The CompTIA Network+ certification guide (2024)

The CompTIA Network+ certification is the second of three certifications in CompTIA’s “core skills” career path, which also includes A+ and Security+. The certification:

  • Validates technical skills needed to securely establish, maintain and troubleshoot networks 
  • Builds foundational skills necessary to succeed in a variety of job roles
  • Serves as a stepping stone for a variety of IT and cybersecurity careers

Key facts

  • CompTIA certifications earned: 2.5 million+
  • Average base U.S. salary for Network+ certification holders: $77,078
  • Recommended experience: 9-12 months

Start your journey to becoming a certified Network+ professional with Infosec.

CompTIA Network+ exam overview

The CompTIA Network+ certification validates the knowledge and skills to confidently design, configure, manage and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks. The exam incorporates emerging technologies such as unified communications, mobile, cloud and virtualization technologies. The Network+ certificate exam is up-to-date with the latest job practice areas, laid out in four domains.

Domain 1: Networking Fundamentals (24%)
  • Compare and contrast the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model layers and encapsulation concepts.
  • Explain the characteristics of network topologies and network types.
  • Summarize the types of cables and connectors and explain which is the appropriate type for a solution.
  • Given a scenario, configure a subnet and use appropriate IP addressing schemes.
  • Explain common ports and protocols, their application and encrypted alternatives.
  • Explain basic corporate and datacenter network architecture.
  • Summarize cloud concepts and connectivity options.
Domain 2: Network Implementations (19%)
  • Compare and contrast various devices, their features and their appropriate placement on the network.
  • Compare and contrast routing technologies and bandwidth management concepts.
  • Given a scenario, configure and deploy common ethernet switching features.
  • Given a scenario, install and configure the appropriate wireless standards and technologies.
Domain 3: Network Operations (16%)
  • Given a scenario, use the appropriate statistics and sensors to ensure network availability.
  • Explain the purpose of organizational documents and policies.
  • Explain high availability and disaster recovery concepts and summarize which is the best solution.
Domain 4: Network Security (19%)
  • Explain common security concepts.
  • Compare and contrast common types of attacks.
  • Given a scenario, apply network hardening techniques.
  • Compare and contrast remote access methods and security implications.
  • Explain the importance of physical security.
Domain 5: Network Troubleshooting (22%)
  • Explain the network troubleshooting methodology.
  • Given a scenario, troubleshoot common cable connectivity issues and select the appropriate tools.
  • Given a scenario, use the appropriate network software tools and commands.
  • Given a scenario, troubleshoot common wireless connectivity issues.
  • Given a scenario, troubleshoot general networking issues

Learn more about the Network+ exam objectives.

Network+ cxam details

Evaluates your ability to design, configure, manage and troubleshoot wired and wireless network infrastructures. It covers key areas such as networking concepts, infrastructure, operations, security and tools.

Exam code: N10-008 Exam cost:  $358
Launch date: 1999 Last update: September 15, 2021
Number of questions: 90 maximum Type of questions:  Multiple choice and performance-based 
Length of test: 90 minimutes Passing score: 720 (on a scale of 100-900)
Recommended experience: 9 to 12 months of hands-on experience working networking administration or support Languages:

English, German, Portuguese and Spanish

Validity duration:  Three years CEUs needed for renewal:  30 CEUs over three years

Additional Network+ study materials

Prepare for your exam with books, practice exams and other Network+ study resources. You should also review the official Network+ exam outline since it will shed light on what topics you’ll need to study.


CompTIA Network+ study guides and books

There is no shortage of books and guides to help you prepare for the Network+ exam. Make sure to use materials created specifically for this topic. You can find great options at your local library, bookstore or online. Highly rated titles include:

  • CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Certification Study Guide
  • CompTIA Network+ Deluxe Study Guide with Online Labs 5th Edition by Todd Lammle
  • CompTIA Network+ Certification All-In-One Exam Guide, Eighth Edition (Exam N10-008) 8th Edition by Scott Jernigan and Mike Meyers

Network+ practice questions and exams

Test your knowledge pre-exam with practice materials. These are designed to help you assess your readiness and study progress. Reputable sources include:

CompTIA training partners like Infosec also offer practice exams. For example, the  Infosec CompTIA Network+ Training Boot Camp offers unlimited practice exam attempts.


Other Network+ study resources

You can also join online communities to get advice and share knowledge, such as: 

  • Forums:  TechExams, Reddit and similar forums include posts by people preparing for the Network+ exam or who have already taken it.
  • Podcasts: Learn more about changes to Network+ and cybersecurity career paths on podcasts like Cyber Work.
  • Other social media: The Network+ is a popular exam, and many people have created free training videos on YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and other platforms.

Once certified, learn how to earn Network+ CEUs to maintian your CompTIA certification.

Network+ jobs and careers

The CompTIA Network+ certification opens opportunities for those entering the field. It helps you gain the skills to manage and support networks across platforms, giving you a more versatile skill set.


 Common Network+ job titles 

  • Systems administrator
  • Systems engineer
  • Network administrator
  • Network support specialist

Learn about more Network+-related job options.

CompTIA Network+ live boot camps and self-paced training

One of the best ways to prepare and ensure exam success is through training programs designed by CompTIA-accredited organizations. Whether you want to get certified quickly or need expert assistance mastering the exam domains, paid training is a steady path to certification.

CompTIA Network+ certification comparisons and alternatives

The best certification for you depends on your career goals, current role and experience. Each is designed to serve different functions, but the Network+ certification is one of several CompTIA offerings that work well together to build a career path. Here's a comparison between Network+, adjacent certs and other well-known certifications:

CompTIA Network+ vs. Cisco CCNA

Both CompTIA Network+ and Cisco CCNA are well-recognized networking certifications. While they overlap in some fundamental concepts, the Network+ is an entry-level, vendor-neutral certification providing a broad overview of networking topics, suitable for those new to the field or looking for foundational knowledge.

CCNA dives deeper into specific Cisco networking technologies and solutions, making it vendor-specific. It's ideal for those planning to work primarily with Cisco products or looking for a more in-depth understanding of networking. CompTIA Network+ can give a wider view of networking for those who want to earn both or are considering other specialized Cisco certifications.

CompTIA Network+ vs. Microsoft Fundamentals

CompTIA Network+ and Microsoft Fundamentals both serve as introductory certifications for individuals interested in networking. While Network+ provides a broader perspective on general networking concepts, practices and technologies, Microsoft Fundamentals validates entry-level abilities for specific areas. They are tailored to Microsoft networking technologies and might be best if you work in environments heavily reliant on Microsoft products. In essence, Network+ is vendor-neutral and comprehensive, whereas Fundamentals is Microsoft-centric.

CompTIA Network+ vs. CompTIA A+

Both CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA A+ are foundational certifications. While Network+ is focused on networking concepts, practices and technologies, A+ is more holistic, covering essential IT operational roles and technical support. A+ delves into topics like hardware, software, mobile devices and basic troubleshooting, making it ideal for helpdesk and support roles. Network+ is more specialized, more in line with network technician or junior network administrator roles. It's common to start with A+ for a comprehensive IT base and move to Network+ to specialize in networking.

CompTIA Network+ vs. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ are each integral parts of the CompTIA certification lineup. Network+ covers the foundations of how different networks operate, design considerations and essential troubleshooting, while Security+ provides foundational knowledge in cybersecurity. Security+ delves into threats, attacks, vulnerabilities, risk management and basic cryptography.

While there's some overlap, particularly in the network security aspects, they serve different purposes. Network+ is for those interested in the functioning and management of networks, whereas Security+ is for those looking to start a career in cybersecurity or enhance their knowledge of IT security practices. It's recommended to earn the core CompTIA certifications in the following order: A+, Network+, Security+.

Explore Infosec certifications to find the best fit for your career goals.