My Cisco Live Schedule

First of all, if you are a Cisco Live NetVet, the scheduler is open at https://www.ciscolive2015.com/connect/mySchedule.ww. If you are not a NetVet, it will open for you on March 31st.

I’ve spent a bit of time tweaking my schedule and here’s my current plan:

My schedule for Cisco Live

Scott’s schedule for Cisco Live

I suspect I may want to change things up a little after the technical seminar on Sunday. I might also change things after the slides are released and I can see what the plan is for those sessions. Focus this year is obviously on wireless. :) I’m looking to learn more about are CMX and all the changes that have come with MSE 10. I’m not using CMX right now, but the need for it and the value are starting to rise. My current architecture is centralized controllers and FlexConnect APs. This has some limitations, so I’ll be looking to learn more about the converged access solution to see if I can leverage the 3650s we’ve been deploying to get the APs back to local mode, but still have the branch traffic stay in the branch. I might drop a session to spend some quality time in the WoS without a huge crowd, but I’ll have to see what the session slides say first. I haven’t looked to see what recent recordings are available in the Cisco Live On-demand Library, either. Might be able to free up a session or two that way, as well.

I dropped the industry keynote and replaced it with the CCIE Wireless written exam. I’ve taken the R&S exam a couple times before and didn’t quite make the cut, but I’ve been doing a lot more wireless work than routing work, so I’m optimistic that I can get a better score here. We’ll see how I do in a few months. :)

FIN

Sticky Clients, Wide Channels, and SNR

I wrote a blog post with my thoughts about the impact of wide channels and SNR when dealing with sticky clients. I discovered some interesting things about how things really work during the course of writing it. Check it out over at the Aruba Airheads Community.

Can We Improve Wi-Fi Regulations?

Some complain that the FCC made a mistake in their Marriott ruling and the resulting Enforcement advisory against Wi-Fi blocking. Those who disagree say an organization should be able to control the RF environment on their own property. While that sounds reasonable at first, can we even develop the rules to allow that?

You can read the rest of this post over at the Aruba Airheads Technology Blog.

FIN

Wi-Fi: Access Layer of the Future?

Is Wi-Fi the access layer of the future? Of course it is! As network professionals we all know that outside of the traditional enterprise, it’s the access layer of the now. But when will the traditional enterprise take advantage of it?

Read the rest of this post over at the Aruba Airheads Community: Wi-Fi: Access Layer of the Future?

In Need of Focus

Too-Busy.jpg

Image courtesy Ryan Ritchie via flickr

I like spending time with my family and being involved at church. I like certification exams. I like studying and learning new things. I like HAM radio, blogging, and photography. I like keeping up with the Marvel movies and TV shows. That’s just a few of the things I like. Specific technologies I like include Wi-Fi, Routing & Switching (R&S), Data Center, Virtualization and other topics directly and tangentially connected to networking topics. You know what? I like too many things.

Reality Check

I’ve recently come to realize that I’m trying to do too much and I have finite time. I’m trying to keep up with way too many technologies. It’s just not possible to keep current on everything. I have decided that I need to cut a few things out, or at least minimize them. Obviously church and family can’t be cut, so I have to start cutting out other things. Like watching TV. Deciding that Data Center stuff really isn’t that important to me and that it’s okay that I only know what I need to do my job. Realizing that R&S really isn’t my focus, even though I like it. That I don’t need to be a VMware expert. I like all these topics and will continue to learn about them through the course of my work, but I’m never going to be the expert that I want to be if I can’t narrow my focus.

Let It Go

To narrow my focus, it’s time to let some of my interests go. Time to allow them to be things I am aware of, but not actively pursuing. Virtualization, Data Center, and SDN can no longer be topics of study. I’ll learn what I need to know as projects demand it, but I will not seek out knowledge in these spaces. I work more with R&S and will keep a bit more current with that, but it still won’t be my focus. Practically, this means actively reducing inputs. I need to unsubscribe from some blogs and podcasts. I need to use my VCP5 exam voucher and regardless of pass or fail, just walk away. If I unfollow you on twitter, I apologize; you’ve been moved out of my main timeline and into a list.

Wi-Fi or Bust

I’m putting the bulk of my time that can be devoted to studying, learning, and generally keeping current, into the realm of Wi-Fi. There is also sort of a vague tie in to HAM radio, which is a bonus. Wi-Fi is taking up more and more of my time at the office. The problems are interesting and RF is a topic I’m passionate about (see also, HAM radio). Wi-Fi, as an industry, has a lot going on and it is the future of the access layer. I like Wi-Fi and have more interest in it than with anything else, so it’s Wi-Fi or bust.

Niggling things to get in my way include my CCNP R&S, which is due for recertification. I need to pass a CCNP level exam, but I haven’t decided for sure what I’m going to do. I’m torn between an exam towards CCNP Wireless, the ARCH exam (which would grant the CCDP), or just taking TSHOOT to get the recert out of the way. What I really want to be studying right now is the CWNA, so I’m leaning towards TSHOOT just to remove that pressure…

Thick or Thin

I say all this publicly for two reasons. First, it is easier to follow through with a commitment when you state it for everyone to see. It makes the commitment real and peer pressure (even if it’s just imagined) is a powerful force. Secondly, I say this in the hopes that you might start thinking about how you spend your own study time. Are you spreading it thinly over a wide swath of topics or thickly on something you are really passionate about? I can tell you that spreading it thin is unsatisfying. Focusing has more reward, even though you have to leave some things behind. Find what you are passionate about and chase it. I promise it’ll be worth it.

FIN

The Unofficial #WLPC Twitter Attendee List

Jennifer Lucille (@JenniferLucille) wondered if there was a list of Twitter peeps who were attending the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference in Dallas next week. There wasn’t, so I made one. Send me a tweet (@scottm32768) if you want to be added. I’ve also added links to blogs.

 

Name Twitter Handle Blog
Ryan Adzima @radzima techvangelist.net
Devin Akin @DevinAkin divdyn.net/blog
Mike Albano @mike_albano mikealbano.com
Lee Badman @wirednot wirednot.wordpress.com
Taylor Bell @taylorbell
Shaun Bender @welles
Alan Blake @papageordy
Nigel Bowden @WifiNigel wifinigel.blogspot.com
Geert Braakhekke @Easi123
Carter J. Burke @cjburke90
Andrew Campbell @WiFiAndrew www.ekahau.com/wifidesign/blog
Germán Capdehourat @GerCapde
Justin Cetko @Justinskyline
Hemant Chaskar @CHemantC
Sam Clements @samuel_clements sc-wifi.com
Charlie Clemmer @CharlieClemmer www.charlieclemmer.com
Trent Cutler @firemywires
Darrel DeRosia @Darrell_DeRosia
Joeri De Winter @joeri_skyline
Brian J. Dixon @brianjdixon
Peter Paul Engelen @PPJM_Engelen
Robert Eubanks @EubanksRob
Kristijan Fabina @kfabina
Eddie Forero @HeyEddie www.wifirepublic.org/blog and bad-fi.com
Ville Franck @VilleFranck
Kevin Franzen @WiFivomFranMan
Ben Freedman (PrimeImage Media) @primeimagevideo Recorded the session videos and did the pictures. primeimagemedia.com
James Garringer @jamesgarringer
Adrian Granados @adriangranados www.adriangranados.com/blog
Jared Griffith @Cinergywifi
Chad Hendrix @chadhendrix22
Joe Hillis (ITDRC) @ITDRC
Sean Hogston @shogston
Paul Holmgren @Paul_Holmgren
Rich Horsley @realrichhorsley
Keith Howe @krhowe
Jennifer Huber @JenniferLucille jenniferlucille.com
Will Jones @wjcomms www.wjcomms.co.uk
Zaib Kaleem @WLANBook wlanbook.com
Veli-Pekka Ketonen @VPonwireless
Jussi Kiviniemi @jussikiviniemi www.ekahau.com/wifidesign/blog
Alan Klein @YFiAlan
Blake Krone @blakekrone blakekrone.com/blog
Mike Leibovitz @MikeLeibovitz ontheflywifi.net
Chris Lyttle @wifikiwi www.wifikiwi.com
Brian Long @blong1
Robert Maltaric @rmaltaric
Scott McDermott @scottm32768 www.mostlynetworks.com
Richard McIntosh @ciscotophat ciscotophat.wordpress.com
Dan Miller @danmiller
Bhupinder Misra @b_misra
Stephen Montgomery @StevieWireless
Shaun Neal @sv_neal blog.svneal.com
Kyle Nielsen @nielsenk12
Herr Nilsson @HerrNilsson2
Jerry Olla @jolla
Keith R. Parsons @KeithRParsons WirelessLANProfessionals.com
Chris Petroff @chris_petroff
Travis Phipps @tlphipps
Anthony Poli @polia1911
Craig Rash @CraigRash
Tim Ritterbush @TRitterbush
Tim Rousset @TimRousset
Dan Ryan @danryan06
Aaron Scott @wifidownunder
Jake Snyder @jsnyder81 transmitfailure.blogspot.com
Colleen Szymanik @wifi_unicorn
Chad Teal @chadteal
Kris Thurston @KrisThurston
Andrew von Nagy @revolutionwifi revolutionwifi.net
Gregor Vučajnk @GregorVucajnk www.linkedin.com/today/author/14568148
Nathan Wilder @wildernets
Dave Wright @wifidave

FIN

Fixing the Prolific Driver on OS X

Prolific USB to Serial Adapter

Prolific USB to Serial Adapter

There are a couple different USB to serial adapters that you might use as a network engineer. The one pictured in the article is manufactured by Prolific, but sold by multiple different vendors. There’s also another manufactured by FTDI, which I’ve heard good things about, and of course the one built into recent Cisco hardware. The driver for the chip used by Cisco is conveniently included in OS X, but the FTDI and Prolific chips require their own drivers. Myself, I have used the Prolific cables for years and have been generally happy with them.

The best drivers for the Prolific come directly from the manufacturer, not the vendors that resell them. This is because the vendor provided drivers always seem to be out of date. However, the drivers from Prolific don’t work with all cables out of the box. I’m going to show you how to fix that.

1. Get the Driver

If you haven’t already, hop over to the Prolific site to download the driver and install it. Here’s the URL at the time of this writing:

http://www.prolific.com.tw/us/showproduct.aspx?p_id=229&pcid=41

If you are running OS X Yosemite, you may need to read this article to get the driver working: OS X Yosemite and Prolific USB Drivers.

2. Discover Magic Numbers

OK, the numbers aren’t really magic, but the driver will need them so that it can be associated with your USB device. Head to Apple -> About This Mac and and choose System Report. Select USB and scroll until you find your Prolific USB device. It should look something like this:

Watch for the Manufacturer (circled in blue). Then note the Product ID and Vendor ID (circled in red). We will be adding these to the driver.

3. Hex to Decimal Conversion

Calculator in hex mode

Calculator in hex mode

We need to convert the hex numbers to decimal. An easy way to do that is to run Calculator and hit Command-3. Click the “16” above the clear button to switch to hex and enter the number you want to convert (like 0x2008 from the example). Now click the 10 and you have the hex to decimal conversion. If you used 0x2008, you should get 8200. You need to convert both the product and vendor IDs.

4. Edit the Driver

Fire up your favorite terminal emulator and head here:

cd /System/Library/Extensions/ProlificUsbSerial.kext/Contents

At this point, you will need to either fire off a root shell or sudo everything.[1]

Safety First! Backup your Info.plist so you can fix the driver if you break it.

Edit Info.plist with your editor of choice. Scroll down and you will find a section that looks like this:

<key>0557_2008</key>
<dict>
        <key>CFBundleIdentifier</key>
        <string>com.prolific.driver.PL2303</string>
        <key>IOClass</key>
        <string>com_prolific_driver_PL2303</string>
        <key>IOProviderClass</key>
        <string>IOUSBInterface</string>
        <key>bConfigurationValue</key>
        <integer>1</integer>
        <key>bInterfaceNumber</key>
        <integer>0</integer>
        <key>idProduct</key>
        <integer>8200</integer>
        <key>idVendor</key>
        <integer>1367</integer>
</dict>

What you want to do is copy and paste that section. I don’t think the <key> actually matters, but you can change it to match the hex version of the vendor and product ID. So if your vendor ID was 0x2478 for Tripplite with a product ID of 0x2008, you can change the key for your new section to:

<key>2478_2008</key>

Then you will want to put the decimal version of that you converted before into the idProduct and idVendor sections. So for the Tripplite example you only need to change the idVendor and it would look like this:

        <key>idVendor</key>
        <integer>9336</integer>

So the final product for my Tripplite version of the Prolific adapter works when I have this section added:

                <key>2478_2008</key>
                <dict>
                        <key>CFBundleIdentifier</key>
                        <string>com.prolific.driver.PL2303</string>
                        <key>IOClass</key>
                        <string>com_prolific_driver_PL2303</string>
                        <key>IOProviderClass</key>
                        <string>IOUSBInterface</string>
                        <key>bConfigurationValue</key>
                        <integer>1</integer>
                        <key>bInterfaceNumber</key>
                        <integer>0</integer>
                        <key>idProduct</key>
                        <integer>8200</integer>
                        <key>idVendor</key>
                        <integer>9336</integer>
                </dict>

5. Kick the Driver

Now you need to unload and reload the driver to load the new settings:

$ kextload /System/Library/Extensions/ProlificUsbSerial.kext
$ kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/ProlificUsbSerial.kext

You should now have a working USB device! This is a bit of a hassle. I recently found another way to solve this problem, but it’s not free and it’s another blog post.

FIN