The New ONT 642-845 Exam

By: Chris Bryant

The Cisco CCNP certification is changing at the end of 2006, with the BSCI and BCMSN exams being updated and the BCRAN and CIT exams being dropped.  One of the two new exams is the 642-845 Optimizing Converged Cisco Networks (ONT) test, and the name of the exam doesn't give many hints as to the material covered! 

According to Cisco's exam blueprint, the major topics on this new exam will be Voice over IP (VoIP) and Quality of Service (QoS).  This exam change is an excellent move on Cisco's part, since VoIP is one of the fastest-growing network technologies today, and implementing VoIP demands the ability to implement QoS!

Among the QoS topics on the exam will be NBAR, ToS, IP Precedence, DSCP, traffic policing, and traffic shaping.  Some of these topics may be familiar to you if you studied for the BCRAN exam, but I feel it's a safe bet that there will be much more detail on the ONT exam as compared to the BCRAN exam.  Wireless LANs (WLANs) are also on the Cisco exam blueprint for ONT, and again I'd expect a lot more detail on that topic than you would have seen on the BCRAN exam.

Cisco's obviously raising the bar for the new CCNP exams, and that's a good thing for both you and for Cisco.  The CCNP will be harder to get in 2007, but it will also become more valuable - and when you invest time and money into a certification, you want the vendor to protect your investment.  Besides, to work with Cisco networks today and in the future, you'll need to learn VoIP and Qos, so you might as well get the certification while you're at it!

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