Thursday, November 29, 2012

F5 Application Delivery Fundamentals Exam Study Guide

I am studying for the first of the new F5 certification exams, Application Delivery Fundamentals. Since there's no official published material to go with the blueprint, I figured I'd put together a list of links for fellow students to use to study for the exam. I'll organize them according to the blueprint, so you can skip sections you think you already know.  A lot of the links are from the F5 support and Devcentral pages, so if you don't already have accounts on those sites, you will need to set them up. 

Section 1 - OSI

The first section of the exam concentrates on some basic networking concepts, working up the OSI model from the bottom.  Most of this information is common knowledge in the networking industry, but I guarantee that you don't know all of it, especially when you get to the application layer protocols.  This is mostly a collection of Wikipedia articles, but with information this basic, Wiki is our friend.

This section is worth 33% of the total test score.
  • Objective 1.01 - Explain, compare and contrast the OSI layers 
OSI Model Wiki
Another OSI Model Overview

  • Objective 1.02 - Explain protocols and technologies specific to the data-link layer 
ARP on F5
MAC Address
Broadcast Domain
Link Aggregation Wiki
Big IP Link Aggregation
  • Objective 1.03 - Explain protocols and apply technologies specific to the network layer 
Routing on F5
TCP/IP Overview
IP Addressing & Subnetting
Routing Protocols
IP Packet Fragmentation
IP TTL (Time to Live)

  • Objective 1.04 - Explain the features and functionality of protocols and technologies specific to the transport layer 
TCP Functionality
TCP Connection Setup by Virtual Server Type
TCP Profile Settings (Tunables)
UDP Functionality
UDP Profile Settings (Tunables)

  • Objective 1.05 - Explain the features and functionality of protocols and technologies specific to the application layer
Application Layer Traffic Managment on F5
HTTP Functionality
HTTP Status Codes
HTTP Headers
F5 HTTP White Paper
DNS Functionality
DNS Record Types
SIP Functionality
F5 SIP White Paper
FTP Functionality
SMTP Functionality
HTTP Cookies
My Name is URL

Section 2 - F5 Solutions and Technology

In this section, we get into the actual F5 Solutions.  Most engineers taking this exam will be experienced with LTM and iRules, but little else.  Hopefully, the familiarity gained from the F5 datasheets and white papers shown below will help you to understand the breadth of the F5 offerings.  Prepare to take the first step into a larger world.

This section is also worth 33% of the total test score.

  • Objective 2.01 - Articulate the role of F5 products
Access Policy Manager (APM)
Application Security Manager (ASM)
Local Traffic Manager (LTM)
Global Traffic Manager (GTM)
Enterprise Manager (EM)
WAN Optimization Manager (WOM)
Web Accelerator
ARX File Virtualization
F5 White Papers
F5 Datasheets
  • Objective 2.02 - Explain the purpose, use and advantages of iRules  
iRule Wiki (Requires Devcentral Login)
  • Objective 2.03 - Explain the purpose, use and advantages of iApps
iApp Wiki (Requires Devcentral Login)
  • Objective 2.04 - Explain the purpose, use and advantages of iControl
iControl Wiki (Requires Devcentral Login)
  • Objective 2.05 - Explain the purpose of and use cases for full proxy and packet forwarding / packet based architectures
Full Proxy Architecture (Lori MacVittie rules!)
Packet-Based vs Full Proxy
Auto Last Hop
Virtual Server Types
  • Objective 2.06 - Explain the advantages and configurations of high availability (HA)
F5 HA Basics 
Config Sync
Big IP HA Features
VLAN Failsafe

Section 3 - Load Balancing Essentials

This section is a short one compared to the previous two.  It's worth 17% of the total test score.  If you're going after an F5 certification, you're probably already familiar with much of this material, so you probably won't have to study as much for this section.  It never hurts to brush up on the algorithms and persistence methods.
  • Objective 3.01 - Discuss the purpose of, use cases for, and key considerations related to load balancing
Load Balancing Wiki
Load Balancing 101
Load Balancing Algorithms (Devcentral)
More on Load Balancing Algorithms
Another Load Balancing Algorithm Article
Yet Another Load Balancing Algorithm Article

  • Objective 3.02 - Differentiate between a client and a server

Client / Server on Wiki - Yes, I'm surprised this is even a question.

Section 4 - Security

This section is weighted at 11% of the total test score, but it feels like it should be more.
  • Objective 4.01 - Compare and contrast positive and negative security models
Positive Security Model
Positive vs Negative Security
  • Objective 4.02 - Explain the purpose and cryptographic services

SSL Certificates (Devcentral)
Certificate Chains
Public-Key Cryptography
Symmetric vs Asymmetric Encryption
Client SSL Profiles
Server SSL Profiles
  • Objective 4.03 - Describe the purpose and advantages of authentication
F5 Authentication 101 
Single Sign On
Multi-factor Authentication
  • Objective 4.04 - Describe the purpose, advantages and use cases of IPsec and SSL VPN

Section 5 - Application Delivery Platforms
The final section is worth only 7% of the total test score.  The finish line is in sight!

  • Objective 5.01 - Describe the purpose, advantages, use cases, and challenges associated with hardware-based application delivery platforms and virtual machines
Virtualization Platforms
  • Objective 5.02 - Describe the purpose of the various types of advanced acceleration techniques.

Application Performance Optimization
TCP Optimization
Acceleration 101
Acceleration 102

So there you have it.  Everything you need to pass the F5 Application Delivery Fundamentals exam, and probably more.  If you use this study guide, please comment and let me know if it was helpful and how you did on the test.

Postscript.  - I just noticed something interesting about the exam blueprint.  If you add up the various sections (33 + 33 + 17 + 11 + 7), you get 101%.   F5... going above and beyond.  :-)


  1. That Helps! Nice work Keep it Up

  2. Rich it's really a good studding script! Thanks for the encouraging material.

  3. For the ARP section, this link is very useful:

  4. For the ARP F5 link, the should be deleted from the URL.

  5. Rich, I really appreciate you had the time to put this valuable information together and share with the engineers that are interested to pursue the F5 BIG-IP certs! Thanks again, great job.

  6. Passed with a good score, but it was not "easy". Great study guide--thank you!

    Note: The Acceleration 102 link is identical to the 101 (you just need to change the 101 to 102 in the URL).

    Also, I would add as a resource for Section 2.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. can anyone post example questions from his/her exam ?

  9. is it enough to study all the above links ??

  10. What was the format of the exam. Written or multiple choice.

  11. @princeko: anyone that *does* post example questions from his/her exam will be expelled from the program for violation of the F5 Non-Disclosure policy. That means ... you won't EVER be able to be F5 Certified!

    @Matthew Manning: it is multiple choice.

  12. Passed today. This study guide helped me a lot. Thanks. Do you know anything similar to the 201 exam?

  13. Will there be any questions regarding configuration? I've been hearing rumors about knowing how to configure pools, virtual servers etc. Everything you need to know is in the blueprint?

    1. its not true(it is just a rumours). There is no configuration stuff in 101 exam.

  14. @Phillip - the design of the 201 exam is to make sure you know how to manipulate existing objects (pools, virtual servers, etc.), not necessarily configure them from scratch. This is a blurry line as, in order to troubleshoot an object or manipulate it, you do have to understand a fair amount about the object ... the but the BIG-IP Administrator certification is intentionally NOT about installing and configuring, but about maintaining and operating. I hope that helps.

    @rodes - Just to let you all know ... we are working on getting some integration with the F5 DevCentral community. Once we get that done, I'm hoping that we will have the tools to create "living" guides like this one where anyone can suggest resources and everyone can "vote" on them ... creating a constantly updated list of the most valuable resources. I'm hoping that we can get a few of the authors here to contribute as well. :)

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Hello,

    Passed 101 exam this morning. My score was 73 and preliminary result is Passed. Does anyone know the official pass score please ? Is preliminary score as close as official score or should we wait for official score to know the final result before celebrating. Please let me know.


  17. Hi All,

    I am going to do AD on cumming month.Can any one help me total number of questions and duration of the Courses.I am wondering the duration of exam because my friends are told that the questions were more twisted and difficult to understand.

  18. In order to pass you need a 69. I'm guessing a perfect score would be 100? Does anyone know what a perfect score is for the 101 exam?

  19. I've just passed the exam and this guide was very helpful!!

    Thank you very much, great work.

    1. Hi Nex0,
      How was the question? Do you rmember the questions?

  20. The links mentioned here is of much help, i just took my exam today scored 73, a tip for anyone who is going to take this exam details are important don't take the blueprint questions as these are the ones which you are going to be asked in the exam they are just a guideline.

  21. I just too my exam today scored 90, Thank you very much for your guideline ^_^

    I hope you have LTM specialist guideline soon :D

  22. Hi Friends,
    Can anyone help me in knowing the exact passing score and price for 101 and 102 exams

    Lakshmi Sagar S A

    1. I don't know about 102 but 101 passing score is 69% (you can see as 70%)

  23. Passed the 101 course today with a score of 80. Thanks for the help! :-)

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Hello, I am preparing my exam 101.
    So actually I am looking for exam correction website.
    If you can help me..

  26. I sent an email to F5 asking about the official cut score and the number of questions for each exam 101 and 201.I received their official response this morning saying the following:

    "Hi Willian, The amount of questions varies for each exam, however the 101 and 201 exams are each 90 minutes in length. For each exam, the passing grade is 69%. Best of luck on your exams."

    Anyone have an estimated idea of how many questions are present in the 101 exam?


  27. I just passed the 101:ADF thank you for the material. I also found the material on this site helpful:

    Thank you again now on to the 201 TMOS Admin test

  28. Hey Guys. You that have taken the 101 exam. How many questions were present in the exam?

  29. Hello,
    I am new to this, i need fundamentals for F5..i completed online LTM course..need improve my knowledge. can any one help on this.

  30. This is really helpful.... Planning on becoming the first F5 certified guy in my organization... ;)

  31. Hi guys, I'm from Brazil.
    I passed in the exam today, thanks to all help in this site!

  32. Great work mate, really helpful.

    Another useful link compiled in similar way:

  33. passed with the help of this guide..
    I highly recommend this over the ADC fundamentals guide by Philip Jonsson. His guide is good overview, however, the in depth knowledge on these links is more coverage. I passed with just over an 80 using only both these resources.

    1. Thank you for letting us know. I am soon going to write 101. Planning to go through these links plus philip jonsson(first edition)

  34. Cleared this today.
    This site helped me a lot.
    Thank you very much.

  35. What is the Passing Score and official exam code for Application Delivery Fundamentals - 101 Exam?

  36. Great resource for someone needing a head start into Big IP's.... Thanks heaps for taking time into sorting out the resources for the whole world to use....

  37. Im starting a new job next month and they work with F5 products and im required to get the 101 cert in 6 months. this source is awsome! Amazing work!
    Thank you for you effort!

  38. Hello,
    I need someone advice for the guys who recently passed. I was reading the study guide + have a knowledge about Model OSI. I was researching the internet and before I have found this website I had to deal with a google search which directed me to all these braindumps...I have checked some sample question (who would resist) and and not sure why the questions in there were totally not relevant to the information I did read. I mean the questions were so detailed, for example: what options you have in "this" wizard etc... if you guys know what I mean.
    Can you guys tell me your experience how deep knowledge you had to achieve to pass this exam ?

  39. I passed yesterday. Score 75 and had 70 questions. 90min was very tight for me.. Please read the questions very careful. I had a lot of questions from section 1 & 2. Questions are build on the scenarios for example: "you are a network admin and you need to protect the server against vulnerabilities what would you choose...." answer is ASM... or other question "one server in the pool gets all the traffic and the second server gets no connections but all nodes are healthy, why is that"... In this case I think this is because of second node was configured as a backup so until first node is live the second is not taking any connection"

    Please AVOID a question dump sites... all are FAKE !!!!!

  40. Is this guide still up to date? have my exam near the end of January

  41. Dave - guide is 100% ok... I passed in December.. You don't need a deep knowledge about all the products... you must know what are they for so don't learn what to click and where to have something working.... LTM knowledge is helpful... learn a lot about OSI model... Section 1 is most important... Learn also about iRule, iApps, iControl in the terms if you will be questioned "what would you use in the scenario....."

  42. thanks steven for update, kindly share the study material or dumps or guide

  43. following your blog on delivery nice on please follow us on :- that is on point are coming in with in term based period. The better new piece or item on the subject of work is by tackling how Dallas Courier Service essential and fresh point of Delivery Service Minneapolis works.

  44. hi, the link does not work. perhaps you could amend it to

  45. Geat Job, I'm thinking take this exam, by the moment just I'm studing with the LABs in F5 university and reading the guide to Philip Jonsson, but I think that could be most interesting study this guide for expand mi knowledges.

    Thanks gays.

  46. Great effort for putting all these topics/subtopics together. I will definitely go through all of ur topics/subtopics. I even have material of Philip jonsson. Lets study both. I think, 2 - 3 weeks are good enough to study these material for passing the exam

  47. Hello, Thanks a lot for the great work out here...
    I just passed my F5 101 today

  48. guys anything to share like quesations and all

  49. Passed. Thanks for the great work. 201 next.

  50. Writing this exam tomorrow. let's see how it goes. Thanks for putting all the things at one place. Really appreciate it.

    1. Did you remember those questions from your last 101 exam? Since I will take my third 101 exam, thx in advance!

  51. the other link to OSI doesnt work. This is the updated link.

  52. Good post. I am very fond of hardware and networking related products. With so many products and so many things to learn about these products it is quite amazing. My aim is to become leading networking product dealers in Chennai.

  53. I think for BIG IP Link Aggregation, pls refer to

    1. or I would suggest this link below...

  54. I am giving the exam on mid july and some of the urls are removed.currenly i am focussing on the study that all enough to clear 101??

    1. Hey,
      I wouldn't be so sure. Look at this link It might be helpful as well.

  55. Thanks Mikhail.
    can someone tell me totally how many questions are asked

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