CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009: Should I Wait for 009?

CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009

The CompTIA Network+ certification is immensely helpful in your certification journey, especially because it builds a solid foundation for getting Security+. 

However, an upcoming CompTIA Network+ update has thrown a wrench into your study plans. Should you take the familiar N10-008 or prepare for the new N10-009 instead?

Your study time dwindles with every moment of worry, but we’ve done the in-depth research for you. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why CompTIA has such a Network+ exam update, the similarities and differences comparing CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009, and changes to the Network+ syllabus. 

After reading this article, you’ll know when taking the N10-008 vs N10-009 exam is a good idea.

Without further ado, let’s break down Network+ N10-008 and N10-009 before it’s too late.

Why the CompTIA Network+ Update?

Industry trends and standards change rapidly, and acceptable best practices in the past can easily become obsolete with new technological advances. 

The rules for strong passwords have changed from including special characters to having a minimum length, and the rise of quantum computing threatens existing encryption algorithms that are otherwise proven secure.

Therefore, it’s crucial that industry-recognized certifications, such as those by CompTIA, remain up-to-date and reflect the current state of the tech industry. 

That’s why CompTIA updates several of its exams, including Network+, roughly around a three-year cycle, adding items that the industry pays attention to and pruning away content that’s no longer relevant or necessary.

What Hasn’t Changed With the Network+ Exam Update?

The price of the Network+ N10-009 exam is the same as for N10-008. Each exam has at most 90 questions, including multiple-choice and performance-based items. 

Both exams last 90 minutes, and their passing score is 720 on a scale of 100-900. Once you get your Network+ certification by taking either exam, it’s valid for three years following the exam date.

The troubleshooting methodology in both syllabi remains the same:

CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009 Domains Compared

The first major difference between N10-008 and N10-009 is in the domain percentages. The exam objectives within each domain have also changed substantially, which we’ll explain below.

  • Instead of Networking Fundamentals, we have Networking Concepts, and the weighting drops from 24% to 23%. This domain has the greatest alteration.
  • Network Implementations loses the trailing “s,” becoming Network Implementation, and the weighting increments slightly from 19% to 20%.
  • The Network Operations weighting rises from 16% to 19%.
  • The Network Security weighting falls from 19% to 14%, corresponding to a significant reduction in exam content.
  • The Network Troubleshooting weighting increases from 22% to 24%.

N10-009 reshuffles much of the content of N10-008, which explains the renaming of some exam domains.

Here’s a breakdown of the domain percentages in the Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009 exams:

Domain #N10-008PercentageN10-009Percentage
1.0Networking Fundamentals24%Networking Concepts23%
2.0Network Implementations19%Network Implementation20%
3.0Network Operations16%Network Operations19%
4.0Network Security19%Network Security 14%
5.0Network Troubleshooting22%Network Troubleshooting24%

Still, the N10-008 vs N10-009 differences only begin here. Read on to find out what has changed.

What Is New to N10-009?

This section is an overview of Network+ N10-009 content not found in the Network+ N10-008 syllabus. We’ll use dotted domain numbers (such as 5.x) to refer to an official exam objective (“Network Troubleshooting”), specifying the exam code as necessary.

Networking Concepts

N10-009 has a much stronger emphasis on cloud concepts and connectivity options with these additional items:

  • Network Functions Virtualization
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • Network Security Groups
  • Network Security Lists
  • Cloud Gateways

Another important new addition is the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) (1.4).

Bayonet Neill-Concelman (BNC) is officially on N10-009’s list of cables and transmission media (1.5), whereas it only resided in N10-008’s Acronyms.

Cloud concepts
IKE
BNC

Network Implementation

The increment in the weighting of this domain suggests you’ll need more comprehensive networking knowledge, especially in terms of network architecture.

Instead of comparing and contrasting routing technologies (N10-008 2.2), you’ll explain their characteristics (N10-009 2.1). 

The latest wireless standards and technologies are part of the N10-009 syllabus, such as the 6GHz frequency and pre-shared key (PSK) vs. Enterprise authentication (2.3). You’ll have to explain important factors of physical installations (N10-009 2.4).

More comprehensive networking knowledge
Latest wireless standards

Network Operations

In N10-009, you’ll have to apply what you know about IPv4 and IPv6 network services (3.4), originally book knowledge (N10-008 1.6), to scenarios involving network infrastructure.

Applying IPv4 and IPv6 knowledge
Practical configuration management

Network Security

The network security concepts in N10-009 overlap more with the existing Security+ SY0-701 syllabus than in N10-008.

Some content that belonged to this domain in N10-008 has moved to the Network Operations domain in N10-009. Check out the new focus on connection methods such as GUI and API (N10-009 3.5, N10-008 4.4).

Many security concepts relating to network connections have been moved to the Network Operations domain.
New focus on connection methods

Network Troubleshooting

Watch out for additional considerations in troubleshooting cabling and physical interface issues (5.2 in both exams), such as increasing interface counter and port status.

There are more hardware tools but fewer network connectivity commands and command line tools (N10-008 5.3, N10-009 5.5).

N10-009 reclassifies networking problems under exam objectives, which differ from where they belonged in N10-008. For example, wireless connectivity issues (N10-008 5.4) partly become performance issues (N10-009 5.4).

More hardware tools
More physical troubleshooting

Acronyms

The spelling and hyphenation of other terms differ between N10-008 and N10-009. Below, you can find a non-exhaustive list of examples:

  • “BNC” loses the meaning of “British Naval Connector.”
  • “MAC” no longer means “Medium Access Control.”
  • “NIC” becomes plural, so no more “NICs.”
  • “PTR” is “Pointer” in N10-009 vs N10-008’s “Pointer Record”
  • The “I” in “RIP” is “Internet” in N10-008 but “Information” in N10-009
  • “SC” isn’t “Standard Connector” anymore
  • “SDWAN” becomes “SD-WAN”
  • “ST” doesn’t mean “Snap Twist” anymore
  • The “T” in “UTP” is “Twisted” in N10-009 instead of “Twister” in N10-008

Here are the new acronyms on the N10-009 list:

AcronymSpelled Out
AAddress
APIApplication Programming Interface
BSSIDBasic Service Set Identifier
CDNContent Delivery Network
CDPCisco Discovery Protocol
DACDirect Attach Copper
DASDirect-attached Storage
DCIData Center Interconnect
DNSSECDomain Name System Security Extensions
DoHDNS over Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
DoTDNS over Transport Layer Security
DRDisaster Recovery
EAPoLExtensible Authentication Protocol over LAN
EOLEnd-of-life
EOSEnd-of-support
ESSIDExtended Service Set Identifier
EULAEnd User License Agreement
FCFibre Channel
GDPRGeneral Data Protection Regulation
GUIGraphical User Interface
IaCInfrastructure as Code
IAMIdentity and Access Management
IIoTIndustrial Internet of Things
IKEInternet Key Exchange
IPAMInternet Protocol Address Management
IS-ISIntermediate System to Intermediate System
LLDPLink Layer Discovery Protocol
MFAMultifactor Authentication
MPOMultifiber Push On
NTSNetwork Time Security
OSOperating System
OSPFOpen Shortest Path First
OTOperational Technology
PCI DSSPayment Card Industry Data Security Standards
PKIPublic Key Infrastructure
PTPPrecision Time Protocol
RFIDRadio Frequency Identifier
RSTPRapid Spanning Tree Protocol
RXReceiver
SAMLSecurity Assertion Markup Language
SASESecure Access Service Edge
SMTPSSimple Mail Transfer Protocol Secure
STPShielded Twisted Pair
SVISwitch Virtual Interface
TXTransmitter
TXTText
UTMUnified Threat Management
VLSMVariable Length Subnet Mask
VPCVirtual Private Cloud
WPSWi-Fi Protected Setup
VXLANVirtual Extensible LAN
ZTAZero Trust Architecture

Proposed Hardware and Software List

Here are the additions (as phrases) and changes (in complete sentences) to this list for the Network+ N10-009 exam.

  • Equipment:
    • Unlike in N10-008, where you’d need all three, you have options among the Layer 3 switch, managed switch (in N10-008’s Spare Hardware), and PoE switch.
  • Spare hardware:
    • NIC now means multiple network interface cards.
  • Spare parts:
    • Patch cables fall under two general categories: fiber and copper.
    • Regarding the adapters for console cabling changes, instead of going from RS-232 to USB, they go the other way around, from USB to RS-232.
    • Additional NIC/USB NIC
  • Tools
    • PoE Tester
  • Software
    • IaaS cloud lab/demo accounts
    • Flow data analyzer
  • Other
    • Sample configuration playbook/runbook

What Has Been Removed Since N10-008?

It’s worth noting that Network+ N10-008 recommends “CompTIA A+ certified, or equivalent,” but it’s absent from the exam objectives for Network+ N10-009. This omission may mean that CompTIA is no longer concerned with prior training preparing you for Network+ N10-009.

The recommended amount of experience is still a minimum of nine to 12 months. Still, the emphasis has changed from N10-008’s specific “hands-on experience working in a junior network administrator/network support technician job role” to N10-009’s generic “experience in the IT networking field.”

Let’s move on to the removals in each domain by comparing the listed exam objectives.

Networking Fundamentals

As you may expect, antiquated material had to go.

Data encapsulation and decapsulation within the OSI model context (1.1 in both exams) isn’t part of N10-009; neither are the ports for POP3, IMAP, SQLnet, and MySQL or connectionless vs. connection-oriented considerations (N10-008 1.5, N10-009 1.4).

You no longer have to remember Ethernet standards, multiplexing, nitty-gritty cable specifications such as Cat 5, Cat 5e, and so on up to Cat 8, or cable management (N10-008 1.3, N10-009 1.5).

All terms that end with “area network,” such as “local area network” (LAN), “wide area network” (WAN), and so on, have vanished. The only exception is the “software-defined wide area network” (SD-WAN). 

Virtual network concepts, service-related entry points such as smart jacks, and provider links such as digital subscriber line (DSL), have also disappeared (N10-008 1.2, N10-009 1.6).

Underused cloud concepts such as the community deployment model, Desktop as a Service (DaaS), and the security implications of cloud services didn’t make it into N10-009 (N10-008 1.3). Moreover, many IP network addressing concepts have disappeared (N10-008 1.4 and 1.8, N10-009 1.7).

The emphasis on networking devices and functions has shifted (N10-008 2.1, N10-009 1.2), with N10-009 having far fewer examples of networking appliances. For example, modems are absent in N10-009 1.2.

Older ports (POP3, IMAP, etc.)
Ethernet cable standards
Different area networks
Fewer networking devices
Underused cloud concepts
Provider links

Network Implementations

The overall emphasis on network deployments has become less theoretical.

Ethernet is mentioned far fewer times in N10-009, which indicates that the exam no longer focuses on it—for example, in switching technologies and features (N10-008 2.3, N10-009 2.2).

Outdated wireless standards and technologies such as WPA, cellular technologies, and MIMO are gone (N10-008 2.4, N10-009 2.3).

Old standards and technologies (WPA, MIMO, etc.)
Less focus on switching technologies

Network Operations

N10-009 sharply deemphasizes high availability (HA), focusing instead on disaster recovery (3.3 in both exams). Many details in network performance monitoring are also gone.

High availability
Network performance monitoring

Network Security

N10-009 excludes cyber attacks such as botnet/command and control, ransomware, password attacks, and piggybacking (4.2 in both exams).

You’ll need to crystallize network hardening techniques (4.3 in both exams) to more general concepts such as key management and zones.

The security implications of remote access methods, virtual network computing (VNC), and some remote desktop concepts (N10-008 4.4) are gone.

Physical security gets no mention in N10-009 (N10-008 4.5).

Different networking attacks (botnets, ransomware, C2s, etc.)
Security implications of remote connections
Physical security

Network Troubleshooting

In troubleshooting cabling issues (5.2 in both exams), you no longer have to know the considerations of specific cables. You don’t need to state the tools for fixing cables, such as crimpers. Gone are the mentions of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and decibel loss.

General networking issues (N10-008 5.5) dwindle to a handful of common ones (N10-009 5.3).

Specific cabling issues
Tools for fixing cables
LEDs and decibel loss

Acronyms

As a result of content removal, the following acronyms no longer appear on N10-009’s list.

AcronymSpelled Out
AAAAAuthentication, Authorization, Accounting, Auditing
AESAdvanced Encryption Standard
APCAngled Physical Contact
CANCampus Area Network
CDMACode Division Multiple Access
CSMA/CACarrier-Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance
CSMA/CDCarrier-Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection
CSUChannel Service Unit
CVECommon Vulnerabilities and Exposures
CWDMCoarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing
DaaSDesktop as a Service
dBDecibel
DSLDigital Subscriber Line
DSUData Service Unit
DWDMDense Wavelength Division Multiplexing
EIAElectronic Industries Association
EIRPEffective Isotropic Radiated Power
EUIExtended Unique Identifier
FCoEFibre Channel over Ethernet
GBICGigabit Interface Converter
GSMGlobal System for Mobile Communications
HAHigh Availability
HDMIHigh-Definition Multimedia Interface
HVACHeating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
IGMPInternet Group Management Protocol
IMAPInternet Message Access Protocol
IPv4Internet Protocol version 4
IPv6Internet Protocol version 6
iSCSIInternet Small Computer Systems Interface
ISPInternet Service Provider
LEDLight-Emitting Diode
LTELong-Term Evolution
MANMetropolitan Area Network
mGREMultipoint Generic Routing Encapsulation
MIMOMultiple Input, Multiple Output
MU-MIMOMultiuser - Multiple Input, Multiple Output
MOUMemorandum of Understanding
MPLSMultiprotocol Label Switching
MT-RJMechanical Transfer - Registered Jack
NDANon-Disclosure Agreement
NGFWNext-Generation Firewall
OIDObject Identifier
OSPFOpen Shortest Path First
OTDROptical Time Domain Reflectometer
PANPersonal Area Network
POP3Post Office Protocol version 3
RARouter Advertisements
RAIDRedundant Array of Inexpensive (or Independent) Disks
RFCRequest for Comment
RGRadio Guide
RSSIReceived Signal Strength Indication
RTSPReal Time Streaming Protocol
SOHOSmall Office Home Office
SRVService Record
SDSolid-State Drive
STPSpanning Tree Protocol
SYSLOGSystem Log
TIA/EIATelecommunications Industry Association/Electronic Industries Alliance
TKIPTemporal Key Integrity Protocol
TLSTransport Layer Security
TX/RXTransmit and Receive
UPCUltra-Physical Contact
VMVirtual Machine
VNCVirtual Network Computing
vNICvirtual Network Interface Card
VRRPVirtual Router Redundancy Protocol
WAPWireless Access Point
WDMWavelength Division Multiplexing
WLANWireless Local Area Network

Proposed Hardware and Software List

The following items are gone:

  • Equipment:
    • Punchdown blocks
    • Layer 2 switch
    • VPN headend
    • Tablet/cell phone
  • Spare hardware:
    • GBICs
    • Managed switch → Equipment in N10-009
  • Spare parts:
    • Specific names for copper cables (e.g., RJ11, RJ45, etc.) and the word “connectors”
  • Tools:
    • Telco/network crimper
    • Punchdown tool
    • Cable stripper
    • Coaxial crimper
    • Wire cutter
    • Fiber termination kit
  • Software:
    • DHCP service
    • DNS service
    • NetFlow analyzer
    • Firmware backups for upgrades

Should I Take N10-008 vs N10-009?

Based on what you’ve read above, is it more advisable to take the N10-008 exam or wait for the N10-009?

It’s only prudent of you to take whichever exam has the most available training material, including textbooks, courses, and practice tests to aid your studies.

Since the N10-008 exam has been around since September 2021, you have access to more study materials, which makes exam preparation easier, especially if you’re already studying for Network+.

Therefore, if it’s not too late in the year, seize the day and prepare for the Network+ N10-008 certification exam before it expires in December 2024.

Conclusion

We’ve given you an essential overview of the CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009 exams, hopefully alleviating your worries about the update. 

We’ve shown you the changes in the exam objectives and domains and the reasons for the updates so that you can make a timely and informed decision on which Network+ exam to take, given your resources and time. 

Unlike N10-008, N10-009 deemphasizes older technologies such as Ethernet, reorganizes network security concepts to other domains, and has new focuses on cloud concepts and connectivity.

No matter which exam you’ll choose, we’d love to wish you success in your CompTIA Network+ certification journey and beyond.

Now, you may be worried about staying on track. But what if you had ready-made training courses, consistent mentorship, mastermind groups, and an entire community rooting for you to get your Network+ certification as quickly as possible, especially before December 20, 2024, the day N10-008 expires?

We offer all of the above so that you can jump in immediately. Join our Accelerator program now and beat this race against time starting today.

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  • Cassandra Lee

    Cassandra is a writer, artist, musician, and technologist who makes connections across disciplines: cyber security, writing/journalism, art/design, music, mathematics, technology, education, psychology, and more. She's been a vocal advocate for girls and women in STEM since the 2010s, having written for Huffington Post, International Mathematical Olympiad 2016, and Ada Lovelace Day, and she's honored to join StationX. You can find Cassandra on LinkedIn and Linktree.

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