October 29, 2003, 12:57 AM — When I asked for information concerning certification courses in wireless, I was afraid smart readers would flood me with bunches of examples. Then I would have to think of some way to distract you from the fact I knew so little.
Good news - there are two options for wireless certifications out there, but we're a little ahead of the curve for wireless security certifications. One wireless course is vendor neutral, and one is run by Cisco.
The Cisco certification plans don't offer wireless security per se, but does offer Wireless LAN Design Specialist and Wireless LAN Support Specialist. These build upon the Cisco Certified Design Associate and Certified Network Associate titles. Security concerns are addressed by Cisco during the courses, but they do not have a specific wireless security specification at this time.
Cisco sells plenty of wireless gear to medium and large companies, and should be a valuable certification authority. If I were buying a large wireless installation from Cisco or from a Cisco dealer, I would demand certified designers and installers. If I worked for a company selling or servicing Cisco equipment, this would be an interesting course of study.
Of course, Cisco fights plenty of competitors in the wireless marketplace, and more pop up regularly. For instance, T-Mobile supplies the HotSpot connections to all the Starbucks coffee shops. They may use some Cisco equipment, but they have many competing options.
Vendor neutral certification fans should investigate the Certified Wireless Network Professional site at http://www.cwne.com. One of their folks politely explained they have been offering wireless LAN Administration classes for a couple of years, but are just now rolling out the program for wireless security studies.
The CWNP site provides plenty of information about their course objectives and vendors they discuss. You can even sign up for their newsletter to keep up with wireless developments, such as their pending "Wireless LAN Analysis and Troubleshooting" classes. With a little study, you may be able to double your wireless bandwidth by tapping into the unprotected network of the company next door (That's a joke. Really. But that does happen.).
Since we've found some certification areas, those interested in extra wireless training should take the results of the internal audit I recommended three weeks ago to your management. Wireless will keep growing, as will hackers. Like the Boy Scouts say, Be Prepared.