The Network+ Exam is just one exam, and for those who took it before January 1st, 2011, it never expires. (Those taking the test after that date must either retake it at a set interval or submit proof of their continuing education in networking. The COMPTIA website has more details.) It has 100 multiple-choice "situational and identification" questions. Basically, if you know your hardware and software, as well as know what to do in a given situation, you should pass. You are given 90 minutes to take the exam, which should be plenty if you are fully prepared. It's recommended by CompTIA that you already have an A+ Certification under your belt and at least nine months networking experience, but the only prerequisite for taking the exam is paying the exam fee ($240 US). Minimum passing score is 720 on a scale of 100-900, but that doesn't really mean what you think it means: some questions are worth more than others. The test is available in English, German, Japanese and Korean.
While the A+ certification is definitely an industry standard and a prerequisite for many jobs, the Network+ is less so, but gaining in popularity.
The goals of the Network+ Certification is to ensure that employers hire people who will not need to be trained in network fundamentals before being hired. A Network+ Certified tech should be able to make recommendations for installing or expanding a network, document and perform preventative maintenance on a network, and troubleshoot network problems as they arise. Having an A+ and Network+ Certification should mean that you are fully capable of being an on-site technical support person, a network administrator of a local area network, or a valuable asset to an enterprise-level networking team, but not exactly be running it.
Scope of this Wikibook
The scope of this book is to provide a solid foundation for network administration. It should include all of the information that is needed to pass the CompTIA Network+ Exam, and match its scope. In fact, the finished product should look like the official CompTIA Network+ exam objectives, but expanded with more information and explanation.
Structure of this Wikibook
This "book" is not a "book" per se, but rather a few introductory pages and, more importantly, a study guide with a collection of links to articles in Wikipedia and the most relevant information summarized for each concept. The reason for this is twofold: there is no need to "re-invent the wheel" when there are so many great articles that serve the purpose of explaining, say, the OSI model. Two, a person interested in this "book" is one that wants to take and pass the Network+ Exam, and this method may be better suited to them than a traditional book, allowing them to quickly review concepts just before the exam or delve into the details of anything not immediately familiar.
The objectives of the Network+ exam are broken down into 6 categories:
- Network Technologies
- Understand the protocols used over a network and the ports they use, the addressing systems used on a network, and how a network can be implemented via wireless technologies.
- Network Media and Topologies
- Identify cables and connectors used to network computers together, understand the various manners in which a network can be physically laid out, and have knowledge of the standards used for communication within a network and between networks.
- Network Devices
- Differentiate between the various devices used on a network and understand their function, installation, and configuration. Have deeper knowledge of the functions of a switch and the factors to consider when setting up a wireless network.
- Network Management
- Understand the different conceptual layers in the networking model, the need for proper network documentation, the process of troubleshooting network problems, and the options for increasing network performance.
- Network Tools
- Be aware of the command line, software, and hardware tools available for installation, testing, and troubleshooting networks.
- Network Security
- Know what hardware devices, software, and policies will ensure the security of the data and devices on a network and be aware of the corresponding threats they are designed to guard against. Have knowledge of the methods users can use to securely access a network and how their identities can be verified before granting access in the first place.