The Certification Game

The Certification Game

By CWNP On 08/23/2007 - 31 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. 

31 Responses to The Certification Game

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04/24/2010 at 17:20pm
Sorry - I'm always more of a "Focus on the Best" and "Get job offers from the Rest" kind of guy.
I rest my case.
I'm sure Aruba, Meru, Nortel, 3Com, and others are absolutely fantastic...
For me:
1. CWNP for vendor neutral Wireless certification - learn the concepts, fundamentals, and tools.
2. Cisco - Enterprise-class solutions. I know the others have a very similar if not the same technology, however, Cisco is Cisco and are they well invested in WLAN Technologies.
It's your dollar - spend wisely.
Darby Weaver

08/30/2007 at 07:47am
Having seen Joel`s list of both vendor neutral and vendor specific certifications, I`d think it would be difficult to justify the costs of attending training (or associated self-training) for the vendor specific courses unless the job actually demanded it. Training is not cheap and its sometimes difficult to work out how to get the maximum value for money out of whatever certifications are available. The problems arise when "beginners" are looking to get into work that requires specific qualifications and the vendor specific training seems to fit the bill. This leaves the up and coming locked into a never ending loop of how to get out into more varied work while having to concentrate on the work that is currently bringing in the money. It may be of more help for vendors to also offer a "common ground" class in order to make sure that those that attend their courses also know there are other things out there.


08/28/2007 at 08:29am
I've published a fairly comprehensive list of wireless engineering-related certifications here:



08/28/2007 at 08:27am
I've published a fairly comprehensive list of wireless engineering-related certifications here:


08/23/2007 at 22:04pm

I agree with it and i found interesting that some of those low stakes certification for people sometimes they are free but they're focused on their products. One example is the Dlink certification i am taking at , they have different level of certifications including wireless, i am now a CWNA and the part of wireless from Dlink is very good to review some concepts learned in the CWNA from CWNP.

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