CWNA or CCNA Wireless

The title is a bit misleading, because I plan to conquer both programs’ advanced certifications… We will get to that later.

I asked the question many times before I made a decision on which exam to tackle first – The CWNA or CCNA Wireless?

Both paths have similar end goals – To make you a stronger wireless engineer. I discovered that a vendor neutral entry level certification offers more in regards to the medium.

I’m sharing my thoughts to help someone else that may be at the crossroads of an entry level wireless certification decision.

Your knowledge about RF is not all that Cisco is interested in for you to become a CCNA(W); you also need to be familiar with their product line. This means that you will need to know how to deploy and do basic troubleshooting on their equipment. This is not a bad thing – Cisco offers great products and knowing how to use their gear is a huge advantage.

Advancing beyond the CCNA(W) is an exam path towards achieving the CCNP(W) and ultimately the CCIE(W) – This is a series of more granular topics, each with their own test and/or lab. Be sure to view Cisco’s prerequisites in the CCNA(W) link above.

I waited many moons after pre-ordering the CCNA(W) Cisco Press book for it to be in publication and delivered. The content of the textbook is great – It is laid out well and is easy understand.

Overall, the textbook is probably enough to get you through the exam, but I would recommend supplemental preparation. There are videos available from Cisco Live. Also, paid training resources available online that will give you an edge in regards to the product line and how to deploy it. I passed in June of 2015.

I have not taken the CWNA yet, but I have read through the textbook and I will offer my thoughts.

I really enjoyed reading and studying the CWNA material. The textbook is rich in content and examples. This is the heart of RF as a medium – An in depth beginning to your wireless learning journey.

The topics covered are similar to Cisco, but where you will notice a difference is the depth of each topic in the CWNA text and a reduction in vendor specific product line discussion. I actually used the CWNA textbook as study material for some of the CCNA(W) topics that I wanted to have more information about.

Like Cisco’s CCNA(W), the CWNA is part of large suite of exams. The company offers an entry level cert as well as advanced certifications. You can check them out here.

If I were to choose which entry level path to head down today, I would start with the CWNP program. This is not a knock to Cisco – Both organizations’ advanced paths are very challenging and each will have you spending months tied up in study sessions.

So, the answer to the title question is both. Both paths offer a challenging insight to the wonderful world of wireless engineering; however, I feel that approaching the CWNA first will give you a solid foundation to pursue the Cisco wireless certifications.

I am eager to get started on the advanced certifications that the CWNP program offers – working towards the CWNE, but first I will need to pass the CWNA I completed my CWNA and now working on CWAP– Back to studying…


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