Switch Vs Route

I see a lot of people as Questions such as what is harder the Switch or the Route exam, Or Why is the Route coarse materials so much larger than the Switch, does this mean there is less to it? 642-902 ROUTE  642-813 SWITCH

So having now completed both foundation and cert guides here are my views.

First the two have very different goals that they are trying to teach, and approach things in the same way as you would likely see in the Real world.  


In the real world generally Routing protocols stand apart, while you may run EIGRP and OSPF with in he same organisation, most people will keep them separate and they will only interact at the borders. And there are only 3/4 major routing protocals that you woudl expect to see.





While there are others these are the common ones that most people will using there jobs. So the ROUTE exam deals with these along with redistributing the routes between them.

This give the following Topics to study

Redistribution and Patch control

And each is covered in some detail.


On the other hand has many more topics, and in the case of switch’s many of these will be run on the same devices across the entire network, (eg. VLANS, Spanning Tree, ACL’s Switch Security) so the number of topics in the SWITCH exam is much higher. They are covered in less depth individual than the topics in ROUTE, however you are expected to understand how they all work together and how issues configuring one can cause issues in others.

A partial list of topics covered in switch are.

Switch Operation (CAM TCAM and other switch tables)
STP (all modes)
STP enhancements like BPDU guard and ULD detection.
Ether channels and port channels
Multilayer switches
High availabilities (redundet router and redundant supervisors)
IP telephony
Securing switch devices
Port security
Vlan ACL’s
Private VLANS
and the list goes on….

So the question of what one is hard and what one is easy will very much depend on the person taking them, and the current experience they have. Many people do seem to find the Routing exam nicer and I think this is because you can take each topic seperatly and concentrate with out worrying about the rest. While I enjoyed Switch as it was lots of bite size chunks to get stuck in to.

People also ask what one to take first, honestly I don’t think knowing either one will help learning the other one, as long as you have  a decent understanding of networks. Personal I would first go for the one you have most experience with, and get it under your belt first.

The only one I would suggest leaving till last is the Trouble Shoot as this assumes you have knowlage of both Switch and Route.


Well I was going through emails a few weeks back and came across an email for cisco with an exam voucher for the switch exam. (from back last year when the exam crashed on me). Checking it out the date was 17th march!!! (today).

With new job and baby, i havent had much time to study, as the lack of posts should tell you. But rather than wast the voucher i booked the exam and dusted of the books. After 2 weeks of sporic studying i sat the exam.

I think i might of actuly punched the air when i saw i passed at the end!!! And actuly with a half decent score.

But even better I now feel like i have the bug again, work has taken me in a slightly different direction. Still network but managment and not quite as hands on. Time to change that I and get CCNP done and dusted.

Hope that will also mean more posts as well. :)

Take care all


CCNP SWITCH (retake)

Well one more update. I have just checked my email and it seems that CISCO have responded to my comments about the SWITCH exam, and provided me with a re-sit voucher!

I think this says something about the quality of this exam as this is the second voucher I have received. The first was after the exam crashed on me. So hats of to CISCO for that. But this time no excuses, I still don’t think the course material if fit for its purpose, and does not really prepare you for the exam. But having sat it twice, I can’t claim I don’t know the focus, or where my weaknesses lay.

So my intention is to start my new job, get hold of some lab equipment and do some hard studying on the topics I need to. Then I think I should be able to pass this no problem. I did notice the First chapter of the ROUTE foundation seems to cover some of the planning topics nicely so I might flick through it a little more to see if there are any other relevant bits.


Time up!

Well a night of study and now its to bed for some sleep before my CCNP SWITCH exam.

Hopefully by the time of my next post I will be one third of the way towards achieving my CCNP.

If I’m honest I have not been impressed with the Cisco Press books, or the BOSON test exam, both I have found many errors in. (Hopefully the fact I spot the errors means I understand the topics)

But all going well I will be back with a little something on getting the CISCO SDM to work in Linux soon.


Well you might notice I am not updating and working on this blog much this week. Main reason is I have my CCNP SWITCH Exam coming up in a few days and hard at work revising!

I think I have it sorted just as long as no silly planning questions catch me out. It seems as though Cisco want you to “forget” things you know, and only come to the exam with the exact information in the book. It doesn’t matter if something is actual correct.. If its not in the book then you are not expected to know it.

config wise and technology I think I am fine though. I have been working on LAYER 2 for 5 years now so apart from a few small bits running through the book has been confirming lots of what I have learnt on the job over that time.

Still had time to play with the links in the blog and add a few more quotes.

And later I have a part 2 for trouble shooting with ACCL’s to write up, and a nice layer 3 NAT scenario to lab up soon to show a use for the “NAT enable” and virtual NAT interfaces. Hopefully get one of them at least sorted out this week, but if not I will do it after my celebrations (I’m thinking positive here) at passing.