An overview of the material used to study and pass the ENWLSD Network Certification
Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSD 300-425) is a network certification test offered by Cisco in their Professional level tracks (CCNP). Back in 2019 I made a post regarding the CCDP test study material I was taking to renew my CCNP Routing and Switching certification as I started the network design track. That post can be found here. Fast forward to 2022 and it was time once again time to study and renew my Cisco Certifications, so after having some needs at work for wireless I decided to choose the wireless design specialist certification. In this post I will share the material I used to study about wireless and to pass the cert test.
My strategy generally includes using multiple sources: such as books, white papers, and video lectures. I also will look at the syllabus and review whitepapers on certain subjects I feel aren't reflected well in the book, in this case deeper RF design and certian items like RRM, but I also look to the forums (Reddit) to see if anyone has suggested any good content. Typically I will read about a topic, possibly lab it if I am having trouble understanding it or there is a need to lab/learn it. Then I will usually have a video lecture about it and read some other supplemental material. Finally if there are included practice tests with the books or course I complete those a few times. Always take notes on every chapter and lecture to review later as you will likely forget things you have learned.
This particular certification involved a lot of theory, although most was not actually on the syllabus for the test I wanted to get a good foundation on RF before taking the test. I generally feel its best to over-study, and am also in the camp of pro-certification because it provides a blueprint you can take to learn about a subject and get a tangible result that can benefit or reward you. Experience is really important but you also need to read the books and whitepapers if you really want to know how things work.
Like most design tests, this test is just multiple choice or similar type questions, no hands on labs, unlike the sister certification Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSI) test which covers specific configuration items and tests deeper into the Cisco vendor specific knowledge. So its good to get prepped on a lot of the different aspects you could be tested on. A lot of that also overlaps with the CWNA, which I am contemplating on taking since I am heavily involved in wireless projects currently and it is more respected. Depending on your motivation - mine was to learn wireless and renew my Cisco certs - you might want to check out that certification if you are interested in learning about vendor neutral wireless.
The test itself was fairly difficult, had it's share of head scratchers like most, but I somehow made it on top. Definitely you need to know the design and survey processes and now RF behaves and why you need certain design or configuration choices depending on the requirements.
One thing that was frustrating is that although I had passed the test, with Cisco's certification changes a couple years ago you also need CPEs you can obtain from "official" sources to renew your full professional certification like the full CCNP. I hadn't looked into that since the changes so it was somewhat of a surprise, this meant I only renewed some of the certifications with passing the specialist level test and would need to spend more money on learning courses to gain CPEs to renew the CCNP Enterprise.
Luckily I had done that already when studying for the test and had it paid for by my employer so I just needed to submit that in the CPE tracking portal once I fully completed the course (you need to pass all the section quizzes with bronze or better). Unlike that method other cert providers like ISC2 allow you to make blog posts or use any read or video source to claim CPEs as long as its related material - which is nice. It's getting more expensive to maintain certifications which kinda sucks if your work doesn't pay for education.
There is only one book for this certification which is also combined with the ENWLSI which I also read. It had great info but it seemed a bit short. I went back to the old CCNA wireless book as well which had a little bit of useful information. I also forked over the extra cash for the official certification guide premium edition which had a lot of extra test questions which helped reinforce and brush up on testing.
CCNP Enterprise Wireless Design ENWLSD 300-425 and Implementation ENWLSI 300-430 Official Cert Guide: Designing & Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks - ISBN-10: 0-13-660095-6 / ISBN-13: 978-0-13-660095-4
As I mentioned before if you are going to fully renew your Cisco Professional level cert you also need to get certification credits (CPE). At work we had gotten some learning credits on a large order so I was able to get some courses covered which also ended up providing CPE credits.
Overall I enjoyed the courses and found them informative and useful. They had some labs like using the ekahau and L1 scanner software, although just a scripted type applet it was good to see some of the items included int he labs. They also include learning questions and a few hours worth of video which I think were beneficial.
ENWLSD course - this one will provide enough CPEs to renew the full certification and I found useful.
Wireless Foundations course - I found this one very neutral balanced and informative, although you will fall asleep if you spend too much time in one session haha :)
I watched a few pluralsight courses as well but after the above the courses it was very introductory.
White papers and other info
Here are some of the other supplemental materials I utilized. There might have been some I am leaving out, if I find them I will edit them in here.
Cisco 9800 Deployment Guide Best Practices (more ENWLSI material)
Enterprise Mobility Guide 8.5 (slightly dated using old controller examples)
Cisco live slide deck BRKEWN-2010
I hope this helps you and good luck on your education or certification journeys.