Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) was founded in 1999 to create a training and certification program covering the growing field of wireless networking technology. The CWNP program covers the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard in fine detail, while offering specializations in wireless network design, implementation, administration and security.
CWNP’s training and certification program has grown significantly since it was first created. The organization has customers in over 150 countries worldwide, and offers training in a number of global locales. CWNP produces a number of training materials related to its certifications, including videos, whitepapers and the CWNP blog located on its website. It also offers an email newsletter that covers a gamut of Wi-Fi networking topics.
Types of certifications available to professionals
CWNP currently offers seven distinct certifications in its program. These certifications are classified by their associated difficulty and experience levels into one of the following categories:
All CWNP certifications are vendor neutral, meaning they are not tied to a specific manufacturer’s wireless networking hardware or software products.
List of CWNP certifications
These are the current CWNP certifications, along with brief descriptions of the associated experience/difficulty levels and which disciplines they cover.
- Certified Wireless Technology Specialist (CWTS) — an entry-level certification aimed at people who are relative newcomers to wireless networking technology
- Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) — an administrator-level designation that covers advanced Wi-Fi technology, installing wireless networks and basic wireless network security
- Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWSP) — a professional-level certification that specializes in wireless networking security; candidates must have already earned a CWNA certification
- Certified Wireless Design Professional (CWDP) — a professional-level certification that covers advanced enterprise wireless network design; the CWNA certification is a prerequisite
- Certified Wireless Analysis Professional (CWAP) — a professional-level certification for people responsible for analyzing, troubleshooting and optimizing wireless networks; a current CWNA certification is required
- Certified Wireless Network Expert (CWNE) — an expert-level certification, the most-advanced designation in the CWNP program; candidates must have already earned the CWNA, CWSP, CWDP and CWAP certifications
- Certified Wireless Network Trainer (CWNT) — an instructor certification meant for wireless networking experts who wish to teach official CWNP courses at an authorized CWNP Learning Partner
Information about examinations
All CWNP certification exams are available through Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide. Exam vouchers can be purchased from Pearson VUE, or from the online store on the CWNP website. CWNP exams are only available in English.
CWNP’s exam retake policy is consistent with similar policies from other vendors. If a candidate does not pass an exam on their first attempt, they may retake it at any time that’s available for booking. If the candidate does not pass the exam on the second attempt (or any future attempts), they must wait seven days before they may retake the exam.
CWNA Certification Training
Because wireless networks have quickly become ubiquitous in both public and enterprise settings, demand for IT professionals who know how to plan, implement and maintain wireless networks continues to increase. Wireless network administrators have many of the responsibilities that their traditional wired network counterparts do, with the added challenge of working with a technology that is highly sensitive to the environment it exists in. The role of wireless network admin requires a unique skill set, including foundation-level knowledge of well-established subjects like radio frequency (RF) science, and relatively newer subjects such as IEEE 802.11 protocols and standards.
Overview of CWNA certification
The CWNA Certified Wireless Network Administrator certification is a relevant, industry-recognized designation that offers candidates a way to prove their skills to businesses and governments around the world. Certified Wireless Network Professional has been active since 1999 and is partnered with numerous worldwide groups. The CWNA certification has the additional advantage of being a vendor-neutral certification, which means it is not tied to a specific manufacturer’s hardware or proprietary wireless technology. This makes the CWNA a highly desirable certification for any wireless network admin.
CWNP offers a number of vendor-neutral certifications, all of them based around 802.11 wireless LAN technologies. The Certified Wireless Network Administrator certification covers the fundamentals of wireless networking, including the skills required to install, configure and troubleshoot Wi-Fi networks.
The CWNA certification is classified by CWNP as a foundation-level certification, so there is no prerequisite certification which must be taken first. To earn the CWNA certification, candidates must pass the official CWNA exam (exam PW0-105).
The CWNA examination
The PW0-105 exam can be booked and taken through any Pearson VUE testing center. The exam consists of sixty multiple-choice/multiple-answer questions. Exam takers cannot mark questions for later consideration, and once a question has been answered it cannot be revisited. Candidates have ninety minutes to complete the exam, and must achieve a passing score of 70% or higher to get certified.
The full exam objectives are available in a PDF document which can be downloaded from CWNA. Prospective candidates can download a PDF that contains the terminology used throughout all of the CWNP certification exams, a highly recommended study aid.
Below is a list of the six major knowledge domains covered in the PW0-105 exam, with an approximate percentage of how much of the exam is dedicated to each domain:
- Radio Frequency (RF) Technologies (21%)
- IEEE 802.11 Network Implementation (20%)
- IEEE 802.11 Protocols and Devices (17%)
- IEEE 802.11 Regulations and Standards (17%)
- IEEE 802.11 RF Site Surveying (15%)
- IEEE 802.11 Network Security (10%)
If the amount of exam content dedicated to the Network Security domain seems small, there is a good reason. CWNP offers a professional-level certification for wireless network security, the Certified Wireless Security Professional, which covers this discipline in much greater depth.
Renewing the certification
After passing the examination, the CWNA certification is valid for three years. After three years, the CWNA certification can be renewed by successfully passing the currently offered version of the exam, or by passing one of the three professional-level certification exams offered by the CWNP organization.
CWSP Certification Training
Since the creation of the first wireless networks, there have been people who have tried to hack into them — many of them successfully. Often, the only consequences were that someone ended up providing free Wi-Fi to the aspiring hacker in the apartment next door. However, as Wi-Fi networks began making inroads into the enterprise, the issue of wireless networking security became more serious.
Today, Wi-Fi is a pervasive technology that has become a requirement in many business and government environments. And, with access to sensitive data and financial assets as incentives, modern hackers have made significant advances from the good old days of “war-driving” (driving around with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop, looking for unsecured wireless networks to tap into for free Internet access).
Wireless security experts who are looking for an industry certification that offers validation of their skills to an employer, should consider the CWSP Certified Wireless Security Professional credential from the Certified Wireless Network Professional organization.
The Certified Wireless Security Professional credential offers good value as a industry-recognized designation. Its governing organization, Certified Wireless Network Professional, has been active since 1999 and is partnered with many other groups around the globe. The CWSP has the advantage of being a vendor-neutral certification, which means it is not tied to a specific manufacturer’s hardware or proprietary wireless technology. This gives the CWSP a universal value to both businesses and governments, making it a potentially desirable certification for wireless networking pros worldwide.
Earning a CWNP designation
CWNP offers a number of vendor-neutral certifications, all of them based around wireless LAN technologies. As you might expect from the name, the CWSP certification is all about securing enterprise wireless networks, keeping them safe from intrusion and attack.
The CWSP certification is classified by CWNP as a professional-level certification, meaning that it is considered to be above an entry-level certification. As such, there is a prerequisite certification, the Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA), which is also available from CWNP.
Here are the requirements to achieve the CWSP certification:
- Hold a valid Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) certification.
- Pass the official CWSP exam (exam PW0-204).
The PW0-204 exam can be taken through any Pearson VUE testing center; check the Pearson website to find a nearby center and book a place online. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice/multiple-answer questions. Exam takers cannot skip questions and return to them later, and once a question has been answered, the answer cannot be changed. Candidates have 90 minutes to complete the exam, and they must achieve a passing score of 70 percent or higher to get the CWSP credential.
A description of the full exam and its objectives is available in a PDF document that can be downloaded from the CWSP webpage. The webpage also has a link to a highly recommended study aid: a PDF that contains the terminology used throughout all of the CWNP certification exams.
Here are the major subjects covered in the PW0-204 exam, with an estimated percentage of how much of the exam is dedicated to each one:
- Security Design and Architecture (50%)
- Monitoring and Management (25%)
- Wireless Network Attacks and Threat Assessment (10%)
- Fast Secure Roaming (10%)
- Security Policy (5%)
Renewing the certificate
Once a candidate has passed the exam, the CWSP certification is valid for three years. After three years, the CWSP certification can be renewed by passing the currently offered version of the test.