Diving Deep into Packets and Security

I finally have begun my CWSP course with Rick Murphy. I have been working at implementing wireless networks, studied security and how to implement a secure WLANs, learned the products and marketing of the various vendors I’ve worked with but I’ve not had the deep dive, the time to stop and look at the packet level at what is going on with the networks I’ve worked with. I now have time with this course to take that deep dive.  I have always been someone who had a knack for figuring things out, how something works, why its not working like its supposed to and how to make it run well again. Since my early childhood I loved to spend my time doing that. I discovered later on that I also have a knack for turning around and explaining complex subjects to people who don’t understand it, on their level and at least helping them to gain some understanding of that subject. I am beginning to feel now that my learning about wireless missed an important part. Sure, I recognized that wireless is different to regular networks (but the same in the upper layers), that its physical medium and the understanding of how RF works was fundamental right from the get go. That is something that is pretty obvious and easy to pick up when you are learning. One of the reasons I first started the CWNP program was that I wanted to better understand how RF worked and how things all fitted together (remember I’ve always loved figuring out how things work). I missed, however, that looking at a protocol analyzer can give you vital clues about the health of your WLAN, that it is an essential tool in figuring out how wireless works. I am now filling that gap and its fun. One thing that keeps me working in the IT field is the constant need to learn and relearn new things to keep up with technology. I know now that although I do know a lot about wireless security and how to configure a secure WLAN that I need to get much more in depth, that I need to be as one friend put it to me more of a ‘packet junkie’ so that I can understand and communicate to my clients exactly why their WLAN is not working how they expect it to be. My next step after passing the CWSP will be to take the CWAP that is being released at the end of this year. I am now really looking forward to that and the things I will learn along the way studying for this.

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