Upgrading Certifications

By Eric Griffith

March 02, 2004

A WLAN certifications developer is shifting requirements on some programs with an eye toward the future use of wireless switches in the enterprise.

Planet3 Wireless, developers of the curriculum and tests for the Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) training and certification program, has introduced some changes with an eye toward streamlining and providing information for the increased number of network professionals turning to WLAN switch products.

Kevin Sandlin, CEO and cofounder of the company, says Planet3 will take the in-development Network Integrator (CWNI) course off the table and instead combine it with the Certified Wireless Network Administration (CWNA) course, the foundation program for all its other certifications.

"We realized in talking to partners and students that the learning objectives for that class [CWNI] and certification belong in CWNA."

CWNI was to cover wireless LAN switching and security gateways, but instead the gateways will be included in the existing Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWSP) class, specifically using gateways from Vernier Networks.

WLAN switches will become a part of labs for the CWNA in the summer. Trapeze Networks switches will be used in practice.

"A lot of our companies have admins that need to use switches," says Sandlin. "It shouldn't just be for high level folks."

Planet3 is also developing a certification called Certified Wireless Analysis Professional (CWAP), which handles high-end aspects of wireless from frame analysis to MAC/PHY layer processes to trouble shooting. Several major vendors in wireless analysis plan to support CWAP, including AirMagnet, Network Instruments, Network Chemistry, WildPackets and Tamosoft. The program will include at least a half day of training on each of these vendors' products. The CWAP exam is in beta now at Planet3's partner training centers.

Coming in 2005 will be the final one-day practical exam: CWNE (Network Experts). This certification will require that students have earned the CWNA, CWSP, and CWAP certifications.

For CWNE, Sandlin says "You'll go in and bend your brain, setting up and fixing and analyzing high-end wireless networks."

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