Friday, December 22, 2017 Updates CCNA NetSim for VPN and HSRP Labs released a thorough update to their flagship software, Network Simulator with Designer for CCNA® , to include functionality for the following:
  • Site to Site VPN configuration between routers
  • FHRP configuration
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is widely used these days for security and confidentiality of communication between hosts. The two main types of VPN are Site-to-site VPN and Remote-to-Site VPN. In Site-to-site VPN, a secure tunnel is formed between two peers within the communication channel. An example configuration scenario is shown in the figure below:
Photo Courtesy:, a leading networking equipment manufacturer.

             As may seen in the exhibit, the VPN is configured between two routers. A site-to-site VPN is also called router-to-router VPN. The hosts on LAN are unaware of the VPN between routers V1 and V2. However, all the communication between routers V1 and V2 moves securely over OpenVPN tunnel.

               You typically need a NAT (Network Address Translation) to translate internal IP address to external IP address and vice versa (for incoming traffic). The same thing is done at router V2 also. The word “tunnel” may be a bit misleading some times. Note that there is no route and bandwidth allocated between the routers when a tunnel is formed. A VPN typically secures the communication channel but not the route or bandwidth. A VPN connections use 1) Encapsulation 2) Authentication, and 3) Data encryption.

           In Encapsulation, user data (i.e. TCP/IP packets) is wrapped around by using encapsulation protocol such as GRE, IPsec, L2F, PPTP,  or L2TP. The encapsulated data packets are again wrapped inside carrier protocol packet, and then routed across the public network.
          For site-to-site VPNs, the encapsulating protocol is usually IPsec or GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation).  For remote-access VPNs, tunneling normally takes place using PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol). PPP tunneling will use one of PPTP, L2TP or L2F.

         When using site-to-site VPN, any user can access remote site from any of the computers inside the firewall (local network). For this purpose, one needs to configure AAA (Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting), so that one needs to authenticate to access any resources at the other end of the VPN tunnel to restrict user access.

          Remote access VPN is typically used with home and mobile users to connect to the corporate office. For example, a mobile traveler can connect to the Corporate head quarters using his laptop computer securely using a public Wi-Fi connection. Please see the figure below:
Photo courtesy:, a leading networking equipment manufacturer.

        As seen in the figure, a remote user communicates with the sever securely over VPN tunnel. All the user information, login credentials, etc. are encrypted when using VPN tunnel. In remote access VPN, usually, a client is installed on the remote user’s computer. Alternatively, the remote user uses SSL enabled browser session to communicate with the corporate network (shown as Private Network in the figure)

FHRP (First Hop Redundancy Protocol): Usually, when a subscriber connects to an ISP using Wi-Fi router, he will have single point of failure. i.e. if the router fails, the connection to the Internet fails. FHRP allows redundancy or a fail over mechanism, thus ensuring that there is no single point of failure for a subscriber to the Internet. There are several  protocol defined for FHRP, popular among these are: HSRP, VRRP, and GLBP.
HSRP, short for Hot Standby Router Protocol, is a Cisco proprietary protocol, and supported by most of the Cisco routers.
A simple HSRP configuration is shown in the figure. In HSRP, one router acts as an Active router and the other as Standby router. There can be more than two routers in HSRP configuration, however, only one router is put in Standby state using a selection criteria. HSRP routers may be assigned “Priority” so that a network admin can choose which router has be in HSRP Active state and which has to be in Standby state.

VRRP, short for Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, is a standards based protocol. It is quite similar to HSRP in configuration and functionality.

GLBP, short for Gateway Load Balancing Protocol, is slightly advanced, in the sense, that it supports load balancing by default. Otherwise, it is similar to other two redundancy protocols. CCNA Netsim, offers a virtual networking environment, where in, one can create a network with Cisco(R) routers, switches, and other networking elements and experiment. The software has a GUI based designer that allows drag-n-drop functionality for designing one’s own network. Several labs on HSRP, and site-to-site VPN have been added for hands-on practice. The software is intended for learning purpose with limited set of commands support.

List of available CCNA labs may be viewed by going to the product page. You may download the free demo version of the software by going to the product download page.

Disclaimer: is not associated nor affiliated with Cisco Systems, or Brocade. Cisco®, CCNA® are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems, and Brocade® is trademark of Brocade/Broadcom Limited and duly recognized.

Saturday, November 04, 2017 Releases CCNA Cheat Sheets - Thoroughly Revised, released CCNA Cheat Sheets for candidates preparing for Cisco CCNA (R). The cheat sheets consist of 50-odd pages covering majority of the exam objectives. The cram notes is organized in an easy to read manner so that students can use the same for last minute review. For thorough understanding, chapter-end scenario questions (mostly troubleshooting type) have been added.

The topics covered in the exam cram notes include TCP/IP vs. OSI model, IP v4 subnetting, binary and decimal systems, network IP address planning, routing using RIP, EIGRP, OSPF and BGP, VLANs and VTP, extended, standard, and named Access Control Lists (ACLs), cloud services, network security using firewalls, STP protocol, Site to Site, and Remote to Site secure communication, and others.

Recent update of CCNA v3 includes several new topics such as IP v6, EIGRP for IPv6, OSPF v3 for IPv6, securing site to site and remote to site communications, and troubleshooting IPv6 networks.

The cheatsheets are updated from time to time to include most recent updates to the exam syllabus. You may download the exam cram notes from the link given below:


Some of the sample topics are given below:
The cram notes, once downloaded may be printed, if required.

Other exam cram notes available from include CCENt exam cram, ICND2 exam cram. Please visit the site for more info.

About CCNA: CCNA, short for Cisco Certified Network Associate, is the most widely knows certification in the area of internet communications. The cram notes is provided by, a brand website of Anand Software and Training. The Company is not associated with Cisco(R) or any other company. All trademarks are duly recognized. CCNA(R) is a trademark of Cisco(R) systems.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Computer Based Test Engine

Anand Software and Training, a private limited company, recently released Computer Based Test Engine. The software is useful for educators and organizations in assessing the students and/or employees using computer based tests. The CBT consists of two components:
  1. Computer Based Test - Author Module
  2. Computer Based Test - Exam Engine, and
1. Author Module:
The Author Module enables an author to perform several activities including the following:
  • Create, edit, and/or delete a test
  • Create Groups and Candidate profiles
  • Create, edit and/or delete questions.
Several types of questions are supported by the Computer Based Tester. These  include the following question types:
  • Multiple Choice Single Answers
  • Multiple Choice Multi Answer
  • Drag-n-drop 
  • Hotspot
  • Testlet type of questions, wherein a candidate has to answer two or more questions based on a given scenario.
The author module is free to download and use. Any number of tests may be created using author module. There is no limit on the number of questions in a particular test.

How the entire software works: The author creates one or more tests using the freely downloadable author test module. The author may create student profiles and the groups to which a student belongs. He may also assign the tests that belong to a particular group. By default, there is only one group to which all tests are assigned. After completion of test questions, groups (optional), and student profiles (optional), the author saves (exports) the exam info to a known location on the local or remote computer. Now, the examiner imports the test module from the computer on which the Exam Engine is installed. After importing, it is possible to administer the exam to the candidates.Detailed help files are available in the product website.

Note that even though the CBT Author Module is free to download and use, one needs to buy the Exam Engine.

Exam Engine: The CBT - Exam Engine provides the platform to administer exams to the candidates. Typically, the examiner imports the previously saved test module(s) and re initializes the exam engine. The exam engine is packed with several features. Given below are few of the important features:
  • Learn and exam modes to enable students to learn first and then assess their skills
  • Review the questions after test is completed
  • Timed
  • Configurable. Most of the features including the question weightage, number of questions in an exam, whether to provide back button, or to enable review of questions by the student, etc. are all configurable by the examiner. Even the study mode may be disabled by the examiner.
  • Adjustable font and night modes: Night mode flips the screen colors so that the display is soft on the human eyes even during night. Adjustable font enables a candidate to attend to the exam with comfort.
The CBT -Exam Engine is available in demo mode for assessing the usefulness of the software to a given requirement. Any queries may please be sent to cs at

Wednesday, August 09, 2017 CCNA for iOS iPhone, a software registration and download site, published CCNA for iOS and iPad. The app consists of 500+ most relevant questions with answers. The notable features include the following:

1. Compatible with most of the mobile devices including iphones and iPads
2. Abundant features include night mode and full screen modes
3. Flash card explanations included for each and every question
4. Updated to the latest CCNA exam syllabus
5. Reasonable priced

You may visit the product page here:

As may be seen from the product page, the software is available on Windows desktop, Android and iOS phones.

The built in feedback mechanism allows a user to send question feedback online, without leaving the exam environment. There is provision to take only bookmarked questions or the wrongly answered questions.

The practice tests are available in demo mode and the full version may be purchased online. The software activation process is seemless and handled online without manual intervention.

Other products that may be avaialble include the following:

Cisco CCENT practice tests
Cisco ICND2 practice tests
Comptia A+ practice tests
Comptia Network+ practice tests

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Anand Software and Training iOS Apps for CCNA, CCENT, and ICND2

Anand Software and Training has released iOS apps for several of its exam simulators including CCNA, CCENT, ICND2, CCNP, Comptia A+, Network+ and others.

Check out the page here:

The iOS apps are intended to be used with Apple mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad. The exam simulators are lite versions of standard desktop version, and only multiple choice questions are available in the iOS version.

The free versions will have 60 questions with answers and flash card explanation for each question. It is possible to send feedback on any question from within the exam environment. The full version is not free and prices around 9USD and will have about 300 questions with flash card explanation.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

SimulationExams Launches Cisco CCNA iOS App for iPhone and iPad has recently released iOS version of it's exam simulator software. The software is available for free, but limited to 60 questions and flash card answers. You may visit the official site here:,

Initially, the following exams are available:

You may download the full version of the exam here:
The full version consists of 300+ questions covering all topics with flash card explanations.

The practice tests are also available in Windows desktop version as well as in the Android versions. Please look at the desktop versions here:

The iOS versions have been tested for  compatibility with iPhone 5s and above. Please email us at cs at for any feedback or clarifications.

Full version exams for iOS will be made available shortly.

Disclaimer: is a group website of Anand Software and Training, and not associated with any other company. CCNA®, CCNP® are the registered trademarks of Cisco® Systems and duly acknowledged.

Friday, October 21, 2016 Releases Cisco(R) CCNA ICND2 200-105 Practice Tests released an update to Cisco CCNA ICND2 practice tests recently. The practice tests conform to the latest exam objectives as given below:

1.0 LAN Switching Technologies


1.1 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VLANs (normal/extended range) spanning multiple switches
  • 1.1.a Access ports (data and voice)
  • 1.1.b Default VLAN
1.2 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot interswitch connectivity
  • 1.2.a Add and remove VLANs on a trunk
  • 1.2.b DTP and VTP (v1&v2)
1.3 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot STP protocols
  • 1.3.a STP mode (PVST+ and RPVST+)
  • 1.3.b STP root bridge selection
1.4 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot STP-related optional features
  • 1.4.a PortFast
  • 1.4.b BPDU guard
1.5 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot (Layer 2/Layer 3) EtherChannel
  • 1.5.a Static
  • 1.5.b PAGP
  • 1.5.c LACP
1.6 Describe the benefits of switch stacking and chassis aggregation
1.7 Describe common access layer threat mitigation techniques
  • 1.7.a 802.1x
  • 1.7.b DHCP snooping
  • 1.7.c Nondefault native VLAN

2.0 Routing Technologies


2.1 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot Inter-VLAN routing
  • 2.1.a Router on a stick
  • 2.1.b SVI
2.2 Compare and contrast distance vector and link-state routing protocols
2.3 Compare and contrast interior and exterior routing protocols
2.4 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot single area and multiarea OSPFv2 for IPv4 (excluding authentication, filtering, manual summarization, redistribution, stub, virtual-link, and LSAs)
2.5 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot single area and multiarea OSPFv3 for IPv6 (excluding authentication, filtering, manual summarization, redistribution, stub, virtual-link, and LSAs)
2.6 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot EIGRP for IPv4 (excluding authentication, filtering, manual summarization, redistribution, stub)
2.7 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot EIGRP for IPv6 (excluding authentication, filtering, manual summarization, redistribution, stub)

3.0 WAN Technologies


3.1 Configure and verify PPP and MLPPP on WAN interfaces using local authentication
3.2 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot PPPoE client-side interfaces using local authentication
3.3 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot GRE tunnel connectivity
3.4 Describe WAN topology options
  • 3.4.a Point-to-point
  • 3.4.b Hub and spoke
  • 3.4.c Full mesh
  • 3.4.d Single vs dual-homed
3.5 Describe WAN access connectivity options
  • 3.5.a MPLS
  • 3.5.b MetroEthernet
  • 3.5.c Broadband PPPoE
  • 3.5.d Internet VPN (DMVPN, site-to-site VPN, client VPN)
3.6 Configure and verify single-homed branch connectivity using eBGP IPv4 (limited to peering and route advertisement using Network command only)

4.0 Infrastructure Services


4.1 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot basic HSRP
  • 4.1.a Priority
  • 4.1.b Preemption
  • 4.1.c Version
4.2 Describe the effects of cloud resources on enterprise network architecture
  • 4.2.a Traffic path to internal and external cloud services
  • 4.2.b Virtual services
  • 4.2.c Basic virtual network infrastructure
4.3 Describe basic QoS concepts
  • 4.3.a Marking
  • 4.3.b Device trust
  • 4.3.c Prioritization
    • 4.3.c. [i] Voice
    • 4.3.c. [ii] Video
    • 4.3.c. [iii] Data
  • 4.3.d Shaping
  • 4.3.e Policing
  • 4.3.f Congestion management
4.4 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot IPv4 and IPv6 access list for traffic filtering
  • 4.4.a Standard
  • 4.4.b Extended
  • 4.4.c Named
4.5 Verify ACLs using the APIC-EM Path Trace ACL analysis tool

5.0 Infrastructure Maintenance


5.1 Configure and verify device-monitoring protocols
  • 5.1.a SNMPv2
  • 5.1.b SNMPv3
5.2 Troubleshoot network connectivity issues using ICMP echo-based IP SLA
5.3 Use local SPAN to troubleshoot and resolve problems
5.4 Describe device management using AAA with TACACS+ and RADIUS
5.5 Describe network programmability in enterprise network architecture
  • 5.5.a Function of a controller
  • 5.5.b Separation of control plane and data plane
  • 5.5.c Northbound and southbound APIs
5.6 Troubleshoot basic Layer 3 end-to-end connectivity issues
Note: The exam topics may change from time to time, and please visit official web page for the latest information.

The practice tests may be downloaded here:

The question types include multiple choice, drag-n-drop, simlet, and testlets.The demo version of the software is free and contains up to 30 questions. The full version will have 300+ questions with flash card explanations.