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Hands On With The CWAP Lab Guide

If you want a short and sweet summary, here it is: where was this when I was studying and preparing for my CWAP?

Seriously, what we have here is something that should not be overlooked when preparing for your CWAP, or when just trying to stay sharp on AP related materials that perhaps you do not use regularly enough.

To give you an idea of where this reviewer is coming from: I sat in a CWAP boot camp with Peter McKenzie at WLPC 2019. I passed my CWAP a couple months later, and I was awarded my CWNE (341) this October.

The boot camp was great. Intense, but great. Peter is a wonderful instructor and really knows the content. I am not saying this workbook and it’s lab excercises would replace that (or any) classroom experience. I find classroom instruction incredibly valuable.

I think, if anything, this should be seen as complimentary.

The official CWAP texts cover the intricacies of the packet. They get deep into the structure and makeup and how packets flow. This is valuable information and important to understand. This is foundational knowledge, and it’s a major reason why so many people recommend CWAP as the first P level certification to tackle. If you know how the packets are assembled and flow, everything else should click.

There are several things I really enjoyed as I worked through the workbook. First, you can work at your own pace. If you get distracted with work or life or anything, you can stop and return to your excercise at a later time. If you are doing a hands on bootcamp and get sidetracked, sometimes you lose out on the remainder of that section of the course.

Second, you have an opportunity to work through many different packet capture and analysis tools. We did this in the bootcamp too, but these excercises feel a bit more in depth, for a few reasons. The main thing to keep in mind is time-a bootcamp is a condensed course, so you as a student will have to do work on your own, and there will be things covered only at a high level.

With the labs, you will have excercises with many of the most popular tools. Some are paid (and you may be fortunate enough to have them). Some are free, and you can grab them now. All are useful, and the excercises really allow you to work with the tools to become more comfortable with them. This lets you have a better grasp on what tools make sense and in which situations.

Not only do you get an understanding of how the free and not so free tools work, but Rasika also takes the time to compare and contrast the different tools available on Windows versus Mac and even Linux.  It’s vendor and tool agnostic in that respect, so there should be something for everyone.

On the surface, you might not think I would be a target market for this product. Like I mentioned at the beginning, I already secured my CWAP a few months back.  However, going through this has inspired me to take out some of the tools I don’t use often enough (looking at Metageek) and some I know I need more time with (like Omnipeek) and go through the labs, for extra practice.

I could honestly make a case for using these labs as regular WiFi knowledge maintenance. Unless you are using some of these tools on a very regular basis, there’s a decent chance your abilities will not stay sharp. Using the labs helps avoid those issues. I’ve said many times to peers that there are plenty of perishable skills in WiFi. If you don’t do a lot of analysis in your everyday tasks, you may not be as proficient. If you have some spare time, however, running through one of the workbooks discovery or challenge labs is a great way to stay sharp.

Whether you are studying to earn your CWAP, need a refresher in packet analysis or anything in between, I can strongly recommend the CWAP labs and workbook as a great addition to your learning library.

You can get yours here today!


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December 15, 2019

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