Podcast

CTS 035: Mobility Field Day 1 – It’s A Wrap

Mobility Field DayMobility Field Day 1 brought together different minds in the wireless industry in one room and one presentation. We saw presentations from different vendors and other wireless leaders.

Actually, not even all of them were really wireless but had their ties back to wireless in one way or another.

All I have to say is that it is a great time to be alive. We’re seeing wireless advance greatly and many vendors are doing creative work in this space.

I’ll let you listen to the podcast episode to hear what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t seen any of the videos from MFD1, please head over to the [Vimeo page] to get educated.

This Week In Wireless

CTS 034: What’s In A Beacon?

Snapshot of a beacon frame.The beacon frame is used by access points, and stations in an IBSS, to communicate their characteristics for connection. A beacon frame is sent periodically, called the target beacon transmission time (TBTT). Default time is 102,400 microseconds (102 ms). 100 time units (TUs) is 1,024 microseconds.

APs also contend for airtime while sending beacon frames. If the network is busy when an AP wants to send a beacon frame, then the AP will delay the beacon transmission.

Stations use access point beacons as a time reference for each beacon has a time stamp and an indication of when the next beacon will be sent. A station will use use the time stamp to make sure their clock uses the same tempo as the access point. This is called the timing synchronization function (TSF).

In an IBSS, the first station to create the ad hoc network defines the beacon interval and all stations joining the IBSS learn this interval.

To see an example beacon frame, download my pcap file captured from my laptop.

Links and Resources

CTS 033: Community

CommunityHave you thought about joining the wireless community but aren’t sure how to get started? You want to help educate others but can’t decide on a platform to use.

Giving back to the wireless community is one of the reasons why we have a great group of people. We like to share and discuss topics with passion.

In this episode, I list out some ways you can participate in the wireless industry.

Create A Blog

You can start off by guest blogging on someone else’s blog. It’s a great way to get started and share your content with the community. The next best thing is to start your own blog for free using WordPress or Blogger.

This is a place to write about your experiences, provide tutorials on how to do something, or even a place to keep your notes for the certification you are studying for.

Twitter

Probably the least required effort to get involved. Only requires 140 characters or less to get your thoughts out there.

Many wireless professionals are on Twitter participating in a lot of great wifi discussions. Twitter has become the go-to method of communicating with other professionals. Many conversations get heated and it can be interesting to watch and learn from those discussions if you feel that you are unable to provide any other value.

Additionally, the wireless community is very supportive in sharing others’ blog posts with their followers.

Conferences

If there’s any place where you can meet those you communicate with on social media in person. Put a name and a voice to the person behind the avatar.

The most valuable part of a conference are the tabletop discussions that occur over a couple of drinks. That’s in addition to the presentations scheduled throughout a conference.

Videos

Video tutorials are a great way to contribute back to the community in a learning way. Many people, including myself, are visual learners. Reading how to do something sometimes isn’t the best way to learn but with the support of a video it can become a powerful duo.

Podcast

This is the route I took, obviously. A podcast enables you to fully participate in the community in meaningful ways. Audio is an easy way for a listener to consume content. It can be listened to anywhere.

Doing a podcast also forces you to learn subjects to create content.

All you need is a microphone and a voice.

This Week in Wireless

CTS 032: Cisco Updates CCNP Wireless

Title text over image of buildings.

CCNP Wireless Certification Update

In March 2016, Cisco announced new updates to the CCNP Wireless exam. After looking through the objectives, I came to the conclusion that the new CCNP Wireless looks appealing. Cisco changed the objectives to meet the exam closer to the real world.

The new CCNP Wireless exams are:

Be prepared for the lab simulations in any of these exams as there is an emphasis on it based on the objectives. Additionally, the candidate will need to know at least the following:

  • AireOS v8.0
  • IOS-XE v3.6
  • ISE v1.3
  • Prime Infrastructure v2.2

If a physical lab is in sight for you, be sure you can work with the list of technologies above.

300-360 WIDESIGN

The CCNP Wireless WIDESIGN exam focuses a lot on designing WLANs. From gathering requirements to predictive and validation surveys. You may even see a question or two relating to Ekahau Site Survey.

I’d say this exam is the most important out of all the CCNP Wireless exams.

Study Material

300-365 WIDEPLOY

The focus of the deployment exam targets Cisco technologies specifically. We’re talking about the deployment of access points, controllers, mesh, and more Cisco proprietary subjects such as FlexConnect.

It would be advantageous to have a physical lab setup to practice these objectives.

Study Material

300-370 WITSHOOT

The TSHOOT exam is new to CCNP Wireless. In the existing exam, troubleshooting was scatterred across all the exams. New with the 2016 update, troubleshooting shines on its own.

Troubleshooting is a big part of wireless. I’d go far to say it’s just as important as designing.

There’s going to be a large focus on debug messages, show commands, log messages, etc. So sit tight and lab it up.

Study Material

300-375 WISECURE

The security aspect of wireless. Cisco has removed previous technologies such as NAC, WCS, and ACS. There’s a large focus on standards such as 802.1X, EAP, AAA, and policies. Taking those standards in mind, you will need to translate that into a Cisco configuration.

Study Material

Links and Resources

CTS 031: Band Steering with Francois Verges

Band Steering

What is wireless band steering? Band steering is a method or feature within enterprise access points to sending dual-band stations to the 5 GHz band instead of the 2.4 GHz band.

Band Steering enabled access points delay responses to 2 GHz probe response frames.

Why would you want to enable band steering? The most common reason is to encourage 5 GHz capable stations to leave the congested 2.4 GHz band thus leaving legacy devices behind. The 2.4 GHz band has three non-overlapping channels which provides wireless engineers with a less channels to re-use. The 5 GHz band has 24 non-overlapping channels using 20 MHz channel-widths.

Francois Verges joins me as the special guest on the show to discuss the merits of band steering, why you should use it and also what you should look out for if you do implement this feature.

As I work primarily with Cisco wireless networks, I’ve provided an example of how to configure band steering. Cisco’s terminology for band steering is called Band Select.

I won’t go into the differences between Band Select and Band Steering in this episode. This is simply to show everyone where band steering can be enabled.

To view Cisco WLC Band Select settings:

Band Select settings from the Advanced menu. Cisco Band Select is enabled by default on the Cisco WLC./caption

Band Select is enabled by default on a Cisco WLC. The global settings for Band Select are located at Wireless > Advanced > Band Select.

Enabling Band Select on a WLAN.

Although Band Select is enabled globally on the controller, the setting itself must be enabled on the WLAN.

This Week In Wireless

Cisco Revises the CCNP Wireless Certification