Most of us have made calls using our personal mobile phones or have received messages on our pagers. Hence, we have all come across a wireless data or voice network. If a particular user or a company wishes to make data portable, accessible & mobile, then wireless networking is the answer.

                Wireless networking refers to the ability to connect computers and other devices without the use of wires. This is achieved using high-frequency radio waves rather than wires to enable these devices to communicate with each other. Wireless networking products have become more popular in the last few years due to an increase in competition among manufacturers and the emergence of a more dominant wireless technology standard.

Advantages of Wireless Networking

                Most of us have become accustomed to the limitations that come with a wired network. When we want to check our email or print a report, we find ourselves confined to a certain location or cramped space. In the past few years, the growing popularity of wireless communications has caught the attention of corporate, manufacturing and academic settings. Wireless network technology has proven that it can deliver the benefits of a wired network with the added benefit of computing freedom.

                A wireless networking system has many advantages. One of the main advantages is that it saves you from the trouble that you would have to face in a wired network due to cable problems. Secondly, it also saves time and money because the expense of installing a lot of cables would be saved.

                Wireless networking can prove to be very useful in public places i.e. libraries, guest houses, hotels, cafeterias, schools etc. These are places where one might find wireless access to the internet. From a financial point of view, this is beneficial to both the provider and the client. The provider would offer the service for a charge – probably on a pay per use system, and the client would be able to take advantage of this service in a convenient location i.e. away from office or home.

Types of Wireless Networks

WLANS (Wireless Local Area Networks) – Allow users in a local area such as university / school / college campus or library to gain access to the internet.

WMANS (Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks) – This technology allows the connection of multiple networks in a metropolitan area such as different buildings / offices in a city.

WPANS (Wireless Personal Area Networks) – The two current technologies for wireless personal area networks are Infra Red and Bluetooth. These allow the connectivity of personal devices within an area of about 30 feet.

WWANS (Wireless Wide Area Networks) – These types of networks can be maintained over large areas, such as cities or countries, via multiple satellite systems or antenna sites that are looked after by an ISP.

The Concept of WLAN & WWAN

                WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) enables client computers and the server to communicate with one another without direct cable connections. WLAN utilizes electromagnetic waves, particularly spread-spectrum technology based on radio waves, to transfer information between devices in a limited area. There are two types of WLANs, infrastructure WLANs and independent WLANs. Infrastructure WLANs, where the wireless network is linked to a wired network, is more commonly deployed today. “Wi-Fi” which means “Wireless Fidelity” refers to certain kinds of WLANs (as opposed to LAN, or computers that are networked together with wires). Travelers with PDA’s (like Blackberries) and other handheld devices or laptops with wireless cards can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi hotspots are places where you can find wifi, free or paid. Many airports, hotels and cafes have Wi-Fi hotspots.

                WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network) is a technology that enables users to establish wireless connections over remote private or public networks using radio, satellite and mobile phone technologies instead of traditional cable networking solutions like telephone systems or cable modems. These connections can be maintained over large geographical areas, such as cities or countries, through the use of satellite systems or multiple antenna sites maintained by wireless service providers.

A Career In This Field

                The best time for a student to pursue a career in this field is after 12th. Students who wish to pursue a career in this field must possess the required knowledge of basic networking concepts. They can then enroll themselves for various certificate courses in wireless networking which are being offered by renowned networking institutes in India. Students specializing in wireless networking need to have complete knowledge of Wi-Fi, Infrared, Bluetooth, RFID (Radio-frequency identification), WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), VoWLAN (Voice over WLAN) &ZigBee.

Certifications

                Planet3 Wireless is a creator and provider of IT training, courseware, and certification exams for wireless LAN technologies in the computer networking industry. Planet3 employs contract Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from around the world to create and validate the content that is used to train and certify IT professionals in wireless networking technologies. Planet3 Wireless is a privately held Georgia Corporation that was incorporated in 1999. This certification program has six certificates:

1.            Wireless#

2.            CWNA (Certified Wireless Network Administrator)

3.            CWSP (Certified Wireless Security Professional)

4.            CWAP (Certified Wireless Analysis Professional)

5.            CWNE (Certified Wireless Networking Expert)

6.            CWNT (Certified Wireless Network Trainers)

                These six certifications cover to a great extent the modern wireless technologies that represent the trend in today’s wireless markets. Students need to obtain CWNA certification which offers IT professionals the opportunity to add a wireless LAN credential to their resume, a big plus in today’s mixed networking environments. This is the first certification level in the CWNP (Certified Wireless Networking Professional) program, and encompasses radio frequency technologies as well as some wireless network security knowledge, among other topics. While the CWNA certification is aimed at wireless administration, it does present the basics of security in a wireless network and provides an excellent foundation for the CWSP certification.

Job Prospects

                Recent surveys have shown that hiring managers will be looking for individuals with wireless LAN administration and security experience in the coming years. Of course, it is important to remember that few companies are hiring people with knowledge of only wireless LAN technologies. While the actual vendors that market and sell wireless equipment may be an exception, most organizations are seeking people who are either network infrastructure specialists or server administrators with complete knowledge of wireless LANs. Additionally, there are more and more jobs showing up on job sites for individuals to work in security positions that require thorough knowledge of wireless LAN security.

Future

                The future is certainly “Wireless”. People are setting up WLANS in their homes. Away from home, Wi-Fi access points called hotspots that permit wireless connections to the internet are popping up everywhere: in bookstores, coffee shops, hotels, airports etc. Even a bench in a shopping mall or a public park may be a place to connect to e-mail or the World Wide Web. Hence, students who wish to make a career in the field of networking should also have complete knowledge about wireless networking.

                Since the CWNP program is much newer than CompTIA or Microsoft certifications, many hiring managers have just started becoming aware of the program and the value it provides. I certainly see only an upward growth from here because I have realised how important wireless networking is and wireless networks are to the future of most organizations.

Institutes

Onix Academy (Chennai)

Course – CWNA

* Koenig Solutions Ltd. (Delhi, Bangalore, Goa, Shimla, Dehradun)

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