Title: CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide (CCNA IUWNE 640-721)
Authors: Brandon James Carroll
Publisher: Cisco Press
Published: November 2, 2008
Edition: 1st Edition
Being a Firewall.cx reviewer has its perks, but even we were excited to get hold of the official Cisco source book for the new CCNA Wireless exam. Because both the book and exam are new it would be hard to review one without the other, so one of us duly went out and used the book to pass the exam. Only on Firewall.cx will you find such dedication…
Overall the book is worthy of its name; it's a solid and reliable textbook and is everything you'd expect from Cisco Press. What you might not expect, however, is that it's also surprisingly readable and will be just as useful to those wanting a comprehensive overview of wireless networking as those on the certification trail.
The topics covered are:
• Understand WLAN fundamentals:
• 802.11a/b/g protocols covered in depth
• Bluetooth, WiMAX, ZigBee, cordless phone are covered briefly.
• Wireless regulatory bodies, standards and certifications (FCC, ETSI, 802.11a/b/g/n, WiFi Alliance)
• WLAN RF principles (antenna types, RF gain/loss, EIRP, refraction, reflection, ETC
• Install a basic Cisco wireless LAN
• Cisco Unified Wireless Network architecture
• Cisco Mobility Express Wireless architecture
• Configure a WLAN controller and access points WLC: ports, interfaces, WLANs, NTP, CLI and Web UI, CLI wizard, LAG AP: Channel, Power
• Install Wireless Clients on various operating systems
• Windows, Linux, MAC
• Using ADU, ASTU and diagnostics tools with Cisco wireless LAN adapters
• Implement basic WLAN Security
• Operate basic WCS (Wireless Control System)
• Conduct basic WLAN Maintenance and Troubleshooting.
The writer builds your knowledge from the ground up, in the right direction most of the time, and doesn't leap off into the world of Cisco equipment until chapter 10. The book is filled with useful diagrams and illustrations; you can hardly find 3 or 4 consecutive pages without a figure. There are also pictures of the Cisco devices to illustrate what you might see in the real world. This is useful because this sort of high-end kit is not frequently available in small businesses or homes.
A case in point is the Cisco Unified Wireless Network (CUWN). Most engineers deal with autonomous or stand-alone access points whereas with CUWN all the APs in an organization are controlled remotely through a unified management system. When done correctly this makes it a breeze to manage tens if not hundreds of APs, but you're unlikely to be able to pull this together for hands-on experience in your personal Cisco lab.
For the exam there is a lot of software/hardware like this that you need to know but might struggle to get hold of. This is where this book's illustrations and step-by-step walkthroughs really help. The author says: “The newer Cisco certification exams have adopted a style of testing that essentially says, “If you do not know how to do it, you will not pass this exam.” This means that most of the questions on the certification exam require you to deduce the answer through reasoning or configuration rather than just memorization of facts, figures, or syntax from a book" . The book addresses this very well by using real-life scenarios.
The book is sensibly structured and easy to use. It describes the goals of the exam and the way to conquer it, with strategies for exam preparation in both the introduction and at the end. Each chapter starts with a “Do I know this already?” quiz so that advanced users can easily skip to the next chapter and find their level within the material. And key topics are highlighted, which helps when you want a final review before the exam.
The included CD comes with exam simulation software and well over 200 questions. This is an absolute must because the more questions you tackle, the greater the chance you'll pass. It's worth mentioning that our reviewer found the exam a little new and immature in places so this practice will serve you well.
In conclusion, this book will definitely help you achieve certification, also it's a good buy if you just want to understand wireless networking in theory and practice. There are a few typos and editorial slips but not many and, given the scope and newness of the title, this is a very good first outing that can only get better with future editions.
We have no hesitation in giving it a well-deserved 4 out of 5 and we can assure you it won't be sitting idle on our bookshelves. If you're serious about wireless networking, make room for it on yours.