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Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) routing test vs. CCNP switching test

Can you explain the difference between the 640-503 CCNP routing test and the CCNP switching exam 640-504? If I've graduated in 2008 from a technical college, I'm working as a network administrator and I have a CCNA certification, which certification is better to take: CCNP routing or CCNP switching?

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I would love to explain the differences between the two exams, but I wanted to clarify a few items first: Namely, the 640-503 and 640-504 exams have been retired for some time now and are no longer offered. The current routing exam is now 642-901 Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI) exam and the switching is 642-812 Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks (BCMSN). Secondly, you do not achieve a Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) certification by passing one of these exams. You have to pass these exams in addition to the 642-825 Implementing Secure Converged Wide Area Networks (ISCW) and 642-845 Optimizing Converged Cisco Networks (ONT) as well to get your CCNP certification.

The difference between the routing and switching exams for the CCNP are pretty distinct. The BSCI exam tests a candidate's knowledge on their ability to manage medium-to-large routing environments in which you would need to know how to configure enterprise technologies such as IPv6, multicast routing, BGP, EIGRP, ODPF, and ISIS. The BCMSN exam concerns itself more with attaching enterprise-level switches to these routers and managing the switched traffic with advanced Spanning Tree technologies, VLANs and Inter-VLAN routing, and even some wireless and voice concepts.

This was first published in June 2009

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