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Definition: CCNA is a popular certification in computer networking developed by Cisco Systems. Cisco created the CCNA to recognize basic competency in installation and support of medium-sized networks.

The core CCNA certification can be obtained by passing a single 90-minute written exam. The exam has no prerequisites, although Cisco and other companies offer various formal training courses to help students prepare. Topics covered on the CCNA exam include

  • LAN and WAN design (including the OSI model)
  • IP addressing
  • routers and routing protocols (including OSPF, EIGRP and RIP)
  • VLAN (virtual LAN) and WLAN (wireless LAN)
  • network security and management (including ACLs)

Separate from the core certification, Cisco also provides separate exams and certs called CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA Wireless designed to recognize speciality in those respective areas of basic computer networking.

The CCNA remains valid for three years when re-certification is required. Cisco also offers more advanced certifications for networking professionals beyond CCNA, including the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) and CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert).

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