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The post Training for CBRS Installation Certification appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


In a previous blog post, we talked about CBRS for the Wireless LAN Engineer. It covered some of the technical aspects as well as similarities and differences between CBRS and 802.11.

Vendor Neutral Training & Certification

There are tons of courses for learning 802.11 – the entire CWNP track from CWS/CWT to CWNA, then on to the professional level CWAP, CWDP and CWSP courses leading to the CWNE. Those are for vendor neutral studies.

You can follow up with CWNP here: https://www.cwnp.com/

CBRS Installation Training and Certification

Even though CBRS is just nascent, there are already some training programs in place and an installer certification.

Since CBRS uses 3.5GHz frequencies already assigned to incumbent players, part of the certification of the CBRS system was to include a ‘Certified Professional Installer’ program to ensure those turning up radios in these frequencies are knowledgeable and skilled at deploying CBRS as to remove as much as possible the chances of interference targeted at Incumbent Users or Priority Access Users.

You may already be designing and/or installing Wireless LAN equipment, and want to expand your skill set into the 3.5GHz realm. In order to do so, you will need the CPI designation.

There are a couple of sources available today that will help educate and evaluate your skills in this arena.


First up is CommScope – a well-known entity in this space. They focus on a practical approach in their training, with simple explanations of key concepts, and samples of their actual user interfaces in teaching how to use and access the CBRS-required Spectrum Access System or SAS. CBRS Professional Training for CPI – $595

They believe in a ‘learn at your own pace’ self-study approach and use an online web-based course, including lots of online web links to external needed resource documents.

This course takes less than a day of your time… actually less than half a day of your time. Within half a day you can acquire the practical knowledge and skills needed to become a CBRS ‘Certified Professional Installer’ and be legally qualified to work on CBRS equipment.


Federated Wireless

This group also offers online training and preparation for the Certified Professional Installer status. But they break the coursework into two distinct groups.

The first is the for those new to CBRS technologies, and is called Mastering CBRS – a comprehensive review of the technology, design, optimization and monitoring of CBRS systems and is designed to last no more than 4-hours. $299.00

The second session is specifically for the installation portion – the part that requires a CPI to work on CBRS networks. Certified Professional Installer Certification – $599.00 This session is more focused on system integrators and installers to help you prepare for FCC requirements. It too takes less than a day of your time.



Google is also offering a course in this space called CBRS Certified Professional Installer. Through a mix of video lectures, step-by-step explanations, and quizzes, this online course introduces you to CBRS terminology, concepts, role of a CPI, as well as what CPI’s are responsible for in the design and installation of CBRS networks. This course is scheduled to take approximately 6 hours of your time. $599.00.


They also offer a non-CPI version for those who just want to understand CBRS better, but don’t want the CPI certification. This subset is only 5 hours and doesn’t include the CPI exam. $399.00.


Both of these are offered through coursera.org.


It will fall on Wireless LAN designers and installers to work with the new CBRS hardware – It looks much closer to Wi-Fi Access Points and Controllers than Cellular Base Stations.

CBRS devices will be connected via PoE, Cat6 Cables, and Gig Ethernet Switches. This is OUR domain. So prepare yourself for the next wave of Private LTE with one of these training and certification offerings!


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Using EMANIM to Visualize Radio Waves https://wlanprofessionals.com/using-emanim-to-visualize-radio-waves/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/using-emanim-to-visualize-radio-waves/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2020 09:51:38 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=5244

The post Using EMANIM to Visualize Radio Waves appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


For nearly 20 years I’ve been using the EMANIM classic application by Andras Szilagyi to help students of Wireless LANs to visualize radio frequency waves…

Those of us involved in Wi-Fi have a tough job. We have to work on something we can’t touch, see, or feel – so we have to visualize the RF in our heads. Using a tool like EMANIM allow for changing different parameters and visualizing the various results.

András Szilágyi has now offered his EMANIM visualization tool as an HTML webpage so you can access and learn from it from any platform!

If you are interested in HOW the various radio waves we use on a daily basis in our work as Wireless LAN Professionals – this is a great resource. Not only for the visualizations, but for the explanations. The software also allows a nearly unlimited amount of customization, so you can play with the look, colors, camera angles, wave sizes and frequencies.

I’m pretty sure I’ve only barely touched the surface of what is possible with this tool.

For my work in helping teach folks how to better design Wireless LANs, I’ve found a need to first teach fundamental concepts. Using EMANIM students can quickly understand relationships that might be difficult to describe with only words. Without such a piece of software, I’ve been left using ‘hand motions’ to describe some fairly complex movements.

Let’s start with the basics. Frequency and Amplitude. Below is a ‘Tall’ – ‘Slow’ wave form. Height refers to the amplitude. We use the metric of RSSI in the Wi-Fi world to show the amplitude of the radio wave we receive at a Wi-Fi NIC. In the Wi-Fi world, we have a very limited set of frequencies. (Currently either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands).

In our world, we are using VERY fast waves – moving billions of times per second, that have very small amplitudes. Measured in thousands or even billions of a single Watt.

Using EMANIM I can visualize a simple view of a quiet, yet very fast frequency wave.


Another concept that is sometimes more difficult to understand with just hand-motions is the idea that radio waves can be either Vertically Polarized or Horizontally Polarized.

EMANIM makes it quite easy to show the differences between Vertical Polarization (red) and Horizontal Polarization (green).

Note: The word is ‘polarization’ -NOT- ‘polarity’! Polarity has to do with + and -, black and red, positive and negative. Polarization is about vertical vs horizontal wave forms.

One of the nearly 20 different variable parameters is the ability to model the RF absorption of a material on the amplitude of an RF waveform. This is very much like what happens when Wi-Fi hits a wall. You can see the frequency didn’t change, only the amplitude (signal strength) changed.

Rather than me continuing… go and experience this yourself!


If you’d like to try this, you can go to the following site:

Szilágyi, András: “EMANIM: Interactive visualization of electromagnetic waves“.

Web application available at https://emanim.szialab.org

For additional information – you can visit an Animated Tutorial on Electromagnetic Waves also from the same author: https://cddemo.szialab.org/

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[Podcast] Rick Steiner’s Approach to Problem Solving https://wlanprofessionals.com/rick-steiners-approach-to-problem-solving/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/rick-steiners-approach-to-problem-solving/#respond Fri, 19 Jun 2020 23:50:39 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=7997

The post [Podcast] Rick Steiner’s Approach to Problem Solving appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


Rick shares insights on problem solving for Wireless LAN Professionals

Richard "Rick" Steiner

Richard "Rick" Steiner

Senior Systems Engineer

Telecommunications professional with a vast range of experience across the Structured Cabling, Fiber Optic, Wireless LAN, and Networking realms spanning over 25 years. Looking forward to continuing my education in the near term pursuing manufacturer and vendor neutral certifications with a long range focus on expanding my knowledge in the Unified Communications, Mobility, and Security sectors of the industry.

Read the Transcript

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Wireless LAN professionals podcast episode 203.

To answer your question, I do think that people generally tend to lean on what's already out there and available. And if they can't step outside the box or if they're unwilling to step outside the box in order to common approach a problem with a new angle that tends to limit their capabilities in solving the problem.

Wireless LAN professionals is a place to educate, inform, encourage and entertain those involved in wireless LANs. This wireless LAN professionals podcast is an audio manifestation of these goals. Our host is a wireless land veteran, consultant, designer and teacher Keith Parsons, and now the podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals.

Well, Rick, thank you for being here. How are you, sir? I'm doing well. How about yourself? I'm doing good. Yes, yes, yes. It's nice and warm here in Arizona, but I am doing good.

Up here in Washington, we've got some rain coming in, hanging around this weekend. We had some beautiful weather before, but it's definitely made a change.

So for those who don't know you, Rick, introduce yourself. What do you do in Wi-Fi and what are you up to these days?

Absolutely. Well, I go by the name Rick. My actual name is Richard Steiner. I work for a small VAR out of Seattle, Washington, called the Arrow Path, Inc.. We are primarily a professional services organization. We deal with pretty much anything Wi-Fi. But we are also primarily a Cisco VAR. So that encompasses both the the Cisco enterprise line as well as the Meraki line. We also have done Mist and Aruba deployments.

We travel all over the world, performing site surveys, AP amnestic surveys, troubleshooting, pretty much encompassing all types and manners of Wi-Fi professional services from that standpoint. We also have gotten into some point to point links and point to multipoint links and things like that for some of our more hardcore wireless clients. But that's pretty much what I do. My official title is Senior Systems Engineer, but realistically, I am the subject matter expert on the payroll, so pretty much cover just about anything wireless related. It comes to me.

And how did you get start or find your way here?

Well, I actually started a long time ago in the service back. I entered in the Army in 1990. And it was a newer military occupational specialty, or M.O.S, that was brought out of the need for doing things like telephone switching out in the field. And so they started with this program where they took some off the shelf equipment and put it together in a new way and basically created a mobile telephone switching operations scenario. And I did that for a while. Mostly it was just programing the the phone switches. But we also had some S.H.F and UHF radio shots. So I had to learn radio propagation and that type of stuff after I left the service. I entered into my cabling phase. And so I spent several years as a cable installer, whether it was, you know, cat five, cat six, fiber optics, that kind of thing. And that kind of just started everything down the road from that standpoint and then kind of got a little bored with the cabling side. And so I ended up moving into wireless, probably about to get an old, 15, 18 years ago, and have basically worked with the guys that are that I'm working with now in different capacities because Airopath has actually bounced around a few times and changed hands, quote unquote, or changed names a couple times. But I've worked with these guys for probably about ten or fifteen years of that timeframe. So. And so that's basically it. And then and I've had been a Cisco vare for pretty much forever. We didn't make a change over to Aruba. So I started, you know, getting all of those certifications and and things of that nature from the manufacturers and then started down the CWNP course track.

I was going to ask you what your path in that versus your Cisco search path.

Yeah. So as far as like my CWNP probably about I don't know, about 10 years ago I was turned on to CWNP by my current CEO, Brad King, and he basically said, no, this is really good vendor agnostic kind of certification. And it really delved into it. Now, I obtained my CWNP couple years ago. I am CWNP number 234. So, you know, from that standpoint, I mean, went through all the CWNP certs and I actually enjoyed the CWNP program a lot better than I do the manufacturer of programs only from the standpoint of it. It's more vendor agnostic and it seems like it's more during the ised information across a broad range of subjects.

Absolutely. What about your Cisco's thirt path where you land in that?

Well, I've kind of bounced around. I've been a CCMA for many, many years, but I've done like the CCMA Wireless. I've gone down the security path. I've been toying with the idea of going to the Cia.. I'm a little hesitant to do that or have been hesitant to do that here in the last couple of years, only because of the fact that they were changing the program so much that I didn't want to get stuck into a situation where I was studying for one thing and then finding out that that wasn't something that I needed. So now that they've sort of settled that out, I may pick that mantle up again. As far as like Aruba is concerned, I've been through the Aruba path and. Currently, NASED X number 128. I never went to the ACM max level, but I did go through the professional level back in the day when a RuBo was before a RuBo is HP. And I'm up actually this year for my ECD X research. So I need to get that done. So anyway, I mean, I'm I'm all over. As far as that goes, I'm also what I guess they call it the Mixmaster. I'm one of those people as well. So that's great. Got a lot of certifications. It seems to be the classic way of doing things in the I.T. world.

Well, from your presentation, it comes across that you are always a learner and always diving in and problem solving. One of the things that really stood out to me in your presentation is kind of the creative problem solving a WLPC. You talked about a specific thing and we'll get more into that. But. You had these three steps to creative problem solving. Assess. Learn and emulate. And we can talk about how you appropriated that with this specific issue. But tell me a little bit about that process and those you know, where did that come from? And just kind of your approach to problem solving.

Being that the subject matter expert for an organization. And, you know, even though we're a small organization, most of my learning that I've done has actually been trial by fire. The organizations that I've worked for, they've generally been the sales people. And this is going to sound bad. But now I'm going to say it anyway. The sales people will generally sit there and nod their head and saying, yes, we can do that. And to the customer. And then they turn around us and go, OK, how are we going to do this? So being in that situation more than once has lended itself to a very broad range of knowledge and definitely a broad range and broad spectrum of capabilities. And so plus, I like to tinker with things. I like to I'd like to kind of work with things. I'm a big advocate of open source projects because it's fun to get in inside the program and things like that. So realistically, I mean, to me, learning is an ever lasting process. It's something that you need to continually do. And I'm hoping that I'll be learning up until the day I die because, you know, the minute I stop and the minute my brain will stop functioning as basically my mind set on that. Yeah.

And I'm always willing to try new things even if I don't know anything about it, because in order to have a success, you have to have challenges and obstacles that you've been able to overcome throughout the path and the journey. And I tend to get bored once I hit the end of the journey and I'm going, you know, that's it. So then it's off to something new, you know, and moving on to something different.

So you talk about emulating, you know, not reinventing the wheel when you're problem solving. Do you think that's a hangup for people to always feel like they have to reinvent the wheel? Did you have to get over that in your own thinking at times?

To answer your question, I do think that people generally tend to lean on what's already out there and available. And if they can't step outside the box or if they're unwilling to step outside the box in order to common approach a problem with a new angle that tends to limit their capabilities in solving the problem. And I do think that, you know, granted out of the box thinking is something that has to be developed, I think. But by the same token, you know, in the box solutions, if it's already developed, sometimes, you know, if you don't have to reinvent the wheel, don't do it. But if it's something that you kind of have no other choice based on the parameters that are being present to you in any given situation, going and thinking outside the box. If you consider, you know, back in the 80s, there was a show called McGyver and it's just been rebooted earlier here a couple of years ago. But I used to love that show. And the reason being is because he came up with creative solutions based upon what he was looking at. And the situation that he was in. And it was more of use. What's available to you rather than going out and trying to solve a problem with something that you may not be able to obtain.

And so, you know that I've kind of applied that same thing to my thinking, and that's everything in everyday life.

So specifically, you shared a story at WLPC. And this particular problem was how you solved a driving loss for VO Wi-Fi with Eco Alpro and the W lamp. I so talk us through that story.

Ok. So I mean, obviously, again, I've gained at least with the guys that I've worked with for many years, I've gained a reputation for coming up with solutions when there doesn't appear to be any. And so in this particular case, my CEO came to me and he pretty much said, hey, I've got a customer who is asking for us to prove that their voice over Wi-Fi is ready for them to turn on the switch, to start handling, you know. Voice over Wi-Fi clients and stuff. How are we gonna be able to do that, utilizing the tools that we already have? And, of course, you know, putting on his salesmanship hat, he's like, oh, and by the way, I already bid this for X dollars. So there's nothing else that we can really add to the project. And so from that standpoint, I had to sit down and kind of like I looked at him and I said, yep, yep, we can do that. I know we can do that. And then internally, I look back on myself and I went, OK, how am I going to do this? So one of the biggest things that I think really plays into situations like this is being able to do research and digging through Cloon. That other people might have already come across and have put it out there. I mean, the Internet's a great thing. You can you can search it really easily. So. So one of the things that I did is I wanted to do my research. First of all, I had to understand what the MOS score was and how does it come about? How is it derived from that standpoint? That led me to an article that was published by Pargneaux of Net BS. I'm not even going to try and like mention his full name or his last name because I'm sure Eminem ends meet it. But I ran across an article, a little blog post that he wrote on how net BS, which is the monitoring system, derives MOS. And so in looking at that, I figured, well, shoot, if that's the way they're doing it.

And he explained it explicitly in the article. He explained what the calculations were. Where are they going get them, you know, and how those calculations are put together. And so in my research, I basically said, well, if that's what they're going to do, then shoot works for them, might as well work for me or I'm a broker.

A great case. Reminder to share knowledge. If you come across something or you know how to sell something, it's always worth putting it out there, either in a blog or sharing it somehow.

Oh, absolutely. And this community is fantastic for that. I mean, just think of everything, you know, everything that's being presented both at WLPC, its engineers speaking to engineers in all the way to projects like the Dubie.

Lan PI is an example. It's everything is just sharing knowledge and understanding. It's an incredible community to be a part of. I feel very honored and blessed to actually even be allowed to sit in the room with some of these people.

So you found Panoz, his article. He explained it. You then could appropriate that, I guess, in your specific situation.

Well, absolutely. I mean, he his article explained the calculations and in particular what needed to be used in order to create those calculations. And so essentially, I just basically copied from him. I mean, I pretty much plagiarized everything that he did as far as the calculations are concerned. But then I had to figure out. OK. So I know the calculations. I know what I'm looking for in terms of the metrics that I need to use to put into these calculations to be able to derive this score. Now, it's like, how do I gather that data? How do I gather what's necessary? And in the presentation that I gave, you know, the couple things that have to happen is you have to have packet loss. You have to have jitter. And you have to have latency. And all of these numerical values need to go into the Mosse score, and they're used in different ways. His blog post explained how they use it. But the reality is, is that I didn't understand that.

So I had to sit and figure out how do I collect that data. And this is where, you know, again, like I said, I'm a fan of open source. So open source availability. I already had a Dubie LAN pie in my hand. And I knew that w DoubleLine pie could do things like using iBOT to or I purchased three. In order to achieve a latency number, it can also do jitter based on using a UDP testing. So I pretty much knew that already.

Plus, it's also a good endpoint to grab Ping in order to get packet loss throughout the network, because when you're doing packet loss and you're doing something across a network, especially in Wi-Fi, you don't necessarily want to ping something like a switch or a router, because if you do that, the ping by itself, by its very nature, is at the low end of the totem pole in terms of what the priority is for that device to respond to it. So when you're trying to test Wi-Fi, you never really want to ping your gateway because you're gateway has other things that it needs to be doing, like routing. As an example that make it sometimes where it can give you false results. And so utilizing like just the gateway by itself was a bit of a problem. And so I had to come up with a way to have a device on the network.

And because of this particular site was in New York. So I was flying there. I had to carry something small enough that it could just fit my backpack in the WLAN Pi fit perfectly, does all three things. It allows me to use a known end point on the network. And it was it was just perfect.

That's great. So where where did you go from there?

Ok. So the next question that I had is. All right. So I've got the data. I've got the endpoint to utilize. Now, how do I be how am I going to be able to visualize that or provide a visualization of that to my client? Because, you know, I could gather all this data manually and throw it into like an Excel spreadsheet or something like that. But that's going to take a while. So what is it that I can use that as? Already set up to provide some of that information and turns out how pro, you know, ECKA, how proactive survey it can gather. You know, a couple of these things at the same time and in this particular case, latency and jitter from the throughput testing. And unfortunately, I can't do both. They cannot pain and do a throughput test. You have to have it. Do you have a choice of either one or the other? And so the harder part was trying to figure out, OK, which one is going to be more important when it comes to the visualization? Which one is going to be the more important piece to be able to show this to my clients? And so I chose the throughput option on how to be able to gather the latency in the jitters statistics.

And then just for the packet loss, I just basically took my same laptop that I was doing the survey with and just pinged the W LAN pie and wrote that off to a file so that I could evaluate it later, you know, look for things like large gaps and in ping loss rather than just like an overall percentage or whatever from that kind of thing. And I also had to collect it in the time that I was given, because if you remember, when I when I started the discussion, I'm only given, by the way, of you know, I've already quoted this for a certain amount of time, so we can't lie or add a whole bunch of time to this thing. So anyway, so that was how I decided to go ahead and collect the data so that I could put it all together into a report and make it look good.

Well, you had mentioned in your talk about the continuous option, which was a little controversial. You had been told not to do that part a little bit about that.

Ok. So one of the challenges that you have with doing a test like this is the fact that inherently roaming can give you a bit of a problem, especially if the client device takes too long to actually roam. Now, granted, understanding, you know, that people are going to be holding their cell phone or voice over Wi-Fi, phone, whatever device they're actually using, and they're going to walk through the area anyway. So standing still in one spot and doing like a stop and go survey, which you're not supposed to move during a stop and go survey. So standing there in one spot and doing throughput tests, which would be more ideal in the situation if you're looking at just throughput. So being understanding that the clients are not going to necessarily stand still, that they're actually going to start walking and talking. I also wanted to incorporate the idea of, you know, survivability across a drone. That being said, that's not necessarily the recommended way to gather throughput data because, you know, you can impacting throughput is going to be impacted by the roaming process and, you know, moving away from the first AP that you're connected to. And then the disconnect from that AP, the connection to the new AP, all of those processes during the RE association and everything else is going to impact your throughput. So realistically, you know, looking back on it, could I have done it differently yet? Maybe somebody else could come up with a better way of doing it. But the thing that I was trying to prove was the fact that no matter what happens, whether your client is roaming, whether your person's walking around, you're going to get a decent quality MOS score across this space. And so in order to do that, I had to get as close to emulating the actual situation as possible.

So you gathered the data then what?

Ok. Looking at the data, once I had the numbers. Now I've got to run them through the whole manual process of going through the entire calculation to come up with the final MOS score. If you read panels blog post, there's actually like three steps to it. The first step, you've got to create what is considered the effective latency. So in order to do that, you need to combine your latency in your jitter together in the net BES option. What they do is they add or they multiply jitter by two because of the fact that jitter is a really big impact to a voice situation because UDP packets are sent, they're basically sent. Reset it and send it and forget it.

There's no like it's a connection loss protocol. So there's no confirmation that a packet has actually reached the end server or not. Now, when you do that over a Wi-Fi network, Wi-Fi has its own inherent checks and balances. Sort of like TCAP is. But with UDP across the entire link, you're actually not going to get that confirmation, that acknowledgment from the other end that you've actually got it. So having more jitter, which basically means that packets are arriving out of order or it's taking too long for a packet to arrive in the proper order, that kind of thing. If you have a large number of jitter it. Becomes hard to follow the conversation, because if the packets don't arrive right, the sound quality is horrible. So what Nev's does is they go ahead and they use that jetter value. They double it and then add it to the latency in order to get an effective Jeter number. And then they also, as a part of that, they add a 10 millisecond timeframe in order to account for things like delays in codec encoding and decoding. So once you do that, that gets you to your effective latency number. Now, there's a couple different models that you can use for voice over Wi-Fi evaluations.

The one that's most commonly used, I found through research is called the E model, and that's actually the same model that Net Beas uses. OK. So the E model basically gives a rating or what's called an R value to the quality of the communication.

And this are value. They found the best quality has to be at least in ninety three point two hour value. So from that standpoint, that's the target that we're trying to get. We're trying to look at that our value. We're trying to get to ninety three point two for that are value. So we start off with the effective latency. We figure that out. Then there's two different calculations that are done. This is step two. So two different calculations that are done. If the effective latency is greater than one hundred and sixty milliseconds, then you use a separate, different calculation than what you do. If the effective latency is over 160 milliseconds. And then essentially both of those are subtracted in the effective latency calculation with the one hundred and sixty milliseconds is actually divided by 40. So effective latency divided by 40.

And then that values subtracted from ninety three point two in the other calculation where it's greater than one hundred and sixty milliseconds. There's some additional numbers added on. And so what you do there is you take your effective latency. You subtract 120 out of it. Take that value. Divide that by 10 and then subtract that number from ninety three point two. Because keep in mind, latency and jitter are your two big numbers in this, because, again, if the packets take too long to reach there or if they arrive out of order, that's gonna be murder on the quality of the call. So once we go through step two, then we have to add in.

So we've looked at effective latency. We've known as a part of that. We've included jitters. So our last value that we're going to look at is packet loss. So at that point, we take the, ah, value or the value that we had from before. And we subtract a two and a half times the packet loss value. And that gives us essentially a R value, an R rating.

Ok. Does that make sense. Yeah. And of course we can react to this where people can see visual. So I'll, I'll get a link to pantos, his blog. And then to your presentation as well. So if someone wants to kind of see it as they're hearing, it will definitely connect them to their abs.

Absolutely. OK. So then the last piece of the puzzle is dependent upon that are value that you've derived out of those three previous steps. So if that R value comes out to be less than zero, your more score is a one which is absolutely the worst. If that value falls between zero and 100, then you do this calculation. And it's got, you know, a bunch of numbers. I'm not going to walk through the whole thing. Look at the presentation to get it. But you do this this calculation on it and you derive your MOS score. If the are value, the number that you've brought from those three previous steps is greater than one hundred. Then it's automatically assigned to my score four and a half. Now even though moss' technically one through five, four and a half is actually the highest number that you can actually get utilizing. I'm trying to remember the codec numbers. Don't remember right off top my head, but it's in the blog. It's in the blog. But there's a specific codec. I think it's the G-7 dot 11 codec. So the highest value that you can get is 4.5. Now, keep in mind, you know, if you're using some different codec, you could come up with some different values, different calculations in order to do it. But the G-7 dot 11 one, I believe is one of the most common that's used. And so because of that, that's kind of why I wanted to lean on this this particular methodology in order to come up with the most score.

So what did you end up producing them for the client? Did it come out the way you had hoped? And were they pleased with the end result?

To be honest with you, half the time, I don't even know if they're pleased or not. I was just sort of hand the report over and I never hear from them again if anything is good progress. So, you know, that kind of stinks in a way. Either that or all of a sudden we'll just start getting a whole bunch of more work from them. Yeah. One or the other. Which is basically, you know, my validation that, hey, what I did was good. Yay! I'm back now. But from that standpoint, what I did at that point is I said. Well, first of all, they want. They're going to want to see signal strength. They're definitely going to want to see the signal strength across the entire space. The next thing that I wanted to show them was some visualization or some way to sort of show them in kind of a pass or fail format. In this case, red or green, because that's what. How does the jitter visualization. So because Jeter was the only one that actually gives me a map with the cover, both red and green, I pretty much incorporated those visualizations out of alcohol as a part of the report. Realistically, throughout most of the of the facility, the Jeter visit visualizations actually showed that Jeter was good across, you know, a good 95 percent.

He was only a couple of places. This was a retail outlet. So there is only a couple of places in some of the stock rooms that they didn't have an AP close by that caused the Jeter to go down or go up, I should say, cause Jeter to go up and get really bad.

So from that standpoint, I mean, that was expected. And then when I went ahead and did is I provided a written explanation of everything that I've just told you. So all of you know what Moss actually is, how I derived it. And then I showed them a final table that basically gave a low, a medium and high across the entire floor.

And mostly cases, it was pretty close. It was like between 4.0 and 4.5 for the most cases. There wasn't any place that I can think of right off my head that actually went below a 4.0. So it pretty much basically showed them that the entire area that they were asking us to validate came out as being ready for voice over Wi-Fi.

Very cool. Did any of this translate into other jobs you've done since solving this? Have you utilized this anywhere else?

Yeah, I actually just this last last fall, I think just this last fall. It wasn't for voice over Wi-Fi, but we did have a couple of clients that popped up and said, hey, can you guys do like a throughput evaluation? Can you guys go through and evaluate the throughput across? In this case, this was a university, so across our outdoor space and our campuses. And so I was able to pull out my W LAN PIs. I've got eight of the suckers today, but I was able to pull out the double and pies outfit, a couple of my guys with them and get them up on their network and just said have at it and go through and do the throughput. I mean, most people look at, you know, they look at signal strength and they think signal strength is awesome, we're good. But that only tells one aspect of the story. There are so many other metrics that can be gathered, but more often than not, people are not necessarily willing or they're not aware of these other metrics and what these impacts actually are.

So more often than not, our clients will just say, hey, just do me a single signal validation and call it good. And so oftentimes I'll sit there and I'm just like, OK, signal validation is great. I mean, you have to have layer one. You have to have signal. But that doesn't give you the entire picture. So being able to break out, you know, a tool like the W LAN pie and doing an active survey versus a passive survey. That part actually kind of fascinates me because, again, we don't get it often chance to do it on a regular basis. But on the times that we do, it was really kind of cool, first of all, to do the voice over Wi-Fi, because we don't do that a lot. I actually wish that I had that capability. This was, you know, several years ago before the Dubie LAN pie even came out. I wish I had had that capability back then. But it turns out that, you know, now that I've got it, I'm going to use it again. I'm definitely gonna use it again.

Well, Rick, I really appreciate your time. Thank you for kind of doing a deeper dove on your presentation and giving us a few different angles and perspective. Really appreciate it.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of the wireless LAN professionals podcast. The podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Wireless Landreaux. For all the latest news and updates and also connect directly with Keith on Twitter at Keith Parsons. Head over to w w w w LAN prose dot com.

For this episode show notes as well as the latest in all things Wi-Fi.

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If You’re The Smartest Person in the Room, You’re in the Wrong Room https://wlanprofessionals.com/if-youre-the-smartest-person-in-the-room-youre-in-the-wrong-room/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/if-youre-the-smartest-person-in-the-room-youre-in-the-wrong-room/#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 01:05:36 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=7979

The post If You’re The Smartest Person in the Room, You’re in the Wrong Room appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


I’m not sure where the quote is from, but it is a perfect analogy for why I truly enjoy attending Aruba’s Atmosphere conference every year.

I’ve been on a nearly 20-year journey learning new things about Wi-Fi on a nearly daily basis. The WLAN industry is a dynamic and ever-challenging environment with upgrades, more complexity and new technology being added every single year. Yet, much of the basics and fundamentals haven’t changed since 802.11 ‘classic’ was first introduced with only 1-megabit-per-second data rates.

My personal experience at Aruba Atmosphere 2019 was another chance to sit and learn at the feet of folks way smarter and more accomplished.

Last year, I had the chance to learn from Eric Johnson’s presentation on Wi-Fi basics (by the way, he teaches it every year, and everyone needs to sit in this course). One item of note was his showing with hard math the “Fallacy of Matching Transmitter Power of AP and Client” – loved it!

Eric teaches using lots of visuals. His style is to allow students to seethe complex math that is at the base of all Wi-Fi. So, this type of delivery appeals to my visual learning style a lot.

Understanding the Magic of Spatial Streams

In this year’s session on Advanced Wi-Fi: 802.11 Modulation and Antenna Techniques, Eric went a bit deeper into some of the how’s and why’s of the magic behind 802.11.

From previous sessions with various folks, I’d come to learn of a new analysis that allows one to visualize the reflections and multipath necessary for spatial streams. With great anticipation I hung around for the last session of the last day to hear the repeat of the advanced RF course.

Here’s a sample of the visual depiction of spatial streams.

There are some software and algorithms working in the background, with a room setup with certain parameters, AP height, client device height and wall reflection factors. Then the client device is moved through the area in a raster process capturing the signals and reflected signals. (Darker is better in these pictures).

Omni antenna vs. downtilt omni antenna:

The first one I’ll share is showing the differences between an omni antenna and a downtilt omni antenna. 

Note: the one on the left is the omni, and the one on the right depicts a down-tilt omni as noted with the extra antenna pattern.

Comparing 4×4 AP and 2×2 AP going to the same device:

The one I really appreciated was the comparisons between a 4×4 AP and a 2×2 AP going to the exact same client device.

There have been lots of other presentations showing how more radio chains allows for higher and more consistent data rates, even when a lower capable client. (As in 4×4 APs outperform 3×3 and 2×2 APs even when connected to a 1×1 or 2×2 client device.) But the visual from this presentation make it very obvious how much better 4×4 APs are for providing spatial streams to 2×2 clients. Don’t just take my word on this, though. Check out the visuals!

Note: the omni antenna in the center in the left graphic, and the omni antenna is moved up and to the right (where the red dot is located) is on the right frame.

Now, then the same client, but with a 4×4 access point instead of a 2×2.

I can’t say I totally understand everything I saw at Aruba Atmosphere, but it is great to know there are many more smart folks out there working on cutting edge issues, and still deign to come down and talk with the rest of the rank and file of the Wi-Fi community.

I, for one, am planning on attending and learning from experts and other Airheads at future Aruba Atmosphere conferences.

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Always More to Learn About RF https://wlanprofessionals.com/always-more-to-learn-about-rf/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/always-more-to-learn-about-rf/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:37:29 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=5222

The post Always More to Learn About RF appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


Like many industries, the Wireless LAN community is made up of people with a wide range of education and experience. Even those with decades of experience can still learn and adapt our view of how the invisible medium we work with works.

At Aruba’s Atmosphere conference I had the opportunity to sit in a session by Eric Johnson (@ej_wireless on Twitter), also known as Dr. RF. It was an enlightening and entertaining discussion where I learned new aspects of topics I thought I learned and have repeated for 18 years. Truthfully, it was a bit humbling to know I didn’t know what I thought I knew.

I’m only going to cover two of many “Eureka Effect” moments.

First – we’ve been using this simple Spectral Mask for OFDM signals for years since it was first introduced in 802.11a.

But in this session, I finally learned where it comes from, especially the ‘shoulders’.

The first part is the digital signal – the OFDM portion. It looks something like this:

Note – this isn’t exactly like what the spectral mask from IEEE shows.

We then need to add green in as the wideband channel noise floor.

Then we finally add in the blue ‘noise’ generated by the Power Amplifier’s Non-Linearity. Based on keeping costs low, thermal noise low, we end up with PA’s with less than perfect amplification.

It might be possible to work this out of a Wi-Fi transmitter, but at a very high cost, both in terms of cost of goods sold, but power consumption and heat generation too – all three of which put this out of the range of even Enterprise-grade equipment, let alone consumer client devices.

This total amount of RF being transmitted results in the now familiar Spectral Mask used by the IEEE specifications. It is the combination of the Red Digital Signal, the Green Background Noise, and finally the Blue Power Amplifier’s resulting noise to get the entire package we are used to seeing.

It is this ‘shoulder’ noise we are concerned with when adjacent channels are so close as to interfere with other RF signals on our primary channel in question.

This also deals with the reduction of power needed at various MCS rates as to not overpower and distort RF. This means going to higher MCS, with higher modulation schemes results in lower Transmit Power. Here is a table of Aruba’s changes in Tx power based on MCS. Note the nearly 10X difference between BPSK and 256QAM!

We’ve always known there is a significant difference in the ability to transmit more or fewer bits per symbol based on changing of EVM (Error Vector Magnitude) to suit environmental conditions. But this is exacerbated by the necessary lowering of Tx power based on the above table.

The second major learning experience concerned the supposed religious fervor of many to ‘match’ Tx power of the Access Points with the Tx power of client devices. The idea here is to try and keep both as close to possible to continue to have ‘balanced’ power between the two ends of this communication link.

Personally, I’ve not been a believer in this ‘religion’ – since I’ve seen high Tx power of AP’s and low client Tx power situations work fine in the real world. But it has been a big source of contention with many who have listened to and believe. (If it was true that all communications need a balanced link – then packet analysis would show matched MCS upstream and downstream – and in the real world, this is a rarity.)

Not to mention – the 802.11 protocol requires an Acknowledgement for each Data frame sent. So ‘one-way’ communication isn’t possible. Though it is possible, even highly probable, to have differing MCS and modulation schemes in uplink and downlink communications.


Finally, this session included a spreadsheet explaining the math behind allowing for mis-matched Tx power – yet still having link path loss nearly identical. Here’s one example using 100mw of Tx power (20dBm) with an EIRP of 30dBm at the 4×4:4 AP with a 4dBi antenna, along with a standard 1×1:1 client device transmitting at 25mw (14dBm) with a 0 dBi antenna.

I learned an amazing amount of details behind what I thought I knew of RF, and I think you will too!

The session title Basic Radio: RF Nuts and Bolts.

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[Podcast] Implementation of Cisco Live with Chris O’Donnell https://wlanprofessionals.com/podcast-implementation-of-cisco-live-with-chris-odonnell/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/podcast-implementation-of-cisco-live-with-chris-odonnell/#respond Fri, 12 Jun 2020 18:31:16 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=7909

The post [Podcast] Implementation of Cisco Live with Chris O’Donnell appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.

Chris O'Donnell

Chris O'Donnell

Mobility Solutions Architect, Cisco Systems

Chris O’Donnell discusses the success and challenges he and his team experience in setting up Cisco Live.

Chris went from an attendee years ago wondering how these events were put on to being part of the team that makes it all happen. Listen in as he takes us behind the scenes of CiscoLive to find out what this high pressure, high expectation event really takes to pull off.

Read the Transcript

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Wireless LAN Professionals Podcast Episode 202.

Yeah, you definitely have to be a person that can take pressure and likes to work under pressure. Not everyone loves to work under pressure. There's people that will clearly tell you and I've had people that have worked as part of this team, either for me or other Cisco Lives and said, this isn't for me.

Wireless LAN professionals is a place to educate, inform, encourage and entertain those involved in wireless lands. This wireless LAN professionals podcast is an audio manifestation of these goals. Our host is a wireless land veteran consultant, designer and teacher Keith Parsons. And now the podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Well, Chris, thanks for coming on the show.

How are you, sir? Good, Matthew. How are you, sir? I am doing well. That's good to hear. So you shared at WLPC 20-20 Phenix about event Wi-Fi. So for those who don't know, you kind of introduced yourself what you do in the world of Wi-Fi and why this particular topic is of interest and expertise to you, I guess.

Thank you for. First and foremost, thank you for having me on the show. So my name is Chris O'Donnell. I am been doing Wi-Fi since ITOCHU eleven. So pretty much to ninety nine. Two thousand. That's when I really started doing my five. I currently work for Cisco six organizations and customer experience organization is formally known as the Advanced Services. So we're the ones that kind of work a lot with the customers we employ in our products. And currently I'm working with a team that focuses mainly on new products. And part of the challenge me, I will not challenge challenges, but one of the gifts I've had been able to do since I've been at Cisco was actually participate as part of their events, not team. Okay. And since I'm wireless, I kind of do the wireless and help out with the wireless for Cisco.

Like, how big is that team for Cisco live?

Well, the team in Hall is roughly probably around the whole team is 40 members. OK, that's everybody for wireless. We normally only have like five to six tops for everybody on the wireless team, which is the biggest team out of the NOC squad, only because of the fact of being so large, tightly truncated timetables. And we have to divide and conquer. So.

So if people wanted to follow you or learn more, are, you know, read blogs whatever, how would they get in touch with you?

I'm on Twitter @VoFi_CWNE. I'm trying to be a little bit more active on Twitter, but I'm definitely one of those guys that I don't chat up as much as I probably should. And I'm also on LinkedIn Chris O'Donnell, don't get me confused with the actor. Just left for Chris and Cisco.

Well, you shared trials and tribulations of event Wi-Fi. I figured be kind of fun just to introduce that topic and kind of share what you shared at WLPC for the podcast audience. Is that sound OK?

Sounds perfect. Let's do it. Yeah. The trials and tribulations of Wi-Fi. So I would say I couldn't come up with a better title, but it pretty much that's what it is. And so the true title, though, right? It is a true title.

You know, a lot of what we what goes on behind the scenes, I know for me, I was an attendee to Cisco Networkers for many years and Cisco live when it transferred in Cisco Live. And I was the person that always was that technique. And I always had a real interest of how did they put these shows on? I mean, did they hear like for two months getting a single and there's a lot that they do to put on wheels for us. So when I joined Cisco, I personally just want to attend sessions. I asked my manager, I said, hey, can I attend sessions? And he said, well, better yet. Do you want to work on the NOC team, actually help support the wireless deployment? I said absolutely. If I can do that, I will love to do that. He said, well, you know, if you do that, it's more, you know, keeping the show up and running. You know, you might be able to go to some sessions here and there, but your focus is working the show. So I said no worries. That's I think I'll probably get even more experienced by doing that. And then that's that's been the case. So I did that upon joining Cisco in 2015, San Diego was my first show working for Cisco and working for the NOC team. And I kind of fell in love with it, even though it was a pretty grueling schedule.

Yeah, it's normally about 80 hours a week of solid work. So working into the night and depending on what challenges you have, deployments and deliveries and things of that nature.

Now, you jumped in there, had this opportunity. If someone's interested in event Wi-Fi, is there any recommendation you would give to them? I mean, obviously, there's some takeaways from your story there. Just, you know, look for an opportunity and jump in, you know, what kind of experiences and certs or even maybe personal skills. If someone said Mannah, they had the same thing that you said, like, this is so intriguing. How do I get involved?

Yeah, that's a great question. So I know there is definitely. The other companies out there that focus on invent Wi-Fi. I know at Cisco, the knock team is mainly made up from Cisco employees. So far as Cisco and please go if you are a Cisco employee. It was this podcast. If you have an expertize in something we normally always looking for help expression more on the Wi-Fi side. So we have a lot of our we have a six centers organization, which is organization of the lack of a better term. They're more junior engineers, but they're really good engineers as well. And they just come for the experience and they want to come and learn. You know, I've had the gift, if you want to call it, to leave these teams up. So we are utilizing my experience and Wi-Fi. And I've been doing, you know, been around Cisco Networks for quite some time as you're signing up. It's, you know, reaching out to your manager and asking to volunteer, even had customers, Matthew, that have kind of taken a sneak peek behind it. OK. We'll see how they do things. You know, there's other big, let's just say, department change chains out there for, like, not calling out certain people that have wanted to say, hey, we do our own events, but we want to see how Cisco does their events.

So, yeah, it's just a little game, you know, on the off skill side. Obviously, this is a high, quote unquote stress environment when you're actually in the middle of it set up and deployment. What are some of those skills that you need? I mean, because you're constantly being asked questions. You know, I'm assuming a lot of times things are always your fault, quote, unquote. Yeah. What skill level do you need in your pocket? Just from a human standpoint to be able to jump into this type of environment?

Yeah. It doesn't have to be a person that can take pressure and likes to work under pressure. Not everyone loves to work under pressure. There's people that will clearly tell you and I've had people that have worked as part of this team, either for me or, you know, other sister lives and said, this isn't for me. Yeah, it's just too much because, yes, you are under, you know, a lot of pressure. There's normally truncated timelines where we'd only know better. In a perfect world, we have a week to get ready for the show. But there's been instances where we've had certain years where we've had to do it a couple of days because guess what?

On the presentation and Phenix, you're talking about like your keynote stuff came like days past when it was supposed to be there.

Yes. Yeah. They came the day before the cleanup was supposed to go. So that's Sunday night, Sunday afternoon to Sunday night. They came in and Tina was at 10 a.m. the next morning, so. Yeah. So you definitely have to be there to work on the pressure. A lot of times you directing other members of the team. So we do work with a lot of great contractors. So we're not always running and doing our own polls and AP installs again. We only have six guys to put up a hundred. And I wanted a piece and a couple of days. So we're leveraging people. So we got to work with those. We know we're working with lack of sleep. We're working with other people that have lack of sleep. So it's, you know, trying to be professional. Keeping it very much to planning is key. So documenting and planning these things are very key. But, yeah, you're going to be a certain individual that's able to work under that pressure, work with very little sleep and low lying around. Yeah, I would love to go in and go back to the hotel right now and take a snooze. But guess what? We have to be on and it's now it's showtime. So there's this time. Exactly. We have phases that we always call it the bed phases that we go through. And your role has to change in between.

Walk us to the what are the event Wi-Fi phases. Yeah.

So I kind of break it down in six phases. So we have, you know, the first phase as our planning stages and design phase. So this is something that's done prior to the show that we normally start thinking about the next show, the year and the year ahead. So we finished off last year. We were thinking about what we're gonna do for this year so far as we go. So SCIEX helps the advance staff, our technology services team inside Cisco. So they contract us to do that work. But we don't they don't get plugged in until we are maybe two, three months prior to where they say, hey, we're starting to be in discussions. We're and start talking about stuff like that.

How much is templated and how much is like brand new clean slate each year. Like, what kind of stuff is transferable, repeatable as in your planning staging development.

Yes, that's a great question. So a lot of people think this is very much static and we try to take lessons learned. We try to implement best practices. We try to document everything but settings from last year. We take backups and everything. We do have design criteria, but normally every year we try to do something new where we're implementing new technology. So whether it be new APIs, new controllers, like this year, there was talk wrong. You know, we've always been deploying an erroneous controller. We want to migrate to our Iowa sexy platform, so that's something that probably obviously we're not doing it this year with the whole Covid. But maybe next year we might be implementing that 9800 platform. So that's you know, we're going back to the drawing board because the 80 group are of profile principles, much different. It's now tag based solution. And depending on whether we're taking over an infrastructure or if we're putting up a new one, that also highly depends on, you know, how much we can leverage from past, like if it's a home house install. I'm Jim. We go to Las Vegas. We take over their network. So we kind of know their network. We know what needs to be implemented. Obviously, we're not replacing every piece that we made, putting a little different control. We might putting in a different OS, completely aware it's a different implementation methodology.

So and I guess there's a certain amount of, you know, if this is the Cisco show shock, seeing what's new in your lineup, if everyone showing up and then your stuff isn't on the bleeding edge, I think there's probably a balance there on how much new stuff you implement versus what's tried and true.

Yeah, exactly. I mean, as much as we love to implement every brand new product that just came out last week, you know, a lot of new product launches happened just before Cisco alive. We also know that, you know, the show network is a critical piece of the show itself. So the network, you know, we are Cisco. We have to make sure that the network is up and running and doing everything it needs to do and satisfying the customer need. Obviously, we have vendors in the world of solutions that rely on the show network. There's a lot of things that I learned coming into this. It's not just free Wi-Fi for the attendees. Everything pretty much runs on the show. Network, Cisco, TV, everything is kind of backhaul through our network. So if our network doesn't go up, Cisco TV goes down, it's not a good thing. And then obviously I was kind of figured this is the ultimate seaport park as a customer proof of concept. Normally we do these things at Cisco campus. We have big labs. We can do a C park-in for customers to kind of prove out our technology. Cisco Live is probably doing that. I mean, we are trying to you know, we're definitely implementing new stuff. We're taking risks, educated risks.

But, yeah, there's there's always gonna be those times where you. We, you know, like 2018, our distribution switch had to be rebooted because of a TCN exhaustion, IPV six. And that's something that, you know, right after Keano, right during lunchtime, the whole network goes down, all the wireless, everything. So that's a good example of, well, we found something out. And guess what? We have a customer and customers. Actually, we all are very, you know, thinking that would be a bad thing, like we get bad press. And those are people that are on Twitter that are like, oh, Cisco's network is down, you know? But, you know, we got a lot of good feedback from our customer to say, this is great, Cisco, because you guys know what I go through every day as a network engineer, network architect. It's not perfect. And it's good to see that you guys are pushing the technology here and finding these limitations or finding, you know, software defects or something like that that we can fix before we put it into a critical infrastructure, even more critical, like a energy company or, you know, like we're seeing health care and things of that nature. We doesn't we don't want failures to happen, as our customers say.

Yeah. With the time pressure of the event coming, whether you are ready or not, you can only do so much testing and staging beforehand before you just have to say this is good enough. What's that balance for you as as a key person, a key player, a key leader in the knock team?

Yeah. So I guess that we definitely stage as much as we can stage knowing that we're not going to have time and things happen. Deliveries come late. Every show I've done, there's always been some challenge. Something leaking, deliveries being late, you know. 2018, and when we were in Orlando, I think we hit the trifecta of everything. That was a tough one. But yeah, we definitely tried to stage as much as we can in the lab so that when we get onsite, you know, the controllers mostly got to configuration. I've laid in a lot of baseline configuration from an Irish standpoint, our profiling and channel set ups. And I can again, we take lessons learned from previous shows. We know the venues now. I know I've made my whole trip around from Vegas to Orlando, back to San Diego. So I've kind of been through all of them knowing that, okay, I know this facility, you know what's going to change, how we're going to implement new technology. And then when we get and say, you know, you're absolutely right, there's going to be things, I'd say that you have to tackle the tuning, the validation, migration, set up and testing migration, phase two and phase three after phase one, we're on site. That's making sure that, hey, the roots come from California. We've put them in wherever they're going and they fire up and everything's good. Everything fires out. There's no issues, we validation check everything to make sure your interfaces are out.

We test tests, we test than we test. And then from a migration standpoint, now we're starting to take this network and migrating into a house network, because no matter what, even if we have all these polls, if you've ever been Cisco live, that's been all polls. There are still House APIs that are being used. There's all this infrastructure that we're tying into. Sometimes. Most times. So it's definitely not a complete greenfield segmented network where we are interfacing and migrating. It varies. And depending what venue we go to and every venue, we're trying to get that house up to power so that we don't have to bring all these polls for people to see and trip over potentially. We're trying to move away from that in the future. That's yeah, that's a part of the stuff that we have to do on site. And it does take some testing validation. I in time to do all of those type of things. And, you know, like I talked about in my presentation in Phenix, we can validate all of the square feet. You know, when we go to Vegas, we're taking on the Bellagio. So we're taking over the Cosmopolitan, we're taking over MGM Convention Center and Mandalay Bay Conference. Convention Center. That's a lot of real estate. Yeah. You know, we can't sight survey how that whole area. It's just not possible.

And you're setting up into environments that aren't your own, obviously. And so you kind of like this temporary world. What's that like when you're kind of setting stuff on top of stuff and trying to tie in? I mean, I imagine cabling and all of that stuff when it's not your own personal real estate. How do you deal with that kind of mess or chaos and trying to tie in and keep everything nice still?

Yeah. There's definitely some of the photos I show at Phoenix. And for anyone that's on this podcast, definitely go check out the session, WLAN Pros. I got some big pictures and some of the fibers set up. All of us behind the scenes, our customers don't see that. But for the most part, yeah. They were definitely working with fiber issues, dirty fiber. Some of the cabling is pretty old. I've kind of seen it all. And it's funny that, you know, we even do back to back or in Vegas. We do our Cisco live show and then, you know, only a month or two later we are doing our large sales. Not a convention, but sales meeting. Sales conference. Yeah. For global. For Cisco. So, you know, fiber that we just used a month and a half ago is now bad before we go there. Two months later, it's like, how does this happen? You know, it just challenges of, you know, people plugging in, plugging things, unplugging things, working in a temporary environment. Cables get you know, they get their work out. AP is going to work out.

I've had a couple of APs during my tenure working here. Where are they? You know, the actual Ethernet interface on the AP pins get worn out.

POE's not really working or we're not able to get cap laptop because of that. It's weird things and it's just because of, you know, the way they're packed, just unplugging, unplugging, plugging, plugging, unplugging, you know, it's constant, you know, wear and tear where normally at a customer site you plug it in. You leave it for three to five years and you replace it. So not now with us, What is the life cycle of an AP for you guys? Oh, that's a great question. Honestly, don't even really know. We don't have to really deal with that. The events tell you that. But there's always a tell tale sign of, hey, you know, this antenna is not behaving the way it should behave.

You know, we're very old again, as our six engineers are very well skilled RF guys. They work around these type of equipment all the time so they can suspect, hey, this is you know, I think it's seen its life. You know, I think that connectors and maybe or that it just got banged around too many times during transit. Yeah. But, yeah, it's definitely more aggressive, Matthew, than a regular enterprise for sure, because just because of the nature of all of this equipment is not just used for Cisco Lab, it's used for every show. Yeah, Cisco does. So there's multiple shows. There's like six to eight, ten shows throughout the year that we do. This equipment gets transferred all over to the show. So it's not just a once a year. This is Cisco Live's equipment and we were even donating some of our equipment for our temporary hospitals. So as you're seeing from the Covid response. We had customers saying, hey, can you guys get all this stuff for Cisco Live? And obviously you're not using it because you got to do virtual this area. Are we able to use that? We've been able to say, yeah, we can lend some of this stuff out. So but, yes, there's definitely more turnover, probably every, you know, year or two years, tops. We're looking at. And, of course, we're implementing new product again, that works for us. When we say, hey, we're going to switch out, you know, love AC wave to APD for eleven X like five six Apitz. So it's kind of a natural thing to be on.

So you get in, migrated in. You mentioned in the present day. And that you are a data guy. You don't just like the wet finger in the air. So tuning validation face for what does that look like for you? What are some of the surprises, some of the things that you learned that maybe you didn't expect? You know, through these different experiences.

Yeah. So when we really get down to tuning, we're after everything is online and we have time for all of the. We have our inventory. We definitely know this is where we divide and conquer. So we have senior members of the team. There's a couple of normally two or three more senior guys on the wireless team. Everyone's got a role. So either someone's working at a hotel. You know, I know my segment. There's a senior engineer that's taking care of Bellagio. There's my ticket for MGM. The one thing mental. I give you an example for Vegas. That's what will be next year. Hopefully some people are dedicated to that location than the other engineers that we have. Like I told you about, some of our six centers, engineers are great engineers, hard workers. These guys are out there sampling data. So they're taking sample points of areas like hallways, large ballrooms, medium ballrooms, small areas, the world of solutions. It's got a dedicated focus. Its own based and keynote. Keynote is big. So I, I normally have been taking on keynote again because I'm kind of overseeing everything as the lead engineer. Yeah, I'm trying to keep all the balls in the air. And also I'm the guy who's interfacing with a lot of the business people, the project management inside of this team. So I'm the ones giving updates and stuff like that. So a lot of my engineers, my senior engineers are kind of taking on their roles to make sure their areas are up to par as well. And I just because I'm a geek, I'm a Wi-Fi guy. I loved playing cenotes. Tino is one of those areas that gets a lot of visibility. So there's a lot of focus. I normally take, you know, a good day just to spend time in there after things are installed. Obviously, a lot of it's set up and planned and designed and keynotes always change every year.

It seems like there's never to keynote since I've been doing this is never to take notes that are almost the same outside of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center because of the static nature of we're using the House APIs there. But next year, that might change. Yeah. So the keynote area is definitely something that we take a lot of focus on all area as far as training go. We do. I would say do some site survey and we can do a whole area, but we're getting samples and make sure our RF settings are correct. So transfer power sector back. Our data rates are not too aggressive. There's always a balance of being aggressive, trying to eke out as much performance as possible and not going overboard. But we're starting to affect client connectivity. So to go along with that, we're definitely checking different. We're doing a lot more tests for edges. We're doing some protocol testing. I'm a big proponent of, you know, graphing out protocol and seeing how frames are transmitted between the AP and the client and making sure that roaming and if I move from this section to this sections, if I come into the entrance way, moved to Section two or five, I should be associating it to a fancy AP. Right. These are things I test to make sure that when people start in dressing into Keano and we always kind of see like there's two areas, one side of the arena gets the influx of everybody. So those APIs always get a hard, hard hit because everyone kind associates their first and then they distribute out.

So how you add made an interesting point in the presentation about that being, you know, maybe something that might have been overlooked, but that's where everyone is congregating and it fires up big time at that bottleneck there.

Yeah. Yeah. Everyone's waiting outside and then all of a sudden they all come into the arena. And then, you know, when people are coming into the arena, they're Facebook living. They're streaming. They've got all those going on. Yes. Yeah. Because it's a show. Right? Every time we do Akino, there's a show that kind of goes along with it. So we have this you know, I look at it from a data standpoint. I show some of this. I will slides, but you see this influx and then this huge peak of probe requests for wireless folks. If we just get probed to death of everyone coming in trying to find the network, I mean, it's just the nature of it until 11:00. So until then, I call it the turbulence phase. When I first did my kino, I was looking over the shoulder of the engineer I was learning from. I said, wow, that's not good. And he's like, it is what it is. It's like this in stadiums when everyone's coming in. It's there's going to be some turbulence. The differences, as you know, when you come to a stadium, you're normally looking for your beer stand. Right. You're looking to grab your beer and get your seat. Now you're in a tech uber conference. Everyone wants to show off and a lot of people are testing the Wi-Fi, quote unquote. So you'd be surprised, Matthew, that there's a lot of wireless geeks out there that along with that. So imagine having this protest arm of, you know, twenty thousand devices coming into an area and then everyone wants to. Speed test on that. So it's like adding insult to injury.

What do you think the percentages of people that are of that group at any of these live events that are just trying to disrupt as much as possible?

I would say not intentionally disrupt. But I'll quote unquote, test. Yeah, there's definitely maybe a 10 percent of hard core people that are really looking at the performance of the network. Believe it or not, contrary to what I thought, I thought would be a lot higher. I don't see a lot of people trying to do harm. So, like, actually trying to jam the spectrum or things like we're always looking for that. Right. You know, we do stuff we keep an eye on. Well, for the most part, it's just wireless geeks being wireless geeks. I just want to know, like, oh, my God, they could only envision being a wireless engineer. What's going on right now? Right. I would love to be behind the helm of whoever is running the show and seeing what's going on. And that's what we have, this tool, this matrix tool that allows us to graph out our kepi eyes and we can stack up, you know, annualization vs. the noise floor versus the pro Brait versus client connectivity, et cetera. Like, we can stack all these kepi eyes. And it's just interesting to see I call the ski slope that happens where everyone's climbing up. When we get declining, counts up and then things settle down. And believe it or not, you know, we have engineers that are among the crowd. We have people that are like our moles that are communicating to us. And they're telling us that. Yeah. I mean, speed test is not awesome right now. And that's just the nature of the beast. You know, I try to explain to people we have these knock panel sessions, which this is kind of derived from people, these knockout sessions. You should go to WLPC and talk more about this, because I love to hear more detail about all this stuff you guys experience, because no one may only get like seven minutes to ten to talk. So.

Yeah, and nothing back from your your KPI tools. Obviously, people are talking and I don't know if you're watching, like, Twitter feed or got someone like sign just to that. And then you all so much you're doing sensors as well.

Yes. That brings us right to phase five is monitoring is. Yeah. We're monitoring everything. We have this custom tool. We have sensors out there doing synthetic testing. So I know in Keano last year we had about three, four sensors deployed, different parts of Akino, and it did synthetic testing make sure that DNS was working DCP So it was responding. We were doing a little bit of speed test just to make sure there's no anomalies happening. But yeah, we're proactively testing the show before big events happen. So, you know, keynotes and large audience Akino area also gets reused for other type of big gatherings, for different executives at Cisco who talk to our customers and partners and things of that nature. So, yeah, we were constantly making sure that the critical areas, we can't put a sensor everywhere in the deployment. In the last year, we had probably thirty eight total sensors throughout all of San Diego's deployment. We're pretty much focused on where executives are meeting our whisper suites is where a lot of meetings are happening with executives and customers making sure those strategic areas are not being impacted and that things are working well. And then on top of that, you know, utilizing Cisco Prime Infrastructure and Cisco DNA Center, which has been a huge, huge thing, as you mentioned, Twitter, you know, up until 2018. And in Orlando, we've really, you know, been scouring Twitter and Twitter was kind of our client test as our clients happy because Twitter people on Twitter say all the Wi-Fi is is awesome or the Wi-Fi is not doing so well over in this area. And we actually use some of that to say, hey, let's go check out Warlow Solutions near CDW and see what's going on.

See if there is valid problems going on, having connectivity issues since you had mentioned to just, you know, it's its own beast. Yeah. And you talked about policing as part of this. What does that look like for you guys to actually go out and say, hey, you know, you're blasting too much? Or what does that look like for you guys?

Yeah. So, yeah, that world of solutions, I call it the Wild Wild West was definitely an area where every I just don't work for Cisco's events team. I actually work with some other customers, events, teams as well. This is a problem across any area, any type of big conference where you have vendors coming into a space. Everyone wants to bring their own network. They have proof of concept demos. They want to do so. And just the nature of Wi-Fi being a shared medium, it's a challenge always the only place that we really have been able to crack down on this.

You mentioned the way you crack down on this.

Yeah. So all the solutions, we definitely have to police it just because of the nature, you know, everything that's going on. You know, I think I mentioned the World Mobile Congress is one area where they've actually got, you know, we call it the Wi-Fi police, where they actually wear vests. They go around and. Signing the agreement, and they really, really crack down on that. I know we're not there yet. It's just a. But we do a really good job. And believe it or not, a lot of the vendors will work with us. They will change channels. They want their stuff to work as well. We want their stuff to work. So it's just, you know, dedicating time again. I have the staff, if I'm lucky, of six guys. I have to dedicate some of this time. As you can see, there's a lot going on. But then you have to say we have to go through wars and make sure that, you know, are people using any megahertz channels refrained from that? It's not allowed. You have to use 20 megahertz channels. I normally carve out channels in my D.C.

channel plan to say you can use these because I'm not using them. You guys can use them and use them among yourselves. And we help customer. We help our vendors to say, hey, you guys, you know, you've got Google next door to you and AT&T is here. And guess what? You guys both trying to use Channel 40. Let's not do that. Let's you know, once you go to 48 and you go to 40 and help coordinate some of that, because maybe they don't have a wireless guy that has a Wi-Fi explorer. And that's got air check. They go and we all look at these channels and say, here, what's the best channel for me from what I have to choose from that, you know, the events teams given me. So, yeah. Then two four gigahertz is we kind of went away from it as of last year. We're not even turning on to for societies. It was just because of, you know, it was one six eleven in that environment with all of the vendors. It just doesn't work.

So monitoring phase five, it brings you to the glorious phase six.

Yes. On Phase six is Teradyne. So, again, everyone, you know, the setup is a lot more to get this up and running. It's easy to tear down. It's literally just term equipment and unplugging interfaces. And a lot of it, you know, God bless the team that has to go out physically and pick up equipment. I know we have polls and we have you know, these little C.G. switches are compact switches that are being deployed out in the areas of the venue. They have to go pick all that up, Danto, go manage all the cable things of that nature. So when we do our house, we call our house events or we're taking a warehouse infrastructure. That's a lot better just because we have to worry about our core racks and things of that nature that we can avoid having to deal with touching all the pieces. And we just have to just recently migrate baby back over their controllers and they verify that everything is good on their side, the way it goes. We try to do that, even mainstream migration. We're taking into consideration all of these things so we know you're borrowing. You have to give back. And we try to be a good goodbar over equipment. And I know the worst cases. You know, if I take a hundred of your APIs and put them into my own AP groups and things of that nature, they send them back to you.

They're going to go on your default AP group, and you're not going to like me because now you know potential. You have to remap all of your APIs, Jaypee Group. So one of the things I do in that, you know, phase one to phase three is making sure that I'm taking their AP groups, I'm getting config snippets from them, and I'm duplicating their AP groups. And I'm just using my our profiles, which are not specific to the AP itself on the more to the AP group. And then that's how we kind of transition back and forth.

Well, I thought it'd be interesting to kind of wrap up the conversation with what do you think is transferable from what you've learned? Because this is obviously a unique situation. And in the world of Wi-Fi events, not everyone's doing this type of scale. What have you learned from this as a Wi-Fi engineer that you think is transferable to other, you know, more typical or just different w LAN applications?

Yeah, that's great. I think, you know, I call this extreme high density. I just like making up new terms. You know, we have very high density. We have high density, ultra high density. What do you mean as extreme? High density? The only reason why it's extreme is because it's done under in a pressure cooker. It's done in a short period of time. I don't have a lot of time to plan out the network. I don't have a lot of time to figure things out. I can't you know, as much as I love to nitty gritty, fine tune everything. So it's helped me as an engineer to be more efficient. Definitely, you know, scripting things out. I have a great guy on my team, Tim Barnes. We can't pass on Tim. I'm continuing to try to learn Python. But, you know, Tim's been our guy for helping us with getting some python code and getting scripting. Scripting is benki. I know we're looking to do more stuff with automation. I know last year we used Cisco DNA Center for Automation. And personally, from a certification standpoint, you know, going into my S.S. IEEE, I had a CWNP. I got that back in 2008. But as I moved to Cisco and pursued my SCCA Wireless going into that after doing these events, I did not feel the same. I personally think I didn't feel the same amount of pressure that most people do going into it, because, again, I c IEEE lab is kind of like being involved in a lock.

So if you're a person that is training for your CCE IEEE being part the NOC team, I always try to find guys. Hey, are you going for your CSU lab soon? Second attempt potentially. This is. To be because you're going to have to do things and you're going have to be very efficient, you're going out to do things under pressure and you're going to deal with challenges. You can have your own problems and you have to try to mitigate those problems fast. And that's pretty much what the CSU labs all about, is testing the best to make sure you can do things in an uncomfortable fashion, because a lot of times savings are being deployed out to customers that their networks are going down. It's affecting large geographical areas and things of that nature. So, Laura, whole stadium or hospital? I've worked a lot of hospitals and having that pressure of, you know, it's life or death if the Wi-Fi goes down. It's not like, oh, darn, I lost my free Wi-Fi. It's no patients potentially could die. So let me know. Associate healthcare. Wi-Fi is definitely I give my hats off to anybody that works inside healthcare and does, you know, what they have to do for I.T., especially these days, to keep that up and running?

Well, Chris, I really appreciate your time and I'm sure the audience does as well. It's fascinating. And just a lot of fun, a fun discussion. Thank you for spending the time with us.

Yes. Thank you, Matthew. I appreciate it.

Absolutely. Any final thoughts or anything to add?

No, I think I'm looking forward to the future. I mean, obviously, you know, the new six gigahertz band is very, very much appealing to me. And something like this application with the Wi-Fi, you know, Wi-Fi sticks in general. I'm looking forward to deploying more Wi-Fi six because I feel like a lot of the features and functionality of some of this new technology is just going to help us in high density type of configuration. So I'm very much looking forward to the future. I'm actually really bummed out that a lot of our shows are canceled this year physically, and we're our technology that, you know, Wi-Fi is physical. So you had to be on site to do Wi-Fi. And there was actually a little joke inside internal in Cisco, they said, hey, you guys can actually go to some of the people's houses and stuff and set up their Wi-Fi so they can attend Cisco live virtual. And I'm like, I'd be kind of an undertaking. But nonetheless, we're looking forward to getting back into it. I know. I miss it. I love doing it. I love the team I work with. And I look forward to seeing everyone and feel free to come up to the knock knock tours that we do every day. There was one hour tours and feel free to come up and say hello.

Wonderful. Thank you, Chris, so much. Appreciate it.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of the wireless LAN professionals podcast. The podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @wirelesslanpros for all the latest news and updates and also connect directly with Keith on Twitter @KeithRParsons.

Head over to www.wlanpros.com For this episode shown ups as well as the latest in all things Wi-Fi.

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Top KPIs to Measure for Optimal Wireless Network Performance https://wlanprofessionals.com/top-kpis-to-measure-for-optimal-wireless-network-performance/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/top-kpis-to-measure-for-optimal-wireless-network-performance/#respond Thu, 11 Jun 2020 22:04:36 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=7886

The post Top KPIs to Measure for Optimal Wireless Network Performance appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


Wireless networks play a critical role in most organizations today. When the network is down, users are affected and can become frustrated.

This is why maintaining wireless network performance is crucial and should be a top priority for IT teams. However, this can be difficult for a number of reasons, such as the increasing demand on top of fixed capacities that wireless networks experience, the fact that Wi-Fi deployments require specialized training to troubleshoot, and that wireless networks are shared environments.

Fortunately, there are wireless key performance indicators (KPIs) that establish a baseline for efficiency and stability of the various activities and components of your wireless network. It’s important to understand these metrics to be able to detect and resolve issues faster, which can reduce the frequency and duration of downtime incidents. As a result, you can help improve end-user productivity and ultimately the bottom line.

Before we begin, it’s important to determine if WLAN traffic should be captured over the air or on the wire, and under what circumstances. This decision will depend on your business objectives and KPIs. You need to be thinking about your needs and ask yourself is it necessary to see the payload of the packets, encrypted or otherwise? As technologists, we tend to default to the idea that “more data is better,” but it’s common for many organizations to answer “no” to that question, since wireless payloads add very little when troubleshooting wireless problems. The issue is usually embedded in the protocol decode, instead of the packet payload.

If your WLAN is experiencing quality or performance issues, then you should be looking at just the WLAN packets and headers, and not the data payload. If you’re dealing with an application issue, then eliminate any WLAN variables like interference, encryption and signal strength, and do your captures on the wired side of the AP. Following this process of elimination will help you isolate the root cause of the issue quicker.

Here are some of the most common wireless network performance KPIs that your team should be monitoring:

1. Uptime

Uptime, also known as availability, is a wireless network KPI that indicates the amount of time a wireless network is available for effective use. This is perhaps the most easily understood and straightforward KPI.

2. Network Jitter

Jitter measures a network’s transfer rate consistency, and indicates the variability in a delay time. While TCP connections are very tolerant of jitter, and since it represents the majority of network traffic, jitter is usually ignored. However, real-time applications like video and voice expect very low jitter. These applications’ performances are significantly impacted when jitter is present. Additionally, wireless networks are much more prone to jitter than wired networks because of radio frequency and interference issues. For general data, jitter up to 100 msec might be alright, but for real-time data, jitter above 20 msec can cause major issues.

3. Bandwidth and Throughput

Although bandwidth and throughput sound similar as wireless network efficiency KPIs, there is a subtle difference. Throughput measures the amount of data that actually gets transferred from one point to another within a network path. Bandwidth is the amount of data that a network path is expected to bear, or that is expected to successfully transfer from one point to another in a network, within a set amount of time. Both bandwidth and throughput can be viewed in terms of Kbps, Mbps or Gbps and the differences between the two can be used to determine the performance of a wireless network.

4. Signal Strength

There are many factors that determine the ideal Wi-Fi signal strength, such as desired data rates, number of clients on the network, background noise, and what applications will be used. For instance, a VoWiFi or VoIP system may require higher signal strength than a barcode scanner system in a warehouse. You can measure signal strength in decibel-milliwatts or dBm. It is always a negative number (at least for Wi-Fi due to the imposed max power limit). So, this would mean -20dBm is a higher signal than -50dBm. Typically, the greater the signal strength is, the better the wireless network throughput will be. Also keep in mind that wireless networks are often engineered such that the desired coverage area will always offer a signal strength above a minimum value, typically around -65 to -70dBm depending on the desired minimum data rate for the network.

5. Packet Loss

Packet loss is an indicator of congestion, low bandwidth, interference, etc., in both wireless and wired environments. It refers to a packet or packets of data that are transferred from one computer to another, but unable to reach their destination. Packet loss is represented as a ratio of packets received at the destination over those sent by the source. This KPI can help you measure the overall health of your wireless network, especially when focusing on the interaction between a specific AP and client. Acceptable packet loss benchmarks differ depending on the data type. For example, if it is general data transfer, a packet loss up to 3% can be considered acceptable, but with VoWLAN, a packet loss rate of 1 to 2% is almost intolerable for a clear and understandable audio conversation.

6. Packet Re-transmissions

When a data packet is sent out successfully, but doesn’t reach its destination, it needs to be transmitted again, or retransmitted. Consequently, the wireless network experiences delays for the transmission in question, as well as a degradation to the overall throughput of the network. While retransmissions exist in all networks, they are much more common in wireless networks due to poor signal strength, hidden nodes, interference from other technologies, and adjacent channel interference.

7. Latency

Latency, also referred to as delay, is a measure of the time consumed in the transfer of data from one point to another in a network. Latency is generally used to monitor TCP and UDP. High latency is a key indicator of slow network connection and poor performance. The threshold varies based on the situation. For instance, a high latency up to 100 milliseconds may be acceptable for general data, but a tolerable threshold for real-time applications is typically no more than 50 milliseconds.

Latency can be caused by a variety of factors. The first refers to the overall time it takes the data to travel from the sending to the receiving device over the air and is known as transmission delay. Although this time is usually very short (think speed of light over just a few hundred feet), interference or other wireless factors can prevent the data from reaching the destination. When this occurs, you must retransmit the data, and depending on network utilization, this can make the perceived transmission delay seem quite long. Another factor that can cause latency is routing, or processing delay. Whenever data is processed by a switch AP, a computer, or router, some amount of delay is introduced. The length of the delay is proportional to how busy the device is when the data is received. And there could be several “hops” along the way that each introduce routing delay, depending on where the source and destination are located.

Additionally, roaming latency, which is unique to wireless networks, represents how much time it takes for a mobile wireless client to transition from one access point to another. One can calculate roaming latency by measuring the amount of time between the last known data packet for a device on one access point, and the first data packet seen for that device on another access point. This length of time represents the actual user experience. While 802.11 specifications have greatly reduced the overhead with roaming operations, it still remains one of the most problematic operations on wireless networks, and can adversely affect wireless connections and VoWLAN operating over VPNs. As a general rule of thumb, look for roaming latency in modern 802.11 networks to be well under 100 msec.

As organizations continue to become increasingly dependent on their wireless networks, maintaining performance is crucial for the business.

On top of that, as Wi-Fi continues to evolve, this task will only continue to become more difficult and complex.

However, by understanding, correctly measuring and frequently analyzing the above KPIs, you can improve your organization’s wireless network performance, and ultimately the user experiences for the employees, departments and customers.

Jay Botelho

Jay Botelho

Director of Engineering at LiveAction

This is a guest post from Jay Bothelo

Jay Director of Engineering at LiveAction holds a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering and has been working in networking as an engineer and product manager for over 25 years.

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[Podcast] Wi-Fi For Beginners with Nigel Bowden https://wlanprofessionals.com/wi-fi-for-beginners-with-nigel-bowden/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/wi-fi-for-beginners-with-nigel-bowden/#respond Fri, 29 May 2020 12:44:25 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=7806

The post [Podcast] Wi-Fi For Beginners with Nigel Bowden appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


Nigel Bowden talks about his podcast series, “Wi-Fi for Beginners” that he created to help those just getting started in Wi-Fi. The series is already several years old, but is still very helpful if you need to get a crash course in 802.11 technologies.

Nigel Bowden

Nigel Bowden

UK Based Mobility/Wi-Fi Consultant - CWNE #135

Nigel is Wi-Fi Network Architect, with 20+ years of proven experience in designing, delivering & supporting LAN & Wi-Fi networks for Government Agencies, Education, Healthcare & Financial Clients –improving coverage, capacity & enabling flexible working.

He implement best practice design methodologies to ensure successful business outcomes and realisation of ROI, and creates high quality, technical documentation, including high and low level designs for all phases of network design & operation lifecycle. He articulate technical concepts to audiences of varying technical capabilities to allow stakeholders to understand and make informed business decisions. Furthermore, He engage with cross-functional teams to drive definition of requirements and ensure final solutions meet business requirements. Also, he mentor colleagues & other technical teams to develop their technical capabilities and share knowledge.

Check his website: http://wififorbeginners.com/

Listen to the Show

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Wireless LAN professionals podcast episode two oh one wireless LAN professionals is a place to educate, inform, encourage and entertain those involved in wireless LANs, this wireless LAN professionals podcast as an audio manifestation of these goals. Our host is a wireless land veteran consultant, designer and teacher Keith Parsons, and now the podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals.

Today I have with me Nigel Nigel Bowdon, right? That's correct. And you're in the UK. Nice sunny day there.

You've been out running today. Now a little bit of a break today. I've been out most days, but some a little bit of bright. Don't don't overdo it. Not at my age anyway.

Overdo it. Yeah. You're a youngster. I thought I'd get you on the podcast today and talk about your podcast slash training side and how you put it in the category.

Your Wi-Fi for beginners decided to put it together as a sort of limited series podcast really delivered over an RSS feed and it's on iTunes, that sort of thing. But I thought if I just do a limited series podcast, like you say, so it's like a sort of mini training course where you just to get people going on the basics of of Wi-Fi theory.

So why did you use the podcast as the delivery mechanism rather than some other training delivery service?

It's quite interesting, really, because this is it's obviously been a few years since I since I've put this together. But I was going through a stage of listening to lots of podcasts when I was doing lots of traveling.

So I was driving in the car, train journeys, things like that. And I'm funny enough, I was sort of consuming a lot of technical content. And one of your one of your early podcasts was sort of one of my favorites, really. I remember hearing you appearing not I think was on the Cliff Ravenscroft podcast. He was the podcast and man. And you appeared there and you were doing all these putting out all this great content. And I was consuming, you know, what is this technical information really enjoying it. And I thought, wow, agree. It's what I like to do that myself one day. And then when I had this idea of trying to put the podcast or some sort of training package together, I thought podcasting would be a great way for me to be able to deliver it in a fairly easy way. But also people gout's consumer on the move. If they're just driving to work or maybe on a flight or, you know, taking their train journey, it's just a nice way to sit there, just listen some information and then absorb it in a fairly sort of easy way that that's enough to invest too much time reading books, things like that.

As the podcast or of course, develop, what kind of hardware do you need to put together for your first podcast recording?

It was all it was all very low tech, to be honest. I just bought myself and my USP Mike and experimented with learning how to use the audacity to do some recording and and sort of struggled through understanding how to edit audio and sort of manage to pull it together.

And then you have to figure out how to put it Willington, RSS feed, etc. and better Web sites around. It was a bit of a learning curve, but it was very interesting and I really enjoyed doing it, to be honest.

Everyone can hit this by going to Wi-Fi for beginners dot com beginners with the S r Wi-Fi for beginners dot com. We'll put a link to that in the show notes. You can also find it on iTunes and you have a separate RSS link as well. Yep. Yeah.

And all of those you can find on that website, you can subscribe by going to the ice from the Ice Tunes podcast application and also like safe tuning Staun. Actually put the episodes on to YouTube as well.

And as some people like to listen to audio on YouTube, so I've transferred them there as well. So if you wanna subscribe to the play list, if you search for Wi-Fi, Nigel and YouTube, you can subscribe to play list and get all the episodes.

If you see me that way, then you do have matching slide decks to go with them for each of the modules.

So I've decided to do was just sort of break the content down into a number of modules to try and give it a little bit of structure. The main aim of doing it was to try and give people an audio only set of content that they could consume on the move.

But there was still there are still a few topics which are quite difficult to explain. Audio only. So out of reach of the modules that I broke down into, I created a set of slides as well and I just sort of PDAF slides.

So the idea was you could actually go to my website, download the slides, and then when you were sort of sitting on the train or whatever, you can be listening and if needs be, maybe just fira the slide deck and have a look at one or two diagrams that IBM that I talked about, you know, during the actual podcasts.

What was the chunks? You have different, what, 21 or something different?

I tried to sort of break it down into the sort of main areas that are from people who were just starting out with Wi-Fi networking, but having a few problems with them.

I mean, the background to this was I've met a lot of people in my work who were really good network engineers or, you know, there may be maintained, you know, network administrator maintaining big networks. And they've got a lot of expertize and routines. Watching a security, but they were having to try and, you know, carve a little bit of a path into Wi-Fi as well. And they were maybe struggling to get a grip of it. Maybe a tender vendor cause something like that and understand how to drive the equipment for a specific vendor. You know, the wireless equipment that they would really not get any of the basic RF type theory understand the to Alem standard. And so I really wanted to get all of those areas subject to areas where people weren't getting that depth of detail and give them a nice, gentle introduction so that they could then go away and maybe start looking at things like the CWNP books, the CWNA study guide, things like that, which, you know, out of the gate is quite daunting. I mean, it's it's a big, thick boxcar, lots of really heavy theory in there. Fantastic reference resource. But for began a maybe a little bit overwhelming. So I basically broke it down to six modules. So I basically started off in the first one just looking at, you know, what do we mean by a Wi-Fi network, talking about things like a 82 to eleven in the various components in a wireless network.

Then the second module takes a look at, you know, the RF characteristics that we need to be aware of. Things like, you know, what do we mean by RF signals? Ah, if spectrum, you know, concepts such as coverage modulation moved on to a third module where we started to look at the actual some of the main components for Wi-Fi network. So in module three, we look to access points and talking about what they look like, how you would install them, you know what they actually do in the Wi-Fi network. Then in module four, moved on to a little bit more in depth, talking about various our principles. So we've revisited RF, started looking at things like what we mean by half duplex transmissions and CSM, A.S.A., things like that. Then in the fifth module moved on again to another major component in a wireless network, which is Wi-Fi clients, and started to have a look at, you know, what the component parts were, you know, talking about the fact they've got a radios in there and antennas, things like this, and started to dove even deeper into the ATO eleven standard. And then in module six started look at the wireless infrastructure components, things like wireless controllers and talking about things like the management control and data plane. So trying to give us sort of fairly rounded but not too detailed or overwhelming approach or coverage of the topics that you'd need to know to get Goan in Wi-Fi network.

Well, I did notice that of the 19 separate recordings that are all available on Empey three as well, if you wanted just to download them. There's six of the 19. A third of it is all about Wi-Fi clients. Why that? Why the focus on clients? Just I mean, just a general question that we'll come back to this specific.

Once you start diving into clients, I needed to actually introduce a few more details around eight, around eight to 11 itself.

So. So when you start talking about the capabilities, you then also have to talk about things like eleven nine, eleven K and the more deep, you know, more detail of the capabilities a client may have. It's just it's a big topic. I mean, that's the area really that seems to cause the most problems when you're trying to design a wireless network because of the, you know, the various idiosyncrasies of derman different capabilities that they've got. So it was just a big topic and they did need a lot of attention.

I totally agree. I mean, if you just think of the just by count, if you if you're running a really dense network with lots of APIs, you might have a 10 client to one AP ratio. Sometimes you're up to the 20 or 30 clients to AP ratio. So just by count, we have lots more clients to deal with than we do APIs and APIs are usually if you're a Cisco shop, they're all Cisco. Whereas clients are all over the map. So I was supporting it. It's a good idea to have that.

Well, you did these back in the end of 2015 and in spring of 2016. How much has changed since then?

There's been some developments for sure. Obviously, we've got eleven acts and we've got the whole business, about six gig being on the horizon. So things have certainly moved on.

But looking back up the slide decks, you know, in anticipation of doing this podcast, I was quite surprised, really.

You know, a lot of the base material, the foundations that you need to build on, it never really changes, you know, the RF and all and the eight to eleven standard.

You know, the vast majority of the principles and theory that you need has changed very little. It is incremental additions since then. But yeah, certainly six gig is a is a big one that's going to be missing from there. And that's going to be something that's going to become more important over the next year or two as that becomes approved for use in different countries.

I agree with you. The fundamentals, the things that the RF pieces, how antennas work and basically how most dotel haven't worked hasn't changed. Really, in two decades, the pieces are still there. I was just teaching a class the other day and nearly 20 years ago I made the first graphic that had the green diamond that I talk about on hand. It was a page that had where a client has to associate you in. And we wanted to show that it was a decision. So decision in a flow chart as a diamond. And since the graphic artist already used a bunch of other colors, we decided to paint it green. And the picture even has a graphic of a laptop with a piece DMCA card plugged in and tells you how old it was. And I was using that the other day and somebody asked and said, why is your laptop have that little thing sticking out? And they had never even seen me there that young. There were probably nine born then when they saw that, I explained it to Nicole. Really? You had to stick stuff in. But that concept of a client making the decision which A-P to join. Yeah, still same thing. So even though this might be five years old, it's still the same way this stuff works today. And we don't even have, you know, six gig clients or so a piece today. So you still start some time before you have to update.

Yeah, yeah. I definitely have to give that some thought.

So in any thought of updating it to add we probably had Acey since then, at least wave to that.

We were, we were in the midst of eleven acey back then, so I think I would definitely like to revisit some parts of it and refresh the content and especially our, you know, people must be wondering, well what about 11 X, how does that change things. What's that gonna look like in the future.

Right now my my my question is, does it work. The people I know can't even even even we tried. We just had a deep dove, a five hour deep dove at WLPC in February.

And Peter also gave a presentation in Prague as well. Peter McKenzie, where we're trying to take it or heaven A.S.A.P. and actually prove that it's doing the things that it's supposed to do and can't get it to work using the the there's not like a lot of clients anyway, but we found clients that could work, that could connect, but they didn't use the AICS functions. Yeah. So there's a lot of hype still, I think.

Yeah. Yeah. I must admit the that there's some great sounding features in there, but the proof will be in the pudding really over time.

Interestingly, I attended one of Devins Wallace suggested courses recently and he's got these various principles of design that he currently adopts. And one of them is to turn off the eleven IEX features because here they are still so variable, shall we say.

Stability is always a good thing when you're doing testing. So I don't know where that's going to be. I put out a challenge a little while ago to my friends who work for vendors and said, hey, can you show me BSF coloring, working? I don't even care if it's in a lab. Can you just show that it works and no one's come back with a yes on that one yet.

So there's some features I think that are in a X that are the complexity over the last two decades is just got more and more and more complex. There's some pretty fancy things going on. But can we actually get them to work?

Yeah, we've been interested to see for Weft FDM A actually delivers that design very promising, especially in talking about real time clients, you know, voice type clients. If that if that could deliver, that could be very interesting.

I'm not because they don't need very much at all. They just need to be consistent. You also did a little test. It's actually one of my favorite things I've done a long time. And you did a very precise in taking a client and moving it mere inches to see what the difference are. Can you tell us about that little experiment you set up?

Yeah, I did a blog post about it. And, um, basically I got I think this is just a Samsung S7 phone, the phone that I'm using at the moment and set a test access point in my house.

I've got line of sight about five meters away. And I set up this phone and I put it on a little turntable.

And it was I think it was propped up at about 45 degree angle. I put the clients on this little turntable on the table and and took our Souci measurements. And what I did, I actually rotated it through 360 degrees in the horizontal plane and every 45 degrees took the ah soci measurement. It was well, it was amazing really just turning the phone through a few degrees and altering it's, you know, its position or its orientation to the access points had incredible impacts on the other side. I was literally you could turn it in some positions through 45 degrees and and get maybe a 10 debri loss.

It was it was incredible.

I would never have never believed that you could have such it's such a, you know, huge variation from a tiny movement in the client itself. I've always suspected it. I mean, I think people like yourself as a. I've always said, you know, you only have to move the client a few inches when you're taking water loss readings and things like that, and you can see quite huge variations. So you need to average these things out. But to have it in a static position and just rotate it, it was just is an incredible experiment.

Well, either in the show notes as well, because it's actually really good blog post. And I think people need to do that experiment on their own with their own gear.

And then they'll say, oh, wow, it actually did. It's the six inch square challenge.

That's the one. Yeah. Because I basically drew out of a six inch square on the table and moved the client to the four points, the four north, east, north, west, southeast, southwest points of the square. And even just move it through six inches an undoing. The orientation just got huge variation in results, which is which is amazing when you consider the implication for doing the Wi-Fi design.

When we're walking around and just getting there, measuring beacon measurements with a sidekick or whatever and trying to do a a rough offset, you know, the variations the actual clients are gonna experience is is immense and you need to factor that in.

And then there's the variation within clients. I was stuck in honor at super rainy day in Jakarta once over a weekend. Had nothing to do. So I and I had a bunch of I was teaching class, so I had a whole bunch of nick three hundreds. The eighty four, ninety four from Broxson. So I thought, well today's a good day. Nothing else to do. Let me test them. So I had a seven port USB hub with me, so I thought I'll test all seven at the same time. So I put an AP like you did five meters away, plugged them all in, and because I was using alcohol, I could control them to listen on one channel only by turning off all the other channels. They didn't try to change channels. They would just sit there and every tenth of a second they would grab another another piece of data and then I could plot the data out. It's very precise.

While doing that, I the first time I had them all in the hub at the same time, they were wildly different. And then I thought, oh, wow, maybe it is because of the position in the hub, the hub, maybe they're a centimeter apart, maybe a little more than that. Yeah, maybe that would matter. So then I rotated them from position one, position seven, and then backwards left the hub at the same place, actually ended up taping it to the desk so I wouldn't move and then found I got the opposite results. So it was actually the devices that were different, not specifically position, but to even put position out of it. I only tested one at a time in one slot. Now taped down. So there is no movement. And then tested 15 next. And what I found was a wide variation, like the highest was probably a seven or eight DB differential. Same neck, same orientation, same physical location, same AP. I was just swapping out next. So even within the same brand, same type, we have a variation. And then you add to that your sixteen's challenge and you now have some pretty wild, crazy answers and they're worthless and designed. So they all work. It doesn't bear thinking about here. Yeah. How do you design for that. Not. It's it's part art. Part science. Right. And then we go out and we try to fix it all after the fact. You wanna give us some places where people can go to if they wanted to listen in. And, you know, there's some spare time during this Cauvin crisis thing to go back through your your Wi-Fi for beginners.

Yeah, yeah. If you go to Wi-Fi for beginners dot com, you can also go to my my own blog, which is just Wi-Fi. Nigel Dot Coleman. There's a link there too to the Web site. And as I say, you could get on to YouTube as well.

Now if you do search for Wi-Fi to begin, this is a good chance it'll come up in the search listings there as well. So few places you can get hold of it.

And also the I tunes podcast up, you should be able to get it in any new things that we should be looking forward to on your upcoming blogs. What's the thing you're just thinking of? Maybe I should do this next.

I am very heavily into the w LAN pie at the moment, as you may know, and I never sort of tire of playing with and I'm I'm looking at any been by Devins recent classes of using remote probes or using that to be LAN PIs, remote probes, things like wind fly and Wi-Fi Explorer.

And I'm quite interested in and playing around with remote sort of VPN access for that so you can get through firewalls and things like that. I've been looking at a few packages there, so when I when I went off, sort of got all the details around that I'm propaganda to blog on that. And also Peter McKenzie's got me interested in a two to 15 dot four. He did a talk at WLPC in Prague and he was talking about VLA. And I'm quite interested in Bailey at the moment. That is going to be a lot of interest in location. Lacking solutions. Potentially. And so I want to know a little bit more about that same problem, a little bit of a play with packet analysis on. Maybe do some blogging on that potentially.

That would be good. Oh, by the way, there's Adrian's wife for a pro. Also can access a. It's eleven. Fifteen. Little neck. Yes. Yes. Not a chance to play with that. I shipped a couple over to Nick Turner. So you want to pick one up. You might want to hit Nick for a little bit and see if you can get one those to play with, because it's just a different way of getting the same data. OK, it's the same one that Peter used at Prague last year. OK, excellent. Nigel, thanks for taking your time to share your expertize with us. And glad to get out there and get more people in, you know, trying out your Wi-Fi for beginners and then bring them along. OK. Thanks so much for having me. I've really enjoyed it. Thanks.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of the wireless LAN professionals podcast. The podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Wireless Landreaux for all the latest news and updates and also connect directly with Keith on Twitter at Keith R. Parsons.

Head over to w w w w LAN pro's dot com for this episode show notes as well as the latest in all things Wi-Fi.

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[Podcast] Get Your Stupid Device Off My Network https://wlanprofessionals.com/podcast-get-your-stupid-device-off-my-network/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/podcast-get-your-stupid-device-off-my-network/#respond Thu, 21 May 2020 15:19:59 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=7773

The post [Podcast] Get Your Stupid Device Off My Network appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


Lee Badman shares his frustrations with consumer devices on enterprise networks

Are consumer devices wreaking havoc on your network? You are not alone? What are the possible solutions? Are there any? What should the Wi-Fi Alliance do – if anything. Lee Badman shares his opinions on all of these topics and more.



Lee Badman

Lee Badman

President and (Big Thinker) of Wirednot, LLC.

Specialties: Wireless and LAN Networking Design and Administration, Network Security, Situational Analysis and Solutions Development, International Travel For Network and Organizational Support, Instructing/Teaching/Training, RF Systems, Amateur Radio, Professional Writing, Management, Project Management, IT Consulting, IT and Industry Analysis, Hobby Technologies, Finding the Right Solution for Each Situation. FAA-Certificated Remote Pilot.

Check his website: http://www.wirednot.net/

Watch Lee’s original presentation from #WLPC HERE

Listen to the Show

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Wireless LAN professionals podcast episode 200, but it also goes back.

My point of everybody's doing it their own way. There is no cohesive approach. There's no commonality across all of these devices.

And you never know if you're gonna get until you dig into the dark. Until you set it off and see just how bad it really is.

Wireless LAN professionals is a place to educate, inform, encourage and entertain those involved in wireless LANs. This wireless LAN professionals podcast is an audio manifestation of these goals. Our host is a wireless land veteran consultant, designer and teacher, Keith Parsons.

And now the podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals.

We'll leave. Thanks for joining me again. How are you, sir?

Doing well, Matthew. Thanks for having me.

Absolutely. For those who don't know, you can explain what you do, where you are in the world of Wi-Fi and what you're up to these days.

I work for a Syracuse University and the campus architect.

I have been in the networking game for 22 years.

Background as an Air Force avionics radar systems prior to the LAN day one for Wi-Fi.

So I've been doing this for quite a while. Wireless is an all I do. But it does consume a lot of my time. And then on the side I do quite a bit of writing for various outwards and so on.

If someone wants to follow up, obviously you're active on Twitter as well. How do people get in touch with you? Of course, we'll put links to this in the show, notes Carrizo on Twitter.

I am at Wired. Not all one word, no spaces, monitors or anything at Wired. Not a blog for IEEE toolbox for networking and others. But those are the two primary outlets these days. And my own blog is the Wired, not WordPress dot com Real World Frustrations with consumer gadgets.

What instigated this talk?

What motivated you to share this? Well, this is one of those.

I think it's a very relatable topic. And I think it's one of those things where the more enterprising you are, probably the more sensitive you are to us. Like, if you're doing a lot of SMB where maybe the network equals, you know, a small router with a built in access point or something simple, you're probably not hit by the affect of the topic.

As far as like the enterprise folks, but you have, you know, business networks and business networks are made of, you know, build on solutions which enforce policies.

And usually policies are arrived at with the intent of business continuity and smooth operation and stability and such.

And it's really strange on the Internet side of the house, there's not a lot of mystery ether or not the voice. Generally, they just.

Know they plug in occasionally, they get firmware upgrades every now and then you get one bill kind of wonky, though. By and large, it's a fairly predictable space.

Whereas on the wired side, give the data to that 11:00.

Even though we have standards. And even though we have the Wi-Fi alliance promising us interoperability, it's just absolute chaos.

The client, the and, you know, it's very unpredictable. Once you get away from laptops and smartphones, even then they can they can be their own challenge. But by and large.

You can make them work.

You might have to do a driver update or whatever.

There's all these other bizarre, weird devices with new wireless networking capabilities to do wonderful, magical things in the living room.

And then people drag them to work expecting this wonderful magic. And it just doesn't work that way, unfortunately.

How does this issue hit you particularly hard in the university environment? Do you think it's harder for you? Or is this probably the same for everybody?

I think everybody is going to have their own variation of it.

A lot of it depends on what your strategy is and how much you think you must accommodate all devices and whether you can actually say no to certain devices or whatever.

But are dorms are kind of like the Wild West.

People bring all kinds of stuff and expect that all the work. Everything from smart light bulbs.

So we had some time to look at T.P link or something. It was just crazy. Some consumer grade fan and just everything is the quote unquote smart or smart device or this.

Then the other thing and you know, they want to be connected to one router and the only thing that's ever going to talk to it are the devices on that one router. The typical living room model, which which forms are not. And then when you leave the dorms every now and then, you're a faculty member. You know, ev something that they think would be really cool in the classroom and it kind of bumps up against same challenges. So it's fairly common on the classroom and administrative side of why it's a little easier to deal with, because typically you're working with, you know, computing support, people that can help you educate on policy, maybe help find alternative solutions to whatever they're trying to achieve.

But certainly in the dorms where it's, you know, unquote, their home conversations, they're pretty interesting.

What were you hoping to accomplish with this? What kind of needle were you would you wish you could move?

Oh, in a perfect world, if I were Cinderella right up there with World AIDS. Yeah.

Somebody from the Wi-Fi alliance would be sitting in the audience and they would listen to they just go off for 30 minutes and then they'd leave saying, you know, we kind of fail this this whole notion of interoperability.

We're really not delivering it.

We really are just kind of awash in special sauce. And we need to reform this server space, by golly.

Yeah, I mean that that's like the perfect world.

But the you know, all of it is insanity, Jack. I can't be the only one dealing with some, you know, from the audience interaction and all of that. I don't think I am.

Won't what some of the feedback you got, I mean, were you hearing, like, a man brother or what are you, a crazy loon conspiracy theorist?

Well, I think there was a lot of a man brother kind of is what it is.

You know, I know now we're going to change a couple of allusions to magic in the middle, like Cisco has ice and a group that has clear some.

If you're willing to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on what I call the magic in the middle, these these quote unquote solutions, you can make that 20 dollar streaming device work just fine.

It's a legacy that is really odd times.

You're going to spend six figures to make that Wal-Mart 20 dollar gadget.

That's so important to somebody actually work on a wireless network instead of the company that made that the voice, you know, make them kind of make it work on the network by building it right to begin with.

So, like in your view with the Wi-Fi alliance, if they were doing what you would expect them to do, they would have a stronger gate or a harder way to pass and just get everything approved.

Yeah, that's a fair summary. I mean, they're their members are the companies that are making both sides of the wireless equation, and they're the infrastructure makers and they're also the client device makers.

So, you know, ideally their members would kind of in my mind, what I don't think I was doing the right thing.

And that right thing is everybody becomes compatible with Enterprise Wireless or the Wi-Fi alliance comes up with their own. You know, they're really good at branding and then marketing a lot of their own brands.

So something like this is a consumer certified consumer device.

This is a certified enterprise device. And some pretty simple criteria would be all, hey.

And then at least know wireless LAN professionals will be able to. Take a device and say, well, that's been certified consumer.

Yeah, we just that along means we're not going to support it on our enterprise or something like that to me, makes perfect sense.

I've heard from other people. Boy, wouldn't that be nice.

You know, that that would be another way of perhaps addressing, you know, what what wireless people see is a problem where you can at least point to something for your sea levels or whomever you're answering to and say this doesn't fit in our environment. Look.

Yeah, exactly.

And then if the you know, the consumer folks actually wanted to sell into the enterprise space, that if the rethink their products and you do the fuel lines of code that it would actually take to make them better, what it would have to stop applying their own little twist on things and actually be more adhesive to the standard. The more, you know, embrace more the notion of, you know, there are business networks that are different than whole networks.

You gave a couple examples. We reference to one that we're had that now don't use this device where you have wireless set, who doesn't have wireless.

You also talked about the 36 page configuration guy that was Cisco providing their configuration guide for the Google Chrome OS. And the Chromecast is one of those consumer devices.

There's a really, really particular pairing thing that has to happen, a prompt that just does not work very well on the enterprise.

Hats off to Cisco for going to the trouble of telling you how to make it work, but it does take thirty six pages of configuration, getting you to do things to your wireless network. Probably ninety five percent of wireless network administrators and engineers look at and say, we can't do this. This makes no sense. This goes against security policy. This goes against stability.

Nothing about this makes sense. But at least Cisco tells you how to do it in this very complicated world.

So we talked about that the other devices, the Lutron, was actually a lighting system.

They have a couple of different series of lighting system, not bashing Lutron also because they also have some stuff that works out of Wi-Fi frequency, wireless lighting control systems that are fantastic.

They've got huge big name customers that you could find that on their Web site.

The particular series I'm talking about is the Veev or Vive BVA VIP.

And as you alluded to in their technical documents, they say, you know, this is a Wi-Fi control system. This system works and modified frequencies don't use it where you have Wi-Fi and what you already said, who doesn't have Wi-Fi basically in a building. And that device comes up. Every controller lighting controller is basically a wireless access point and it booms. And it will crush your identity wireless and wire. You point or. And it will stay booming until you plug in any other inactive. There's no way to disable it until you do that.

It's just one of those devices that, you know, they completely missed the vote. I'm putting it out there and it's not like it says it on the packaging.

Don't use where you have a Wi-Fi network. You have to dig deep into the configuration guides to get to that point. So this kind of thing we're dealing with. And then the infamous big ass fans, legitimate company name.

Got to be fun to put that and your signature block big ass fans.

But anyhow, they at least had the good sense to kind of do the Lutron thing with with an out for the Wi-Fi people.

They also have a Bluetooth side of their wireless radio.

And from Bluetooth underneath the fan, you can at least disable Wi-Fi.

So that was nice to see, so. But it also goes back to my point of everybody's doing it their own way.

There is no cohesive approach. There's no commonality across a lot of these, the voices.

And you never know what you're gonna get until you dig into the docks or until you set it off and see just how bad it really is.

You mentioned in your talk a few potential solutions are answers people have.

Yes. We talked about the you know, the magic in the middle. Those very expensive system than they they do have more use. These all fall under the heading of Mac Network access control. And you can do more than just, you know, use them as like the magic Harry Potter sorting out for all these crazy devices. But to get there, it's a lot of money to do these things.

Back to my point where that falls down or where that perhaps is this active, is the money you're putting into these systems to make these super cheap devices? You're not even making a bet.

If you're basically making a nasty workaround, that's what you're doing by spending a boatload of money for a lot of us, especially, you know, you think about what's going on with the pandemic and all the you know, before we started ests you talking a little bit about the economic impact. Budgets are going to be a lot tighter after this.

So, you know, the thought of spending money, that kind of money to accommodate cheap the voices, that's not going to resonate very well with people.

A lot of cases so that, you know, we're seeing current events kind of make a bad situation worse.

I think reading the devices properly, recognizing that the consumer space is so much different from the enterprise space and the differences are generally security.

The funky multicast M.D. and asked I'd stuff and DNS by definition is made for small network that multicasting Anastas made for very small networks.

These devices come to very large networks and that doesn't scale well. It's hard to implement. And that gets back to Cisco's trying to give you this code you work on for the Chromecast. That's one of those examples. If the device makers just acknowledged, you know, we want to you.

We want people to be able to use these devices in these places. They have to adapt to the spaces, not vice versa.

I mean, that would be a very powerful, simple recognition, recognition that's long overdue in my life.

You had mentioned just do a P.S. network.

Oh, yeah.

The notion of just do, you know, kind of make make a separate US society and then make that SS IEEE just for these devices.

The problem there is some of one of the problems there is updating. These can be terribly clunky. So how do you of the user essentially hundreds of devices with any frequency that can be quite hard.

But then also in the device space, we ran into a particular time clock where one of the things that we were asked to do is not only create a scanner or for the clocks, but can you give each clock its own?

Yes, over.

So now, you know, that gets embraced as a solution. If you know anything about wireless, you only want so many S.O.S ideas out there and you can picture the SSI sprawl if every goofy device and every individual device in the goofy device products needs its own. It's just, you know, it's not sustainable or real.

You mentioned the open network.

Oh, yeah. Which is actually something we took a chance on doing.

And it's worked out very well for the last three years now, rather than invest in the expensive magic in the Middle East and fast for this particular purpose.

And we did give it a go and it kind of fell miserably. The first three devices were misclassified and weren't given the right permissions. So we realized that we couldn't keep going with with something like that.

So we opted to.

Create an open society in the dorms. And if you can get your device on it, you'll be allowed to get to the Internet and nothing else. You think back to the important campus resources.

And there are still some devices. That's not good enough for. But that those capture and enable, you know, a large percentage of the problem, the voices.

That means they can only get the Internet.

So, you know, the whether you call it a DMZ or you call it a, you know, so segregated out, wild, lost or whatever.

It's the same as society per dorm. But behind it's much smaller, logical slices. You know, the society appears to be campus wide, but it's actually jumped up her building in a lot of the streaming devices. Roku and Apple TV is if you know how to hook it up the right way for this paradigm.

You know, we've been able to get all kinds of devices that particular using that network. And that's worked out good for probably seventy five percent of what everybody would use is good, as that sounds. You know, you might be encouraging about the security aspects, but promise we satisfied our security officer and our CIO when we went down this path.

Even there with the open network, there is one particular very popular funky colored light panel thing that the students like to buy.

It only works in two point four gig if it's C in our society with the same name in five. It'll give you a warning. So somehow we can hear the five gig. We'll give you a warning.

We don't want to be in this environment through the Five Gig Network. We're only two point four. So, OK, how about just ignore it and use it for it is the goofiest thing I've ever seen. But but again, you know, some developer somewhere in some third world country thought that that was a good idea for some reason. And now we're all stuck trying to deal with that. So just one more example.

So if you could talk with admen sea level, what would be some things that you wish they could change or consider?

Oh, sure.

So, you know, we will try to find ways to explain, you know, just because it's wireless, that can mean a whole bunch of different things here. Why it won't work.

Here's the particular risk of, you know, bending our own rules and accommodating that. Ideally, we can kind of keep all that minimum and put a positive spin on it. And to come at it from what is it that you're trying to accomplish? Forget the device. What's the what's the operational thing you're trying to do and find to find an alternative that actually works on the network, usually for every goofy device.

There is one that does the same thing, that you can make work properly, not in all cases, but in most cases.

So a lot of times, again, it's trying to find a viable alternative that actually those you know, what they were trying to do, even if it doesn't even if, you know, maybe is a little more expensive or whatever and.

A lot of bad press has been made about wireless security and exploits being done, you know, through, you know, or devices and poorly secured networks, all that, it doesn't take a lot of persuasion to as long as you've got a legitimate case. Explain why the security aspects are really important. And you can't just, you know, shotgun in goofy stuff because it sounds cool and you could use it at home and.

You know, the the providing of alternative ways, like I said, this is pretty powerful and kind of keeping the peace.

So talk to the engineer, someone who is in the middle of kind of maybe a similar situation. What encouragement or advice maybe would you give them?

Well, first and foremost, make sure that your organization has an up to date wireless policy, not and not a network policy, not a security policy, a wireless specific policy that covers all of these situations and talks about who has final say, etc., and make sure that it is endorsed by the sea levels and that it has speed.

You know, if you can achieve that, then you know why I'm signed to go have these sometimes spirited discussions.

At least you've got the closest thing to law. You know, as far as like from within your own little kingdom you're referred to.

And it's nothing that you beat people over the head with. It's just something you refer to to help the discussion along.

On top of that, by all means, don't make promises. Somebody says, hey, I want to put this on the network.

You know, be thoughtful, be cautious.

So, yeah, we're going to have to maybe either try it out, just the technical docs, see what it's all about and possibly call the vendor if that's OK.

If we can get your rendered out that if you don't have one, we'll figure out what to call and talk through it.

Really, it's just going to be cooperative. Don't rush into anything. And by you know, by the other side of the coin, you don't want to just hold up the stop sign every time and say no to everything.

That's not very enduring either.

It's just it's a minefield. And you have to walk it fairly often.

You wrapped up your talk with that. Where is all this going? Summarize it again for us.

Just where you see things are going or what are the potential options that as you see them like I feel this tension between the consumer and the enterprise space.

And it seems almost like the you know, a good analogy would be call it Ross or call it a plague of locusts, whatever something is, just, you know, just kind of swarming over the surface and end. You fight it off. It kind of feels like that with the consumer devices sometimes.

And sooner or later, something is going to have to give.

So will we be dumbing down the enterprise networks to accommodate all the consumer devices? That's a very viable option.

You know, sooner or later, the balance tips. So we just can't keep making exceptions and we can't keep investing money on this expensive stuff at the level. So.

Maybe we'll go back to just giant CSK environments or something. You know, that is that is certainly one potential outcome I see, having been kind of fatalistic, it just it can't be both ways forever.

I know that with a number of the voices that are coming.

The other thing is maybe somebody will get wise. As I alluded to before, you realize it's time to reform the point of voice space. But I just don't see it coming. The Wi-Fi alliance is the closest thing we have to call it a lobbyist in that regard. And they just don't seem to care. In their early days, they were all about promoting real interoperability, real quality, universally applied approaches to wireless. And now they just seem to be more interested in marketing themselves. Mark is anything. So I don't I don't have a real positive. Hope for any of this actually resolving at the same time, I'm open minded. Maybe sooner or later a strong point to come along and somehow fix it would be wonderful.

Leigh, I do appreciate you. I guess sounding the alarm again and it seems like you're always on the forefront of at least openly sharing your thoughts and views and giving people something to think and chew on. So we appreciate it.

Oh, my pleasure, Matthew.

I fully realize that even if a lot of people will only find the right way to say no, I tend to grouse a lot. But at the same time, I'm very much know that other people who resigned themselves to it and I just know I don't want to go down without a fight.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of the wireless LAN professionals podcast. The podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Wireless Landreaux. For all the latest news and updates and also connect directly with Keith on Twitter at Keith Parsons. Head over to w w w w LAN prose dot com. For this episode show notes as well as the latest in all things Wi-Fi.

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[Podcast] The WLAN Pi in 2020 Changes Updates https://wlanprofessionals.com/podcast-the-wlan-pi-in-2020-changes-updates/ https://wlanprofessionals.com/podcast-the-wlan-pi-in-2020-changes-updates/#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 02:17:25 +0000 https://wlanprofessionals.com/?p=7756

The post [Podcast] The WLAN Pi in 2020 Changes Updates appeared first on Wireless LAN Professionals.


The WLAN Pi has undergone several changes and updates since it’s initial appearance at WLPC

Jerry Olla brings us up to speed on what he shared at #WLPC 2020 in Phoenix and what changes might still be expected this year.

Learn more at www.wlanpi.com

Watch Jerry’s presentation at #WLPC here

Follow the WLAN Pi project on Twitter here


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Wireless LAN Professionals Podcast Episode 191.

Wireless LAN professionals is a place to educate, inform, encourage and entertain those involved in wireless lands. This wireless LAN professionals podcast is an audio manifestation of these goals. Our host is a wireless land veteran consultant, designer and teacher, Keith Parsons. And now the podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals.

Jerry, welcome back to the show. How are you, sir? Thanks, Matthew. I'm doing doing great. Thanks for having me on.

Well, absolutely. So introduce yourself to those who might not know you, how you're involved in Wi-Fi in this community.

I've gotten quite the reputation as being involved in this whole W LAN PI project. This has been going on for a couple of years now. But yeah, as far as who I am. I'm CWNP number to 38. So I've been in the Wi-Fi industry now for for a little while. I've been working with the CWNP project for probably the last four years now.

So give us a quick backstory. How did you stumble on this and how the W LAN Pi really ended up taking on a life of its own?

You know, it's closely tied with WLPC the wireless LAN professionals conference because that's kind of where it was born out of will say. The idea was pitched to Keith. If you know Keith, he likes to tinker and he likes to play with his gadgets and gizmos. So I had kind of come up with this, we'll say kind of Raspberry Pi ish type device using a different board for different technical reasons or years or so ago, pitched that idea to him of, you know, hey, do you think this would be something useful in the industry? And, you know, I saw his eyes light up and kind of geek out about it.

In fact, that idea was a springboard which led you into helping us, was one of our very first ever deep dives.

Back then, it wasn't even really a deep dove. It was a maker session. And then the deep dove evolved out of that. But, yeah, it was some lessons learned through that, but it was a lot of fun. And it was it was cool to see everybody assembling these things and then building something that was useful to them.

But the initial idea for the double LAN pi come about because you were trying to solve a specific problem as a wireless engineer, going out to different customer sites, needing a way to test the performance of wireless networks. That's where this whole kind of concept spawned from. So the idea was, OK, I have a limited amount of space needed, something that could be powered, basically something that was versatile and small, lightweight, low power, you know, those kind of requirements. And that's where this concept started and then became smaller and lower power and more features over the years.

You presented a WLPC 20/20. What were some of the focuses you had in that talk?

A big part of the talk that I gave at WLPC this year was updates on the debris LAN PI project. And one of the things I made sure to call out in the beginning of the project is even though I'm kind of known to be the Dubie LAN Pi project guy, since it was kind of my idea at the start, there's a ton of other people behind the scenes that are involved in this project. Now it's a very community supported project.

And it's not just all programing either. We've got like the 3D printed case as an example.

Yeah, exactly. You don't need to be a hardcore programmer to be involved in this project. You've got people like Mr. Potato PHY Joel Crane creating the 3D printing case. You know, he's awesome with that kind of stuff. He's very good at what he does. So, yeah, it's pretty cool to see all the different ways that different people in the Wi-Fi community have contributed to the project, whether it be code or hardware type contributions, daily, LAN, pi dot com.

What do you find when you go to that Web site?

Pretty basic Web site, to be honest. That's where my coding skills really do not shine. If you go to Dubie, LAN pi dot com, you're going to see pretty minimal Web site. Probably the biggest thing that you're gonna go there for is a link to the downloads of where you can get that DoubleLine PI image to put onto that hardware platform. The neo tube board that's inside there is what we're kind of building this all on. But there's also some other links there to some user guide type stuff, as well as resellers where you can buy this equipment. One in particular is the wireless LAN Pro's online store, where you can actually find the ordering link.

So tell us about some of the changes you introduced at WLPC 2020 and if anything has changed since then.

Yeah, there's been a lot of change, not too much on the image side of things or the software side of things. There's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes. And, you know, we can we can certainly talk about that. What I talked about specifically at WLPC is the updates. And really I looked at, you know, from 2019 to 2020. What did what what did we change? What do we add know those kinds of things. So on the hardware side, we're supporting a lot more Wi-Fi adapters on the WLAN Pi image. Now we've got a ton of driver support for all sorts of different USP based Wi-Fi adapters out there from real tech to MediaTech adapters. You can pretty much plug in any adapter on there and it's going to work in some capacity, whether it be just your typical client. Mode, or we have several adapters now that work and both the monitor mode and packet injection that we need to do a lot of the real fun stuff that the W LAN pie is is built around.

What about the device itself?

The handheld edition, you know, as news since twenty nineteen. That's where Joel created that 3D printed case for it that encloses everything, makes it a bit more ruggedized and gives you a single piece of equipment that houses everything on the software side. We've really taken advantage of that old display that's on there. You can show the version number of the W.M. Pi image and several other pieces of information on the front panel display there. And then Nigel took that to a whole nother level and actually wrote an entire menu system for that front panel display and allows you to now drill down into different functions and actually enable and disable different functions of the of the Linux operating system, of the use cases you're hearing about for the W LAN PI.

Is there anything that has surprised you? Yeah, there's all sorts of things that I never really thought we'd be able to do.

Jerry created a multiple utilities for the DoubleLine PI. One of them that I found extremely useful is a DP LDP Nabor detection utility that basically allows you to plug the W LAN Pi into a port on the wall or a switch port or, you know, take a network cable out of an access point, plug it into the DoubleLine pie and it'll tell you what's on the other end of that cable could be hundreds of feet away. And now all of a sudden, you know what? Switch that cable is plugged into all sorts of information about what's at the other end of that cable. So I can be really helpful for troubleshooting as well as verifying configurations, that kind of thing.

Now, what makes the actual handheld addition different than just the W LAN pie itself?

Yeah, that's a good point. I suppose I should even just back up a second. You know, fundamentalist investing isn't familiar with the WMD pie. You know, what is a W LAN pie? I mean, at its core, it's a it's a it's a full blown Linux computer. Right. And it's a very super small Linux computer, which means that there's a lot of versatility there. You know, when you've got a Linux operating system like that, you know, kind of sky's the limit to, you know, what you're you're coding skills are. But, yeah, to your question about the handheld device, you know, it's a very ideal for, you know, field use. I would say, you know, where you can take this thing out in the field and plug it in where we need it.

And what about the Wi-Fi, Nick, that is in the handheld edition?

Yes. So the Wi-Fi, Nick, that's in there is very specific. So that's a specific chipset that we found enables all the different functionalities.

We've got some very specific drivers that work with that particular chipset that allow us to have full control over that adapter for, you know, changing the channel setting monitor mode, doing pack and injection so we can do all the different functionalities, things like the profile air, for example. That's another utility that's on there that allows you to profile a another Wi-Fi device and see what its capabilities are. We're leveraging all those kind of capabilities of doing that packet injection to be able to do that.

So how much of your time on a weekly basis do you spend on the W LAN PI project?

Well, usually there's a big ramping up. Well, what as we approach WLPC that more and more of my time gets kind of wrapped up into that. And then I intentionally decompress a little bit after WLPC and try to remove myself from the project a bit, take feedback and things like that on it. But yeah, I really since WLPC haven't spent a ton of time with it, I recently. Not that long ago started a new job. And so that's been consuming a fair amount of my time. Still, you know, weekend projects for sure, you know, weekends or or any time. I've got some downtime that sees you arm focusing on it.

If people want to learn more about the WLPC project, do you recommend the Web site Twitter? Where would you direct them if they have more questions?

Twitter is a great place to start. We do have a W LAN PI Twitter handle. So yeah, if you do send a tweet or D.M. whatever your preferences there to the DoubleLine PI Twitter handle. We do also have some pretty active discussion. I would say the most active place is if you're on the Wi-Fi prose slack, you can join the channelers at WMP Channel and there and there's a lot of conversation and that's where a lot of the ideas and contributions and stuff start there. We do have a separate W LAN Pi Slack team for like the people that are involved in the development side of it. So yeah, feel free to reach out on on Twitter and get you connected to any of those channels as well.

So what's the future of the W LAN pie look like? Any changes we should expect?

Yes. So since WLPC there's been the whole Corona virus and KOVA 19 caused some issues with the supply chains, the parts themselves actually at the time of the recording of this. You can't order the parts themselves. Thankfully, there are some different retailers out there that we have listed on DoubleLine pie dot com, where you can buy the kits themselves. Already preassembled. So that is still readily available today. But there is some question of what the future is going to look like as far as, you know, the project and the hardware itself.

So really, as of today, we will know those answers until the world opens back up. If we're gonna go to the same equipment or if a new version is coming out, is that correct?

Yeah. And on that note, that's given us some time to kind of reevaluate things in the development side where so far today we're doing all the development for the NO2 board. But seeing this has given us some some direction on the future of how we want to develop the image. And we're looking to actually open up the image to run on other hardware platforms.

So not just the NO2 board, but since a lot of these tools will work on several other single board computers today, you may not have all the functionality like the cool, like old display with the buttons and stuff that we have with the new two. But if you just need a basic throughput testing server, you know, there's other hardware platforms out there today that this could potentially run on. So we're looking at kind of expanding out, you know, the build process that we use to create the image and make that more scalable to run on other platforms.

Well, very cool. Well, outside of the Dubie LAN pie, what other devices are technologies are you playing with these days?

There's always something. Yeah. I mean, now I would say a X. So, you know, with Wi-Fi six and a X, you know, that's definitely something I'm keeping a close eye on, which right now the the neo two, since we don't have any all the adapters that we use for Wi-Fi related functions on the current WMD pie is all USP based. There aren't any USP based Alemany X adapters out as it stands today, but there are some different Wi-Fi chips out there that you can buy. So I've been playing around with some different single board computers, more around like the Raspberry Pi size, getting Alemany X working on those types of devices. So not not the full features is like the double-blind pie and stuff has. But if you need to play on the Lebanese X, you know, that's a fun kind of tinkering project as well.

So for someone who is on the fence or just hasn't ever played with the W LAN pie before, why would you recommend a wireless LAN professionals get a W LAN pie?

That's a really good question. I would say for anybody that's looking to do network performance testing in a small package, you know, that's really what this thing excels at. But there's a lot of other functionality. Now, I would say if you're just looking for something for even for like learning Wi-Fi. Right. So there's a lot of cool things we can do when it comes to even doing like packett captures with the W LAN pie. But yeah, I would say probably the main focus for the DoubleLine pie still today is around network performance testing. So if you have an interest in measuring network performance, either, you know, like a one time test or for continuous testing, you know, the W lime pie is a great tool to have in your in your tool belt. And yeah, if you like to tinker with Linux and do packett captures those kinds of things, I think this is something that every wireless engineer should have with them.

We've obviously had some great deep dives that WLPC about the w LAN pie. But outside of that, do you know of anyone putting on any good tutorials or walk Theroux's online that you might recommend if someone wanted to take their own deeper dove into the W LAN pie?

Yeah, there's been a few different things from the community. There's several different bloggers out there that have blogged about different things on the W LAN pie. I know Nigel at Wi-Fi, Nigella's Twitter, Nigel Botha, and he's done several YouTube videos now on some of the different functionalities, especially some of the stuff that he's put together. Those have been really helpful. So, yeah, we've been seeing things between blogs and video tutorials being posted. There's a couple of them also linked to on the WMD pie dot com on the video section there as well.

So I guess you'd encourage anyone who is experimenting or trying new things with their w LAN pie to create a blog or a video and share with the community.

Yeah, that's a that's a good point. I mean, that's another way people can contribute, right, from a community standpoint. You've got the people that are actually doing the coding behind the scenes.

But then we can you always use help with the documentation piece. We we have started writing a user guide for this that still needs a good amount more work, but that's available on the dummy like pie dot com website as well. It's basically a kind of a separate project to the project just to document all this kind of stuff.

Absolutely. Well, Jerry, again, thank you for being here. Is there anything we missed or anything you want to had?

No, I appreciate. Appreciate you having me on. I appreciate being able to talk about this kind of stuff. WLPC and. I would. The only thing I would say is stay tuned to some exciting stuff that is in the works behind the scenes from the development side of the DoubleLine.

I am looking forward to to bringing that to light in the near future.

Well, very cool, Jerry. Thanks again. Thank you.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of the wireless LAN professionals podcast. The podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Wireless Landreaux for all the latest news and updates and also connect directly with Keith on Twitter at Keith R. Parsons. Head over to w w w w LAN pro's dot com for this episode show notes as well as the latest in all things Wi-Fi.

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