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Taking A Look At The New CWNA Lab Offering

Studying for an IT certification is easy, right? Not exactly. Depending on which certification, some are certainly harder than others. There are others that a competent individual could manage to pass without too much prep, just based on work experience alone. However, not everyone in IT is that experienced. Plenty of us have to work and study hard in order to be confident of our test-taking abilities, aiming for that desired passing score. With that in mind, chances are you’d do anything (keeping things ethical, of course) to help you pass a certification exam, right?

Of course you would. And now, Active Expert is giving WiFi engineers (and those aspiring to become them) a fairly significant training upgrade.

I was lucky enough to get a peek at the new CWNA Lab material produced by the Active Expert/Rockstar Training team, and in response to that opportunity, I am putting out some first impressions.

For the sake of framing this, I have already earned my CWNA (back in 2017, with the prior version of the exam). Since then, I’ve also earned my CWDP and CWAP, along with other trainings and certifications along the way. I’ve done boot camps and other instructor led courses, and I’ve done self-study. I’ve had labs to do in some classes, and most of the CWNP related study materials do have examples and tasks set up in order to give the reader some hands on experience.

What I’ve previewed? It takes the idea of learning up a notch, and that’s perhaps an understatement.

My first exposure to a boot camp training was for my CWNA. I honestly had no idea what I was in for, but you do end up drinking through a fire hose. One area some boot camps can be lacking is lab time, because part of the goal of the training is to get through all the material in the allotted time. Labs can admittedly throw that timetable off. I remember getting homework out of some boot camps. Some students do it, others do not. While you get out of it what you put in (and this is you investing in yourself…) I can understand why labs aren’t always done.

So, imagine if someone laid out all the lab exercises for you, in a nice, concise document…and then offered on-demand access to gear, complete with everything you’d need to run in order to successfully tackle each and every lab.

Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? It is, and that is exactly what this team is providing.

I get it. Many engineers have their own home labs, or aspire to have them. However, time and money and space (and many other factors) often mean you don’t quite have the lab configured as needed. Maybe you couldn’t fund all the tools and software. So, you have some lab…but not a complete kit.

Now, instead of getting by with whatever you manage to cobble together, Active Expert is offering rentable lab pods. The entire platform is offered as either part of a class (as in, spend time with the WiFi Training team, and also get access to awesome labs), or as a self-study package. You can rent time in the lab, and it really is an impressive lab.

Within the pod, you have all the RF basics covered. The lab has controllers and access points, and in such a manner that you won’t be interfering with your home or office networks. Students get to work on and learn about various other software tools as well. While some of these do offer limited trial editions, renting one of these labs means you get it fully functioning and deployed in an environment that allows you to really get familiar with the products.

So, after spending my Labor Day weekend working through some, what did I think?

I don’t know if game-changing is quite the right way to spin it, but I will say this: regardless of how you want to handle the material, these labs are impressive.

If you prefer a classroom approach, you can get these labs with a CWNA class. If you rather do self-study? Invest in this lab as an additional learning resource, and you will be in a much better position to really master the material required, thus helping you pass your CWNA certification.

How does it stack up to, say, a boot camp? On one hand, I admittedly enjoy the personal interactions you can have from an in-person training. I’d say that is my preferred method, whenever I can arrange it. However, having read the lab guide and worked through a bunch of the lab exercises, I can say I wish I had these labs when I was struggling with my CWNA journey. Even as someone who has passed the exam, these labs were worthwhile. You can and should always be learning. In that vein, the team gives students a great foundation to build off of-which is precisely what CWNA should be.

Personally, I would always be inclined to get the class (and add the labs on to that). However, I know classes are not always options, due to time, money and work. Investing in these labs as a self-study resource alone makes a lot of sense. Having experienced an intense CWNA bootcamp, I will say this: I wish that training had this resource available as a complement to it, if not a replacement for it entirely. The class was fine, but these new labs are that good.

Whether you are new at WiFi or have been at it for years, these modules offer any engineer the chance to learn and play in a controlled environment which, at the end of the day, you only need to rent. You don’t have to maintain the hardware. You don’t need to hope your significant other will be OK with your lab encroaching into your dining room. You need not worry about some impressive energy bills due to that beefy server you scored on eBay on the cheap. You get what you need, but it’s all remotely accessible, supported by the Active Expert support team, and tailored to match the lab exercises perfectly.

If you are looking for a turnkey training opportunity to cover your CWNA, either as a classroom and a lab, or a lab to enhance a self-study effort, then I’d highly recommend considering these labs as an option. And, if you already are a CWNA and want something different? The team over at Active Expert is already hard at work at compiling similar lab guides and environments to cover the entire series of CWNP professional level certifications as well.

Now that this new product has launched, what are you waiting for? If you are in the market for CWNA training, you have one more great resource available to you now, and once you’ve had a chance to utilize the labs, you will be that much more prepared to ace your upcoming CWNA. If you already have your CWNA but have an interest in learning the updated material, or just like having your hands on a very nicely equipped virtual lab, then get in touch with Active Expert today!

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