Wireless certification survey

A brief look at some of the wireless certifications available.

Wireless technology is taking off, and, just as networking certifications were sought after a decade ago, so will wireless certifications today. If you are someone that is working with wireless technology or it is something you are interested in pursuing, you might want to solidify your qualifications with a wireless certification. In this InformIT article, Ed Tittel gives a brief overview of what certifications are available. If you...

are interested you can click over to InformIT to read a more detailed article on certifications.


Because it offers incredible convenience and costs less than conventional networking, wireless networking is taking the IT world by storm. Because deployment and security issues differ so greatly from wired networking, and because wireless technologies offer a broad range of access options, wireless gets its own category in many of the current taxonomies. There's an interesting mix in this space between vendor-specific programs from companies such as Cisco Systems, as well as vendor-neutral programs from CompTIA, NARTE, and Planet3 Wireless. Wireless technologies are attracting lots of interest and attention from administrators, developers, engineers, designers, and architects these days.

With wireless networking technology taking off like a rocket, both at home and in the workplace, it's no wonder that wireless networking certifications are experiencing a big jump of their own. Though Cisco's proprietary wireless specializations are also doing well, the leading vendor-neutral source for wireless certifications is the Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) program from Planet3 Wireless.

Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) Program
The CWNP program, available through Planet3 Wireless, is emerging as a leading—if not the leading—wireless certification program around. On the market for over a year now, it's attracting endorsements, prerequisites, and recommendation references from numerous vendors and wireless communications providers.

Cisco Wireless Certifications
Cisco offers two specialist certifications geared toward Cisco wireless LAN support and design: the Cisco Wireless LAN Support Specialist and Cisco Wireless LAN Design Specialist. Both certifications require a Cisco certification (the CCNA and CCDA as a prerequisite, respectively) and successful completion of one exam.

The exams are administered through Prometric, they last for 75 minutes, and they cost $125 each. Specialists who wish to maintain their certifications must recertify every two years by retaking the current exam for their chosen specialization.

Wireless System Installers Certification Program
The National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers (NARTE) offers two certifications in its Wireless System Installers Certification program. The program identifies individuals who install unlicensed systems while abiding by Federal Commmunications Commission (FCC) requirements. Systems include Bluetooth, UNII devices, AVIS, and PCS Systems, among others.

With a little searching and probing around on the Internet, you may be able to come up with even more credentials.

Those IT professionals who already work in networking should definitely consider one or more wireless certifications to help improve their career outlook. It's pretty certain that wireless networking, like wireless telephony, is on a positively explosive growth path. In the short term, it will be beneficial to be able to demonstrate knowledge, skills, training, and interest in this area; in the long term, such elements may become absolute requirements for networking, infrastructure, and information security professionals.


Click over to InformIT to read more about these credentials.


This was first published in January 2004

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