Mobility Field Day

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 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 087: AirCheck G2 w/ Netscout at MFD2

We recap Netscout presenting at Mobility Field Day 2 (MFD2) which aired live on July 26th, 2017. 

This episode is sponsored by Metageek

Sponsored by Metageek

Netscout At Mobility Field Day 2

Netscout has a number of network and application tools but for Mobility Field Day 2 (MFD2) they brought out the AirCheck G2 and Link-Live. The greatest feature of the AirCheck G2 is not needing an expert to use it. You might not be able to have an expert on-site and a task will need to be delegated to a field technician, or a non-technical person. That’s where the AirCheck G2 comes in handy.

Chris Hinsz, Senior Product Manager, presented in front of the delegates.

In this episode, we talk about some of the features that stuck out to us on this presentation:

  • Auto Test
  • Network connection tests
  • Channel Utilization
  • Profiles
  • And others

The AirCheck G2 gives you a lot of information from the start. You can see how many APs are contending on the same channel. In that same window you’ll be able to check for 802.11 and non-802.11 channel utilization.

The Profiles feature allows you to create different settings based on the tests and environments you’ll be using the Netscout AirCheck G2. Profiles make it efficient for you to perform your work. You won’t need to spend time configuring the AirCheck G2 for the wireless network. An example is having to install 802.1X certificates. This can be configured ahead of time using the AirCheck G2 Manager.

What do you do after the tests have been performed? How do you keep record of them? This is when Chris gave us a look at Link-Live. A cloud service that stores all your tests from various Netscout devices. Right away I saw this as a useful tool when working with many different field technicians. A test can be uploaded to Link-Live so other people can see the results. It’s an easy way to collaborate with other team members and get work done efficiently.

Check out the recorded videos from Mobility Field Day 2 and let me know what you think about Netscout below in the comments.

Links and Resources

CTS 058: 2016 Year In Review

This is a pre-recorded episode. I’m off for Christmas 🙂 I hope you enjoy the rest of your year. I will see you in 2017!

After this episode was recorded I found out I had become CWNE #210. It was a great gift to receive right before Christmas. I’ll discuss my journey to CWNE in an upcoming episode in 2017.

2016 started off on the wrong foot for me. Personally, I went to the hospital on Jan 1st, 2016 because of my gallbladder. Then continued to have issues with it until March – when I had it finally resolved.

But when it came to Podcasting and Wi-Fi I saw great growth.

Podcast stats:

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Not just with me but in the community as well.

Marketing has never been short of exciting. We started seeing Wi-Fi being described as switch-like. Come on guys. But the community banded together to shame the group of people spreading misinformation.

Unfortunately, we still continue to see poor installations as noted in popular Wi-Fi forums – I shall not name them here for your own sake. You don’t want to rage quit at the end of the year. If you want to check out the photos just head over to Bad-Fi – At my own workplace I’ve had to facepalm a few times coming across Bad-Fi but those were quickly resolved.

This year was the first time I attended Cisco Live and it was fitting to be in-person in Las Vegas of all places. Being able to put names to Twitter handles was fantastic. Meeting with industry peers is the best part of these conferences and I hope to attend more in the future.

I’ve been fortunate to be part of Mobility Field Day – not just one but two events. Mobility Field Day  was fantastic and it’s mindblowing to be around so many smart people.

2016 was the year of exams for me. At the beginning of the year I had decided to get off my butt and put my head in the books. It began with tackling CWAP as I was knee deep in frame captures and analysis. Easily the hardest one for me of all the exams. In October I set my sights on CWDP and was successful. Came natural for me as I am designing often. CWSP was fresh and with the right amount of reading, studying, and labbing – I overcame that as well. Then before December I submitted my CWNE application and as of this recording I am waiting for the results – crossing fingers.

Speaking of CWNE, CWNP reached 200 CWNE’s worldwide before December 2016. Big achievement! This shows how much Wi-Fi is beginning to be taken seriously. It’s not just putting up more access points! With Wi-Fi being a primary point of access to the network, we should be planning and optimizing regularly.

2016 came with many frustrations but with many achievements as well. I hope you had a successful 2016 – both for your career and personally.

This is the final episode of 2016 so I will see you guys in the new year. Be safe, have fun, and take care.