One Course, Multiple Certifications

By Eric Griffith

December 02, 2003

The two biggest names in Wi-Fi training and certification have set aside any differences they thought they once had and are now working together.

SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- It turns out the Wi-Fi Planet Conference & Expo, which starts here today, brings together more than just vendors and customers. The last show (then still called 802.11 Planet) in Boston brought together the two men in charge of the leading Wi-Fi training and certification programs at GigaWave Technologies and Planet3 Wireless. It turned out they found themselves more complementary than adversarial. GigaWave concentrates on the training and courseware, while Planet3 handles the vendor-neutral certification.

"It had been our feeling, and the feeling in the industry, that we were rivals," says Kevin Sandlin, the CEO and co-founder of Planet3 Wireless. "But once we sat down for lunch at the last 802.11 Planet [show], we realized we had a basis for a partnership."

That partnership was announced today. GigaWave, which specializes in Cisco specific (and other vendor specific) training, will be making sure that people who take some of their courses are also fully prepared to take the separate test to get Planet3's Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) certification.

The two courses are Cisco Aironet Wireless LAN Fundamentals 3.0 [AWLF] and the Cisco Aironet Wireless Site Survey 3.0 [CAWS], both two-day courses that GigaWave sometimes offers in a four-day block. Once students finish the course, they are then ready to take the exams for Cisco Wireless Certification (CQS) as well as the CWNA certification. GigaWave will continue to give the CQS test, but the CWNA cert is currently only given by Prometric testing centers; Planet3 has an exclusive contract with them through next summer. GigaWave will offer the CWNA test preparation exam only for now.

"The core of our business is the certification," says Sandlin. "We don't have the ego to think we are the only people who can do courseware. Gigwave does beautiful courseware stuff."

Chris Marco, president of GigaWave, calls this a "major savings. They get the benefit of a vendor specific class, such as Cisco's latest greatest hardware, that you can't get from a vendor neutral class. But at the same time, they get enough knowledge on the concepts of wireless to prepare for the CWNA exam. It's a great investment."

GigaWave works closely with Cisco as a training partner and Marco says he checked with the networking giant on its feelings about CWNA certifications being part of Cisco courseware. Marco says Cisco was all for it, saying the extra certification as an option only adds value to the classes.

"Planet3 is great group of guys," says Marco. "I wish we'd worked together sooner."

The two will be working in tandem today at the Wi-Fi Planet Conference, as they present workshops introducing attendees to the CWNA certification, the CWSP (security) certification, and GigaWave's vendor specific WLAN certifications for equipment from Cisco, Vivato, and others.

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