Is the CWAP Official Study Guide any good for exam preparation?
There were many that said the CWDP official study guide was junk and to use the old Sybex CWDP book for preparation instead... I am wondering if it's the same for the CWAP study guide as well?
I have 15 years working in wireless, and so I have a really good foundation, but I would like some self-study materials to help me study and follow along with the exam objectives.
Not to pull slightly off topic but how did you break into wireless? I've been doing network engineering for a while now but can't break into a position where I get wireless exposure
I have missed this thread altogether.. @blarkins : I prefer the Sybex books for their content. You have a single book with enough detail to pass the exam. I hope Sybex will keep on updating the books even though they are no longer endorsed by CWNP.
@justin : If you are a network engineer, don't you get inquiries about bad Wi-Fi? I used to hear complaints and pleas for help all the time. I tried to find someone with Wi-Fi expertise but I couldn't find any. At that point I realized there is demand for Wi-Fi skills and found the CWNP certification path to guide my studies. I certainly recommend CWNP certifications.
@Petri- 99% of my network engineering experience has been with data center environments. My current job has a policy about absolutely no wifi for security reasons because of the sensitive data we handle for clients. I just started working on my CWNA this past weekend. I decided to do this track before I looked at the Cisco wireless track. I do have RF background as an amateur radio operator of over 10 years and have installed a handful of small (2-4 APs) wifi networks but nothing of the enterprise variety. I badly want to work on wireless as I think it's going to only get bigger and there will be more of a demand for it in the next 5 years or so. When that happens I want to be there with experience (more than the little bit I do have) to fill that niche. I think wireless in 5-10 years will be like auto/home audio is today with shops providing the services to every home, both new and old. I know it's starting now with the upper/upper middle class now in my area but it isn't quite taking off yet. My plan is to get my CWNA and then hit CWAP-->CWSP -->CWDP. After that there is no reason not to go for the CWNE. Maybe I'm missing something to break into wireless at the enterprise level. I'm more than open to suggestions.
@blarkins- I'm sorry I didn't address your question before, I am not working on any of the of the NP exams but I have found, both from the CWNA and other certs, that the Sybex books tend to be well written. When the time comes to work on them, I will be using the Sybex material unless there is a new source at the time.
I wouldn't recommend Wi-Fi anywhere near a datacenter, either :D
I just imagined that you would occasionally climb out of the datacenter and walk among ordinary people. If anyone knows or even guesses that you are a networking engineer, I would assume you'd get these pleas to help with broken Wi-Fi as well.
Yep, I agree 100% with your prediction of the future of Wi-Fi engineering demand. That's why I chose to pursue this path.
I would suggest CWDP first as it is the most practical of the professional exams IMO. Security would be my next suggestion as you'll come across security questions pretty quickly. CWAP is very useful for troubleshooting exotic problems with packet captures and such, but you can do a lot of paid work with CWDP and CWSP alone. (No, I did them in the reverse order, this is pure hindsight.)
Your ham background will be most useful with CWNA. Radio propagation and antennas are not discussed that much in the later exams. IIRC only CWDP mentions them.
Petri- We do have an office here but the no wifi covers the whole company. we are a child division of our parent company (Corp). Corp handles 99% of client side networking and we only help as hands on support at this site. We handle almost no client issues. The order that you suggest doing the exams is the exact opposite that I have read other places. I have always read to do CWAP first because it's the most difficult for most people. I thought that would be the way to go since each CWNP exam doesn't recert the others (from my understanding) like Cisco exams do. That would give me 3 years to pass CWAP and then it's relatively down hill from there. I mean maybe I'm totally wrong on that and if so You or anyone else please speak up. Obviously everyone has different view points and I'm more than happy/willing to listen to them all so I can make the best decision when that time comes after passing CWNA.
I did them in AP-SP-DP order. AP was the most difficult, but I don't know about the current exam. There were supposed to be big changes to the latest AP exam. However, AP has been the least useful to me at least. I found SP to be the easiest, but I have a strong security background.
My recommendation was based on real world usefulness in my eyes. You may have other reasons to do them in the order you decide. I don't feel strongly about any particular order. Good luck to you however you decide to proceed!
Petri- My thought was 2 fold. 1, get the hardest out of the way and it helps morale to keep momentum for the last 2 exams. 2, which feeds off of point 1, by finishing the hardest exam first there is less chance of having to take an exam again to make sure all are up to date and valid when applying for CWNE certification.
There are many ways to skin that cat, but allow me to present a different perspective.
I personally have done the exams in order NA, SP, AP, and will soon be doing CWDP.
Ideally, I would have done CWDP prior to CWAP and saved it for last.
It's telling that CWNA is numbered 107, SP is 205, DP is 303, and AP is now 403. In my opinion, they're numbered that way for a reason and that's the best way to go about them.
The CWAP covers an extensive level of knowledge, and especially if you don't have direct experience managing an enterprise WLAN deployment, you'll want the foundational knowledge from the NA/SP/DP prior to going for CWAP. The CWAP exam relies on much of the knowledge from the lower tests especially when getting into the deeper protocol analysis topics.
In my opinion, taking CWAP first without a lot of direct WLAN management and implementation experience would be a foolish thing to do and almost guarantees you'll have to retake that test. It is not for the faint of heart and retakes will become very costly.
jcat009- Thank you for the input. I do not have experience in enterprise wifi. i do have experience in small wifi setups like doctors offices and such. I'm currently doing a little moonlighting after hours doing a home deployment of 8 APs. I also have a number of years experience as a network engineer at many levels so packet captures don't bother me. Network design as a whole is not new too me, just the wireless part. The RF theory is also not an issue for me as I have non IT RF experience of over 10 years (Amateur Radio). Any other input you might have will be more than welcome. Thank you.