cisco

CTS 177: Wi-Fi 6 with Fred Niehaus

This episode was recorded at the Podcast Domain for Cisco Live 2019 in San Diego. In attendance is Rowell Dionicio, François Vergès, Gurpreet Singh, and Fred Niehaus.

Fred has been with Cisco since 2000. Since 1993 Fred has been doing wireless. Gurpreet works for a VAR in Canada with all aspects of warehouses.

Cisco Live Photos by Rowell Dionicio. https://rowelldionicio.com/clusphotos

Wi-Fi 5 was all about very high throughput but had nothing to do with latency. Cellular buys frequencies for millions and millions of dollars and uses the spectrum efficiently.

Two main features of Wi-Fi 6 are:

  • OFDMA, borrowed from cellular, cuts latency down
  • BSS Coloring which allows for channel reuse

Fred says we’re ahead of 5G. What’s in 5G is available in Wi-Fi today

At the top of Fred’s Wi-Fi 6 list are OFDMA and BSS coloring. TWT for scheduling will be very beneficial to IoT devices.

OFDM vs OFDMA

  • Channel that’s 20 MHz size
  • If data is one little chunk it wastes the subcarriers
  • OFDMA takes multiple transmitters/receivers on each subcarrier for efficiency

The new Wi-Fi 6 access points from Cisco are:

  • C9117
  • C9115
  • C9120  

One thing to note, with the C9117 as an example, is that chipsets that were early to market did not support OFDMA in the uplink. Cisco went to Marvell and Cisco has asked for a custom chipset.

But to meet meet customers’ needs you can build your own chipset or look to another manufacturer.

Why would Cisco change the name to Catalyst? That’s because it is the best product line. Access points are redesigned to be smaller. 

Comparing Wi-Fi 6 to previous generation

  • 9115 and 9117 those are like 1850 and 1830 series. Early to market and standards-based.
  • 9120 is more like the 2800 series. Has the RF ASIC, a custom ASIC that is software defined. 

The RF ASIC can specifically create a signature for DFS signals. Potentially eliminated false positives with DFS hits. The benefit of the RF ASIC allows the other radios to service clients while using this 3rd radio. Unlike previous ASICs, the 9120 has the capability to transmit but it’s not configured to at the moment.

When do you think we will see the actual benefits of Wi-Fi 6? Let us know in the comments below.

CTS 176: Cisco Wireless Certifications, Revamped

Things are evolving again at Cisco. This time with the certifications. Cisco is further driving the Intent-based networking model into certifications. There’s the need to drive multi-domain policy, introduce APIs and programmability. It could change the way we do things every day. Infrastructure engineers are becoming software developers? Maybe not completely but there are those who may want to do both.

New Cisco & DevNet Certs with Mandy Whaley

Organizations want more speed, more agility, and more simplicity but what happens underneath that simplification is not that simple. Chuck Robbins, during his keynote, mentioned the certifications have not evolved in 26 years. And that’s when he introduces the Cisco Certified DevNet certifications. Bringing software skills to networking and networking skills to software.

Cisco wants you to build applications and capabilities. Which will bring value on top of the platforms Cisco is building.

The DevNet Associate certification covers 80% software skills and 20% networking skills. The CCNA covers 80% networking skills and 20% software skills. The two are complimentary if you were to pursue NetDevOps.

Cisco then took those CCNA specializations and turned them into technology concentrations.

CCNP certifications are now available in enterprise, service provider, data center, security, and collaboration, which you need to pass the core exam and a concentration exam.

DevNet Professional is earned by passing core exam and DevNet Specialist

What does that mean for wireless?

  • The CCNA Wireless won’t be available anymore
  • There will be a Cisco Concentration certification in Wireless
  • Concentration exams exist under the Enterprise Track
    • 300-425 ENWLSD Enterprise Wireless Design
      • Focuses on site surveys
      • Collecting requirements and constraints
      • Predictive and post-deployment surveys
      • Determining infrastructure requirements such as 
        • PoE
        • RRM
        • RF Profiles
        • RxSOP
      • Designing per requirements
      • High density
      • Mesh
      • Mobility
      • High availability
    • 300-430 ENWLSI Enterprise Wireless Implementation 
      • Focuses on actual configuration
      • FlexConnect
      • QoS
      • Multicast
      • Location Services
        • MSE
        • CMX
      • Security
        • ISE
        • Portals (not security really)
        • 802.1X
        • AAA
      • Monitoring
        • DNAC
        • PI
      • Device Hardening
  • CCNP Enterprise contains two wireless concentration exams
    • 300-425 ENWLSD Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
    • 300-430 ENWLSI Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
  • At the CCNP level, the R&S and Wireless track have merged. So it will be the same core exam covering both tracks and it will be called CCNP Enterprise. It will test you on:
    • Dual Stack (IPv4 IPv6) architecture
    • Virtualization
    • Infrastructure
    • Network assurance
    • Security
    • Automation
  • CCIE Wireless becomes CCIE Enterprise Wireless
    • There is no more CCIE written, the CCNP ENCOR exam qualifies you to sit the CCIE Enterprise Wireless Lab
    • The policy to sit the lab 18 months after the written exam is gone. Now you have 3 years after you passed your ENCOR to sit in the lab.
    • The CCIE Enterprise Wireless Exam will cover (link):
      • Radio Frequency and Standards
      • Enterprise Wired Campus
      • Enterprise Wireless Network
      • Wireless Security and Identity Management
      • Wireless business applications and services
      • Automation, Analytics and Assurance

New exams go live on February 24, 2020. Training for these new certifications will start this year (probably more towards the end of the year.)

All certifications will now be valid for 3 years. And the Continuous learning program can now be used at all levels, including CCNA and CCNP.

  • 30 credits are required to recertify a CCNA
  • 80 credits are required to recertify a CCNP
  • 120 credits are required to recertify a CCIE

Credits can be earned by:

  • Attending Cisco training
  • Taking Cisco exams
  • Attending Cisco Live
  • Authoring content

What are the migration steps?

  • New CCNA replaces current CCNA certs 
    • Cloud
    • Collaboration
    • Cyber Ops
    • Data Center
    • CCDA
    • Industrial
    • R&S
    • Security
    • SP
    • Wireless
  • If you complete any current CCNA/CCDA before Feb 24, 2020 you will receive new CCNA and a training badge in the corresponding technology area
  • CCNP Wireless
    • If you pass any of the CCNP Wireless exams prior to Feb 24, 2020 then you will become a Cisco Certified Specialist
    • CCNP WIDESIGN and/or WIDEPLOY give you Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Design
    • CCNP WITSHOOT and/or WISECURE give you Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Implementation
    • If you have all four, you will get the new CCNP Enterprise certification and the specialist certifications, Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Design and Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Implementation
    • If you have partial CCNP Wireless (2 or 3 out of the 4) you will need to take 300-401 ENCOR (enterprise core) to get the new CCNP certification
    • You don’t need to be CCNA certified to become a CCNP. You can jump in directly at the CCNP level
    • Passing the core exam will qualify you to sit the CCIE Wireless lab.
  • What if you have a CCNA and a specialization? 
    • New CCNA is consolidated. 
    • You keep your CCNA
    • If you have a specialization you will receive a training badge for that technology area, for example, CCNA Wireless.

Cisco Networking Academy will expand to train students for DevNet Associate and Professional level certifications.

Links and Resources

CTS 169: Just The Tech

Rowell and François were invited to Cisco Headquarters, along with many others, as part of the #JustTheTech event which was planned in coordination with the Wi-Fi 6 announcement that happened on April 29, 2019.

It was a jam packed day of discussions with key people from Cisco.

The folks in attendance for #JustTheTech were:

We kicked off the event with a tour of the Customer Experience Center. Taking a look at the possibilities using Cisco solutions. It’s an impressive facility on the first floor of one of many Cisco buildings. There’s an entry way with a large Cisco logo on the wall. On the other side of the wall is the beginning of the Customer Experience Center.

During our tour we ran into Todd Nightingale who is an SVP, General Manager of Meraki. It was a delightful surprise but he was able to talk to us for a bit and even tour with us.

So the main purpose of #JustTheTech was to take part in the coordinated announcement of Wi-Fi 6 products from both Cisco and Meraki. But instead of marketing material, we were able to speak directly to engineers.

This means taking a look at the new Wi-Fi 6 access points up close

  • Catalyst 9115, 9117, 9120
  • Meraki MX55, MX45

The actual event started off with Sacha Gupta, Senior Vice President, Product Management – Cisco Enterprise Networking. He talked about Reinventing Access, Unplugged and Uninterrupted.

Reinventing Access, Unplugged and Uninterrupted by Sacha Gupta

Next, Jérôme Henry, Principle Engineer, Office of the CTAO, talked about OpenRoaming which is an interesting concept in today’s world where 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will converge. Cisco has developed partnerships with the biggest device manufacturers showing they really want to make these products work on our networks.

Understanding OpenRoaming and the Device Ecosystem Project by Jérôme Henry

Next, Fred Niehaus and Jeevan Patil begin their combined talk about Wi-Fi 6. This is where we really get interested as everyone was expecting new Wi-Fi 6 hardware.

What Wi-Fi 6 will bring to the market by Fred Niehaus & Jeevan Patil

Of course, Fred goes into the details of the new Catalyst access points. These are the equivalent of the AireOS 1800 and 2800 access points.

Introducing Cisco’s Catalyst Wi-Fi 6 Access Points by Fred Niehaus

Jeevan introduces Meraki’s new Wi-Fi 6 access points. They look radically different from the Cisco Catalyst access points. Something out of a Marvel movie.

Next-Generation Meraki Access Portfolio by Jeevan Patil

And as a bonus, we get to hear about the new Catalyst 9600 chassis switch. The thing is a beast.

Bedrock of the Cloud-scale Campus by Shawn Wargo

Speaking of the Catalyst 9600 Series, there was a Roundtable Discussion.

We also took part in a Wi-Fi 6 Roundtable Discussion with Fred Niehaus and Cristian Raducanu.

One of the highlights of the day was taking a shuttle over to another Cisco building where Wi-Fi 6 access points and devices are tested. This facility is essential as all of the tests for Wi-Fi 6 starts here. Inside the building is a caged off room – it literally has a chain-link fence which requires special badge privileges.

There are tables of laptops with Wi-Fi 6 adapters installed and also many Wi-Fi 6 mobile devices. Currently, being all Samsung as they were the first ones out with Wi-Fi 6. On the ceiling are the Catalyst 9115, 9117, or 9120 access points.

Various tools were used to test Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and roaming. We had a question of 1024 QAM come up and the test engineers stated it was possible to get 1024 QAM at some distance. No access point above your head required.

Closing Thoughts

We were fortunate to be invited to Cisco’s headquarters and take part in this awesome event. It does help that we are both Cisco Champions. With a small group of individuals, it was an intimate setting. The access we had to engineers within Cisco was great and led to great discussions about Wi-Fi 6 including an up-close look at the products.

Links & Resources

CTS 168: OpenRoaming

With Wi-Fi 6 and 5G now taking the stage, one has to think – what about the coexistence of the two technologies? Rowell and François met together at Cisco HQ to speak with Jérôme Henry about OpenRoaming and Cisco’s vision of seamless roaming.

François Vergès (left), Jerome Henry (center), Rowell Dionicio (right)

Rowell and François participated at an event called #JustTheTech at Cisco HQ in Milpitas, CA. At this event we were table to speak to technical experts just about the technology and how it works in regards to Wi-Fi 6, switching, testing, and more.

In this episode, François talks with Jérôme Henry, following his presentation on OpenRoaming. In the room is Rowell Dionicio, Sam Clements, and Dave Benham – all who participated at #JustTheTech.

OpenRoaming

What is OpenRoaming? According to Cisco:

Cisco, along with other vendors and enterprises, is working to provide a better bridge between mobile devices and Wi-Fi networks. With frictionless and secure guest onboarding, users can roam across Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networks, automatically maintaining connectivity with security and achieving the ultimate experience.

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/802-11ax-solution/openroaming.html

OpenRoaming also bridges the network operator with the provider. A way to seamlessly onboard users to Wi-Fi with existing credentials.

Learn more about OpenRoaming from Jerome Henry by listening to this episode today.

To see more about OpenRoaming check out Cisco’s website.

CTS 132 – Location-Based Analytics

Recorded at Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando, FL, we speak to Christian Gauer about Wi-Fi location-based analytics.

Meet Greg Skeene

Our featured wireless engineer for this episode is Greg Skeene. He’s a listener of the show and we finally met up during a meetup at Cisco Live. Listen to the episode to hear him answer François’ 10 questions.

Greg Skeene - Wi-Fi Engineer

Location-Based Analytics

This episode was recorded at Cisco Live 2018 in the Podcast Domain. Our guest is Christian Gauer, a TME in Cisco focused on location-based analytics.

We’re new to location-based analytics so we wanted to know more about it. Especially with the increased amount of IoT devices coming on the network. Can we use that data to make business decisions?

What are some of the expectations for location-based analytics? We can expect to do way-finding, locating a device, using an app to locate yourself to draw line on the map of where to go.

Location is calculated by a Cisco CMX box. Data going into CMX needs to be accurate. This means design will be critical. APs should be mounted on the ceiling up to 20 feet high. Multi-trangulation is used in measuring distance-based on RSSI.

More accurate measurements is done with angle of arrival. Multi-trangulation needs more than 3 APs for higher accuracy. More than just triangulation. Why 3 APs minimum? Because of triangulation. With wireless location, a device needs to be inside context of APs. For location, start at the perimeter of the walls.

But why go into location-based analytics? Everyone wants to know whats going on. Top use cases – retail wants to know what’s going on in a shop and how much time customers are spending time in the shop and which section. An airport may want to know what’s going on with security, how much time people are spending there, or maybe there are too many people crowding at the gate.

Take a coffee chain with many locations into consideration. They offer free Wi-Fi. Device get connected and now the coffee chain can track who is connecting to their Wi-Fi network. But how many APs does a coffee shop need? Maybe need 1 or 2 APs for coverage. What kind of info can you get out of it? Is it important where someone sits, maybe not? It can be difficult differentiating someone sitting next to another.. or lining up. Presence provides detection of customer which means you can find out who is stopping by multiple shops. This is how you identify return visitors and measure dwell time. Other methods of using location-based analytics includes having an idea of how busy the store is for staff planning or how long it takes customers to get cup of coffee.

But a store needs to ask the question from the customer point of view, why should I connect to the Wi-Fi? There has to be an offer.

Listen to the episode for more details!

Links & Resources