The goals of the Network+ Certification is to ensure that employers hire people who will not need to be trained in network fundamentals before being hired. A Network+ Certified tech should be able to make recommendations for installing or expanding a network, document and perform preventative maintenance on a network, and troubleshoot network problems as they arise. Having an A+ and Network+ Certification should mean that you are fully capable of being an on-site technical support person, a network administrator of a local area network, or a valuable asset to an enterprise-level networking team, but not exactly be running it.
The CompTIA Network+ certification is the sign of a competent networking professional. It is an international, vendor-neutral certification that proves a technician’s competency in managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, installing and configuring basic network infrastructure.
Since its introduction in 1999, more than 235,000 people have become CompTIA Network+ certified. Microsoft includes CompTIA Network+ in their Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) program, and other corporations such as Novell, Cisco and HP also recognize CompTIA Network+ as part of their certification tracks.
Although not a prerequisite, it is recommended that CompTIA Network+ candidates have at least nine months of experience in network support or administration or academic training, along with a CompTIA A+ certification.
The Network+ Exam is just one exam, and for those who took it before January 1st, 2011, it never expires. (Those taking the test after that date must either retake it at a set interval or submit proof of their continuing education in networking. The COMPTIA website has more details.) It has 100 multiple-choice "situational and identification" questions. Basically, if you know your hardware and software, as well as know what to do in a given situation, you should pass. You are given 90 minutes to take the exam, which should be plenty if you are fully prepared. It's recommended by CompTIA that you already have an A+ Certification under your belt and at least nine months networking experience, but the only prerequisite for taking the exam is paying the exam fee ($239 US). Minimum passing score is 720 on a scale of 100-900, but that doesn't really mean what you think it means: some questions are worth more than others. The test is available in English, German, Japanese and Korean.
While the A+ certification is definitely an industry standard and a prerequisite for many jobs, the Network+ is less so, but gaining in popularity.