Learning and Tracking the 802.11 Standard

I wrote a couple articles for the Airheads Community on learning the 802.11 standard and on how to track what’s going on with the 802.11 committee. I’ve included a snippet of each with links to the full articles in case you’d like to read more.

The 802.11 Standard and You

IEEE 802 Amendment.png

The 802.11 standard can be something of a mystery, especially when you are new to wireless networking. Have you ever wondered why wireless LANs work the way they do? WLAN configurations are full of cryptic options. Do you know what they do? Ever tried to make heads or tails of a packet capture and not understood what all the pieces are or if they are working the way they are supposed to? You can search for the answers with Google, but you might consider looking to the standard for the answers. If you really want to understand wireless, you need to gain some familiarity with the standard. Read the full article…

 

Learning the 802.11 Standard

imgres.jpgThe 802.11 standard can be something of a mystery, especially when you are new to wireless networking. Have you ever wondered why wireless LANs work the way they do? WLAN configurations are full of cryptic options. Do you know what they do? Ever tried to make heads or tails of a packet capture and not understood what all the pieces are or if they are working the way they are supposed to? You can search for the answers with Google, but you might consider looking to the standard for the answers. If you really want to understand wireless, you need to gain some familiarity with the standard. Read the full article…

Thanks for reading them! Feel free to give me kudos in the community if you like them, as well. :)

FIN

#WLPC_US and Free Wi-Fi Training Resources

Registration for #WLCP_US is now open! If you work in Wi-Fi you should really check it out. It’s a great place to learn and network with other WLAN Pros. New this year are Deep Dive Sessions, which are described as:

These will be two 90-minute sessions – the first to do whatever prepatory work and laying foundational information and then the next day followed up with more hands-on work for getting deep into the subject.  Each of these has a ‘kit’ of gear that is included for each attendee.

Sounds pretty slick and it should be both fun and educational. There are a number of sessions including Advanced WLAN Site Survey, to 3D printing, Python, and SDR. My friend Jerry Olla and myself will be teaching a session on Real World Mobile WLAN Testing, where we will use a single board computer and mobile devices to analyze a network using a variety of tests.

On a related note, I have a post up at the Airheads Community where I point out some of the Free Wi-Fi Training Resources that are available, which includes all the videos recorded from WLPC. If you can’t get to WLPC, want a taste of what the sessions are like, or just want to find a few free ways to learn, please check it out!

FIN

In Wi-Fi They (Don’t Really) Trust

Sometimes, the biggest problem with the network is its very existence. Anytime something breaks, the fingers start pointing at the network. Database stopped responding? It must be the network. Client can’t access the Internet? Must be the network. Never mind that what the client can’t access is just their home page and everything else is working…

The problem isn’t so much that the network exists, but that it exists and most users, and even most IT pros, don’t understand it. Now we take that complex system that people already have a difficult time understanding and replace the simple Cat5 cable with… Magic? Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. For many people, wireless is a magical black box. Actually, it’s usually an opaque white box, but that’s beside the point. Things happen in it, but they can’t be seen and they are not easily understood. The explanations for how it works, or more likely why it doesn’t work, generally involve lots of vague hand waving motions and end with either blaming the client or the network, depending on which side you are on.

Now when something breaks and there’s nothing obviously wrong with the device people trust, it’s logical (from their perspective) to blame the thing they don’t understand. It’s known that it needs to be working for them to do what they want, so that must be what’s broken.

You can read the rest of my thoughts on this on the Aruba Airheads Community.

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How hard can it be not to install wires?

There’s a joke, “How hard can it be not to install wires?” (See this Dilbert comic) However, it’s a good question, so let’s think through this a bit.

Let’s say you are deploying a new wireless network. Maybe you had it thrown at you already purchased and delivered. You just get to implement it. What fun! Maybe it’s “just” an upgrade, so can’t you just swap things out?

Things you need to consider: What model are the APs? Do you have enough for coverage? More importantly, what about capacity?

To read the reast of this article, check it out over on the Aruba Airheads Community.

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My First Aruba Beacon #WFD8

Back at the beginning of October, I had the opportunity to be a delegate to Wireless Field Day 8. The Aruba Networks presentation was very impressive and they also were kind enough to provide all the delegates with a number of nifty items, including some Aruba Networks LS-BT1 BLE location beacons.

If you aren’t familiar with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), it’s an extension to the Bluetooth standard that allows for low power communications. This is the standard that provides the basis to create beacons and allows them to operate for multiple years using standard button cell batteries. Beacons are not the only devices out there that use BLE for communication, but those are outside the scope of the rest of this post, which you can continue reading on the Aruba Airheads Community.

Below is the video of Aruba’s location presentation, featuring Kiyu Kubo, Director of the Meridian Group at Aruba Networks.

Aruba Networks Meridian Stadium Applications with Kiyo Kubo from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Kiyo Kubo, Director of Meridian Group, discusses the use of Aruba Networks Meridian location technology at Levi's Stadium. Use of beacons is demonstrated and security around the technology is also discussed. Recorded at Wireless Field Day 8 on October 1, 2015. For more information, please visit http://ArubaNetworks.com/ or http://TechFieldDay.com/event/wfd8/.

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RFC 7710 and Captive Portals

Portal

Are you captive in this portal?

I like to monitor the IETF mailing lists for new Internet RFCs that are published. Many of these are cryptic things like RFC 7675, Session Traversal Utilities for NAT (STUN) Usage for Consent Freshness. I’m not sure I even know what that means. There are some that do make sense to me. Most recently RFC 7710, Captive-Portal Identification Using DHCP or Router Advertisements (RAs) was published and caught my attention.

To find out why, you’ll have to read the rest at this post on the Airheads Community. :)

FIN

In BYOD, Client Devices Manage You

I wrote another post over at the Aruba Airheads Community. Here’s a taste…

With the recent release of OS X and iOS updates, I have been reminded (again) of how subject we are to the manufacturers of our client devices. In this particular example, I’m contemplating that since the release of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, reports of Wi-Fi problems in my organization have skyrocketed. Not that I’m trying to pick on Apple, they just happen to be the current source of trouble…

If you’d like to read the rest of it, you can check it out at the Airheads Technology Blog.