• You have a background pretty similar to mine, though I have a lot more enterprise Wi-Fi experience than you do.  Amateur radio experience will not likely help you too terribly much beyond the CWNA, as the RF theory is applied differently.

    I would strongly recommend you go CWNA --> CWSP --> CWDP --> CWAP.  I think you'll find it much easier and you'll gain valuable understanding of each individual sub-component (security, design) before taking on the analysis test. 

    As the saying goes, you can't fix something until you know what it looks like when it's working properly, and how to break it yourself.  Similarly, you're fighting an uphill battle trying to become an expert in Wi-Fi analysis without the strong understanding of security and design mechanisms used to deploy the networks.

  • jcat009- Thank you again. I'm just trying to get insight from a bunch of different people and their view points. You obviously know the exams, which I don't and that gives you a different view than myself. It seems very hard to break into the wireless niche of networking. Even more so than other areas it seems to me. Any tips on how to get that first break to get into wireless positions?


  • It's very dependent upon your employer and how things are set up.  My current and previous employers both had Wireless as part of the Network team's responsibility.  Some companies may outsource it due to staffing issues etc.  Beyond that, if you can't get the access in your current employer, you'd have to look for positions that specifically state that wireless is part of the responsibilities.  You could also specifically target employers that work exclusively in wireless, such as WISPs, or VAR/Resellers of wireless equipment.

    One thing I will recommend is in addition to the CWNP track, I would also at least get the CCNA-Wireless certification.  It's vendor specific, yes and there is plenty of Cisco kool-aid to sort through, but it's valuable exposure to the Cisco controllers which at least in my area, Cisco is the predominant vendor of choice for enterprise WLAN deployments.

    I had a limited amount of experience in my prior job with Cisco wireless.  When I came to this company, I was able to essentially take over all responsibility for the wireless system because of that experience and used that as a motivator to increase my expertise in wireless to support that system.  Here I am 3 years later and I've taken one CCNP wireless test, but abandoned that track for now in favor of the CWNP track.  I have one test left (CWDP) before I submit my application for CWNE.

  • jcat009- i was planning on working on the CWNP track and then going back and working on the Cisco wireless track after. I have read a lot fhat doing the CWNP track first makes the Cisco wireless track a lot easier. My company has no wireless as per corp policy so there is no chance of experience here.


  • Justin,

    I started in WiFi many years ago just scrounging everything I could, to use as learning materials.  Tons of free Info on the web.. I got wireless AP's and client adapters from old installs and/or ebay.  I labbed things on my own to learn the ins and outs and how clients and AP's would react to each other and to different things like interference and building materials.  You can get a lot of real word experience on your own even if your company doesn't have wifi.  Obviously, it wont be as easy to do, or Enterprise level, but it's a start and when your career or employer changes, you'll at least have a foundation and some experience to launch from.

    Also groups like this can be a big resource.  A lot of us WiFi guys like to help others and share info.   Ask questions, find a training buddy who does have access to some enterprise wifi gear and do some screenshares or webex meetings where you guys look at things together.   You can also learn a lot from sites like Ekahau and Cisco Live where they have many free videos on WiFi design and fundamentals.

    As to which exam to pursue first... CWNA... you need those fundamentals.  Then I did the CWDP as the first exam in the professional track, as I have 10+ years designing WiFi.  I think SP will be next for me, as it seems to me I will need that knowledge to understand and pass AP... but that's just how I see things.

    Good Luck, and don't be afraid to ask people for help, or say you need help understanding something!


  • Blarkins- Thanks for the input. I don't have anyone I can do screenshares/webex sessions with. Actually with the limited knowledge (in the grand scheme of things) that I have, I have more wireless experience than just about everyone I know..... at least to the degree needed. I do 'know' one guy but more from social media that is currently working on his CCIE:Wireless. That being said, I don't really know people that even have an interest in wireless. A friend of mine I do some work with at times will install small wireless but he just wants to drop a couple APs in and be like "yeah, that covers, we're good now". He doesn't like to listen to other people's thoughts if they conflict with him. It's extra money so I do it but he doesn't do a thorough job, ie no site survey, etc. He will just do installs because it's money. For the most part he's lucky that those installs have worked out but I'm just waiting for the one that doesn't because of improper design. As for the CWNA, I am currently working on that (about 3 weeks in) and I'm about 5-6 chapters in. Just got through the RF theory part which was just a refresher for me as it is.


  • Petri,

    I agree 100% with your recommendation of exam order sequence... that is the logical order I see them in as well.

    And thank you for suggesting the Sybex books.  I agree they are the best out there and are full of information.  I plan to purchase them and reference them as I study for the exam as well as in the future.  I was really wondering though if the CWAP Official Study Guide would be "enough" to pass the exam.  While the Sybex would more than likely lead to a much deeper understanding, I am in a current situation where I need to minimize any extra time spent studying on the SP and AP, or I have to put them off altogether for a year, possibly more.



  • I'm glad to hear! Keep up good work!

  • 3 tests in going for the fourth, I highly recommend the e-learning bundles in addition to the cert guide books.

    The e-learning is good to get a base of understanding.  Then use the practice tests in the bundle to continue assessing your weak points, along with the quizzes in the e-learning.  Once you have an understanding of your weak points, the book is the best way to reinforce them as it goes into much deeper detail than the e-learning.  The chapter quizzes in the book are also extremely helpful.

    Once you get to the point where you're 90%+ on practice tests, e-learning quizzes, and chapter quizzes, you should be pretty confidently able to pass the actual exam.

  • jcat009- 90%+ is my baseline. If I'm not hitting AT LEAST 90% then I don't think about sitting an exam.I usually aim for 95+ just to be safe but it really depends on the exam. The reason for that is because I'm studying for an exam. I personally don't think that one can truly learn/understand without hands on experience but passing an exam shows an understanding. I have passed other cert exams with flying colors in the past and then when dropped into that environment, found out that I didn't know as much as I thought. Thanks just my personal outlook though.


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