The Certified Wireless Network Professional Program

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As one of the fastest-growing sectors of the networking market and as an incredibly convenient networking tool, it’s no wonder that wireless technologies continue to attract lots of interest and excitement from users, IT professionals, businesses and organizations from all walks of life.

But despite its exponential growth, wireless networking has only recently begun to develop a number of focused certifications, though more and more IT certifications, from information security to system and network administration, also include wireless content or coverage. A survey of major certification databases shows 14 planned or possible wireless credentials with strong wireless components, of which nine are currently available (six vendor-neutral, three vendor-specific, and two of the vendor-neutral certifications specifically aim at wireless installation).

Of the vendor-neutral wireless certification offerings, Planet3Wireless has put together an interesting program with two credentials in its CWNP program presently available, and two more under development. The two available credentials are:

 

 

  • Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA): This is the program’s entry-level cert, which aims to identify competent IT professionals who understand the basic principles and standards involved in wireless network communications, how wireless LAN technologies work, best practices for wireless LAN design, hardware selection and installation, implementation and management and good working knowledge of basic wireless security principles and practices.
    The CWNA exam (#PW0-100) is available through Prometric, consists of 90 questions, costs $175 and must be completed in 90 minutes or less. A 70 percent score (63 or more questions answered correctly) is required to pass (instructors must score 80 percent or better).
  • Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWNP): An intermediate-level certification, this credential aims to identify IT professionals who can understand, implement and manage wireless LAN security at a professional level. Candidates must complete the CWNA as a prerequisite, and Planet3Wireless also recommends that candidates first take and pass the CompTIA Security+ or the Security Certified Network Professional (SCNP) exam to make sure they’re well-grounded in information security terminology, concepts, tools, and technologies.
    Candidates must have a thorough working knowledge of wireless LAN security topics, including intrusion detection and remedial actions, designing, implementing and maintaining wireless LAN security policy, and understanding how to formulate, implement and maintain wireless LAN security solutions that may include working with security appliances, routers, gateways and other security software and subsystems.The CWSP exam (#PW0-200) is available through Prometric, consists of 60 questions, costs $175 and must be completed in 90 minutes or less. A 70 percent score (42 or more questions answered correctly) is required to pass (instructors must score 80 percent or better).

 

The two new CWNP credentials that are under development include:

 

 

  • Certified Wireless Network Integrator (CWNI): Planned for public release in 2004, this credential aims to identify individuals with advanced systems design and integration skills targeted at wireless networks. Advanced topics include wireless LAN switching, indoor/outdoor enterprise design and deployment, best practices for integrating and managing wired and wireless networks, where such networks enjoy seamless connectivity, positive user experiences, strong security, flexible mobility and support for a wide range of applications.
  • Certified Wireless Network Expert (CWNE): Not planned for public release until 2004, this will be the capstone credential in the CWNP program. Holders will primarily be network administrators and engineers with advanced skills in wireless networking. Topics to be covered include designing, installing, configuring, administering and troubleshooting wireless network systems, as well as routing, switching, packet analysis and advanced design subject matter as well. This credential will include a practicum-style exam, where skills are tested in an intensive, hands-on laboratory environment.

 

For more information about the CWNP and the various certifications currently offered and under development, visit the organization’s Web site at www.cwnp.com. These offerings are well designed, well executed and have garnered a considerable amount of industry attention and support. Definitely a worthwhile addition to any savvy system or network administrator’s resume, and of interest to hands-on information security practitioners as well.

Ed Tittel is president of LANwrights Inc. and is contributing editor for Certification Magazine. E-mail your questions and comments to etittel@certmag.com.

 

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