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Wi-Fi For Beginners Podcast - January 2016.
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2016: Another Big Year For Wireless LAN Networking - Will You Be Part Of It?
 
Well here we are in 2016, looking at another exciting year ahead for those of us with a passion for wireless LAN networking. In the year ahead the phenomenal growth in the demand for wireless devices and services of all types will undoubtedly continue at break-neck speed. The growing buzz around the "Internet of Things" (IoT) will ensure that those with wireless LAN knowledge and skills will continue to enjoy an exciting and profitable career path.
 
Why not make 2016 the year you invest in yourself and acquire the knowledge and certifications you need to thrive in one of the most exciting areas of growth in the IT sector? I recently stumbled across this quote when taking a look at Tony Robbin's web site:
 
"Last year, Americans wasted 42 hours in traffic and 2 full months just watching TV. Feed your mind and put your N.E.T. Time (No Extra Time) to use. While you commute, run errands, exercise or clean the house, listen to podcasts or other short-burst resources that will help you achieve your dreams."
 
It's great to see learning guru Tony Robbins advocating the use of the powerful and convenient learning opportunity that podcasts provide. In addition to the Wi-Fi For Beginners podcast, I recommend you also check out the following Wi-Fi related podcasts to further your Wi-Fi knowledge:
 
Hot News for 2016! : 802.11ah
 
In the Wi-Fi For Beginners podcast we talk at length about the cornerstone of WLAN technology: the IEEE 802.11 standard.
 
802.11 is a continually evolving standard that adds incremental "amendments" to provide continuing technological improvements and to meet the demands of the marketplace. 
 
One such amendment you may have heard about is "802.11ac", which is also known as the "Gigabit Wi-Fi" standard. You will certainly have heard this terminology if you read marketing material circulated by WLAN vendors. The 802.11ac amendment was ratified at the end of 2013, and was the last "big news" in terms of the 802.11 standard.
 
2016 has kicked off with another exciting announcement about the 802.11 standard with news about the "802.11ah" amendment. This ammendment is going through the final phases of ratification and is expected to be fully ratified by March 2016.

The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) has announced a "Wi-Fi HaLow" designation for devices that will incorporate 802.11ah technology. The WFA assigns unique designations to device certifications that apply to specific 802.11 amendments. For instance, devices that are tested for 802.11ac compatibility are certified as being  as "Wi-Fi Certified AC". The new Wi-Fi HaLow"  designation will be used to indicate that devices are compatible with the final ratified 802.11ah amendment.
 
The new amendment is interesting as it is a significant departure from the existing main-stream amendments that we're all familiar with. It will use frequencies down at around 900MHz, rather than the usual 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This will mean that its characteristics will be significantly different in terms of coverage and supported connection speeds.
 
Its application within the wireless connectivity world will also be much different compared to the amendments that use the traditional WLAN bands. Rather than short-distance, high-speed connectivity, it's likely to be aimed at slower speed, longer range sensor-type devices that need a much lower power budget and may operate long-term on a battery power source.
 
It will be very interesting to see how devices that support 802.11ah come to market in the future and how its applications develop, particularly in the context of the predicted IoT "explosion" of devices.
 
Check out the Wi-Fi Alliance web site for more details about the new amendment.
 
Cisco CCNA Wireless Certification Overhaul
 
I received a notification that the Cisco CCNA Wireless certification has recently been refreshed to update its content to reflect developments in Cisco's product offerings. More importantly, it has also improved its coverage of the basics of WLAN theory. One of my criticisms of vendor wireless certifications is that they focus too much on product features, rather than ensuring that students understand the core RF and 802.11 standard knowledge that they need to understand and design WLANs. Cisco appears to have made a concerted effort to improve the scope of the topics covered by their associate-level certification, which is a very welcome development.
 
Looking at the contents of the accompanying study guide, the certification now includes  a much broader range of WLAN theory topics, including wireless LAN surveying, RF math, Frame types and CSMA/CA (to name a few). For those who already have the pre-requisite CCNA routing and switching certification required to complete the CCNA wireless exam, the re-vamped certification now appears a more attractive option to improve your overall WLAN knowledge, in addition to learning more about the Cisco wireless product portfolio.
 
I recommend that you take a look at the Cisco Learning Network CCNA site  or perhaps purchase the exam study guide if this sounds like an useful option for your study path.
 
CWNP eLearning Program
 
To date, there have been a couple of educational options available for those who wish to achieve the CWNP range of WLAN certifications. The CWNP certifications are the most comprehensive range of vendor neutral certifcations available in the market today. Their depth of coverage of all WLAN topics is second to none.
 
Until recently, classroom-based training or self-study guides were the two options available for those wishing to study for the CWNP certifications. However, there is now a range of eLearning courses available from the CWNP web site that provide complete on-line training for each certification. Each course is presented as a series of online training videos that cover all of the topics for each certification. Looking at the sample content from the CWTS course, these look like excellent resources.
 
CWNP are currently offering these courses at $595, which includes an exam voucher to take the CWNP exam once you have completed the course. For those who perhaps do not enjoy book-based self-study and cannot afford the investment in a classroom based training course, these look like they represent an excellent, cost-effective way of receiving CWNP training via an audio-visual experience. If you're looking at completing your CWTS or CWNA certifications, these are certainly worth investigating.
 
Here is a link to some sample content from the CWTS eLearning course.
 
Recommended Webinars
 
I have to admit to being something of a webinar addict.
 
Many companies provide free webinars that are obviously a marketing tool for the their organisation and its products and services. However, many webinars also provide the opportunity for those of us on the path of 'constant learning' with a way to access information about the latest developments in the industry and hear from some of its thought leaders. I strongly recommend that in addition to your chosen path of study you consider signing up for a few webinars to supplement your studies.
 
Last week I was lucky enough to sign up for a superb webinar from iBwave that was presented by industry expert Andrew von Nagy. Although it included a small sales pitch about iBwave products, the majority of the webinar was a superb deep-dive in to WLAN technology, looking at some of the myths of Wi-Fi networking. I can’t recommend this webinar enough - it was superb, whatever your level of WLAN knowledge.
 
The recording of the webinar is now available using the link below. There is a sign-up involved, but it is well worth it for the content you will be able to access:
 
 
Request For Podcast Feedback
 
I'm very interested to hear your feedback on the podcast episodes I've posted so far. If there are any aspects that you feel could be improved, then please let me know.
 
I have episodes planned for the next few months to cover the basics of Wi-Fi networking, but am interested to hear if there are any specific topics you would like to learn more about. Please let me hear your ideas via the feedback page I've created on the Wi-Fi For Beginners web site.
 
If you feel that a friend or colleague may be interested in this newsletter or may benefit from listening to the Wi-Fi For Beginners Podcast, please feel free to forward this newsletter on to them. To sign-up for this newsletter, please visit my web site : http://wififorbeginners.com/mailing-list/
Copyright © 2016 Bowden Networks Ltd, All rights reserved.


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