Certification Review: Microsoft Network Infrastructure MCTS / MCITP Certification


With the old Microsoft MCSE certifications replaced with the new Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (MCTS) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certifications, there is a surge of interest the topic of Microsoft certification. Windows Networking is a huge part of those certifications and to the MCTS in Network Infrastructure, Windows networking is what it is all about.

Let us find out what the MCTS in Network Infrastructure is all about and what certification resources are available for it.

What is the MCTS in Network Infrastructure?

You can achieve the Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (MCTS) in about 50 categories. Areas of certification for the MCTS include things like .NET application development, Windows Mobile, SQL Server, Exchange 2007, Windows Server Virtualization, and, in the case of our topic today, Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration.

To me, the coolest thing about the MCTS is that all you need to do is to take a single exam to achieve it. For the MCTS in Network Infrastructure, all you need to do is to take and pass the 70-642 exam.

But what does the 70-642 cover and what resources are available to make it easier to pass? That is what I will focus on in this article.

What do the 70-642 Windows 2008 Network Infrastructure Exam cover?

Of course, as you likely know, the way these tests work is that I cannot tell you what is on the test, but only what Microsoft has publicly announced is on the test. To make things easier, Microsoft has published an official Preparation Guide for Exam 70-642. This exam guide shows that the 70-642 covers Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration, broken down into the following 5 categories:

1.      Configuring IP Addressing and Services

  • Configure IPv4 and IPv6 addressing
  • Configure Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
  • Configure routing
  • Configure IPsec

2.      Configuring Name Resolution

  • Configure a Domain Name System (DNS) server
  • Configure DNS zones
  • Configure DNS records
  • Configure DNS replication
  • Configure name resolution for client computers

3.      Configuring Network Access

  • Configure remote access
  • Configure Network Access Protection (NAP)
  • Configure network authentication
  • Configure wireless access
  • Configure firewall settings

4.      Configuring File and Print Services

  • Configure a file server
  • Configure Distributed File System (DFS)
  • Configure shadow copy services
  • Configure backup and restore
  • Manage disk quotas
  • Configure and monitor print services

5.      Monitoring and Managing a Network Infrastructure

  • Configure Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server settings
  • Capture performance data
  • Monitor event logs
  • Gather network data

Initially, this list can seem daunting, but honestly, there are a ton of resources available on the Internet to help you pass this test.

What certification resources are available for the MCTS Network Infrastructure?

Before I go into my resource list, I want to point out that the best way to gain experience in Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure is just to use it for yourself! You can download an evaluation copy at the Windows 2008 Server trial software site.

Besides hands on experience, you will also need the right knowledge of how to use Windows 2008 Networking. That is where my resource list steps in to help.

WindowsNetworking.com is filled with a ton of resources to help you pass the MCTS NI 70-642 exam. I will break these resources up into the same categories that Microsoft used in their exam prep guide.

1.      Configuring IP Addressing and Services

2.      Configuring Name Resolution

3.      Configuring Network Access

4.      Configuring File and Print Services

5.      Monitoring and Managing a Network Infrastructure

Besides free online knowledge, like the WindowsNetworking.com articles above, Microsoft does offer their MCTS Self-paced training kit for the 70-642 Network Infrastructure exam. This book should, according to Microsoft, cover most of what you need to know to pass that exam. However, at 688 pages, it is a monster and, I would bet, not a “fun read”.

Instead, my preference would be more video training course like Train Signal’s Windows 2008 Network Infrastructure video training course, taught by MCT Ed Liberman. The 14 hour course comes with 2 bonus hours covering just TCP/IP. The course is reasonably priced and comes in a variety of formats such as iPod/iPhone to make learning more convenient.

What’s next after the MCTS Network Infrastructure?

To me, the MCTS Network Infrastructure exam is similar to the old MCP program, were all you had to do was pass one test to get a Microsoft certification. Then, the MCTS in Network Infrastructure is a stepping stone to the higher level certification of Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP). The 70-642 Network Infrastructure exam is 1 of 5 exams required to achieve the MCITP.  The MCITP could be compared to the deprecated MCSE certifications.

I hope that you have found this certification overview and resource guide for the MCTS 70-642 Network Infrastructure exam helpful! Good luck in your certification goals, no matter which certification you choose!

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