CTS 176: Cisco Wireless Certifications, Revamped

Things are evolving again at Cisco. This time with the certifications. Cisco is further driving the Intent-based networking model into certifications. There’s the need to drive multi-domain policy, introduce APIs and programmability. It could change the way we do things every day. Infrastructure engineers are becoming software developers? Maybe not completely but there are those who may want to do both.

New Cisco & DevNet Certs with Mandy Whaley

Organizations want more speed, more agility, and more simplicity but what happens underneath that simplification is not that simple. Chuck Robbins, during his keynote, mentioned the certifications have not evolved in 26 years. And that’s when he introduces the Cisco Certified DevNet certifications. Bringing software skills to networking and networking skills to software.

Cisco wants you to build applications and capabilities. Which will bring value on top of the platforms Cisco is building.

The DevNet Associate certification covers 80% software skills and 20% networking skills. The CCNA covers 80% networking skills and 20% software skills. The two are complimentary if you were to pursue NetDevOps.

Cisco then took those CCNA specializations and turned them into technology concentrations.

CCNP certifications are now available in enterprise, service provider, data center, security, and collaboration, which you need to pass the core exam and a concentration exam.

DevNet Professional is earned by passing core exam and DevNet Specialist

What does that mean for wireless?

  • The CCNA Wireless won’t be available anymore
  • There will be a Cisco Concentration certification in Wireless
  • Concentration exams exist under the Enterprise Track
    • 300-425 ENWLSD Enterprise Wireless Design
      • Focuses on site surveys
      • Collecting requirements and constraints
      • Predictive and post-deployment surveys
      • Determining infrastructure requirements such as 
        • PoE
        • RRM
        • RF Profiles
        • RxSOP
      • Designing per requirements
      • High density
      • Mesh
      • Mobility
      • High availability
    • 300-430 ENWLSI Enterprise Wireless Implementation 
      • Focuses on actual configuration
      • FlexConnect
      • QoS
      • Multicast
      • Location Services
        • MSE
        • CMX
      • Security
        • ISE
        • Portals (not security really)
        • 802.1X
        • AAA
      • Monitoring
        • DNAC
        • PI
      • Device Hardening
  • CCNP Enterprise contains two wireless concentration exams
    • 300-425 ENWLSD Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
    • 300-430 ENWLSI Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
  • At the CCNP level, the R&S and Wireless track have merged. So it will be the same core exam covering both tracks and it will be called CCNP Enterprise. It will test you on:
    • Dual Stack (IPv4 IPv6) architecture
    • Virtualization
    • Infrastructure
    • Network assurance
    • Security
    • Automation
  • CCIE Wireless becomes CCIE Enterprise Wireless
    • There is no more CCIE written, the CCNP ENCOR exam qualifies you to sit the CCIE Enterprise Wireless Lab
    • The policy to sit the lab 18 months after the written exam is gone. Now you have 3 years after you passed your ENCOR to sit in the lab.
    • The CCIE Enterprise Wireless Exam will cover (link):
      • Radio Frequency and Standards
      • Enterprise Wired Campus
      • Enterprise Wireless Network
      • Wireless Security and Identity Management
      • Wireless business applications and services
      • Automation, Analytics and Assurance

New exams go live on February 24, 2020. Training for these new certifications will start this year (probably more towards the end of the year.)

All certifications will now be valid for 3 years. And the Continuous learning program can now be used at all levels, including CCNA and CCNP.

  • 30 credits are required to recertify a CCNA
  • 80 credits are required to recertify a CCNP
  • 120 credits are required to recertify a CCIE

Credits can be earned by:

  • Attending Cisco training
  • Taking Cisco exams
  • Attending Cisco Live
  • Authoring content

What are the migration steps?

  • New CCNA replaces current CCNA certs 
    • Cloud
    • Collaboration
    • Cyber Ops
    • Data Center
    • CCDA
    • Industrial
    • R&S
    • Security
    • SP
    • Wireless
  • If you complete any current CCNA/CCDA before Feb 24, 2020 you will receive new CCNA and a training badge in the corresponding technology area
  • CCNP Wireless
    • If you pass any of the CCNP Wireless exams prior to Feb 24, 2020 then you will become a Cisco Certified Specialist
    • CCNP WIDESIGN and/or WIDEPLOY give you Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Design
    • CCNP WITSHOOT and/or WISECURE give you Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Implementation
    • If you have all four, you will get the new CCNP Enterprise certification and the specialist certifications, Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Design and Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Implementation
    • If you have partial CCNP Wireless (2 or 3 out of the 4) you will need to take 300-401 ENCOR (enterprise core) to get the new CCNP certification
    • You don’t need to be CCNA certified to become a CCNP. You can jump in directly at the CCNP level
    • Passing the core exam will qualify you to sit the CCIE Wireless lab.
  • What if you have a CCNA and a specialization? 
    • New CCNA is consolidated. 
    • You keep your CCNA
    • If you have a specialization you will receive a training badge for that technology area, for example, CCNA Wireless.

Cisco Networking Academy will expand to train students for DevNet Associate and Professional level certifications.

Links and Resources

CTS 053: 3 Simple Tips for Passing the CWAP Exam

These 3 simple tips for passing the CWAP exam may seem easier said than done. Listen to the podcast to hear more details about each tip and how I used them to pass the CWAP exam.

Certified Wireless Analysis Professional In September 2016 I sat and passed CWNP’s CWAP-402 exam. The exam costs about $225 as of this episode. It’s a multiple choice exam consisting of 60 questions which you need to complete in 120 minutes. The CWAP is the analysis portion of CWNP’s set of certifications.

So let’s go into my 3 tips for passing the CWAP exam:

1. Read The Book Twice

I’ve opted to read the Kindle version of this book. For over a year now I’ve gone completely digital with my books. It works well with my workflow and I hate carrying around heavy books.

The content is very technical so it helps to read through it multiple times in order for the topic to sink in.

My schedule consisted of reading one chapter a week. That was my goal. Some chapters can get very long so it helped to break them out over a couple of days. Pace yourself with each chapter and don’t rush it.

Take advantage of the chapter quizzes. If you score 80% or better, move on to the next chapter. Scored less? Then you need to review. Don’t read the answers for the quizzes. Doing so will make you memorize the answer for the chapter quiz.

2. Take Good Notes

I use Evernote to capture all my notes. You can use other similar apps such as OneNote, Google Keep, or even paper and pencil.

Review each of your notes every day. This will keep the content fresh in your mind. Key things you’ll want to note down are various frame exchanges such as associations and security. Knowing what’s inside of these frames is crucial too, such as what’s inside a beacon frame.

Note down the differences between each PHY and you’ll start to see why that is important.

Another topic I highly recommend knowing is QoS parameters and their priorities.

These little details are good to note down and will be beneficial in your passing.

3. Lab Up Scenarios

A big part of my success if being able to see a lot of Wi-Fi in action. Protocol and Spectrum analysis is a big part of the exam.

I started off by installing Wireshark and using Airtool (Mac app) to capture frames. I got familiar with frame exchanges and what was contained in those frames. I looked at various beacons, associations, and security frame exchanges.

For spectrum analysis I used Metageek’s Chanalyzer. The CWAP book uses Air Magnet. The interfaces differ between Chanalyzer and Air Magnet.

It will be important to spot the different characteristics of interference such as microwave, video transmitters, Bluetooth, and other 802.11 traffic.

Aside from those three tips, experience is a big plus. Having come across many of these topics will help you pass the exam. One such example is troubleshooting wired side issues.

The CWAP exam actually puts some emphasis on the wired side of things because they often mask themselves as Wi-Fi issues. So you have to know how to troubleshoot an issue using the CWAP methodology.

Things I did not take in preparation for this exam:

  • Practice exam
  • Bootcamp

I felt I prepared enough that I didn’t have to take either the practice exam or bootcamp. I’m not even a fan of doing either. For my CWNA I did take a bootcamp and found it beneficial. I guess at the point I was studying (for both old and new exam) I just got tired of studying and decided to jump into the exam.

CTS 025: Wireless Certifications

Image of wireless certifications
What certifications are available out there for wireless network engineering? When I did some research, I found that there is really one authority on wireless certifications.

This episode is about identifying vendor-neutral certifications and vendor-specific certifications.

I talk about some of the reasons why one may want to be certified in wireless. Not everyone gets certified and its definitely not an absolute requirement to hold a certification.

Additionally, many will fail certification exams. I have failed a couple in my career. Just don’t let that get you down. Keep studying and stay determined.

Why get certified?

  • Get your foot in the door
  • Explore a career roadmap
  • Learn / grow expertise
  • Show value
  • Promotion / salary increase
  • Stay current
  • You have to (VAR or MSP)


  • CWNP – 6 certifications
    • CWTS (Certified Wireless Technology Specialist)
      • Entry level for sales, project managers, and those new to WiFi.
      • Good for a lifetime
    • CWNA (Certified Wireless Network Administrator)
      • Understanding RF, site surveys, etc.
      • RF fundamentals
      • Antenna concepts
      • Standards
      • Protocols
      • MAC and PHY layers
      • Architecture
      • Security
      • Valid for 3 years.
    • CWAP (Certified Wireless Analysis Professional)
      • Must have CWNA
      • For those who want to know how to analyze, troubleshoot and optimize WiFi.
      • Getting down to the nitty gritty.
      • PHY layer frame formats
      • MAC layer frame formats
      • Frame exchanges
      • Spectrum analysis
      • Protocol analysis
      • Troubleshooting
      • Valid for 3 years.
    • CWDP (Certified Wireless Design Professional)
      • Those who want to properly design WiFi.
      • Requirements analysis
      • Site surveys
      • Design
      • Deployment
      • Validation
      • Need CWNA.
      • Valid for 3 years.
    • CWSP (Certified Wireless Security Professional)
      • Prove your knowledge in WiFi security.
      • Intrusion and attacks
      • WIPS
      • VPNs
      • Security design models
      • Encryption
      • Need a CWNA.
      • Valid for 3 years.
    • CWNE (Certified Wireless Expert)
      • Not an exam.
      • Go through an application process.
      • Written paper.
      • Need all certifications.
    • Average Salary
      • CWNA – $71,250 – $105,750
      • CWNE – $157k – $262,500
  • Comptia
    • Mobility+ (MB0-001)
    • Vendor neutral
    • Focuses on mobile device management, troubleshooting, and security.
    • Includes not just wifi but CDMA, TDMA, GSM, WiMAX, LTE, and others.
    • Covers 802.11
    • RF characterstics
    • Antennas
    • Site surveys
    • Network infrastructure
    • And OSI model

Vendor Certifications

You can go for vendor specific certifications from vendors such as Cisco, Aruba, and Ruckus. While these certification tracks will teach you some WiFi specific technology, they are aimed more towards configuring a specific vendors equipment.

The key takeaway here is that you still need a solid foundation in wired networking and wireless networking. Because of this I recommend going for the CWNP certifications first. They are vendor neutral.

  • Cisco
    • CCNA Wireless
      • Entry level for the Cisco Wireless track
      • Configuring, implementing and support Cisco wireless
      • Start diving into Cisco wireless architecture
      • Such as Cloud, autonomous, and controller based models
      • Introduction into CAPWAP
      • Need a CCENT
    • CCNP Wireless
      • Four exams
      • CUWSS (Cisco Unified Wireless Site Survey)
        • What you need to know leading up to a site survey
        • What to plan for
        • How to conduct a site survey – and you’ll probably dive into Cisco specific products
        • Perform an assessment
      • IUWVN (Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Voice Networks)
        • Getting into designing and implementing wireless networks for VoIP.
      • IUWMS (Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Mobility Services)
        • Location based services such as DAS and RFID.
        • AP groups
        • High availability
        • Cisco specific technologies such as Flexconnect
        • Using logs and debugs
        • RF tuning
        • MSE architecture
        • Mesh
        • Cisco WCS
      • IAUWS (Implementing Advanced Cisco Unified Wireless Security)
        • Client device security
        • NAC – Network Access Control
        • Securing connectivity services
        • Guest access
        • Policies
        • IPS/IDS
        • Advanced Security Platforms
    • CCIE Wireless
      • Written and a lab
      • List of objectives for the written portion
      • Configuring and troubleshooting
      • Then fly out to Cisco to do the lab portion.
      • Rigorous
  • Aruba
    • ACMA (Aruba Certified Mobility Associate)
      • Controller model familiarity
      • AP models
      • Provisioning of APs and configuration
      • Management
      • RF Management
      • Single controller environment
    • ACMP (Aruba Certified Mobility Professional)
      • Those working in complex environments
      • Multiple controllers
      • Same topics but deeper understanding
    • ACMX (Aruba Certified Mobility Expert)
      • Validate knowledge in implementing and troubleshooting large WiFi networks.
      • ACMP is required
      • Just some of the topics – Arubas mobility OS
      • Redundancy
      • Spectrum monitoring
      • VoIP
      • Captive portals
      • Troubleshooting
    • ACDX (Aruba Certified Design Expert)
      • For the architect of large environments and remote offices.
      • ACMP required.
      • Designing redundancy, RF, QoS, security, authentication
  • Ubiquiti – Thanks Spencer!
    – UBWS (Ubiquiti Broadband Wireless Specialist)
    – UBWA (Ubiquiti Broadband Wireless Admin)
    – UEWA (Ubiquiti Enterprise Wireless Admin)
  • Other Certifications related to wireless
    • Wireshark
    • Ekahau
      • ECSE – Ekahau Certified Survey Engineer
        • Go through a class which is taught by Keith Parsons or Devin Akin.
        • RF fundamentals
        • Predictive designs
        • Pre- and post-deployment site surveys
        • Troubleshooting
        • Spectrum analysis
        • Reporting
    • Security Centric
      • OSWP (Offensive Security Wireless Professional)
        • OSWP focuses on conducting reconnaissance on wifi networks, avoiding detection, cracking security, implementing attacks, and all that good hacker stuff.
      • GAWN (GIAC Assessing and Auditing Wireless Networks)
        • Targeted towards auditors, network admins and pen testers responsible for security wireless networks.
        • Focused on security mechanisms, tools used to exploit weaknesses, analyze wireless networks
        • Fuzzing, DoS attacks, attacks of authentication and encryption methods, rogue networks, auditing. Good stuff.

Links and Resources Mentioned

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to this episode on Wireless Certifications. I want to know what you think about certifications. Does certifications help you in your career? Leave a comment in the show notes http://www.cleartosend.net/25

Lastly, I want to thank some new reviewers:

  • SweetTeaJunkie says

Great Podcast! Rowell knows wi-fi. I’ve been listening as I work my way through the CWNA and his knowledge has been very helpful. Thanks!

  • Rybo1199 says

Great Podcast! Keep up the good work!

  • therealswy says

Your podcast app should RTS CTS! Packed with real world product info, interviews with important players in the WiFi world and practical knowledge, CTS has earned a top seat in my podcast queue. With a consistent release schedule, solid production quality and a focus on providing knowledge over chit-chat with others, I consistently learn something from Rowell’s podcast. Anyone the admin who has “WiFi” among the long list of tech responsibilities up through those who focus solely on large deployments can learn from CTS”.

  • JasNH1846 says

Excellent resource for WiFi info! This is the podcast I have been looking for on the wireless topic. The format is great its not too long its not too short, the expertise level of the guests and the host is excellent.

Thank you guys for the 5 star reviews! I greatly appreciate it! If you would like to leave a review please head over to http://cleartosend.net/review. Your feedback is most appreciated.

Once again, thank you for joining me on this episode on wireless certifications. Go out there, build great wifi networks, and keep being awesome. I will see you on the next episode. Over and out.