensure business continuity:

  1. Use different tools and techniques to ensure network availability. For example, understand how to use network metrics (bandwidth, latency, and Jitter) to measure performance.

  2. Comprehend how to review network devices logs (traffic and audit logs).

  3. Understand the environmental factors that affect network performance, such as temperature, humidity, and electrical errors.

  4. Study the importance of IT policies and official documentation in securing and maintaining computer networks. Areas covered include incident response plan, disaster recovery plan, business continuity plan, password policies, remote access policy, physical and logical network diagrams.

  5. Decide the best solution/s to maintain network availability- such as using multipathing, load balancing, and redundant hardware devices (routers, switches).

Fourth: Network security

Knows major attacks against networks and how to mitigate them:

  1. Understand what is meant by security vulnerabilities and how to discover them.

  2. Know security exploits and zero-day attacks.

  3. Study key security concepts, such as zero-trust, least privilege, and role-based access controls.

  4. Define the different types of digital authentication – such as MFA, SSO, LDAP, Kerberos, and RADIUS.

  5. Explain a defense in depth strategy.

  6. Know the different types of cyberattacks and how they can execute against your network.

  • Dos
  • DDoS
  • Ransomware
  • DNS poisoning
  • VLAN hopping
  • ARP spoofing
  • Password attacks
  • Social engineering attacks – phishing and other human-based attacks.
  1. Apply different network security hardening techniques.

  2. Understand attacks against remote access and how to mitigate them.

  3. Physical security attacks and countermeasures.

Fifth: Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshoot network connectivity, software, and hardware issues that affect network availability and performance.

  1. Understand common network troubleshooting methodologies.
  2. Diagnose common cable connectivity problems.
  3. Use specialized network software tools to troubleshoot network connectivity problems.

Summary

CompTIA Network+ exam is not an exam that novice users can pass quickly; however, understanding the main domains composing this exam and learning from the correct resources can help you approach the exam confidently. This article discusses the main topics covered in the latest version of the CompTIA Network+ exam. In addition, it suggests different free and commercial resources to learn and master the techniques covered in this exam.

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