Podcast

CTS 142: Jussi Kiviniemi Discusses the Ekahau Acquisition

Ookla, makers behind Speedtest.net, have acquired Ekahau.

Ooklahau

Announced October 10th, 2018 Ookla has acquired Ekahau. The makers behind Speedtest.net are getting their hands into the Wi-Fi world by acquiring the maker of Wi-Fi validation tools. It’s a headscratcher of an acquisition. Speedtest.net is Ookla’s flagship product. It’s used by many people around the world. So why an interest in Ekahau, a maker of Wi-Fi validation software and tools?

My first guess is Ookla sees the future of Wi-Fi. They could build their own set of “speedtest” tools for Wi-Fi networks with the help of Ekahau. In return, this provides Ekahau with more resources to put towards Ekahau Site Survey and the Sidekick. It’s a way to further development.

It’s only natural to have reservations when the company in which you use their tools so often gets acquired by someone else. We just don’t want to see our favorite products fall by the wayside.

As I discuss with Jussi Kiviniemi, that’s not the case. They will continue to operate as normal. Their plans for Ekahau Site Survey development are still on schedule, they continue to work on the Sidekick, and continue to work on other projects.

What was evident here was the culture match between Ookla and Ekahau. Jussi Kiviniemi speaks strongly of this and is one of the major decision makers for the approval of the acquisition.

Listen in on what Jussi has to say about the acquisition as we have breakfast at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto.

CTS 141: Analytics Data & Wi-Fi

Nyansa provides visibility into your Wi-Fi network. What can you do with it?

Analytics Data & Wi-Fi

Coming off Mobility Field Day 3 (MFD3), Nyansa brings a couple of updates. There’s a lot of data collected and presented onto the dashboard. What could be challenging is understanding all the data you’re able to see. And it’s not just data from the Wi-Fi equipment. Nyansa’s product will gather information from other systems of your network such as RADIUS servers, DNS servers, and other data collected from SPAN ports.

As we all know, Wi-Fi issues are often not Wi-Fi at all. Collecting this much data really gives you a broad look at how the network is performing for the clients.

Where Nyansa can shine further is by providing data correlation to show you what’s the most critical issue or most impact there is on the network. The data is there in the dashboard but if there’s specific troubleshooting you’re trying to perform, you can dig into further based on clients, APs, DNS servers, etc.

Full Client Experience

What are we trying to get at with all this data collection and analytics? We want to understand how the clients are doing on our Wi-Fi networks. Down from Layer 1 and 2 all the way up to the Application performance. All these stats are collected within Nyansa and analyzed.

Nyansa now has the a client agent which can be installed on macOS and Windows. So much of the data we have been seeing from many solution providers is the point of view of an access point. Now with a Nyansa client agent, we can get a full picture of how clients are performing.

The ability to look at this information as a third party rather than from the vendor’s point of view can sound compelling. In a way we can actually begin holding various vendors responsible for their claims or help to improve client drivers, for example.

The Nyansa client agent

White Papers

Where Nyansa can really stand out is by providing white papers containing analysis of how Wi-Fi is performing based on vendor/drivers/applications and more. Recently, Nyansa released information gathered across their client base which shows the impact of the Cisco and Apple partnership. Do we see better roaming with Apple devices because of this partnership?

This is the kind of data which can create an impact in the industry. It might not be the actual direction Nyansa wants to go as a company but that type of information is at their grasp.

Nyansa findings from Cisco and Apple partnership

Final Thoughts

Nyansa collects a mind blowing amount of data. Where they can improve is in providing better root cause analysis to help point an operator to an actionable result. Having this amount of data at your fingertips allows someone to get detailed information into how their clients are interacting with the network and how that experience is for the user. Where Nyansa may have a missed opportunity is in analyzing different vendors, drivers and even security. We haven’t really seen Nyansa utilize AI to the extent with other vendors but there’s potential. Overall, more information collected the better but can lead to information overload if not handled properly.

Links & Resources

CTS 140: Mist Goes All In With AI

We discuss Mist System’s bet on Artificial Intelligence in Wi-Fi

Mist Goes All In With AI

Mist delivers an update from a year ago when they announced their Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Wi-Fi, Marvis. With a lot more features implemented, it’s possible for a user to ask questions in a natural language and instantly get a response from Marvis. Our discussions come from Mist’s presentation at Mobility Field Day 3 (MFD3) where Rowell participated as a delegate.

The folks over at Mist are very confident about their AI solution, Marvis. So much so they use it with the tickets that come in from their customers. Marvis will look up the issues for you. Just with a few simple questions. You can ask questions such as:

“How was the site Corporate Headquarters doing during yesterday?”

The response you get are the problems affecting that site. Further from just telling you the issue, you can drill in further, correlate data, and get down to the root cause. The amount of data that is in front of you can be staggering.

Ultimately, that information is actionable. There’s a lot of potential with Mist being a cloud-managed Wi-Fi solution.

You can check it out for yourself in these videos from Mobility Field Day 3 (MFD3).

Links & Resources

DeMISTifying Wi-Fi Issues

CTS 139: Aruba Networks Demos OWE at MFD3

Understanding OWE operation from the Aruba Networks demo presented at MFD3.

Aruba Networks Demos OWE

Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE) is a security improvement coming to open SSIDs. It’s aimed at securing the insecure. We see it everywhere. A Wi-Fi network completely open for clients to join. It’s unencrypted traffic between clients and the AP.

OWE was demoed by Aruba Networks at Mobility Field Day 3 (MFD3) and I was able to capture the frames during the demo. Aruba needed to build a custom supplicant using Ubuntu in order for this demo to work since there are no working clients supporting OWE yet.

There was an AP broadcasting an SSID, MFD-OWE, in OWE Transition Mode.

Aruba Networks OWE Demo from MFD3

OWE Transition Mode SSID

An SSID in OWE Transition Mode will utilize 2 BSSIDs. One for the Open SSID, for clients that do not support OWE, and another BSSID for the OWE-capable SSID. That’s something to keep in mind for OWE Transition Mode.

When most clients support OWE, an SSID strictly supporting OWE can be configured.

In the demo, Aruba Networks created a custom supplicant within Ubuntu since there are no OWE capable clients available. In a Probe Response to the client, there will be an Information Element containing the BSSID and SSID for an OWE-capable client to send a Probe Request to.

OWE Information Element from a Probe Response frame.

OWE Information Element inside the Probe Response

The client sends a Probe Request frame to the OWE SSID, which is a hidden SSID.

Within the Association Request frame, the client will include an RSN Information Element. Within that RSNIE there will be the MFP requirement needed in OWE.

After association a 4-way handshake will follow and when complete, transmissions will be encrypted.

Frame exchange for OWE supported SSID and client.

Frames exchanged to joining an OWE-enabled SSID.

Information you’ll need for the pcap file:

Open SSID: MFD-OWE
BSSID of MFD-OWE: 20:a6:cd:60:00:b0

OWE SSID: _owetm_MFD-OWE2340208851
BSSID: 20:a6:cd:60:00:b1

Client MAC: 9c:b6:d0:d7:ce:dd

Links and Resources

CTS 138: CWNA with Coleman and Westcott

David Coleman and David Westcott join the show to discuss the new release of the Sybex CWNA Study Guide.

Sybex CWNA Study Guide, 5th Edition

Sybex CWNA Study GuideDavid Coleman and David Westcott have released an updated version of the Sybex CWNA Study Guide, 5th Edition. It’s been refreshed for the CWNA-107 exam and it’s packed with a lot of content.

As Coleman and Westcott will describe in this episode, it’s been quite the process completing the study guide. With so much Wi-Fi technology out there, and being backwards compatible, there’s a lot to include. What you’ll also find is information for the upcoming 802.11ax.

With the 5th Edition of the Sybex CWNA Study Guide, there has been a complete overhaul. The study guide doesn’t follow the objectives in order. Coleman and Westcott have reorganized the content in order for it to have a natural flow. There’s more of a logical chapter order.

There’s a new chapter about WLAN design concepts and a new chapter on WLAN troubleshooting.

In addition to hearing about the book, Coleman and Westcott talk about how they got into Wi-Fi and ended up writing the CWNA Study Guide together. We discuss the process in writing such a technical book which includes a lot of research of the 802.11 standard, testing, and editing.

You’re not getting a regurgitated version of the 802.11 standard in this study guide. You’re getting a lot of real world information that will be more than useful for the CWNA-107 exam. It will be a study guide and a reference.

Links and Resources

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