In today’s competitive IT job market, employers are looking for more than just experience. They want professionals who are certified, which is achieved through rigorous exams. One of the most in-demand certifications is the Cisco Certified Network Associate, or CCNA. But what is the best CCNA book to help you pass the various exams in 2018 and 2019? This question can be daunting. For that reason, we’ve compiled the top CCNA study guides to help you obtain your CCNA certification.
How we structured this list of the best CCNA books
In the following, we will first look at the best books for CCNA Routing and Switching, which is the most popular among Cisco’s Associate level certifications. The CCNA Routing and Switching and can be obtained by taking the 200-125 CCNA exam (the Composite Option), which has 50-60 questions and can take up to 90 minutes to complete. This exam covers a wide range of topics and is best for IT professionals who already have their entry level certification and/or hands-on experience working in an IT environment.
However, if you are just starting your career in IT or haven’t achieved your entry-level certification from Cisco, it is recommended that you take their Two-Test Track to CCNA certification: the 100-105 ICND1 exam, which will give you the entry-level CCNET certification, and the 200-105 ICND2 exam, which then awards you the coveted CCNA certification. Both tests have 45–55 questions and can take up to 90 minutes each to complete.
Additionally, there are number of specialized CCNA certification exams. In the second half of our overview, we will look at a few selected guides for some these exams as well, namely the best books for the CCNA Security, CCNA Cloud, CCNA Data Center, CCNA Collaboration, and CCNA Wireless. These books are good for CCNA beginners and pros alike.
This latest edition of the CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide from Sybex (a brand owned by well-known publisher Wiley) delivers over 1100 pages of study materials broken out into two sections covering the two-track ICND1 and ICND2 exams. Mastering these materials will also prepare you for the 200-125 composite exam if you are taking that route.
What makes this book stand out is the way author Todd Lammle – a highly regarded CCNA expert – takes complex, technical topics and explains them in easy to understand terms. He spends time at the beginning of each chapter explaining the background or reviewing the basics of the topic. Chapter topics include A Brief History of TCP/IP, VLAN Basics, and Why do we Use Network Address Translation. This helps you gain a better understanding of the systems and why they work the way they do. This makes this book more than just a study guide to prepare you for the CCNA exams. It is a great self-guided teaching tool as well, even if you are a complete beginner. Indeed, because of its accessible style and clear approach, this is our top recommendation for the category of the best books for CCNA Routing and Switching.
The CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide includes written labs that present real-life issues that you will encounter in your working environment. Each section also includes review questions to prepare you for the exam. Finally, you also gain access to the Sybex online learning environment, where you will find over 20 hours of video instruction from industry experts, 200 flashcards to help with your CCNA test preparation, and three practice tests to ensure you are fully prepared on exam day.
What we liked: As with the Cisco Official Cert Guide, this CCNA study guide includes an assessment test you can take before you start your studies. This pre-test helps you identify the areas that you know well and those where you might need more in-depth study. As we are all pressed for time, this is a great tool to help with time management. In short: this is clearly one of the best CCNA books currently available on the market.
Sometimes it is best to go straight to the source! This two-book set from Cisco Publishing is the only self-study CCNA guide approved by Cisco (no surprise there) and a close second in our list of the best CCNA books. The set includes the CCNET/CCNA ICND1 100-105 Official Cert Guide and the CCNA Routing and Switching ICND2 200-105 Official Cert Guide. With over 1600 pages, this book set thoroughly prepares you for either the two-test track or the composite 200-125 CCNA exam.
These books are very comprehensive. Written by leading industry expert Wendell Odom, who has been in computer networking since the early 1980s, they cover in detail every topic you will find on these exams including Network Fundamentals, Ethernet LANs, and Network Management. Because of Odom’s extensive training background, he knows how to present and explain these complex topics in ways that are easy to understand so that you actually learn them. Included in the set are over 2 hours of video training by Odom.
Further, this ‘library’ set also includes access to the CCNET and CCNA Network Simulator Lite Editions and 43 Network Simulator labs. You can test your knowledge with over 600 practice questions, which will fully prepare you for the types of questions you will see on test day.
What we liked: At the beginning of each new topic, the author includes a “Do I Know This Already” quiz. This is a tremendously helpful time-management tool. The quiz helps you determine your familiarity with the topic. If you already know it well, you can just review the section and spend more time in areas that are less familiar to you.
Pressed for time? The CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Review Guide from Sybex offers a condensed review of all topics covered in the CCNA certification exams. With just under 500 pages, this guide (a companion book the the above study guide) is a great resource for a quick (or quicker) review to give you the confidence you need going into your exam.
This CCNA review guide includes access to the Sybex online learning environment. Here you will find a key term glossary, over 100 flashcards to help with your test prep, and two practice tests to ensure you are ready to pass your exam. Overall this is a really good resource for review leading up to test day.
What we liked: This CCNA review guide was also written by industry expert Todd Lammle, author of many of the very best CCNA study guides. He takes complex, technical subjects and makes them easy to digest and understand. His writing style makes this book an easy read for people in the industry who don’t want to be weighed down by too much technical jargon
While the CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide isn’t a traditional test prep guide (there are no review questions or practice tests), it is a great resource for learning or reviewing all of the Cisco IOS Software commands, keywords, command arguments, and prompts, which are included on the CCNA certification exams.
This edition of the Portable Command Guide is produced by Cisco Press and has been updated to cover all the commands that could be included on those exams. If you want a quick review before taking your CCNA exam, this is the one of the top resources available. It has a clear, logical flow of information and the page layout makes it easy to quickly find the information you need. For professionals in the field, this is a must-have quick reference guide covering your networking issues.
What we liked: The size! It has just over 300 pages and it’s smaller than your standard textbook. This makes it easy to carry around and pull out for a quick review when you are between classes or on a coffee break.
Study Guides for Specialized CCNA Certifications
In addition to the CCNA Routing and Switching, Cisco offers a range of specialized CCNA certifications. While there are more certifications, we looked at the best CCNA books for the following popular areas:
- CCNA Security
- CCNA Data Center
- CCNA Cloud
- CCNA Collaboration
- CCNA Wireless
These certification tests demonstrate your advanced knowledge of particular aspects of network systems and should be taken after achieving your basic CCNA certification. Cisco Press has developed a series of Official Cert Guides to help you fully prepare for these exams. These are the only printed self-study guides available at this time. We found them all to be very detailed and thorough. Many include additional online resources through Cisco’s partnership with Pearson IT Certification. We’ve briefly reviewed them below.
This 600 page test prep guide for the CCNA Security 210-260 exam is a very detailed review of all the topics covered on the 60–70 question test. Issues that are covered in the book include Security Concepts and Threats, VPN Technology and Cryptography, and Implementing IPsec Site-to-Site VPNs.
The guide offers challenging review questions and exercises to better prepare you for the exam. This guide also includes a companion CD-ROM with a practice tests. You can take individual sections of the practice test covering areas where you need more review or complete the entire timed test to better prepare for test day. Feedback is provided, helping you understand which areas you need further study.
As with other Cisco Press products in this series, you can take a pre-assessment test to help you focus your studies.
Cisco offers two certifications specific to Cloud based technology: the CCNA Cloud CLDFND 210-451 exam and the CCNA Cloud CLDADM 210-455 exam. Each has their own study guide, but test-takers can also purchase the CCNA Cloud Official Cert Guide Library, which combines the best CCNA books for these certifications in one handy volume.
The guide offers a very detailed review of Cloud-based topics to prepare you for the exam. This exam prep book again includes pre-assessment tests and post-chapter review questions.
Furthermore, note that Cisco has partnered with Pearson IT Certification to deliver companion websites for both CCNA Cloud certification guides. You will find practice tests with hundreds of questions that you can customize on the site, which is a highly useful resource.
Cisco offers two CCNA Data Center certifications: CCNA Data Center DCICN 640-911 and the CCNA Data Center DCICT. The CCNA Data Center Official Cert Guide Library includes study guides for both exams.
With a combined total of over 1400 pages, these guides will fully prepare you to take your certification to the next level by obtaining the two Data Center certifications. As with all Cisco test prep guides, these books offer a comprehensive review of all topic areas covered on the exams.
Each chapter includes a pre-chapter assessment so you can understand your current level of knowledge on that subject. There is also an end-of-chapter review that includes practice questions and highlights key topics and terms to help you remember important elements for that topic. The guide includes a companion CD-ROM, which has a customizable practice test to better prepare you for test day.
Cisco also offers two CCNA Collaboration certifications: the CCNA Collaboration CICD 210-060 and the CCNA Collaboration CIVND 210-065. Like the Data Center library, this is a two-book set that includes a study guide for each CCNA certification exam.
Coming straight from the source from Cisco Press, you will find similar features and benefits as with the other official guides, including a very detailed review of the topics, pre-assessment quizzes, post chapter reviews, and a companion CD-ROM.
Like the other study guides from Cisco Press, this is among the best CCNA books for the specialized certification exams.
The CCNA Wireless 200-355 Official Cert Guide focuses on the objectives covered in the Cisco CCNA WIFUND 200-355 exam.
Like the other Cisco Press test prep series, this CCNA test prep guide offers over 600 pages of content to help you prepare for the CCNA Wireless certification exam including Antenna Theory, Cisco Wireless Architectures, WLAN Connectivity, Cisco Wireless Network Management, and Troubleshooting.
The book also includes two complete practice tests and a companion DVD offering additional practice resources.
No reviews of the best CCNA book for Cisco’s certification exams would be complete without a mention of the online tools available through Pearson IT Certification. Pearson offers a full line of online resources to help you prepare for your CCNA Certification exams including live video training sessions, Network Simulators, and Cisco Press eBooks. You can also find full exam profiles outlining the exam topics in detail and helpful study tips. While the price for the online tools are higher than the traditional printed study guides, they do offer different study options if you prefer online study.
What we liked: Pearson’s one-stop online resource makes it quick and easy to find the additional study materials you might need.
For Extra Busy Schedules
Cisco recently releases the first edition of their 31 Days Before Your CCNA Routing & Switching Exam: A Day-By-Day Review Guide for the ICND1 (100-105), ICND2 (200-105), and CCNA (200-125) Certification Exams. This an ideal resource for those trying to fit exam prep into particularly busy schedules as it helps test-takers to organize their study time. It presents the material in small, digestible chunks, which can be easily mastered each day. As you prepare incrementally for your CCNA certification, this guide will be a friendly and reliable companion.
Best CCNA Books
|Ranking||Publisher||Book Title||Pages||Year||Practice Tests||Price Range|
|1||Sybex||CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide||1136||2016||3||$$|
|2||Cisco Press||CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Official Cert Guide Library||1600||2016||N/A||$$|
|3||Sybex||CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Review Guide||480||2016||2||$|
|4||Cisco Press||CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide||368||2016||N/A`||$$|
|5||Cisco Press||CCNA Security 210-260 Official Cert Guide||700||2015||2||$$|
|6||Cisco Press||CCNA Cloud Official Cert Guide Library||1050||2017||N/A||$$$|
|7||Cisco Press||CCNA Data Center Official Cert Guide Library||1400||2015||1||$$$|
|8||Cisco Press||CCNA Collaboration Official Cert Guide Library||1200||2015||1||$$$|
|9||Cisco Press||CCNA Wireless 200-355 Official Cert Guide||608||2016||1||$$|