CWNP Certification: The Definitive Guide

The responsibilities attached to the title ‘IT networking professional’ are quite diverse and the scope of work includes; designing networks, analyzing existing network systems, and troubleshooting security issues. Although mastering the skills needed to deliver on the job can be learned individually, through the use of online tutorials, pursuing an official certification offers multiple benefits that will be explored in this guide.

The official certification to be discussed is the Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) certificate which is recognized by businesses worldwide. The different levels of certification offered by the CWNP are tailored to gauge the abilities of IT networking professionals using a mix of questions and technical lab work. In this definitive guide, these certification levels and what it takes to be successful will be explored in detail.

An Introduction to CWNP Certification

CWNP was developed by Certitrek Group, an established organization that provides professional certification opportunities across a wide range of industries. In the information technology industry, CWNP serves as the examination body which conducts certification exams for individuals pursuing a Wi-Fi and networking career. There are six major certification options CWNP offers to the public, and obtaining one of them makes you a much larger fish in a large pond in different ways.

The Advantages of Obtaining a CWNP Certificate

Once you have made that conscious decision to obtain a CWNP certificate and follow through with it, be rest assured that new windows of opportunity will be opened to you.  These opportunities and advantages are available to individual IT professionals as well as corporate organizations with CWNP certified professionals. Some of these benefits are stated below.

Benefits of CWNP Certifications to Individual Professionals:

  • Validates Your Skillsets—obtaining a CWNP certificate is like a shining beacon that highlights your skills to everyone in the tech community. This certificate basically states that Mr or Ms A has studied wireless network technology and has the knowledge required for troubleshooting network systems.
  • Creates New Opportunities—a CWNP certificate has the ability to create new opportunities for you in the job market. CWNP certified professionals are actively recruited and promoted across the tech community.
  • Enhance Earning Abilities—the more learned an individual is, the more leverage he or she has when negotiating a salary. A CWNP certificate lets you negotiate your fees—either as a freelancer or a full-time employee—with more conviction.

Benefits of Employees Obtaining CWNP Certifications to Business Organizations:

  • Augments Employee Reputation—employees who have obtained a CWNP certification are more likely to be respected both in the organization they work for and externally. Statistics show that prospective clients are more favourable to working with organizations who employ certified professionals, than ones without.
  • Highlights Compliance to Professional Standards—CWNP certificates are respected in the IT community due to the diligence the organization puts into testing a candidates abilities. Therefore, a business with CWNP certified staff shows that it understands the standards guiding networking and works with them.

CWNP Certification Program Overview

Officially, CWNP offers six certification programs for a diverse range of candidates—from entry level technicians to experts—looking to obtain the prestige that comes with the CWNP brand. These certifications include:

  • Certified Wireless Technology Specialist (CWTS)—the CWTS certification is fondly referred to as Wi-Fi fundamentals due to the scope of work associated with it. This is a certification exam that tests IT sales and support personnel on the basics of Enterprise 802.11 wireless networks.
  • Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA)—here is another fundamental CWNP certification exam that tests one’s knowledge of WLAN technology and how it is deployed in business organizations.
  • Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWSP)—wireless security professionals with the ability to assess vulnerable networks and implement security protocols can validate their skills by obtaining a CWSP certificate.
  • Certified Wireless Analysis Professional (CWAP)—CWAP validates your ability to analyze and troubleshoot WLANs for business organizations.
  • Certified Wireless Design Professional (CWDP)—the certificate exams attached to the CWDP are centred on your ability to design effective enterprise networks.
  • Certified Wireless Network Expert (CWNE)—do you have the ability to design enterprise network and troubleshoot Wi-Fi related issues? Do you consider yourself an expert? Then acquiring this certificate validates your abilities.

Certified Wireless Technology Specialist

Understanding the basics of Enterprise 802.11 wireless networks is the spring-board needed to grow your knowledge on wireless technology. And the entire process of obtaining a CWSP confers on you, this important knowledge. CWTS is a comprehensive certification focused on the ‘who, what and why’ of Radio Frequency.

Becoming CWTS Certified

To earn a CWTS certification, you must have sat the exam and accumulated a score of 80% or above before you can brag about this qualification to family and friends.  Therefore prospective candidates must study the areas below to stand a chance:

  • Wi-Fi Technology Standards and Certifications
  • Hardware and Software
  • Radio Frequency Fundamentals
  • Site Surveying and Installation
  • Security and Compliance
  • Applications, Support, and Troubleshooting.

The CWTS examination costs $150 and consists of 60 multiple choice questions which you must navigate successfully.

Certified Wireless Network Administrator

To play in the big leagues, one must first acquire the CWNA certificate to showcase his or her ability to install, configure, and troubleshoot wireless networks for business enterprises. Obtaining a CWNA certificate definitely opens multiple doors, and prepares you to acquire advanced CWNP certificates.

Becoming CWNA Certified

The good people at CWNP value high academic scores, and candidates must achieve a score of 80% and above to qualify for this certificate. It is also important to note that upon obtaining your CWNA certificate, its validity lasts for three years and you would have to pass a professional level certification exam (CWSP, CWDP or CWAP) to be recertified. The major areas covered by CWNA include:

  • Antenna Concepts
  • Network Design, Installation and Management
  • Wireless Standards and Organization
  • 802.11 Network Architecture

The reason for CWNA’s 3 year validity period is due to the advances that continually occur in wireless technology. The exam costs $175 and consists of 60 multiple choice questions.

Certified Wireless Security Professional

The CWSP level is one of those professional certification doors that obtaining a CWNA certificate open. The certificate validates your understanding of network vulnerability, securing enterprise networks and deploying risk prevention initiatives. Candidates are also tested on their ability to design and configure network security architecture.

Pursuing a CWSP Certificate

Due to its professional-level status, you will need to have obtained the CWNA certificate and a slightly reduced score of 70% for your application to be considered. The wireless security space is always evolving due to the nature of available threats to wireless technology. Therefore, the CWSP certificate is valid for 3 years and you will need to take the succeeding CWSP examination to recertify. The main areas the current exam cover include:

  • WLAN Discovery Techniques
  • 802.11 Protocol Analysis
  • Layer 2 and 3 VPNS
  • Management Protocols
  • Enterprise Public-Network Security Design Models etc.

A seat at the certification examination costs $225 and it also consists of 60 multiple choice questions.

Certified Wireless Analysis Professional

The official CWNP tagline for this professional-level certificate is ‘Analyze, Assess, Advance’.  Therefore, prospective candidates will be tested on their ability to perform protocol and spectrum analysis as well as their understanding of operation and frame exchanges.  Lest we forget, obtaining a CWNA certificate is a prerequisite for taking the CWAP exams.

Becoming CWAP Certified

To qualify for a CWAP certificate, you must first have your CWNA in the bag before seating for the 120-minute multiple choice exam. Do not forget that a score less than 70% automatically disqualify you from being certified. The CWAP exam covers:

  • 802.11 Physical Layer Frame Formats and Technologies
  • 802.11 MAC Layer Frame Formats and Technologies
  • Spectrum Analysis and Troubleshooting

The certification also costs $225.

Certified Wireless Design Professional

IT professionals who have obtained the CWDP professional-level certificate generally earn a special place in the tech community. They are looked upon as gurus who have the skillset needed to design end-to-end security enhanced enterprise networks. The CWDP certificate signifies that you have earned a CWNA and are on the verge of being crowned an expert in the field of wireless technology.

Becoming CWDP Certified

As stated earlier, obtaining a CWNA certificate is the first step to getting your CWDP certificate. Successful candidates are those who score above 70% in the CSDP-302 examination. To do this, prospective candidates must study:

  • Requirement Analysis
  • Site Survey Procedures
  • WLAN Design and Deployment
  • Design Validation

Like the other professional-level exam, the CWDP examination costs $225.

Certified Wireless Network Expert

Here we have the ultimate CWNP certificate that validates your skills as an expert with designing, deploying and troubleshooting wireless technology. Obtaining this certificate stamps your credentials as an authority on designing, configuring, installing, and troubleshooting wireless network systems.

What it takes to Become CWNE Certified:

To obtain your CWNE certification, you must check the following steps off your wish list:

  • Passing four certification exams
  • Deployed commercial wireless LAN systems
  • Gathered three recommendations and a peer review from a member of the CWNE board of Advisors.

Certified Wireless Network Trainer (CWNT)

According to CWNP, the CWNT certification should not be viewed as one of its six primary certificates for professionals due to its curriculum and use. CWNT was developed solely for aspiring tutors looking to prepare students towards successfully applying and passing CWNP official certification exams. Anyone can earn a CWNT certificate and the requirement for this includes:

  • Attending authorized CWNA classes taught by a CWNT certified instructor
  • Have a valid technology training certification e.g. Microsoft MCT or COMPTIA CTT
  • Pass the appropriate level exams with a score of 80% and above
  • Provable 1-year IT industry experience.

To apply, simply download and complete the CWNT application form and make out a $400 payment to cover the entire exam and application cost. Note that CWNT certificates are valid for only one year and interested candidates will have to pay $200 to re-apply.

Training and Practical Learning Materials

Adequate preparation can only be made using materials covering the subject matters each certification exam covers. To obtain these materials, you can either schedule a class on the official CWNP platform or take advantage of the labs and in-depth training materials available on SkillsBuild Training. On these platforms, you will be thought by IT networking industry experts and CWNT certified instructors dedicated to your professional growth.

Training materials at these facilities include; video instructions, networking and troubleshooting texts, as well as real lab work that showcase the practical application of the knowledge contained in your CWNP training material.

Acquiring a CWNP Certification: The Salary Advantages

As an IT professional, demonstrable experience earns you the respect and appreciation your efforts deserve.  Obtaining a CWNP certificate is definitely a hallmark of excellence due to its prestige in the IT community. This achievement also comes with quantifiable benefits as can be seen from the projected salaries below:

  • Certified Wireless Technology Specialist— IT professionals with CWTS earn $80,000 to $90,000 per annum
  • Certified Wireless Network Administrator—CWNA professionals earn $80,000 to $93,000 per annum
  • Certified Wireless Security Professional—CWSP professionals earn $120,000 to $150,000 per annum
  • Certified Wireless Design Professional—CWDP professionals earn $120,000 to $160,000 per annum
  • Certified Wireless Network Expert—CWNE experts earn $180,000 to $262, 000 per annum

Obtaining a CWNP certificate drastically increases your earning power. According to the CWNP salary guide, certified specialists earn approximately $87,000 while individuals who obtain professional-level certificates can earn up to $262, 500. So why not take the first step to financial freedom and get your CWNP Certification.