Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1

The Open University is a Cisco Networking Academy Support Centre. We offer the Cisco Certified Networking Associate version 7 curriculum, which provides the foundational knowledge, understanding and skills to configure small-scale LAN/WAN using Cisco equipment. As part of your studies, you'll complete CCNA Introduction to Networks and CCNA Switching, Routing and Wireless Essentials and gain simulated hands-on experience configuring networks through online activities.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code TM257
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
Includes residential school

What you will study

The full Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) curriculum consists of three parts, sometimes referred to as CCNA 1–3. This module covers CCNA 1–2.1

Part 1: Introduction to Networks (CCNA 1)
This part will provide you with a strong theoretical and practical grounding in all aspects of networking, with a particular focus on local area networks (LANs). It will introduce you to the key networking hardware and software, and give you your first insight into the importance of internet addressing.

Part 2: Switching, Wireless and Routing Essentials (CCNA 2)
Routers and switches are used extensively in wide area and local area networks. Their basic function is to forward data packets across networks and between networks. Part 2 focuses on how you can configure routers to operate in computer networks as well as their switch counterpart.

Each part consists of a number of chapters. Most chapters have an online exam, and each of the two parts has an online final exam.

1Module Cisco networking (CCNA) part 2 (TM357) covers CCNA 3 and Cisco DevNet.

You will learn

This module will:

  • help you develop an understanding of how computer networks work, and the principles behind them
  • help you develop the practical skills needed to configure network devices such as routers and switches
  • provide you with an opportunity to go on and gain an industry-recognised qualification (CCNA Routing and Switching certification).

Vocational relevance

You'll learn both theory and practical elements of network addressing and management, router configuration, switch management and securing a local area network.

In addition, this module will prepare you for the industry-standard CCNA examination.

You must make your own arrangements to sit the CCNA.


There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.

However, as this is an OU level 2 module you'll need a good knowledge of the subject area obtained through any of the following:

  • OU level 1 study
  • equivalent work at another university
  • experience as an IT professional

Preparatory work

Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111) and Introduction to computing and information technology 2 (TM112) would be ideal preparation for this module.

Study materials

What's included

You'll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • assessment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access.

You'll also have access to:

  • the Cisco NetAcad study materials forever (so long as you maintain your NetAcad profile
  • the Cisco Packet Tracer Network Simulator software (versions for Windows, Linux and Mac.

Computing requirements

You'll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you'll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They'll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that's for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won't be compulsory for you to complete the module, you're strongly encouraged to take part. If you want to participate, you'll likely need a headset with a microphone.


You can find the assessment details for this module in the facts box.

Day school

This module has a compulsory1 day school.

There's no additional cost for this, but you must pay for travel.

Cisco instructors run the day schools (offered at a range of UK venues and on various dates), which provide practical experience with Cisco Networking technologies. Your work during the school will link to your end-of-module assessment.

Instructions for booking will be on the module website.

1 If you're disabled, a carer, live outside the UK, or serving in a NATO armed forces-related role, you may apply for an exemption. If exempt, you'll complete an online, remote lab-based activity instead.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone. The Accessibility Statement below outlines what studying this module involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Mode of study

All of this module's study materials are online using both the OU VLE and Cisco Networking Academy website (NetAcad). Online materials are composed of pages of text with images; audio/video clips of 3–10 minutes (all with transcripts/subtitles); diagrams; interactive media; animations; and multiple-choice self-assessed quizzes. Online materials also include links to external resources, online forums and online tutorial rooms.

Tuition strategy

This module provides two online tutorials.

Working with others

You will be required to work with other students and we assess this. This includes looking at, and commenting on, others' work; reflecting on others' comments on your work; and/or working together with fellow learners on a project/task.

Practical work

You'll have access to the NetLabVE – a remote lab experience using physical networking equipment via a remote connection. Screen readers should work for most students in this context. The module team will accommodate anyone with additional requirements at each day school venue based on need and prior advance notification.

You'll also have access to the Packet Tracer Network Simulator for practical in-module activities and assignment/assessment work. This simulator has various accessibility features you can tailor to your needs. The module team will also support any specific additional requirements.

Diagrams and other visual content

The study materials contain a significant number of diagrams. Producing your own version of one of these of these is an important part of the module assessment. Figure descriptions are provided for all figures by Cisco as part of their content – there is a 'switch' to access these within the online content context menu.

Finding information

You will be required to search for, and make use of, third-party material online, and we assess this. We can provide alternatives for required/assessed research material to enable you to meet the learning outcomes of the module.


This module has tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and an end-of-module assessment (EMA) that you must submit via the online TMA/EMA service. There are also self-assessed online Cisco exams.


You'll receive feedback from your tutor on your submitted Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs). This will help you to reflect on your TMA performance. You should refer to it to help you prepare for your next assignment.


We structure all University modules to a set timetable and you'll need time-management skills to keep your studies on track. We'll support you in developing these skills.

Specialist software

The module materials and assessment ask you to use the following specialist software: Packet Tracer network simulator, and may not be fully accessible as a result. The curriculum has been adapted to enable students to complete the content; however, the type of screen reader that works with the content and the network simulator is very specific and requires pre-configuration.

Future availability

Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1 (TM257) starts once a year in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2028.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2028.

Professional recognition

Those within the networking technician and engineering discipline consider Cisco certification professional recognition and personal accreditation. CCNA certification is an invaluable entry accreditation for the network engineering profession.