The Planet3 Wireless-operated Certified Wireless Networking Professional (CWNP) program will add a new certification designed for novices. The Wireless# (or “Wireless Sharp”) credential will enter its beta phase on Oct. 24, and the final exam is scheduled for release on Jan. 2, 2006, said Kevin Sandlin, co-founder and CEO of Planet3 Wireless.
“This is meant for true newbies to the industry: folks who want to start off at a very basic level of knowledge of wireless data, all of today’s most-used formats and application of those technologies,” he said. “The audience that we’re aiming at here is computer technicians, technical support personnel and those who are recommending or selling wireless solutions. Those are the people who need to be able to talk the talk in wireless, but either aren’t engineers yet or are taking a different path in their career and need to know about wireless. We also cover—not in as much detail—RFID (radio frequency identification) and Voice-over wireless LAN. Those are applications of wireless, and the person taking this exam needs to be familiar with them.”
The Wireless# certification covers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WiMax, ZigBee or Infrared topics, which includes standards, operations and circumstances. For now, the credential is not directly connected to other CWNP certifications, Sandlin said. “We’re not going to rule out that someday this could be a prerequisite to the CWNA, but it really is stand-alone. We go deep into Wi-Fi with all of our other certifications, but none of those mention—except in passing—Bluetooth, WiMax, ZigBee or Infrared. It also opens the door for higher-level certifications in those technologies as they progress.”
The concept of Wireless# began to form about two or three years ago, when certification candidates began to express interest in the idea of foundation-level offerings. “We started getting requests from the folks who would sit in our CWNA classes for more coverage of introductory topics, whether it was another class or another certification or just some sort of tutorial to differentiate between Wi-Fi or (standard) 802.11,” Sandlin said. “CWNA, CWSP and CWAP are strictly 802.11. People who came to the CWNA class wanted a little bit broader topic base.
“As we’ve developed that class more and more, we’ve been finding that the people who are attending this class are not wireless LAN administrators. They’re people who want a beginning in wireless. They’re not network administrators and they don’t aspire to be. They want to know more about wireless in general and, although they’re getting a good education in the CWNA class, they want a broader education. That’s how we arrived at the decision to create the credential.”
Candidates who pass the beta exam, which costs $85, will receive the Wireless# credential. The draft objectives, which will be subject to change once the final exam goes live, are available at http://www.cwnp.com/exams/pw0050_objectives.html.
For more information, see http://www.cwnp.com.