CTS 174: Takeaways From Cisco Live

Welcome to this episode where we do a quick recap of how Cisco Live went this year in San Diego. This is one of the few rare moments when both hosts are in the same city.

Cisco Live Recap with Rasika and Stephen

Check out this short video we recorded with Rasika and Stephen getting their thoughts at the end of the conference.

Wi-Fi 6

The Cisco Live conference was not using the new Catalyst 9100 series access points. Stability is a big thing for a huge conference. But they were seen over at the Whisper Suites. It’s just too soon to be using the C9100’s for a large conference.

Cisco Live Wi-Fi

We do have some interesting stats near the end of the conference. There were over 28,000 attendees. The Cisco Champions were able to join a NOC Talk with the folks running the network. Just to note, during the NOC talk there were only five Wi-Fi 6 clients on the network.

Cisco Live Photos by Rowell Dionicio.

Some Cisco Live Wi-Fi details

  • 6 WiFi guys
  • 91% of clients were 802.11ac
  • Running Aironet in convention
  • Hyatt running Meraki
  • Took over Hilton’s Meraki network
  • OpenRoaming debuts – 3000+ devices on Monday before keynote
  • DNA Assurance deployed. Sensors deployed all over.
  • Cisco 8540s servicing convention center
  • Running code

DevNet Certifications

Announced during the opening keynote were the certification changes across the board along with new DevNet certifications announced. We’ll address the new certifications in a future episode but you can check out the details on Cisco’s developer site.

Cisco + Intel + Samsung + Boingo

Cisco Champions were fortunate to take part in conversations between Cisco, Intel, Samsung, and Boingo. We received insight into the partnership between each company and how they are all working together to bring a better user experience to devices and infrastructure as it pertains to Wi-Fi. It was a short conversation but a good one nonetheless.

Cisco Live Photos

Check out Rowell’s photos from Cisco Live.

CTS 172: Conference Wi-Fi

This Week In Wireless

  • Rowell recorded a video on Wi-Fi 6 on David Bombal’s YouTube channel
  • Huawei
    • Huawei is temporarily pushed out of the Wi-Fi Alliance
    • Wi-Fi Alliance is fully complying with the recent U.S. Department of Commerce order without revoking Huawei Technologies membership. Wi-Fi Alliance has temporarily restricted Huawei Technologies participation in Wi-Fi Alliance activities covered by the order.
  • SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Internet Satellites Into Orbit
    • “The Starlink satellites will orbit much lower — between 210 and 710 miles above the surface. That reduces the lagginess, or latency. SpaceX has said performance should be comparable to ground-based cable and optical fiber networks that carry most internet traffic today. Starlink would provide high-speed internet to parts of the world that currently are largely cut off from the modern digital world.”
  • CWNP new certification: Solution Administration
    • Certification on non-802.11 technologies (BLE, Cellular, Zigbee, wired-side technologies, location services, APIs, Project Management)
    • First class will be in September 2019
    • In the future, additional certifications will address key areas in greater depth, such as automation/integration, IoT, private 5G, etc.
  • Wi-Fi Images
    • Instagram @cleartosend
  • iBwave webinar
    • How to Design Wi-Fi for Higher Education

Conference Wi-Fi


  • Very Dynamic environment!
  • Very High Density of devices
  • There are a lot of ad hoc requests throughout the event
  • Very intense, long hours, little sleep

Prep Work – A lot of it!

  • Understand the type of event
    • Understand what type of people will be attending
    • Understand which application will be used over the Wi-Fi. Any critical ones?
  • Understand the layout of the conference
    • Where will the stages be
    • Where will the VIP zone be
    • Where will the media zone be
    • Where will the TV broadcaster zone be
    • Where will the registration zone be
  • Understand the flow of people
  • Prepare the LAN
    • Size it properly so it can handle the number of devices expected (2.5 devices per person)
    • Make sure the basics are covered
      • DHCP
      • DNS
      • Firewall
      • Core network
      • PoE budget
    • Prepare alternative plans just in case something goes wrong with the basics
      • What do I do if the internet goes down? Maybe plan for a backup internet link
      • What do I do if my DHCP server goes down?
      • What do I do if my DNS server goes down?
      • What do I do if run out of PoE power?
    • Make sure that you have enough internet bandwidth
  • Prepare the Wi-Fi
    • Understand the limitation of AP placement
    • Leverage the APs installed under the ceiling
    • Understand where to place temporary access points if required
      • Do you have access to cables from the floor
    • Plan to have APs ready to go and being deployed fast
    • Size your controller properly
    • Forget 2.4GHz, plan for 5GHz. Expect to see a lot of 802.11ac devices (and a few 802.11n devices)
    • Stage as much equipment ahead of time as possible
    • Organize the APs, name them properly and keep track of them in a document
    • Tweak the RF on the under ceiling APs as much as you can.
  • Configuration of the Wi-Fi
    • Public Wi-Fi
      • Keep it as simple as possible
      • If possible, no Captive Portal
    • Private Wi-Fi
      • Understand if you need to configure QoS
    • Create AP groups and RF Profile to be as flexible as possible
    • Use all the channels you can (even DFS, 165)
    • Place the temporary APs as close to the clients as possible
      • Use the people and floor element to content the signal and limit the CCI and optimize your channel re-use
    • Do you use DCA or static?
    • Study the use of more specific features (Probe Suppression, AirTime fairness…)

During the Event

  • Monitoring
  • Adjust the RF settings based on where the people are
    • Registration
    • Stages
    • Busy Areas
    • Lunch Areas
  • Handle Requests
    • Setup new SSIDs
    • Add coverage in specific areas
  • Battle the ROGUES
    • Make sure people turn their ROGUE APs off
    • Find solutions to answer their needs (using the existing infra or alternative solutions)


  • Ekahau with a sidekick
  • Airchecks
  • Wi-Fi scanners (Explorer Pro)
  • Screens 🙂
  • Your favourite terminal application. My new favourite: iTerm2
  • Your favourite network diagnosis tools. My new favourite: Mtr

Ideas to help us supporting such events

  • Can some of the configuration and monitoring be automated?
  • Create your own monitoring dashboards
  • Create your own scripts to automate some tasks
  • Create a simple application to process the AP tracking



CTS 111 – Why You Shouldn’t Skip WLPC

This year, Rowell wasn’t able to attend WLPC. But François made it to Phoenix and presented too!

Why You Shoulnd’t Skip WLPC

WLPC 2018 was packed with a lot of great presentations by different people in the Wi-Fi industry. The format of this years’ conference was a little different:

  • 3 Main sessions of 55 mins
  • 13 Short sessions of 30 mins
  • 29 TEN talks of 10mins
  • Deep Dive sessions (2x 2.5h) on different topics (Every attendee had to choose one when registering)

The trends for WLPC 2018

  • 802.11ax
  • AI
  • Dual 5GHz APs (A little less than last year)
  • Programming (deep dive on Python + template report)
  • IoT ready APs

What to look for in the Future

  • Talk on 5G with Peter Thornycroft from Aruba
    • 5G is not well defined yet but might change a lot of things in our industry
    • Talked about all the different technology involved (LAA, LWA, Multifire, Wi-Fi)
  • WPA3. We got a little more details on what it will be from Heather Williams
    • Enhancement of WPA2 (802.11w mandatory, KRACK mitigation,
    • What’s coming with WPA3
    • Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (protect against stupid passwords)
    • Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE) (Some protection for open SSID)
    • Device Provisioning Protocol (DPP) (IoT device protection)

The Community

  • Talk on blogging by Lee Badman
  • Talk on the Wi-Fi Pro slack group from Manon Lessard and Samuel Clements
  • Update from the WLA from Peter MacKenzie and Mark Raats
  • Harnessing the Power of community from Tom Hollingsworth
  • Explained what a community is
  • Explain how to engage with a community (Wi-Fi community)
  • How to handle divergent viewpoints: stay civil and respect each other
  • Presentation of the conference from Keith Parsons
  • Apart from the presentations, other event got organized
  • Morning runs
  • Morning Yoga
  • Morning prayers
  • Retro video game night
  • Whiskey and Wireless podcast recording

Interesting Sessions

  • Impact of LTE-U on Wi-Fi in 5GHz by VEli-Pekka Ketonen
  • Polarizing Figures by Scott Lester – Talk on external antennas
    • Interesting stats: 90% to 98% of AP sold with internal integrated antennas
  • Deep dive into PoE by Jonathan Smith
  • Does it matter what AP you buy from Wes Purvis
    • Data comparing different types of APs (2×2:2 vs 3×3:3 vs 4×4:4, 11n vs 11ac w1, 11ac w2)
    • Get up to 28% performance with higher end APs
    • Low-end AP can reach hardware limitation
    • 3×3 offers up to 10% less throughput improvement vs 4×4 (lower retry rate + maintaining 3SS easier)
  • Challenges in Modeling Campus by Vladan Jevremovic
    • Showed us how to model a outdoor park
  • Airport Utility – Monitor iOS devices + Python scripting by Eric Garnel
  • RRM by Blake Krone
    • Talked about how different vendors do it (Cisco, Aruba, Ruckus)
    • Talked about what to do when you enable it (configuration)
    • Talked about what you do once it’s on (monitoring)
  • When a WLAN Pro starts a WISP by Steve McKim
  • RSSI Revealed by GRegor Vucajnk

Useful Sessions

  • Do you have a Mac from Adrian Granados
  • A lot of good information for Wi-Fi Explorer users
  • Filtering and coloring Frames with wireshark from Joel Crane


  • Wi-Fi Alliance announced the launch of their Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity. Talk from Ortiz Consuelo
  • WLA released their transparent book
  • Ekahau announced the support for BLE design in ESS in the near future

Controversial Topic

  • Ghost frames (Ben Miller vs. Devin Akin)

Lee Badman was named Person of the Year for his huge contribution to the Wi-Fi community in general.

CTS 078: Cisco Live 2017 – Get Ready

Cisco Live 2017 is coming up and there’s much to see. Clear To Send will be there to do a live recording. We will also be giving away Clear To Send stickers at Cisco Live if you can find us!

The conference floor of Cisco Live.

Upcoming Cisco Live 2017

The Mandalay Bay will be hosting Cisco Live 2017 again in Las Vegas. The event begins on June 25th, 2017 through June 29th. I, Rowell Dionicio, will be in attendance from Clear To Send podcast. This is the second year in a row as an attendee for me. Learn more about last year’s experience from Episode 44.

First Time Attendee?

I highly recommend picking a hotel close to conference. If you can, get into Mandalay Bay or Delano. This year I will be staying at the Luxor which is next door. Other hotels may seem like an easy walk but trust me, in the heat you don’t want to be walking. Luckily, there will be a constant stream of shuttles to various hotels.

Prepare an extra bag just for the swag. You’ll get a ton of it. I’ve heard of some bringing an extra carry-on just for the swag. Lots of cool toys, tshirts, and of course marketing literature.

Wear comfortable shoes because you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. The Mandalay Bay conference center is very large. There’s also walking along Las Vegas if you’re up for it. That also means wearing comfortable clothes. When I attended Las Vegas 2016 it was a nice cool 110F. Wear light, breathable clothing. Within the conference center it will get very cold. It’s best to layer your clothing for Cisco Live.

A trailer sits within Cisco Live. Customized for the conference.

Cisco Live Sessions

I’ll be attending mostly wireless sessions but will add in a few new technologies to keep myself up-to-date with what’s out there. My favorite speakers are Jerome Henry, Matt Swartz, and Jim Florick. Any topic from those individuals will be knowledge bombs.

Check out all the sessions from the Cisco’s website.

Here are a few interesting sessions to check out:

  • CCNA Wireless, master the 802.11 protocols! By Jerome Henry (Tue 27th 8am 2h)
  • Improve Enterprise WLAN Spectrum Quality with Cisco’s advanced RF capacities (RRM, CleanAir, ClientLink, etc) by Jim Florick (Wed 28th 8am 2h)
  • Apple and Cisco: Fast-Tracking the Mobile Enterprise (Monday 26th 8am 1h)
  • Be my guest! – Design and Deploy Wireless Guest Access that Works by Federico Ziliotto (Monday 26th 4pm 1.5h)
  • High Density Wi-Fi Design, Deployment, and Optimization by Josh Suhr and Matt Swartz (Wed 8am 2h)
  • Advanced Enterprise WLAN Deployment (full day seminar)
  • Design and Deployment of Outdoor Wireless Networks by Kshitij Mahant (Thurs 29th 1pm 1.5h)
  • 7 Ways to Fail as a Wireless Expert by Steven Heinsius (Ekahau Webinar)
  • CCIE Wireless Techtorial by Carlos Alcantara and Santiago Lopez (Wed 28th 1pm to 5pm)
  • CCNP Wireless – Candidate’s Choice (Mon 26th 8am 2h)
  • Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) by Darryl Sladden (Thur 29th 8:30am 1.5h)
  • 5G Radio Access Network Transformation (Cellular Networks)
  • 5G Technology Updates (Cellular Network)
  • Cisco IOT in a 5G World
  • Deploying 4G/LTE for Enterprise and IoT Solutions

Meet The Engineer

Any attendee can schedule in a Meet the Engineer and I highly recommend it. Last year’s Cisco Live I was able to sit down with Matt Swartz and Jim Florick to talk RRM. It was a valuable discussion which gave me a few action items in the end. When you can talk directly with the engineers about any topic at hand you come out much smarter.

Certification Exam

Once you’re registered for Cisco Live you’ll want to schedule your free exam. Try to get this out of the way as soon as possible. I land on Saturday afternoon and I scheduled my exam for Sunday. Seats fill up fast and the earlier you can get this done the better. As soon as you get into sessions your brain will be overloaded with so much information that sometimes it can be difficult to focus on an exam.

Customer Appreciation Event

This year Bruno Mars headlines at the T-Mobile Arena. I love the upbeat music from Bruno Mars so this will surely be an entertaining event.

Live Podcast Recording

We can’t do Cisco Live without doing a live recording of Clear To Send! The details are still being put together but once we have things finalized I will release more information on when, where, and how to get there. If you can, please join us for a recording and become part of the show!

Prepare To Chow Down

Join me as I get food at some of my favorite restaurants. I’ll be stopping by the following:

  • Tacos El Gordo
  • Secret Pizza Parlor
  • Lotus of Siam


The best part of going to Cisco Live is networking with your peers. We often communicate virtually on social networks so this is a great time to get face to face. Meet the people behind the avatar and you’ll be surprised with much fun you can have just by meeting your social counterpart.

I’m looking forward to another Cisco Live. Keep up with what’s happening during the event from my Twitter account: @rowelldionicio