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What Is a Certified Wireless Network Administrator?

A wireless network router.
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  • Written By: Gabriele Sturmer
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2014
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A certified wireless networking administrator (CWNA®) holds the related professional technology certification and possesses a wide variety of knowledge in both the theoretical concepts and practical applications of wireless networking. He can work in a variety of settings in which wireless networking is useful, such as hospitals, government agencies, educational institutions, corporations and homes. He chooses and installs a variety of wireless equipment, configures network devices and client computers, troubleshoots problems that affect hardware or an entire network, and protects the network from attacks and outages.

A large part of a certified wireless network administrator's job is to design and install wireless networking systems that best fit an organization's infrastructure needs. Some examples include local area networks for businesses, wide area networks that extend across a large geographical area, wireless tracking systems for warehouses, and wireless telephone systems. Some administrators also may set up small home and office networks or create systems for wireless Internet access to homes in remote locations. The planning and installation process consists of picking the right wireless access points, bridges, controllers, access cards and handheld devices, if applicable. After installing the equipment, a certified wireless network administrator configures all the equipment to work together properly and securely.

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With the various problems that occur with wireless networks, troubleshooting is another major part of a certified wireless network administrator's job. The administrator will look for and fix problems that arise from interference, weather problems, noise from nearby radio devices, channel conflicts and suboptimal system throughput. Coverage issues can occur when a wireless access point and another device are too far away from one another, and this also can degrade the network's performance. A CWNA® also is responsible for knowing how to troubleshoot issues that occur with specific brands and models of network hardware, so he may need additional training as newer devices are added to the network.

Securing a wireless network is critical, and a certified wireless network administrator is responsible for preventing unauthorized network access, network attacks and privacy breaches. Wireless networking is especially susceptible to eavesdropping, spoofing and denial-of-service attacks, so the wireless network administrator usually implements encryption and uses monitoring software that can detect these problems. Some types of wireless network monitoring software allow a CWNA® to specify an action that will occur when the software detects an attack, so certified wireless network administrators usually have strong security planning skills.

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