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:

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

Enter To Win a Copy of the Sybex CWNA Study Guide, 5th Edition

The giveaway has ended!


Eric Johnson talks about how MIMO works. We also talked about outdoor Wi-Fi, MU-MIMO and 802.11ax.


Nick Turner

We interviewed Nick at Cisco Live US 2018 at the Ekahau booth (he works for Ekahau). He is the reason why Ekahau template reports are so popular. You should also check out his blog where he shares some of his Mac Giver skills.


Here are the main topics discussed during this episode:

  • History of MIMO and when it got introduced in Wi-Fi communications
  • Presentation of what MIMO is and how it works
  • What are the differences between SISO and MIMO
  • What is antenna diversity? Why does it help to use multiple antennas?
  • How do we obtain multiple spatial streams?
  • Does MIMO work outdoor?
  • What is cross polarization and why is it useful outdoor?
  • What is Tx beamforming and how is it related to MU-MIMO?

Eric shared a lot of useful information and it was not always easy to explain it in an audio format! Listening to him, we could picture his hands moving while explain some concepts. We would like to thank him for taking the time to participate and share some valuable knowledge.

We ended the interview on a positive note about MU-MIMO and 802.11ax.

You can follow Eric on Twitter at @ej_wireless and find more of the content he created for conferences on the Airheads community website.


CTS 136: RF Filtering and Isolation

Jim Palmer talks about how he performs RF filtering and isolation to improve client connectivity.

RF Filtering and Isolation

We welcome Jim Palmer to the podcast. He’s one of the newest delegates for Mobility Field Day 3. I look forward to meeting Jim in person and learning more about him.

Jim works at a major airport. That comes with a lot of RF challenges with transient customers. The customers are not the only problem. An airport utilizes many different frequencies. DFS channels can be a challenge. Jim has a background in radio and public safety which comes in use at the airport he is employed at.

At the airport Jim works at, they use quite a bit of external antennas. 65% of their installation is external antennas.

So why do any kind of RF filtering and isolation? To provide better stable Wi-Fi service. Using RF filtering and isolation does increase the SNR for the clients and decrease the noise floor. It’s been used to help get scanners connecting to Wi-Fi more reliably without adding thousands of dollars for a solution.

To achieve this, Jim uses bandpass filters connected between the antenna and the AP. This bandpass filter essentially filters out frequencies except for the one the filter has been designed for. It can be a specific channel on 2.4 or 5 GHz.

An RF Filter

Listen to the full episode to hear Jim on how he uses these bandpass filters to improve Wi-Fi at his airport.

Links & Resources