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Is CCNA and its study books a good way to learn and understand networking on both cisco and non cisco equipment. I want to buy a good reference book, but dont want to be tied down cisco proprietary terms and equipment.

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As someone about to start their CCIE my advice is; Learning through the CCNA/P is brilliant and as others have said, Ethernet, IP, TCP/UDP, STP, OSPF, BGP etc are open protocols so you can transfer the knowledge, but! I have found that these protocols are configured differently on different vendor equipment and you start think in the "cisco way" of how things work, and not necessarily exactly how they work in a more low-level, fuller-understanding way. Do the CCNA and grab a cheap Juniper router and learn to do everything on there at the same time, this will more than double your understanding –  jwbensley Aug 8 '12 at 20:40

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Vendor certifications are as much about market management as they are about technical knowledge. A CCNP is far more likely to recommend an ASA device than an Astaro or Juniper. An MCSE is far more likely to recommend MS Exchange rather than Ipswitch iMail or Google Gmail.

To get a vendor-specific certification you generally must learn key concepts in the area as well as the specifics about how to deal with the area with the vendors stuff. However, the vendor specific stuff is likely to give less/weak/poor treatment to those parts of the discipline that it's stuff doesn't do well.

I suggest that if your aim is to be vendor-agnostic you do your learning from vendor-agnostic materials first, then use the vendor-specific materials when you need vendor-specific info.

I happen to like O'Reilly books. You might start here ...

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TCP-IP illustrated is also great: amazon.com/TCP-IP-Illustrated-1-Protocols/dp/0201633469 –  Tim Howland Nov 16 '09 at 4:40
    
You have a typo, no term CCNE -> CCNA|CCNP|CCIP|CSSP –  TiFFolk Nov 16 '09 at 8:40

The book "Network Warrior" by O'Reilly is amazing. It does use Cisco equipment for it's examples but c'mon, what are the chances you are going to be in a 100% non-Cisco environment.

The book covers all the important networking topics you need and teaches you the basics on the worlds most popular networking equipment. It's a win-win if you ask me.

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Yes, it is. There will be differences in syntax of commands in different equipment, but VLAN, OSPF, Spanning Tree, WiFi and other technologies, discussed in CCNA course work the same on every vendor's equipment.

But, actually, these are EXAMs books and they may not provide you complete coverage of networking, because they are aimed to pass the exam and are limited to exam topics.

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any suggestions on material that is not to the test. –  Recursion Nov 15 '09 at 18:53
    
It depends on what you need =). CCNA is an entry level, like junior system administrator. It does not cover multicast, BGP, QoS but trains working with switches and main aspects networking. If you are not familiar with networks at all, you would better study CompTIA Network+, it is, btw, not vendor specific. –  TiFFolk Nov 15 '09 at 21:21

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