There have been quite a few questions here at the forum and even more in my inbox asking what's new in the fourth edition of the CWNA Official Study Guide. I took a few hours over the past couple of days to build the following list for you:
Wireless Organizations: Still covers the FCC, IEEE and Wi-Fi Alliance, but also now covers IETF as it applies to WLANs, ITU-R, OfCom/ETSI, MIC/ARIB and ACMA for a more global perspective on wireless organizations.
WWAN/WMAN: now given multiple paragraphs of treatment instead of just a single sentence mention.
Hotspots: about twice the coverage with inclusion of the five common hotspot business models
RF Funtamentals: now provides a brief introduction to early radio technologies and electromagnetic wave theory before jumping into radio frequency fundamentals and then covers the same basics. Uses analogies that can be experienced with the senses (sight, sound, etc.) in order to help you understand the concepts
Link Bugget/SOM: Instead of referencing them as if they were the same, the text now specifies that the SOM is the result of the Link Budget calculations. Plenty of detail on how a Link Budget is performed.
MSDU/MPDU: Provides an overview of the communications at Layer 1 and Layer 2 by detailing the exchange that involves MSDUs, MPDUs, PSDUs and PPDUs.
WLAN Design Models: While the previous version covered PtP and PtMP, the fourth edition covers these plus single MAC, split MAC, mesh and other design model concepts.
Site Surveys: The same basic information is provided, but the new book also coveres requirements analysis, constraints analysis and objectives development from a WLAN project management perspective. Newer site survey tools are also covered and the different types (automated, assisted, virtual, manual, etc.) are reviewed.
VoIP: this topic is addressed more than in the previous version, but still is not at the level of CWNE as it's not required for the CWNA exam
Security: more focus on pre-RSNA versus RSNA and security myths related to WLANs are also covered
Troubleshooting: methodologies are provided to help you become a fine tuned troubleshooter.
Guided tours: This new component of the book takes you on brief tours of site survey tools, a WLAN switch, an AP, a residential gateway, a client device and a protocol analyzer.
The current version of the CWNP Rosetta Stone is kindly included in the book so you won't have to print off a second reference (though this post will age and I would encourage you to check for newer versions of the Rosetta Stone document).
We attempted to ensure that the Rosetta Stone was followed throughout the book and we tried to make the transition as painless as possible for those of you working in the industry for awhile. For example, early in the book, we remind you that OFDM is the new way to say 802.11a and ERP is the new way to say 802.11g. Eventually, the book ceases this redundancy, but the transition should be a little easier with this.
Overall, the book is a complete rewrite. It is not an update to the previous version. There are many new perspectives and explanatory methods and I hope you find it and this summary of changes helpful.
Blessings on your certification journey.
Thank you for taking the time to do this for us Tom.
Knowing how much WiFi use has grown as well as the way security keeps changing, makes the new version very important to the industry.
An additional note about the book based on some questions I've had in emails:
IEEE 802.11n is lightly covered in the book. This is because final ratification may still be 18-24 months away. There is some discussion of the operational modes (non-HT, HT and Greenfield) and what they specify.
Devin has been writing some excellent blogs here at the CWNP website related to the 802.11n-draft2.0 and I will also be authoring some such blogs for the CWNP website in the future. This information, plus the Fourth Edition study guide should help keep everyone fresh on the CWNA material and help the book survive three years.
Three years is a long time in wireless. Am I the only one noticing this? I think it's good that CWNA has a three year renewal!
I can see the whole book is a re-write, and easily understood with regards to the wireless industry.
The main problem I am now faced with is the fact that I'm over half way through the 3rd edition, and now a 4th is released.
What about the CWNA exam? Is the 3rd now obsolete are preparation for it? Have I wasted my time with all the reading so far? Should I throw the 3rd edition in the bin and buy the 4th and start all over again?
NO dan you have not wasted any of your time.I have both editions. Both editions cover exam objectives.The main thing here is the objectives.You can even use the internet for objectives clarification and also use other books.Its just that the writers of the 4th edition just departed completly from the style of 3rd edition but at the core they cover the very same objectives.Good luck.