• By Howard - edited: October 16, 2018

    I'm a little late getting into this conversation.  I just wanted to add my two cents about the usefulness of Ham Radio experience and Wi-Fi.

    Having an Amateur Extra License , I can definitely say that it helps in understanding the vagaries of long range Wi-Fi radio links and to some extent the calculations related to 10's and 3's.   It can also help in understanding the effects of co-channel interference (a Ham actually hears it!) .

    However the important thing most Hams, new to Wi-Fi, do not appreciate is the low power levels involved with Wi-Fi.   Hams are used to Watts, and sometimes kilowatts.  A decent Wi-Fi signal might be 100 milliwatts - a much different realm.  Multi-path also takes on new dimensions. 

    I once met an EE manager, who claimed to be a Ham, and he couldn't understand the concept of negative dBm.   Which brings me around to another point.  Just because someone has an EE does not mean that they understand RF, the effects that dielectric materials have on signals, or the importance of having a good un-kinked coaxial cable in their product.  They also tend to believe the marketing hype spewed by some antenna manufacturers.

    We won't even go into Wi-Fi security, but you can bet they'll try to steer projects into ignoring fundamentals there too.

    There will be times, in your Wi-Fi career, that you will come up against these supposed EExperts.    If you have thoroughly understood the concepts involved, and they are wrong, then don't be afraid to voice your opinion.   Too many projects go astray and never reach their potential because of people too proud to admit when they really don't understand.

  • By stamour547 - edited: October 16, 2018

    Howard- I have been an extra for over a decade now. It definitely helps understanding the RF theory as the 4 (or is it 5) chapters on RF theory in the CWNA book was mostly a refresher for me as I don't deal with that stuff day to day. Although I really haven't been on the air recently I have never operated over 100 watts. As they say, "you can work the world on 100 watts". Yes there are differences what you talk about watts compared to milliwatts but there also things that are similar. You mention an EE but to be honest, just because someone has a degree doesn't mean they understand things related to said degree. There was a time many moons ago I had to teach  a coworker (MIS degree) what an ARP table was and why I could use that to get MAC addresses instead of going to each machine. I don't think I have to tell you that she got really mad. Having an amateur radio license won't get you a cert but it sure doesn't hurt in wireless.



  • I couldn't agree more about it helping understand W-Fi.

    I also have to say that studying Wi-Fi also helped me pass the Extra exam, on the first try, several years ago.

    Had forgotten to bring a calculator to the exam, and no loaners were available - So I ended up doing  the dB, dBm, and logarithm calculations in my head.   That wouldn't have been possible without my Wi-Fi study.

    Long live CWNP.

  • By stamour547 - edited: October 17, 2018

    Howard- It's funny how the two can help compliment each other. At the time I was studying for my extra I was in a friendly competition with a friend at the time to see who could get their extra first. My normal testing location was about a 15-20 minute drive away from me. Well for my extra I drove roughly 2 hours each way to a hamfest to take it a week early just for bragging rights. I was the youngest tester there by at like 20 years which was funny. I was the first one done and after waiting over an hour for my results (I think they graded my test about 5 times because they didn't believe I passed), I found out I was an extra. Obviously they can't tell you your score but they did say that I almost had a perfect test. I hadn't got into wifi at the time but my time in the service working with advanced electronics definitely helps with the component level material. Now, many years later I'm trying to get into wifi. It's been hard but hopefully I will be able to get a position with enterprise wireless exposure after acquiring my CWNA.


  • Numbers has nothing to do with taking the exams in any order or the difficulty of each exam. It is just version number and DP and AP are the youngest certs and thus have a lower number since they have not been upgraded so many times.

  • By jcat009 - edited: October 29, 2018

    Redacting this comment for obvious reasons.

  • Have taken all exams and all versions since 2010 at instructor level , CWNE since 2014.

    Early reviewer of current course material.

    Am a member of the CWNE advisory board since 2.8 years.

  • CWAP is a fairly late exam added to the curricula after it was gone for several years

    CWNA has been around since 2003 and was the first that came out

    CWSP came out not so long after that

    CWDP may be the newest one but ended up being in the 300 series

    Numbers changed when certitrek bought CWNP. Earlier book sand exam had numbers like PWO-100 which probably stands for 

    P-For Planet 3, old name company that owned CWNP program

    W-for wireless

    Numbers were

    PWO-100-105     For CWNA

    PWO-200-205     For CWSP Same number as AP latest version but AP was not in the curricula then.

    PWO-250             Early 2011 For DP

    PWO- 205/2004-) , PWO-270 (2011)   For AP after reintroduction

    Those numbers were inherited by Certitrek and lived along for a while until changed into the current system

    There once was a class called Integration, instead of Design,  that may be coming back in a new forma next year.


  • By jcat009 - edited: October 29, 2018


    My most sincere apologies.  Had a bit of a rough morning and should have skipped my comment (and its tone) rather than directing it toward you. 

    Nothing personal, but that's no excuse in the slightest.  I certainly threw stones in a glass house, and should know much better.

  • I've been around since 2003, but I don't remember a class called Integration.  Do you remember the class/cert number?

    I was studying the original CWAP, when it was discontinued and I still have my original book.   Cancelling the way they did really messed up my progress, as I had neither the time nor the $ to change mid-stream.   I did get it when it came back again though.  

    It is a REAL advantage to have an employer cover the costs.  Once off the track, it's often impossible to get back on. 

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