The Certification Game

The Certification Game

By CWNP On 08/23/2007 - 35 Comments

There is a growing list of Wi-Fi industry organizations and vendors that have developed hardware and software certifications.  Let's take a look at some of them.


The Wi-Fi Alliance has a long list of equipment certifications including Wi-Fi, WPA/WPA2, WMM/WMM-PS, WPS, and many more.

Cisco has CCX versions 1-5, and now they're even adding CCX Tag code so that vendors of Wi-Fi RFID tags will be assured that their tags will all play nicely with WLAN infrastructure vendors - especially Cisco. 

Polycom/SpectraLink has the VIEW certification where they test their phone systems with Wi-Fi infrastructure vendors.

Intel has launched the "Connect with Intel Centrino" certification where WLAN infrastructure vendors are certified to work with Intel client devices.

Microsoft has the new "my stuff works with Windows Vista certification" and "your phone works with MS Office Communications Server 2007" certifications (make sure you use IE6 or IE7).  Just select "Wireless Network Cards" from the "Select a Category" dropdown, and you're on your way.  For the MS Office Communications Server 2007 interoperability certification, check out this article :

On the flip side, some industry organizations and vendor certify people for the knowledge they have obtained about the 802.11 standard, WLAN deployments, etc.

As the only vendor-neutral organization deliverying high-stakes certification, The CWNP Program ( has the Wireless# (Entry-level wireless), CWNA (Administration), CWSP (Security), and CWNE (Expert) levels of certification covering a broad array of WLAN-related topics.

Something I'd like to throw in here is that with certifying people, there are two types of certifications: low-stakes and high-stakes.  Low-stakes certifications consist either of an exam delivered in-class or online where the test is typically open-book and not proctored/monitored.  These certifications carry almost no weight in the industry and never have.  High-stakes certifications are closed-book, proctored exams where the knowledge of a technology or product is thoroughly tested without the help of any external resources.  High-stakes exams are delivered through Prometric, VUE, Kryterion, and a handful of others.

There are many companies in the Wi-Fi market that have low-stakes certifications - far too many to list here.  Some high-stakes certification providers in the vendor-specific space include:

Cisco Systems has three parallel "WLAN specialist" high-stakes certifications found here:

Aruba Networks has recently released its own high-stakes certifications.  One thing to pay special attention to is the recommended prerequisite CWNP certifications. ;-)

CWNP hopes that all other WLAN vendors follow suit in pointing to our certifications as a prerequisite to their own.  We feel that our technology-centric certifications compliment vendor-specific certifications very well. 

Blog Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within these blog posts are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Certitrek, CWNP or its affiliates.

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