[Podcast] Wireless Adjuster Certification – Do You Need It? With Devin Akin

by | Apr 17, 2020 | Podcast

I want everybody to know how to use Adrian’s tool (Wi-Fi Explorer Pro) like Adrian knows how to use Adrian’s tool. In fact, maybe even better..

– Devin

Why one more wireless LAN professional certification might be just what you need.

A new training and certification program called the Wireless Adjuster Program is now available to the public. In this interview, Devin explains what the program is all about, how he came up with it, and how it fits into the current landscape of other professional certifications like CWNP

“…I would say a minimum of 90% of my engagements, consulting,… design validations… I was always going to a scanner…I thought [it was interesting] that I pulled [the scanner] out so much… while scanners have been around for a long time… there was no real formal information [or] training… And so I decided to try to put together something that would make the education around use of a scanner… more formal and…useful and much more organized.”

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge and skill set as a wireless LAN professional, especially around the use of one Wi-Fi’s most common tools then be sure to check out this conversation between Keith and Devin. 

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Intro:
Wireless LAN Professionals Podcast Episode 195.

Devin:
I want everybody to know how to use Adrian's tool like Adrian knows how to use Adrian's tool. In fact, maybe even better.

Intro:
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 LAN veteran consultant, designer and teacher, Keith Parsons. And now the podcast for wireless LAN professionals by wireless LAN professionals.

Keith:
Welcome back to "Wireless LAN Professionals Podcast". My name is Keith Parsons and today I'm with Devon Akin. Devin's been in the industry forever. He like started the entire thing. And today I wanted to bring him on to talk a little about his class called, "Wireless Adjuster". Devin, how you doing today?

Devin:
Yeah, doing great. And hey, I think I figured out when I started in the industry, I think it was when dirt was invented.

Keith:
Not quite that old, but you're making me sound really old. Because I was old when you started.

Devin:
That's right.

Keith:
Let's just jump right in this "Wireless Adjuster".

Devin:
Sure

Keith:
In the beginning, you were sitting around your Batcave in the bottom of your house thinking, "There needs to be a new certification"

Devin:
Sit around in my P.J.'s. Right?

Keith:
How did you actually come up with the idea that we needed a new vendor-neutral certification?

Devin:
How did I come up with it? Well, I think it was maybe Divine Providence. But, you know, I used a scanner all the time and I didn't know if other people were using scanners as much as I was. But I would say a minimum of 90% of my engagements, consulting engagements, design validations, things like this. I was always going to a scanner and I thought that was an interesting factoid that I pulled it out so much. And talking to a few other people, they they didn't. And while scanners have been around for a long time and there's some really stellar scanners on the market, there was no real formal information/training. There was just some random blogs here in there about the use of scanners. And so I decided to try to put together something that would make the education around use of a scanner a much more formal and much more useful and much more organized. And so I was doing that and realized that there needs to be more to it than that. And so looking at the CWNP program, which, you know, I co-founded and trying to figure out, "Is there a need?" Is this really something that fits into the education program that we all know and love? And the answer was, "It fits". And so it's needed. So I've turned it into a full blown certification program rather than just a class. There's a certification behind it and so on. So how did I come up with it? It's simply the consulting practice showed me that I was using it for a lot of different tasks and in ways that are probably not very well known, assessing algorithms, whether it be automatic channel power or assessing load balancing algorithms. You can do all of this with a scanner and yet a lot of folks don't know that.So here we are.

Keith:
Back before when we could travel. I used to run a series of Twitter posts whenever is at a new airport. I would fire up a scanner. Look at the scan results and then kind of evaluate every airport Wi-Fi as I went through. So I do see how you came up with that idea.

Devin:
It wasn't really my purpose in the beginning. It was more of a "hey, this is interesting. I keep using this over and over and the scanners are getting better and better and they're solving more and more problems". So should it be more formal training or is this always going to remain an informal tool? And of course, if you look across the industry there are scanners for Mac and for PC at some different vendors have it for both. And then, of course, you got some on mobile platforms and there's just this hodgepodge of products. And nobody knows how they correlate what each one can d. When they're useful. Where do they fit in the design lifecycle, if at all? And yet, I use them all the time. So this led me to the logical conclusion that if nothing else, let's give it a try. Now, it's kind of like throwing wet noodles against the wall to see what sticks. It's kind of like that. Let's see if this is going to stick. And already I'm seeing that it's sticking quite nicely. So I seem to have stumbled across a really nice opportunity to help the industry here.

Keith:
Let's talk about the stickiness of your noodles. We're recording this in middle of April 2020. You've been doing this for, what, about two and half, three months now?

Devin:
No, it's been a bit longer. The beta class trying to remember when that was exactly.

Keith:
The end of January.

Devin:
Yeah alright. That's right. About four months. You're right.

Keith:
Yea

Devin:
So from the launch of the beta, of course, the creation of the course and the exams I've been working on this for, I would say six solid months prior to the launch of the beta. So for me, it seems like much longer than it has been. Building courseware and exams, especially writing exams is a unbelievably slow process. As you well know,.

Keith:
Have been through it a couple times. You separated the course from the exam.

Devin:
Yes.

Keith:
When you attend the course, it's a two day course. What's the ratio of sitting listening to Devin speak, which is very good. You're a great lecturer, instructor - versus the ratio of hands- on where the students are doing something in their own machine.

Devin:
It's 25%. Devin talking and seventy five percent. Almost exactly. 25% and talking. 75% Lab time. That in the beginning was variable, I just didn't know. And so as it turns out, the first half of the first day is all discussion and lecture, which means I'm teaching, the students are pitching-in and feeding back, and asking questions, and posing alternative viewpoints. And then the last half of the first day and the entire second day is all laptop.

Keith:
This runs on Mac Windows Linux as an option?

Devin:
You can bring whatever scanner you want to class. The one that I use to teach the class is Wi-Fi Explorer Pro and I use a Mac because it's only for Mac. And then of course for PC there is a couple of options, couple of good options. One is "WinFi light". The other is MetaGeek's "inSSIDer 5" product. And of course there are others. I mean, there's still several other scanners on the market and if you choose to use those, you certainly can. I recommend those simply because they're the most capable that I've found. And certainly if other scanners become available that are capable of doing the labs that I do in the class, then I would recommend those as well. But for teaching purposes, I use a Mac and I use the Wi-Fi Explorer Pro. A lot of my students use WinFi and some of them are starting to use Insider and some use both actually if they're Windows based. A person who likes Windows better then they might often use both. It allows them to do a bit more, see a bit more, etc..

Keith:
Has anyone tried doing this with AirCheck G2 as their scanner tool?

Devin:
Not so far. The only alternative to my suggestions that I have seen is in the last online class, one of the students used both WinFi and a VM running MacOS Catalina running Wi-Fi Explorer. So he was wanting to compare the two, but he was a Windows based platform, so he had Mac OS, I don't know what you want to call that, but it's like "Franken-MacOS", if you will, running inside of a VM and you had a few issues here and there. For the most part it was working for him. He wanted to see the differential, but that's the only real alternative that I've seen anybody try to use. Could they use the AirCheck G2? To some extent they could. But there are labs where we want to connect to remote sensors and things like this and the AirCheck G2 doesn't do that yet.

Keith:
So what can a student do if he wants to prepare before coming your class? What do they need to know? What can they study up on? So they'll be ready?

Devin:
In the beginning my hope was that this Level 2 class, which is what we have on the market today, is Level 2. There will be a Level 1. We can discuss that maybe a little later in this podcast. But today the level 2 is geared at post CWNA students. If you've either attended a CWNA class or gone and got your certification, maybe you self-study and got your certification. Maybe you just have enough experience where you didn't need to self study. You could just go and take the test or you have that equivalent level of knowledge you are ready for this class. I have seen students who are CWNEs . I've had quite a lot in the last nine classes that I've taught. I've had quite a lot of CWNEs and I've also had a lot of CWNAs. Those who have just gotten their CWNAs and they're just starting to learn. The feedback so far. If I just threw it all into one big bucket of course there's variety of feedback, but in one big bucket, the feedback is that "I hit the mark that this is post CWNA how far post CWNA varies. But most folks agree that if you are just learning to spell Wi-Fi, this is probably not your class. That would be more of the Level 1 class that I'm going to put together here shortly. That's been kind of the prerequisite level of knowledge that is suggested. I have had one student that said "I was in no way prepared for this class. I don't have CWNA. I'm very fairly new. Maybe I could come back to the Level 1 class and then repeat this one as an or something." I said, "Yeah, sure". I've had that happen with one student. Other than that, it's been OK because most of the students have met the man I say most. I mean all but one have met the requirements.

Keith:
At the end of the first day you had half a day of lecture, half a day of labs. Do you give them homework to do on their evening off?

Devin:
Only a little. Usually that depends on where we are. If we are hosting the class in a hotel, then I will have them all look at the hotel's network and pick out three items that they think don't meet the best practice we discussed in day one.

Keith:
On online. You can do the same thing. Just have them evaluate their own home.

Devin:
Sure, they certainly can. I didn't do that in the online class that I recently taught, but there's no reason we can't do that. The homework is minimal, but it's usually fun. And it's almost always funny because, you know, hotel networks, right? It's always hodgepodge. Sometimes they're OK. Sometimes they're really awful. When I give them a list of three, between the entire class, they usually come back with eight to ten total. Yeah, there's just the tiniest bit of homework after day one.

Keith:
Too bad that you can't give that list to the hotel and have them actually improve. I found they don't want to see those lists.

Devin:
That's right. They don't care. You know, it's one thing to hand them to the front desk of a hotel because they really don't care. They don't know, understand or care. But even if you handed it to those that are supposed to care, oftentimes they don't care either. And they think, who is this clown giving me this feedback? I know Wi-Fi. And so, what do you do? "You can lead a horse to water", they say.

Keith:
You come to class, you have a little lecture, a lot of hands on labs. At the end of the second day do you hold the exam in class or is that something people take later?

Devin:
That's a complex question. Easy answer. Complex question. Here's my thought process in deciding on what to do on that. The simple answer is "it is taken online later". You can take it right in the class if you want. There's nothing stopping you if you want to hang out and and take the test. But it's taken online. There were two major options in the market that we see a lot. The first is a proctored exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric or somebody like that. That is a very expensive option. When I say very expensive, let me give you an idea of what we're talking about here. Having co-founded CWNP and run it for better part of a decade. They want $50,000.00. If you can't just pay up front, they'll take the first fifty-thousand dollars you get put it in their pocket. Anything over that, per year, then you get to keep. And so obviously for the first few years, that would be a losing proposition. And if you don't make fifty-thousand bucks, you have to pay them the rest. That is only really applicable as we learned at CWNP, applicable to very large certification programs and it's difficult. We were doing that with both Pearson VUE and Prometric for a long time, shelling out a hundred thousand bucks a year. It was very difficult to make a living like that. That one was off the table immediately. The second option is to do a practicum right in class similar to your ECSE classes where you host the test, whether it's practical or it's multiple choice or whatever format you choose, you host at write in class under the instructor's watchful eye. That is certainly an option. It's just not the option that I wanted to go with. The reason for that, is I feel like in tests like that, there may be a false expectation of passing. The instructor wants you to pass because it reflects on their teaching if you don't. They have an incentive to help you pass or to go to whatever length it takes to make sure everybody passes every class. And I didn't want that either. I wanted the chance that students can fail, so that the certification has some amount of diligence to it. Now, you can make the strong argument, obviously, that if you take it online, you could cheat. That is a possibility. Nobody's proctoring. So there are limitations I've put in place. You can take this test online at www.exam.wirelessadjuster.com There's time limits. Right now, there's no practice tests, which makes it even harder. There's nothing to give you an idea of what's on the exam other the published exam objectives, which I certainly have. Those are on the website. Those give you a list of all the topics. Right now, I'm finding that the feedback is that it's a wonderful test, but my opinion, it's a little bit different than the feedback I'm getting. And that is it's a little too easy.

Keith:
Well, you would think that

Devin:
Yes. But I'm basing it on statistics, not on my opinion.

Keith:
Too many people are passing?

Devin:
Yes. And so let me give you an idea from my CWNP days of what what I'm talking about. Going back to CWNP, Kevin and I did a, Kevin Sandlin my co-founder, and I did a little bit of analysis on passing scores. There were times during the decade that we were running this thing that we would have people complaining that a certain exam, whether it be CWAP or CWSP, or whatever it CWNA, "It's too hard". Then other times people would complain, "It's too easy". Neither of those are good thing from a perception standpoint. Right? You want people to say, "well, it was difficult, but it was fair". That's what you're looking for. Because of it's difficult, but fair, it means when you pass, you "fairly passed" and others have to do the same so that the certification itself has value to you and to the industry. So what we looked at was, "What are these average passing scores? When people were complaining versus when they're not?" And oddly, it is a very small point swing to make people go to the too easy side versus the too hard side. So we found that the almost perfect score, average score for CWNA was between 68% and 69%. So if the average score was 68%-69%, this meant everybody stopped complaining. People were passing and people were failing. But very few feedback of "this test is awful" and "It's too hard" or "Too easy". But if you would go up even to 70%, that's just one point, people would start saying "This is way too easy. It needs to be harder". And then, of course, if you go down to 67%, you would see people say "this is way too hard. Nobody could pass this test, blah, blah, blah." Oddly enough, that one point swing in either direction from that 68% - 69% was a shocking thing. I was like, "really, it matters that much?" So the current, I don't actually have in front of me. But I can tell you that the average score right now for the Wireless Adjustor is actually around the mid to high 70s, which means statistically it's too easy. Now I've I've had some people fail. I absolutely. Some of those people came to my class, well, very few of those people came to the class. I've only had a couple fell that came to the class, two, I think. The others that failed did not come to the class. And even still the people who came to the class that retook it scored very high. The second time around. They were in the 80s and low 90s the second time around. My guess is it's a little too easy. Some people will fail due to not being good test takers. Some will fail due to not taking the class or having adequate preparation or having the proper background before they get into the class. Just looking at the stats only, it's probably too easy. But I'm going to leave it alone just for a time. I want to get more data. I've only got so many people in my data set right now to make that call. You're one of the best statisticians that I know. And you love the data. You've told me several times, "You need more data and your data set to make a call like that". And that is exactly what I'm doing. I'm giving it some time to collect more data.

Keith:
You also have a non-random sample. Because everyone in your class was at least post CWNA.

Devin:
Yes, that's true. I mean, I publish all of that publicly, "Hey, don't come to class unless you have this level of knowledge." And so I don't want just any "average Joe" that just learned to play with a home Wi-Fi router yesterday to come to this class because they would have a false expectation. I want to actually help them learn.

Keith:
Leading on that. Let's talk about Level 1 Level 2, and maybe is there going to be a Level 3?

Devin:
Level 2 is all that exists today. Level 1 is definitely on the radar. I know exactly what will be in it. We had a lot of folks across two beta classes and the feedback consensus was we need a Level 1 that is a class that has more of the CWS CWT type of prerequisite level of knowledge to come to the class. Now who would it be geared toward this Level 1? Folks that work at, let's say, carriers, for example, AT&T, Verizon, and things like this. They come to your home, they are going to set up your home router, maybe it has Wi-Fi. They need to understand a few basic principles of Wi-Fi and they probably do. But at this point, they will learn to use a scanner to learn to assess and validate that their configuration is what it should be. They will learn best practice configuration, a little bit of troubleshooting. It would be a lower level technically than the Level 2. So there wouldn't be as many best practices addressed. The labs would not be as complicated. I'll say it that way. That's probably the right word is complicated or sophisticated. The labs would be brought down a level. When is it coming? I've been trying to make that determination. I think I've finally come up with a decision on that. When somebody actually ask for it, I'll build it. It won't take me very long to build it. I mean, I will be taking the Level 2 material. We'll use the word "rejiggering". I will be going through it. Removing the harder parts, redoing some of the labs, taking out some of the best practices, slowing down the timetables. Because when you're at that level, you need to go a little slower. How long would that take me to do? I'd probably take me 2 weeks of work to get everything, not only rewritten, but also tested, and tested for remote access and things like this as well. When's it coming? As soon as a a company calls me and says, hey, we got X number of people we want to put one of these classes. Well, immediately it's worth my time. So I would immediately set aside the time and do it right then. So far, nothing. Regarding Level 3 that hasn't hit the radar just yet. I think I have an idea of where it would be as far as tools go. The number one tool I would be looking at is one for Metageek. It's a visualization tool called Eye P.A.. I'm sure you're very familiar. We'll call it a halfway between a Wireshark and a scanner. In my opinion, it does a lot of visual analysis, things like this. That's where I think it should go if we tried to go upstream. But this has to do with where the answer to, "What's going on with a Level 3?" Or, "Am I thinking about that?" Really has to do with how this program fits alongside or even not really within. But at least alongside the CWNP program today, the CWNP program has two holes that I see now. Now, I love CWNP program. I wholeheartedly endorse them and promote them at every opportunity. I don't look at my program, "The Wireless Adjuster Program" as a competitor in any shape, form or fashion. In fact, it's something that would assist those who are trying to get their CWNP certifications. And here's the holes that I see. You could even consider it to be one hole. It's just in two parts. When you get your CWNA certification or that level of knowledge and you want to move up a level into the professional. There are currently four certification levels there. The Analysis Professional, CWAP. There's these Security Professionals CWSP, the Design Professionals CWDP, and some new one that I haven't even looked into yet. I don't know if you know what that one is or not, but it doesn't really bubble up for me to address with the Wireless Adjuster Program. Here's how the Wireless Adjuster fits into that. The CWSP and the CWAP there's very much a hands on gap between CWNA and those two certifications CWAP and CWSP. You don't get enough of best practice assessment, best practice knowledge and then of course, remediation and troubleshooting and use of, we'll call it "lightweight tools". Not going all the way into protocol analyzers and troubleshooting packet by packet because that's what they should be addressing. But when you go from the CWNA level and you're studying for your CWAP or you CWSP, what tools do you use to see what security measures are my network using? Are they configured properly? Do I have TKIP enabled or WEP? Do I have certain other performance parameters? Maybe CWAP will address performance, security and other things as well at the protocol level. And so which tools do you run to? Well, if you don't understand Wireshark or any of the other tools like it, the Omnipeeks or a Wi-Fi Analyzer Pros, what do you do? You kind of got a very big hands on gap there. Well, the scanner is the first place you run. It does a lightweight, best practice and configuration analysis. The gap that this program fills sits between CWNA and those two CWNP certifications for the purpose of hands on experience and moving you toward those two certifications. I don't want anybody to take CWNA and then get frustrated and say to CWSP or this soon CWAP is it's just too much, it's too hard. Tools are complex and they're expensive. Well, what if we had inexpensive tools and you could take baby steps forward until you get there? Well, that would be much preferable. And therefore, the Wireless Adjuster Program inserts, or fits right alongside between the CWNA and those professional level service.

Keith:
And one thing I noticed, I sat the beta a couple of times with you, which is great, by the way, I appreciate that. You make a scanner do more than what most people do. Basically, in fact, if the scanner didn't have the ability to do packet capture and at least look in detail on the beacons, half your class will go away. It's taking the scanners to the max.

Devin:
Yes, I completely agree. It was quite funny. Landon Foster, I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning him here. He's a good friend. He sent me something on a DMM recently after taking the class and his exact quote. I just pulled it up. His exact quote was, you will the scanners butter knife like a scalpel? A truly impressive. Basically say the same thing you just did is that I take a tool that most people know one, two, three features and teach them to use it like the software designer knows how to use it. If you're talking about why, if I explore pro, I want everybody to know how to use Adrien's tool like Adrian knows how to use Adrien's, too. In fact, maybe even better. And the reason is because Adrien's a developer and he's not out doing field engineering all the time. So he may not know all of the use cases of his tool to give an example of that. One use that I tripped across sexually, I wasn't expecting to use it this way. I was at a high school gym. This gym helped thirty five hundred people. I mean, that's a big gym. Far coach said. Thirty five hundred people. They were having a basketball game when I was there validating. We only had six a.p.'s in the gym, six A. The reason is because the school did not have the funds to have all the a.p.'s they wanted. So they bought as many as they could in the gymnasium was last on the priority list. Whatever was left over went in the gym. We had six a.p.'s and we needed way more than that. Sixteen to 18 a.p.'s there. Well, we didn't have them, so we turned them on and this basketball game was happening.

I was validating and I pulled out a scanner and I was standing there at the door and I noticed they only had two SICAD. One was their corporate and one was for their students and her guests. And I noticed the students and guests on SSI D. When I expanded it out, the association counts at sixty four, sixty three, sixty four, sixty four, sixty three, fifty nine. And then one of them said seven seven associations. And now these a.p.'s weren't spaced way out, they were spaced modestly. Think about that. Two issues you can see from this. The first thing is the maximum association counts for those studies, or you could say B SSI D or sixty four. And of course they needed to be far higher than that. And the channel utilization was modest so you could actually turn those up. And then secondly. Seven sixty four. Sixty four sixty three fifty nine seven. That means the load balancing algorithm was either not configured properly or not acting properly. There are things that you can infer from the scanner, whether it be a lack of P.O.V. power or load balancing algorithms or DFS algorithms. There's all kinds of behaviors that the scanner lets you watch if you know what you're looking for. It's those things the classes wrap. Students head around is here's all these use cases, here's all these scenarios. What are we looking for? What are we looking at? What could you infer from looking at this? We try to place some logic along the lines of using the scanner. So, yes, like a Schapel set, a butter knife.

Kudos to you for digging in. If the scanners don't have the ability to see inside a packet. There's a whole bunch of things you can't infer.

That's right. So it depends on the frames you're talking about scanners. For the most part, depends on the scanner. But for the most part, scanners are designed to look at probe responses and bacons. Now, you think, well, that's just a small subset of all the frames that are involved in Wi-Fi. And that's true. There are action frames and other management frames and control frames of various types. And certainly the data frames you've got amnesty use, they impede the use and cost, no empty use and so on and so forth. But a huge amount of information about the wireless LAN, its operation and what's going on is announced in the Beacon's and probe responses. The number associations, how busy the medium is, the channel, which channels are being used, the configuration of the platform, what your neighbors are doing. All that is there, even whether protection mechanisms like Artie c_t_s_ are being used by clients. It's all there. You may only have two frames, but there's a lot of information in those two frames.

One thing I learned in the class is the differentiation between Deakin's and probe responses don't always act the same.

You know, that is an unfortunate truth. I didn't realize this myself for a while. I just assumed that vendors were doing things right. You should not make those kinds of assumptions. The time I founded, I was at a school system and I was watching the names of the a.p.'s which were populated in the configuration of the controller. They were popping in and popping out of my scanner. I pinged Adrian and said, Hey, I think your scanner has a bug. They said, no, you're using this certain vendor's equipment for the infrastructure. And I went. How would you know that? He said, it's their problem. I said, how is that? He goes, they're not putting all of the fields into the proper responses. They're in the beacon's, including the name of the AP when the scanner refreshes. Let's say you have it in active mode and it's getting both beacons and probe responses when it gets one or the other, it updates. So what happens? These fields and their values pop in and pop out based on the differential between the Bacons and the probe responses.

Now this differential doesn't exist across all vendors. Some vendors fully populate the probe responses, but lots of vendors do not. So if you want to see all the fields, you may have to put it in passive mode.

Passive mode is a terminology for using a monitor mode for the driver, which means it listens only, which means you can only get bacons, which gives you a different subset of information in your scanner.

The first time I noticed that it was like, why is this changing? Right. When I just assumed all the vendors didn't follow the rules and cause of that.

I went back to the standard. I've been reading the standard for 20 years and little more than 20 years. And there's some assumptions that it hasn't changed that I should question from time to time. I learned early on, way back in the early 2000s that Bacons and probe responses should be identical with the exception of the Tim Field traffic indication map field. And of course, I still believe that. So I wanted to go back and I did this recently and make sure that's still true. Is that true? I brought these documents up and went through the field by field. I believe there's like sixty four fields and it's still true. It is still exactly true. The team field is the only differential, but in the real world, it's not that way. A lot of vendors, for whatever reasons they've chosen, they do not fully populate probe responses when they absolutely should.

Well, that's just one of the many subtle and some not so subtle things you learn in Devon Eakins. Weren't a suggestion class. Before we end up here. Devon, what do you want to say about someone's thinking? I might want to come to this world just for class. Gimme your elevator speech to get someone to come.

If you have the prerequisite level of knowledge, let's call it a S.W.A.T level of knowledge and you're looking to enhance that knowledge and a hands on practical way where you can do best practice assessment. You have to know what the best practices are for various vertical markets and various scenarios to be able to assess those best practices, to be able to know what to do to remediate those best practices if in fact the system is not configured the way that you know it should be.

And then, of course, to use the same tools for troubleshooting lightweight, inexpensive tools that have a short learning curve. This would be very beneficial. A lot of folks reach for hyper sophisticated tools that cost a lot of money. We'll call those a Schapel when a butter knife will do. A Swiss Army knife has lots of tools. Each one of them may be small, but they all do a wonderful job together. That's what a scanner is. It's like a Swiss Army knife reaching for whether it be survey tools or designed tools or protocol analysis tools, things like this.

Those are far more sophisticated scenarios. You certainly can't use a scanner to design a network. You can't use a scanner to do a very good survey. But if you want to do a best practice assessment, nothing is better than scanners. It's fast. It's easy. And I tell my students the goal of the class when you finish the class is one thing. I just want you to be able to do one thing. And that is when you go to your customer site and you open up your laptop and open up your scanner app is to be able to go nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, yep. Done to be able to assess that network in seconds at the worst. It's vs. being there for days, doing a survey that would only tell you things are bad when you already know things are bad going in right tool for the job. Not just use the scanners, but also the opposite. Use the survey tools. Use the planning tools when that's the appropriate tool for the job. That was a long elevator ride. Yeah, I could have just said right tool for the job. But the scanner fits about 90 percentile of use cases and it's an amazing thing.

So you start out doing life classes then because of the Corona virus and the travel restrictions you've now moved online are a couple of things you changed between, if anything, between the live class where you're in the room in a hotel and what you do online.

There had to be a few changes. There was just no way around this when we're in class. Everyone can connect to my double-blind Pi as a sensor right over the network that I build in class. I built a wireless network in a wired network with the ACP servers and all that writing class. The Wolf Export Pro tool can connect to w-when PI and I can have all of the students in the class connected one time to one W-M PI. So it's quite easy to use that for the remote. One shortcoming with the other apps, the window space apps is it's a one to one relationship of let's say win five to a W lan pi. It's 1 to 1 using s_s_h_ connection. For that reason I can either have an entire room full of double-blind PIs or I would have to let those folks who use when fi or insider use pre captures, which means I had to set everything up for the live labs because I have both can labs or pre configured labs and lab labs for those folks who can't get a remote connection. And I've already pre capture those live labs, but the experience is very similar. The only difference is is you're not pulling from a remote connection.

So certainly I had to re-jigger a little bit of that.

But this student put all those damn exercises, right?

Yes, the exercises are the same with the exception that we don't require for the remote class. We don't require the u_s_b_ connected w lan pi. If the students want to do that, they will have a double pi they can connect. So we give them a chance to do that. But it's not a necessary lab. It's just something that we talk about that is capable. And why would you want to use it? Things like this. Instead, we use the remote connectivity into my lab Afghan double-blind PIs setup and they can connect over IP or domain name into my lab and see everything remotely. That was pretty easy on my end to setup, so didn't require too much changing.

I will soon go about finding Juana's suggested classes in the calendar for your online version.

They can go to wireless suggested dot com to find and to register for classes. They can go to exam dot while I suggest a dot com to take the exam. I'm having a new web site built right now that will be under the wireless adjuster domain. But right now that domain just wireless, just a dot com redirects over to my divergent dynamics, which is my company, its web site too, where you can sign up and look at the schedule for online and for in-person classes. I expect the in-person classes to crank back up in June. Like everybody else, when the Corona virus things started, pretty much everybody canceled everything. All consulting, speaking, events, classes, everything went to zero in about 10 seconds, rejiggered everything for the online classes. And that seems to be going pretty well. I've got another one coming up next week. I will start back doing the in-person classes in June. If all goes well provided travel is allowed in other countries. Let me in. Going forward, pass that. I'm going to go ahead and maintain the online classes as an option. There will be some countries either can't go to or there's not enough people asking for the certification. They can always attend the online. So I'm going to keep both the online and the in-person classes going forward.

Sounds good. Well, appreciate your time. It's good to hear from you and realize the largest history is growing and getting bigger and better.

Yes. Thank you. I'm pretty pleased with how things are going.

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 LAN Pros. 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 Land Pros dot com for this episode.

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Devin Akin

Devin Akin

Founder | Divergent Dynamics a Wi-Fi Systems Integrator and Training organization.

Devin specializes in innovative design, validation, and performance optimization solutions for healthcare, education, and stadium/arena markets. Mr. Akin was recently named to the TWW Top 100 Wireless Technology Experts list for 2014.

Akin has 25+ years in IT, with 20+ years in WLAN specifically. Over the last 10 years, he has held top executive positions with WLAN hardware market leaders, such as Aerohive Networks and Mojo Networks.

Akin got his start working as a network design engineer for EarthLink, AT&T/BellSouth, Foundry Networks, and Sentinel Technologies as well as working as an RF engineer in the U.S. Army. He then went on to co-found CWNP, now the de facto global standard for vendor-neutral Wi-Fi training and certification, and Peachtree Wireless Solutions, a vendor-specific training and services company, where he served as CTO for both companies until 2009.

He has authored and edited several books with Wiley-Sybex and McGraw-Hill and holds some of the industry’s most esteemed certifications, including CWNE.  He is considered an authority on Wi-Fi technology and the Enterprise Wi-Fi market at-large.