CCNA Exploration

The Cisco CCNA® Exploration curriculum provides an integrated and comprehensive coverage of networking topics, from fundamentals to advanced applications and services, while providing opportunities for hands-on practical experience and soft-skills development.
The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and the practical application of skills in a real world environment. All courses include embedded, highly interactive e-doing activities that stimulate learning and improve knowledge retention, hands-on labs, simulation-based learning activities, and online assessments.
CCNA Exploration helps prepare students for entry-level career opportunities, continuing education, and the globally-recognized Cisco CCNA certi cation. In addition, the courses help provide learning pathways from secondary to postsecondary and higher education institutions.



CCNA Exploration teaches networking based on technology, covering networking concepts using a top-down, theoretical, and integrated approach - from network applications to the network protocols and services provided to those applications by the lower layers of the network . CCNA Exploration includes the follow-ing features:

  • Students learn the basics of routing, switching, and advanced technologies to prepare for Cisco CCNA certi cation and entry-level networking careers
  • The curriculum discusses networking concepts in depth and uses language that allows for integration with engineering concepts, providing a deep, theoretical understanding of networking concepts for experienced learners with advanced problemsolving and analytical skills.
  • Courses emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and the practical application of skills
  • Rich multimedia content, including Flash-based interactive activities, videos, games, and quizzes, addresses a variety of learning styles and help stimulate learning and increase knowledge retention
  • Hands-on labs and Packet Tracer simulation-based learning activities help students develop critical thinking and complex problem solving  skills
  • Innovative assessments provide immediate feedback to support the evaluation of knowledge and acquired skills
  • Provides students with the skills needed to succeed in networking-related degree programs

21st Century Skills

CCNA Exploration integrates practical skills into the technical curriculum to create a learning experience for success in future educational, entrepreneurial, and occupational endeavors.
In addition to learning the fundamentals of designing, building, and operating networks, students also learn about problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork , negotiation, and entrepreneurship - skills they can apply in their future education and in the 21st century global workplace.


Innovative formative and summative assessments are integrated into the CCNA Exploration curriculum and supported by an advanced online delivery system. Immediate, rich feedback supports instructor and student evaluation of acquired knowledge and skills. Assessments can be as simple as a multiple choice question or as complex as troubleshooting a simulated network .

Packet Tracer

Packet Tracer is a powerful network simulation program developed by Networking Academy that allows students to experiment with network behavior and ask “what if” questions. As an integral part of the CCNA Exploration curriculum, Packet Tracer provides simulation, visualization, authoring, assessment, and collaboration capabilities and makes teaching and learning complex technology concepts easier.
Packet Tracer supplements physical equipment by allowing students to create a network with an almost unlimited number of devices, encouraging open practice, discovery, and troubleshooting. The simulation-based learning environment helps students develop 21st century skills such as decision making, creative and critical thinking and problem solving.  Packet Tracer simulation activities are embedded in all CCNA Exploration courses.

Course Description

This curriculum teaches networking based on technology, using a top-down, theoretical, and integrated approach. The CCNA Exploration curriculum consists of four courses that offer   exibility in the delivery of the courses:

  • Network Fundamentals
  • Routing Protocols and Concepts
  • LAN Switching and Wireless
  • Accessing the WAN

Network Fundamentals is the   rst course and it has no prerequisites. It is a prerequisite for the other three courses. Routing Protocols and Concepts is the preferred second course in the sequence.

Course Flow

The curriculum explains the role and nature of the main application protocols and their relation to protocols and services provided to them by the lower layers of the network. All courses are technology focused, and students thoroughly learn each technology (routing, switching, and WANs) within a single course.
Following a top-down approach, the   rst course introduces applications and application services very early in the curriculum to provide a foundation. Advanced technologies (voice, video, wireless, and security) are also introduced.
Routing and switching topics and concepts are grouped to allow for a higher level of   exibility in the course delivery.All routing topics are covered in the Routing Protocols and Concepts course and all switching topics are covered in the LAN Switching and Wireless course. These courses can be taught either in sequence or simultaneously.
The last course, Accessing the Wan, thoroughly covers all WAN technologies.
All courses include advanced and challenging labs and activities that allow students to visualize and gain hands-on experience with the application protocols and services introduced in the course

Industry Recognized Certication

Students learn the basics of routing, switching, and advanced technologies to help them prepare for the Cisco CCNA® certication exam. The CCNA certi cation is highly valued in the global networking industry and provides validation of the skills and knowledge required for entry-level networking careers.
Students who complete all four CCNA Exploration courses will be prepared for the industry-standard CCNA certi cation exam.


The curriculum also helps students develop networking skills and knowledge that extend beyond the minimum requirements for the CCNA certi cation. CCNA Exploration emphasizes practical experience to help prepare students for entry-level networking and IT careers such as the following:

  • Network technician
  • Help desk technician

Students will be prepared to pursue IT and networking careers in a variety of industries such as healthcare,   nancial services, fashion, entertainment, and more. Today nearly every company in every industry relies on IT, so the skills learned in CCNA Exploration can provide a powerful foundation for a career in almost any   field a student may choose to pursue

Skills and Competencies

Here are some examples of the skills students will be able to perform after completing each course:

Network Fundamentals

  • Use network protocol models to explain the layers of communications in data networks
  • Design, calculate, and apply subnet masks and addresses
  • Build a simple Ethernet network using routers and switches
  • Employ basic cabling and network designs to connect devices
  • Use Cisco CLI commands to perform basic router and switch configuration and verification
  • Analyze the operations and feature of the transport and network layer protocols and services

Routing Protocols and Concepts

  • Configure and verify router interfaces
  • Demonstrate comprehensive RIPv1 configuration skills
  • Design and implement a classless IP addressing scheme for a network
  • Use advanced configuration commands with routers implementing EIGRP
  • Apply the basic RIPv2 configuration commands and evaluate
  • RIPv2 classless routing updates
  • Identify the characteristics of distance vector routing protocols

LAN Switching and Wireless

  • Troubleshoot common network problems at Layers 1, 2, 3, and 7 using a layered model approach
  • Interpret network diagrams
  • Perform and verify initial switch configuration tasks including remote access management
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VLANs, interVLAN routing, VTP, trunking on Cisco switches, and RSTP operation
  • Manage IOS configuration files
  • Identify the basic parameters to configure a wireless network and common implementation issues

Accessing the WAN

  • Describe the impact of applications (Voice Over IP and Video Over IP) on a network
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot DHCP and DNS operation on a router
  • Verify, monitor, and troubleshoot ACLs in a network environment
  • Configure and verify a basic WAN serial connection, a PPP connection between Cisco routers, andFrame Relay
  • Configure and verify a PPP connection between Cisco routers, and Frame Relay on Cisco routers
  • Troubleshoot WAN implementation issues