Friday, March 15, 2019

WLANPros Phoenix 2019 ECSE experiences and notes

This year my employer supported my attendance to the fantastic WLANPros Conference plus my attendance to the Ekahau Certified Survey Engineer class to help me get familiar with the Ekahau software with the goal of converting over from the Airmagnet Survey and Planner toolset.

The instructor for the ECSE class was the amazing Ferney Munoz .  Mr Munoz is an extremely knowledgeable and engaging instructor who really knows the material thoroughly and it is apparent he has lived most of what he teaches.  If you ever have the opportunity to take one of his classes please go out of your way to attend as you will be a better network engineer after he is done with you.  This class was MUCH more then I expected.  I expected to get decent instruction on how to operate the use the Ekahau Site Survey and Planner software but what I got was a huge refresh on many of the issues we need to think about and consider as we design wireless networks.  Mr Munoz did a great job keeping the material fresh and interesting even though much was review for me but also gave me new ways to consider what I do everyday.

Notes for me to remember

The WLAN Design Steps:
Define - Devices - Use - Coverage - Quantity - Construction - Budget
Design - Remember the Least Capable Most Important Device
Deploy - How will you get it done?  Coordination etc..
Validate - Did you achieve the design goals - Post survey heat maps are your coverage documentation.

Measure the RF Loss on each typical wall

Measuring Wall Attenuation - Basic - dB loss is =x-y  
Do not use active connection with AP while measuring
Allow for about for 10 feet between RF source and wall.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Note about Band Select, AP Groups, and RF Profiles on Cisco WLC

This note is not a full explanation of these items but only a point of clarification on an item I was confused over.

In my network as with many larger wireless network I have found it useful to deploy AP groups along with RF profiles to help customize the service in different areas and different use cases for wireless.

When you apply an RF profile I was a little confused about the Band Select section of the Client Distribution tab.  At first I was concerned that if you did not select "Probe Response" is would disable Band Select on the AP's where you have this applied.  But....I was wrong about this.  This only allows you to override these specific Band select settings on these particular AP's allow you to customize Band Select but not disable it. 

This was just something I was lead astray by and wanted to communicate it out there in the event it confused anyone else.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Children's Hospital - Annual Cyber Santa Visit

Every year I help organize a cyber visit with Santa for the patents at a Children's Hospital. This is an event that is always a fun distraction for patients and families going thru a difficult time.

This event originally started as a nationwide program supported by Cisco Systems but at some point they ended national support and our local Cisco account team personally stepped up and continued the program at our hospital along with out local IT and Child Life staff.

As we approach the Christmas holiday Santa Clause is as expected a very busy fellow. Using collaboration and wireless technologies he is able to have personal one on one visit with children in the hospital by using portable wireless devices (tablets), video collaboration services (Cisco Spark, Skype, etc) and a wireless network. When we have ambulatory patients we try to use a conference room with a large screen TV to enable the children to visit with Santa along with their families and siblings. To visit with non ambulatory and patients that can't leave their rooms for various reasons we use a wireless tablet device. The tablet makes it easy to bring the visit right to the bed for the patient and can also be easily sanitized or bagged for protection of the patient. As we progress room to room with the tablet Santa also gets to visit with the nursing staff. They always get a kick out of Santa and always make sure to put in the gift requests!

Don't ignore proper security practice and patient confidentiality!
It is extremely important to protect our patients. Meetings and review by cyber and patient privacy help develop all the proper procedures and sign-off for our patient's participation in this event. These meetings happen months in advance to ensure a successful event. We also review media releases with patient's parents so we do not violate any patient's parental wishes.

Below is a sample of some of the coverage by the media.
Penn State Health youtube channel

Penn State News

Event made national coverage on ABC in 2014

Local abc27 Coverage

 I hope this article helps you think how you can use your skills as an IT professional to the benefit the community you service.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Windows WLAN troubleshooting with command line netsh command

On windows devices it has always been a challenge to know what the wireless connection was doing and what AP or Channel you are connected to without the use of some client software.  In the enterprise that I work we do not install any special client software so when we needed to work the client into the troubleshooting process we needed to download and install the special client software.  This is not too bad but sometimes depending on the client it does not really have the information you need.

Use of the "netsh" command in windows.

The netsh command gives you access to a lot of information about the wifi network and the client configuration.

Determine driver levels and wireless card capabilities

C:\Windows\System32>netsh WLAN show drivers

Interface name: Wireless Network Connection 5

    Driver                    : Proxim Wireless 8494 802.11a/b/g/n USB Adapter
    Vendor                    : Proxim
    Provider                  : Fluke Networks Inc.
    Date                      : 4/12/2011
    Version                   :
    INF file                  : C:\windows\INF\oem78.inf
    Files                     : 1 total
    Type                      : Native Wi-Fi Driver
    Radio types supported     : 802.11b 802.11a
    FIPS 140-2 mode supported : Yes
    Hosted network supported  : No
    Authentication and cipher supported in infrastructure mode:
                                Open            None
                                Open            WEP-40bit
                                Shared          WEP-40bit
                                Open            WEP-104bit
                                Shared          WEP-104bit
                                Open            WEP
                                Shared          WEP
                                WPA-Enterprise  TKIP
                                WPA-Personal    TKIP
                                WPA2-Enterprise TKIP
                                WPA2-Personal   TKIP
                                WPA-Enterprise  CCMP
                                WPA-Personal    CCMP
                                WPA2-Enterprise CCMP
                                WPA2-Personal   CCMP
    Authentication and cipher supported in ad-hoc mode:
                                Open            None
                                Open            WEP-40bit
                                Open            WEP-104bit
                                Open            WEP

Current connection and channel/data rate

C:\Windows\System32>netsh WLAN show interfaces

There is 1 interface on the system:

    Name                   : Wireless Network Connection 5
    Description            : Proxim Wireless 8494 802.11a/b/g/n USB Adapter #7
    GUID                   : c4d89218-94b7-46e1-a36d-70d0b217aad1
    Physical address       : 00:20:a6:e2:e4:bc
    State                  : connected
    SSID                   : psmshmc
    BSSID                  : 3c:ce:73:39:a0:71
    Network type           : Infrastructure
    Radio type             : 802.11b
    Authentication         : WPA2-Enterprise
    Cipher                 : CCMP
    Connection mode        : Profile
    Channel                : 1
    Receive rate (Mbps)    : 130
    Transmit rate (Mbps)   : 130
    Signal                 : 100%
    Profile                : psmshmc

    Hosted network status  : Not available

Show all visible networks

C:\Windows\System32>netsh WLAN show network mode=bssid

Interface name : Wireless Network Connection 5
There are 7 networks currently visible.

SSID 1 : attwifi
    Network type            : Infrastructure
    Authentication          : Open
    Encryption              : None
    BSSID 1                 : c8:f9:f9:1a:94:a6
         Signal             : 28%
         Radio type         : 802.11n
         Channel            : 161
         Basic rates (Mbps) : 18
         Other rates (Mbps) : 24 36 48 54
    BSSID 2                 : c8:f9:f9:1a:94:ae
         Signal             : 26%
         Radio type         : 802.11n
         Channel            : 161
         Basic rates (Mbps) : 18
         Other rates (Mbps) : 24 36 48 54

SSID 2 : ACS-Mobile
    Network type            : Infrastructure
    Authentication          : WPA-Personal
    Encryption              : CCMP
    BSSID 1                 : 0c:d9:96:00:3c:a2
         Signal             : 42%
         Radio type         : 802.11g
         Channel            : 1
         Basic rates (Mbps) : 1 2 5.5 11 24
         Other rates (Mbps) : 6 9 12 18 36 48 54

    Network type            : Infrastructure
    Authentication          : WPA-Enterprise
    Encryption              : CCMP
    BSSID 1                 : 0c:d9:96:00:3c:a0
         Signal             : 42%
         Radio type         : 802.11g
         Channel            : 1
         Basic rates (Mbps) : 1 2 5.5 11 24
         Other rates (Mbps) : 6 9 12 18 36 48 54
    BSSID 2                 : 64:d8:14:b3:ba:d0
         Signal             : 22%
         Radio type         : 802.11g
         Channel            : 1
         Basic rates (Mbps) : 1 2 5.5 11 24
         Other rates (Mbps) : 6 9 12 18 36 48 54

SSID 4 : ACS-Guest
    Network type            : Infrastructure
    Authentication          : Open
    Encryption              : None
    BSSID 1                 : 0c:d9:96:00:3c:a1
         Signal             : 36%
         Radio type         : 802.11g
         Channel            : 1
         Basic rates (Mbps) : 1 2 5.5 11 24
         Other rates (Mbps) : 6 9 12 18 36 48 54
    BSSID 2                 : 0c:d9:96:9c:ce:31
         Signal             : 10%
         Radio type         : 802.11g
         Channel            : 6
         Basic rates (Mbps) : 1 2 5.5 11 24
         Other rates (Mbps) : 6 9 12 18 36 48 54

Monitoring your connection and roaming

Often when I am taking a look at basic performance issues on a floor area I want to see how a particular client is roaming and how it progresses between access points.  You can create a simple .bat file to run the command every 5 seconds and see how the client roams and to what AP and channel.

With a text editor create a simple .bat file like:

netsh WLAN show interfaces
timeout /t 5
goto loop

When you run this the screen should refresh every 5 seconds with the Channel, Signal level, Speed and BSSID (AP) information of the current connection.

Hope this helps.


Update:  Matt Frederick did a great job running this ball further down field.  See it at: