The “Not to Be a Jerk, But…” Mist #MDF5 Blog

I write this piece fresh on the heels of Day 1 of 2020’s Mobility Field Day 5. Mist (Now a Juniper company) talked for about six years yesterday, and it was fairly riveting, end to end. It was one of those marathon sessions that needs a little time to settle in your brain before you can resolve it, figuring out what you actually liked to hear and what maybe raised some red flags. Let’s talk about those red (well, maybe a pale red, sorta orangey-pink) flags that sprouted in my mind as I slumbered on the whole thing.jerk

Mist Systems has had a fantastic run as a late-comer to a competitive industry filled with incumbents. That’s not easy, and their AI-inspired story has served them well. Now, we see the company moving i’s own cheese, and I can’t help but think about maybe  a few areas of concern.

  • Mist is no longer its own little WLAN product line bubble. Mist started off as a wireless-only product line. That let it focus on one discreet area with all of its development and quest for excellence. Sure, AI has been a key ingredient. But AI is not a magic wand. Just because you use it, doesn’t mean you have the Golden Ticket forever. NOW, Mist is spreading its methodology into the Juniper LAN side of its new house… the bigger you go, the more places there are for things to go wrong. The more opportunities there are for code bugs…
  • Mist has finally introduced a respectable AP product line. Again, Mist has had the luxury of not offering many APs to date. Life has got to be easier on the development side when your product set is smaller, I’m guessing. We see it frequently from other vendors- certain model APs are prone to issues and bugs. Will Mist bump into the same sort of customer-facing shame now that they have some diversity of AP lineup? Or will their promised self-debugging whizz-banginess eliminate that as a potential? Time will tell.
  • The um… well… uncomfortable thing to mention. I have the utmost respect for Mist’s senior leadership. Their results to date with injecting the AI/higher reliability story into an industry often fraught with overpriced buggy code suck speak for themselves. However- some of Mist’s senior folks come from that world of buggy code suck. They helped to author the very realm they now take potshots at. I mention this only to make the point that nobody is  perfect with a perfect past, and that history sometimes repeats itself. In the buggy code suck world, complexity only exasperates the buggy stuff, and Mist, as an overall operational paradigm, is very much becoming more complex as it matures. Ergo… more opportunities to stumble? Hopefully, they can keep it on the rails and not fall victim to the past woes that some of their own Bigs have at least partial ownership of elsewhere in the industry.

That little burst of sunshine aside, it really was a thought-provoking session. See it for yourself here, and feel free to leave me a comment below.

 

Mobility Field Day 5: The “Morning of”

In just a couple of hours we’ll dive deep into Mobility Field Day 5. I’m a delegate- one of those blogger/analyst/whatever folks fortunate enough to be part of this unique experience that lets us interact directly with Industry companies. Normally, this would be a week of limos, conference rooms, deep discussion, good food, and lots of fun. Instead, we’re all home-bound because of a pandemic. Whatever…

So what am I- the World’s Most Interesting Delegate- thinking about as I sip my coffee and contemplate the hours and days to come during hashtag #MFD5? Take these for what you will.

  • Please No Politics. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear one CEO is running for public office based on their Tweet volumes related to political issues. I don’t want to hear it this week, personally. Not as a delegate, not as a customer. Move those communications to internal channels.
  • Sensitivity to Budgets During COVID. Somewhat related to that first bullet… you don’t have to look very deep into the news to find that individuals, businesses, colleges, and organizations of every type are struggling or folding because of COVID. Budgets have been decimated for many out there. Now is not the time for the companies doing Field Day to be “giving” millions away to political causes while turning the screws on customers with heavy licensing that gets ever more granular with each product or feature announcement. You’re already making us rent what we bought in many cases. Read the headlines and show mercy.
  • The Big Lie.  By my reckoning, we’re years-deep into what I call The Big Lie in the wireless industry. A new standard comes out, yet many of the more exciting and heavily-marketed features simply can’t be used “yet”. Sometimes “yet” turns into “never”, but the marketing machines convince customers that by not going to the new stuff they are missing out on something. That something, as we’re seeing with the so far absent sexy features in 802.11ax, may or may not  ever get here. Hopefully this week we hear some honesty and some hope in this regard.
  • Super Systems are Nice- BUT RELIABILITY TRUMPS ALL. Year in and year out vendors come to these industry events to show off their most exciting innovations- as determined by them. Generally architectures get ever more complicated, ever more closed to assure Vendor Lock, and maybe a little more functional for day to day operations if we’re lucky. In some spots, corporate cultures never really embraced that QUALITY COUNTS. Our end users simply want to use the networks without constant bugs biting, and we on the network support side have long grown tired of playing Code Roulette. Maybe somebody will acknowledge that stability and reliability are as important as new features this week. That would be refreshing.
  • APIs as a Copout? Let me start by saying that I understand and appreciate the general value of the API when it comes to wireless and networking systems in general. It’s a nice option. But… I also fear that certain vendors will skew the API paradigm in their own favors by giving us shitty Network Management Systems and touting that “oh that important feature is in the API” and then even worse charging us to be our own coders by requiring licenses to use the API to get at the features that should have been in the NMS to begin with. I hope I hear that I am wrong about that this week.

OK, so maybe I’m a little grumpy in the morning. At the same time, I’m guessing a lot of you reading this can relate. Agree? Don’t agree? Leave me a comment below.

Looking forward to an excellent remote Mobility Field Day.

Joe South Foresaw Bad-Fi Slam Culture in 1969?

JoeSouthOne of my favorite singers is the late, great Joe South. This Georgia boy could sing and play the guitar like nobody, and though his heyday happened when I was in diapers I still love his tunes to this day. If you’re curious, start with “Games People Play”, then “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home”. You’ll see what I’m saying… but back to the point of this blog: Joe South had a big hit in 1969 called “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”. It was covered by Elvis and dozens of others, and was arguably meant to address the social unrest of the times.

But I think Joe had something else on his mind. He admittedly was fond of certain drugs (hence the song “Coming Down All Alone), and I think that during one of his trips to places unknown he had A VISION.

I believe Joe saw into the future, saw that Wi-Fi professionals could be arrogant and assume the worst in each others’ installations, and it saddened him. THAT’S where the inspiration for “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” came from, says I. Don’t be so quick to walk into a building, find an AP mounted where YOU would never put it, and assume whoever did mount it there is an idiot guilty of… BAD-Fi.

If I could be you
And you could be me
For just one hour
If we could find a way
To get inside
Each other’s mind, mmm
If you could see you
Through your eyes
Instead of your ego
I believe you’d be
Surprised to see
That you’d been blind, mmm

See, Joe starts by saying “get off my case… I basically had no choice in this auditorium but to do it this way. I presented the best design, then got overruled by architects and interior design people. I wanted to use directional antennas and to not have APs be mounted flush to the wall. It is what it is, and it still works so get over your judgmental self.”

Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

This is where Joe says “yes, there is an AP closer to a big metal pipe than any of us would like. And guess what? THERE WAS NO OTHER PLACE TO PUT IT.”

Now your whole world
You see around you
Is just a reflection
And the law of karma
Says you’re gonna reap
Just what you sow, yes you will

Joe cautions us here- “sooner or later you too are going to have to put one more SSID than you’d like in the air, or to re-enable some crappy data rate and thus open your fool self up to the very stuff you ridicule others for”.

Ah preach on, Joe.

So unless
You’ve lived a life of
Total perfection
You’d better be careful
Of every stone
That you should throw, yeah

Yeah, brother. The Wi-Fi implementation world many of us live in is complex, imperfect, and doesn’t always map to the best practices that we’d like to be able to judiciously follow. If you’ve had the good fortune to never have to deviate from perfection, then you live a charmed life indeed.

Sing us out, Joe…

Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

Hear “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” by Joe South.

 

 

Introducing Netool.io Pro

Let’s get right to the cliche, as it’s unavoidable: good things sometimes come in small packages. Netool.io proved that a few years back when they introduced the original version of their feature-packed pocket-sized network analysis and support platform, and now with their Pro version I guess we can say BETTER things also come in small packages.

The Original

Netool.io is a small US-based company, and I have been following them since Day 1. They are responsive to customer requests, quick on the support response, and quite active in their development. The visual on the original white version, then the no-slip grip black, for reference:

netool

The quick value proposition for those not familiar: using Android or iOS apps, you connect to Netool.io via it’s built-in Wi-Fi, then rapidly demystify a slew of network goings on ranging from the config parameters of the Ethernet port you are connected to, overall information on the connected switch, key network performance indicators and more. The original feature set is detailed here.

Now, the Pro Model

With their initial offering, Netool.io proved that a legitimate piece of network support gear could fit in your pocket with room for your phone left over. Now, the company takes it up a significant notch with Netool.io Pro. The visual:

Note- the USB drive is NOT included, but I’m showing it connected as I was doing packet capture on my Netool.io Pro. That is one of the many features that came from the Standard version, and it worked very well in my test environment as part of the new platform. So what was added in Pro? The official feature overview is here, but the short version is configuration and automation interactions with network switches on an impressive level. From IF/THEN templates that can be imported and exported to other Netool.io devices (for supported switches) to log gathering and views to other configuration automation capabilities, the little Pro version looks to make it’s mark in an industry that is thirsty for labor saving (and error reducing) automation. It’s impressive to see this sort of capability in the Netool.io on top of everything else it can do, and the company has managed to make the UI fairly intuitive throughout- even for the more complicated operations.

There is a lot here to take in, but this video will help you to understand all that has been added in the pro edition:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkGhYP_qWL0

Here are the current supported switches, with more to be added as updates hit:

One wonderful thing about Netool.io: you buy high-function, fairly priced products, get a slew of features and capabilities (including Netool.cloud remote share if you choose to use it) without the headache and nickle-dime licence-heavy mentality of other toolmakers.

If you are in the business of network support at all, Netool.io should be of interest to you. And if your duties include switch configurations and automation is on your radar, the Pro version is definitely worth looking at.

Other screen grabs:

 

 

Intuitibits: New Name, Familiar Tools

wifi_explorer_pro_largeI’m guessing that if you gathered 100 wireless network engineers in a room, at least 50 of them would have the WiFi Explorer Pro application on a Macbook. And I’m also guessing that like 35 of those 50 would actually use it frequently in their WLAN support and troubleshooting duties. It’s a great tool, written by a talented fellow. And that’s where the story line of this blog begins.

Adrian Granados- THAT Adrian Granados

Let’s clear something up straightaway. THIS Adrian Granados will kick your ass:

boxer Adrian

While THE OTHER Adrian Granados is the genius behind some damn good wireless tools:
Do-You-Have-a-Mac-Adrian-Granados-WLPC-Phoenix-2018

I would recommend not confusing the two. I’d also encourage you to say hello to Wireless Adrian if you ever get the chance at an industry event because he’s just a nice gentleman.

And… he wrote WiFi Explorer Pro.
And… he continually improves it.
And… he wrote a bunch of other excellent tools. Like Airtool, Transfer, and WiFi Signal.

Introducing Intuitibits, Headed up by Adrian Granados

Intuitibits is a new company, with Granados at the helm. In their own words:

We create the most intuitive, easy-to-use Mac tools for home users and wireless professionals looking to monitor, validate and troubleshoot wireless networks.

I can vouch for that description, as I’ve used these tools in a number of settings. They tend to hit that the elusive sweet spot where you don’t have to be a WLAN expert to get value from them, but they go the distance for those of us who are experts. I recently sat through the Wireless Adjuster course, where Intuitibits’ WiFi Explorer Pro features prominently in the course materials. I was impressed with WiFI explorer before the course, and was even more so after having it’s deeper capabilities revealed during the training.

Possibly the Best Value Among WLAN Tools Out There

Intuitibits’ products are effective, for sure- but they are also priced for all. With affordability in mind, nothing is lost for support (the rare times you may need it), and it’s not uncommon to see WLAN pros using these tools before their more expensive ones in troubleshooting.

I wish all at Intuitibits good fortune as they begin their journey. And I can’t wait to see what’s next in the product line.

 

 

 

What I Took Away From the Wireless Adjuster Course

This course comes from Divergent Dynamics, taught by none other than Devin Akin. I have been following the story line of Wireless Adjuster since before it was unleashed, and here is some background if you have any interest:

Now that I have actually sat through the two-day course myself, let me share my impressions.

Wireless Adjuster Fills a Need

There is vendor training out there for wireless networking, and there is the excellent Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) program (reminder that I am CWNE #200 and current member of the CWNE advisory board). But I have yet to see a really good, practical, hands-on training course that looks to equip a broad cross-section of wireless troubleshooters with the mindset and experience to use tools that almost anyone can afford to find perhaps 90% of likely WLAN-side problems.

Wireless Adjuster Complements Other Courses

Regardless of your past training and proficiency with wireless analysis (like CWAP), survey tools (like Ekahau) and basic foundational knowledge (vendor training, CWNA), Wireless Adjuster re-enforces and introduces some pretty key best-practice (and exceptions to best practices) philosophy for a range of WLAN situations. Combine what you get out of Wireless Adjuster with what you already think you know, and you’ll be living larger as an analysis professional, I promise.

Wireless Adjuster Shows Just How Powerful WiFi Explorer Pro Really Is

WiFi Explorer Pro is already widely appreciated among WLAN professionals as an easy-to-use, huge-bang-for-the-buck WLAN analysis tool. It doesn’t NEED to be the main tool used in Wireless Adjuster to gain recognition, but the way it is used in the course will make you appreciate WiFi Explorer Pro even more. Devin does a nice job introducing aspects of the tool you may not be aware of, and uses it as a bona fide troubleshooting suite that competes with any tool out there. When you consider the integrations supported with MetaGeek’s dBx adapters, WLANPi, and other external devices, it’s fairly mind blowing that WiFi Explorer Pro can be had for under $100. To me, this is the best value out there among WLAN support tools.

Wireless Adjuster Exposes Just How Defective the WLAN Standards Are in Spots

I would love for anyone involved with developing 802.11 standards and the entire Wi-Fi Alliance staff to sit through Wireless Adjuster. Throughout the class, you’ll see example after example of how optional parts of the various standards cause a lot of performance problems in various WLAN settings. You see real-world examples of the cost of the IEEE 802.11 groups being hung up on backwards compatibility. You learn why many of the sexy, hyper-marketed aspects of 802.11, .ac. and .ax sound great in promotional material, but flat-out suck in the real world. Devin finds fault with none of it, and is far more of a gentleman about it than I am. He methodically and objectively guides you through this odd reality through real live examples that you analyze for yourself.

Having taken Wireless Adjuster, I’m now even more taken aback than I have ever been  about how out of sync with reality the IEEE 802.11 folks, the Wi-Fi Alliance, and many WLAN vendors are with real-world WLAN performance. It’s pretty freakin’ unreal, says I. Don’t agree? I’ll fight you, and I’ll fight dirty.

Wireless Adjuster Is Fairly Captivating

I will freely admit that I am a far better instructor than I am a student. I have a recognized track record of being good at teaching, dating back to my time in the US Air Force instructor school. But put me on the other side of the equation and I get bored easy as a student. I daydream. I doodle. I multitask, and do a fairly poor job of it. But for the almost twenty hours of Wireless Adjuster time, I was pretty much riveted. The discussion was fantastic, the examples are relatable, and even though I’m a certified “expert” I learned once again that I don’t know it all. Wireless Adjuster commanded my attention (despite taking the course remotely), and I finished the training with a todo list of things to go examine on my own networks.

Final Word: Time Well Spent

When it comes to technical training, I want VALUE. I don’t want to spend a day getting a half-hour’s worth of actionable information. Wireless Adjuster hits that sweet spot where newer wireless folks and vets like myself can both benefit greatly from the materials, the exercises, and especially the discussion throughout the course. I’m glad I took the class, and I highly recommend it.

 

 

How NOT to Fly Drones

Permit me to stray off path here, this will not be about wireless networking.

Drones have become immensely popular among hobbyists and ever more useful in a range of business and emergency response situations. It’s fairly amazing to be able to mail order what amounts to a legitimate aircraft, take it out of the box, and put it up into the sky.

Which brings us to the problem. Actually several of them.

Lots of Use Cases

But first- some context. If you zoom out and consider the current “drone landscape”, you’ll find a fairly diverse ecosystem, There are hundreds of individuals out there flying drones professionally, making their full-time living at surveys, mapping, inspections, and a range of other applications. Then there are people like me… we have other day jobs, but also became FAA-certified as Part 107 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) pilots like the full-timers so we can legally do occasional drone work for pay. Both groups have demonstrated understanding of the rules of drone flight, and how our aircraft fit into the larger picture of all aircraft peacefully co-existing as part of a controlled system.

Finally, we those other people. If you are interested in getting into drones, you don’t want to be one of those other people. Let’s talk about them, and the associated problems they create.

The Stupid Runs Thick

Back to the fact that you can spend some money and have a powerful drone delivered to your doorstep. I don’t mean powerful in the military sense, but more so in the capabilities of the everyday drones a newbie might get into. Offerings from Autel Robotics (my current fleet),  DJI, and others in the mainstream market can go real high, real far, real fast, and take amazing photos and video. Anyone can get one, and better models are introduced frequently. Those other people love them.

They love them in the stupidest ways.

I’m in several drone-related community forums. Some are for commercial pilots where the dialogue is about aircraft safety, regulations, business opportunities, and the future of the industry. Other forums are pure hobbyist, and where those other people weave tales of stupidity that make those of us who know better cringe. Here you’ll find several recurring themes:

  • I unboxed my new bird and immediately did a “range test” to see how high and far I could push it. (YouTube has no shortage of these.)
  • My new expensive drone just FELL OUT OF THE SKY and boy am I pissed at the manufacturer.
  • My new expensive drone JUST UP AND FLEW AWAY and boy am I pissed at the manufacturer.
  • I don’t know how to do some basic feature that the user manual covers very well.
  • Look at these awesome shots I took at this place, where I really shouldn’t have been flying.

You’re probably starting to get a feel for those other people. They do irresponsible drone things that give us all a bad reputation. They don’t learn how to use their own equipment after dropping sometimes a couple of grand, and when something goes wrong it is automatically the manufacturer’s fault. They fly WHERE they want, WHEN they want, and they damn sure don’t care that by regulation you are not supposed to recreationally fly above 400′ AGL (above ground level) and are also not supposed to let the drone get out of your sight lest the drone run into trouble that the operator can’t see coming (hence the problem with range tests). Nor do they understand that the control signals between the drone and the controller are usually in 2.4 GHz, fairly low power, and subject to interference if you fly around Wi-Fi networks and such.

Know Right From Wrong

You can be new to drones and not become one of those other people. It’s pretty easy to stay legal, and keep your craft from FLYING AWAY or FALLING OUT OF THE SKY. Here’s how:

  • Know that any drone you buy is likely going to be subject to FAA regulation, even if you aren’t a certified drone pilot. Start here. Register your drones and start off legal.
  • Know that collisions DO happen between drones and other aircraft. See this.
  • Read the manuals that come with your drone, before you fly. Highlight areas that maybe aren’t clear to you and research them until you get it. Watch the countless online tutorials for any drone.
  • Do all of the required software/firmware updates associated with the drone, the controller, your apps, and even the batteries on some models.
  • Do all of the initial calibrations required-  control sticks, camera gimbal, etc.
  • Practice in a safe area before you get it up there high and far.
  • Don’t fly where you are likely to compete with Wi-Fi signals.
  • Never fly over people.
  • Know that many parks are off-limits, because those people have done stupid things to warrant the restrictions.
  • Join the user forums for your drone, but know that they are populated by many of those people.
  • Don’t be a jerk with your drone. There are enough of them out there already.

Happy flying!

 

 

Catching Up With Devin Akin- and the Wireless Adjuster Training Course

Late last year, I got wind of a new WLAN training option being developed. The course name was curious- Wireless Adjuster. It was the brainchild of long-time wireless pro Devin Akin, and it got a lot of people curious early on. I wrote about it then when it was still a twinkle in Devin’s eye. Now that the course has been running, several people who have attended it have spoken highly of their experiences with Wireless Adjuster.

Being gonzo, I wanted to find out how Devin himself thinks Wireless Adjuster has been going. After all, the last several months have rocked our collective world in a number of ways, and his baby was just getting started when the pandemic and all of it’s ripple effects hit.

Follow along for Devin’s answers to my questions.

 Hey brother, how’s the new course going? How’s the demand?

The interest is extremely high, but attendance is only modest. Many folks tell me that they want to attend but cannot due to lack of funds – whether personal funds or company funds. I can certainly understand that. Most employees rely on their employers for training funds, and when companies are furloughing and laying employees off, it’s hard to justify training funds. The monetary situation doesn’t make the training any less needed, but cuts have to be made somewhere, right? Most of the folks who take the class take the exam, and I’ve had unbelievably good feedback on the difficulty level and accuracy of the exam. Positive feedback on an exam is reassuring. It took many weeks to write the exam pools, so I’m glad to see that it’s being well-received.

It looks like you’ve really hit on something with Wireless Adjuster. Tell me, has COVID19 rocked your world too badly for the course?

Yes, without a doubt. I taught in-person classes until the middle of March, and within three days of the international travel restrictions, three months’ of classes had vanished. I quickly pivoted the courseware to online, and online classes have been a big hit. Every student (globally) who had paid for the in-person class has (or is about to) attend the online class. For those who paid for an in-person class, I am allowing them to sit both the online and in-person classes for the one payment. That has been extremely popular. Once we’re allowed to travel and host in-person classes again, I expect demand to be strong, and I look forward to seeing all of those who have taken online classes.

Let’s hope we all find some normalcy again soon. In general, what skill levels are you seeing across those taking Wireless Adjuster?

While the target audience is post-CWNA (whether holding the certification or not) level attendees, I’ve found that about 25% of my students are CWNEs. I have been very surprised by this. Additionally, the CWNE feedback shows that along the path to the CWNE certification, much best practice assessment, remediation, optimization, and troubleshooting knowledge has been missed. That proves that my understanding of knowledge gaps in the industry were not misguided, which I’m exceedingly happy about. About 50% of attendees are the target market of post-CWNA, and the feedback there is usually very similar: that the Wireless Adjuster training program is hitting it’s intended mark as a hands-on preparatory step toward CWAP and CWSP certifications. What I find quite amusing is that post-CWNA students often do better on the exam than CWNEs. I currently attribute this to post-CWNA’s not overthinking the exam questions. The remaining 25% are a hodgepodge consisting of folks who are certification-averse, mom-and-pop shop WiFi engineers who need to understand practical troubleshooting and optimization better, and folks who were simply curious as to what the program is all about.

That’s pretty interesting. How you found that your original vision for Wireless Adjuster has needed to be tweaked at all?

Original vision, no. Content delivery, yes. The two beta classes were extremely valuable in honing the course material to achieve its goals. The original (and current) vision for the Wireless Adjuster program is to teach and certify engineers on WiFi best practice assessment, remediation, optimization, and troubleshooting. It was designed to sit directly between CWNA and the professional levels CWSP and CWAP. The primary goal, as it relates to the CWNP Program is to assist post-CWNA students prepare for the depth of theory of professional level exams by giving them hands-on experience with inexpensive tools in modest complexity level WiFi environments. Student feedback tells me that it is achieving these goals.

It’s always nice to get that feedback. What do you think the biggest value is shaping up to be for those taking Wireless Adjuster?

I can only go by what I’m told by students who have completed the class, and so far, the biggest ROIs on taking the classes are: 1) Moving dysfunctional networks to functional (without the need for surveys or redesign), and 2) immediate optimization of modest-performance networks (given several dozen best practices). For administrators, it’s their own network, but for consultants (e.g. systems integrators) it may be many customer networks.

Let me put you on the spot. You’ve been in this business a long time, but I’m guessing that you’ve also learned a thing or two on the Wireless Adjuster journey. Tell me about that.

That’s an insightful question. There is one primary lesson that I have learned along the Wireless Adjuster journey, and everything else is a distance second place.

When I go to a customer site, and they tell me “my network sucks,” I don’t start with a site survey or a redesign. I start with a $100 WiFi scanner and assess best practice adherence via a standardized triage process. If the customer is using max output power, 80MHz channels everywhere, not using any DFS channels, have misconfigured Beacon Interval or DTIM periods, have QoS or security misconfigurations, have high channel utilization utilization all of the time, or any of 50+ other items, I don’t need a survey to tell me that their network sucks – I can already see that. A best practices assessment takes minutes, not days. Once best practices are dealt with, THEN the customer MAY need a survey or redesign, but in many cases they do not. Many of my customers simply want their terrible WiFi network to be functional at a modest level with minimal time and cost. You can achieve that in 95% of cases with just a scanner. The trick is knowing how to use the scanner really well. It like to say that a good scanner is like the world’s best WiFi Swiss Army knife. It has hundreds of blades, and you need to know what each does and how/when to use it. You can’t saw a tree down with a Swiss Army knife, but you can cut down the twigs that are in your way. You can’t build a house with a Swiss Army knife, but you could build a tent with it. It’s surprising how many networks can reach an acceptable level of optimization only using a WiFi scanner and knowledge of the 802.11 protocol.

WiFi scanners can assess algorithms like load balancing, band steering, DFS event response, Auto RF, protection ripple, and even Smart PoE. It’s not always about what the scanner can see, but also about what you can infer from what the scanner sees. It’s a learning process, and that’s what the class is all about. Starting with a $5,000 tool and taking 5 days to do what you can do with a $100 tool in 15 minutes seems silly to me. Certainly the WiFi design and survey tools on the market are very important and have their place, but they should not be the initial go-to tool for best practice assessment, remediation, optimization, and troubleshooting. The Wireless Adjuster course focuses on the 802.11 protocol and use of advanced WiFi scanners to achieve remarkable results quickly and inexpensively.

I agree with you on the “lesser” tools absolutely having their place. Let’s finish with this:  What do you want people in the market for wireless training to know first and foremost about Wireless Adjuster?

If you have a base level of WiFi knowledge, and you want to dig into the protocol and best practice assessment, remediation, optimization, and troubleshooting, you will get a concentrated dose of it over the two days of this class. The first day is understanding a large list of WiFi best practices and deep familiarization with a leading WiFi scanner through a half day of lab time. The second day is 100% lab time, where ten real-world labs of increasing complexity and differing types are presented to the student. After each lab, there is a group discussion of findings and solutions, e.g. what misconfiguration may have resulted in which symptoms. By the end of the second day, students are diagnosing layers of misconfigurations and explaining why the symptoms exist. The Wireless Adjuster course is the most real-world best practices assessment and WiFi network optimization class on the market today.


A big thank you to Devin for his time and thoughts. I gotta see for myself, now. I’ll be doing Wireless Adjuster soon myself, and will do a follow-up blog afterwards.

Have you attended Wireless Adjuster training? Please share your thoughts here, and thanks for reading.

Psst- Buddy… Want a Good Deal on an AirCheck G2?

SOLD!

SOLD!

SOLD!

Sometimes you get lucky and a good deal comes your way. Pretty much everyone  in the business of professional Wi-Fi is at least familiar with the AirCheck G2 from NetAlly, but here’s a quick visual if you need a reminder.

001AirCheck-G2

Yeah… we’re talking about THAT AirCheck G2. It is one of the Cadillac tools for WLAN support available right now, and I get endless value out of mine. If you are in the market, have I got an opportunity for you.

A great fellow named Mohammad Ali, or simply Ali to many of us, has an AirCheck G2 to move along. Ali is CWNE #375, and he blogs often at artofrf.com. Ali is active in the wireless community, and can be found on Twitter at @malief46 

So… why does Ali have a new AirCheck G2 to sell at a decent price? I happened to watch it all unfold, and it was glorious. Back in February, at the best wireless conference in the world, I heard the golden voice of Keith Parson announce

“…and the winner of the AirCheck G2 is… ALI!”

I wasn’t the only one green with envy… green like the AirCheck G2 itself. What an awesome prize to win. Anyhow, Ali needs to move it along out of personal necessity, and it is basically new. He has checked into it with NetAlly, and AllyCare can be added to this unit the same as if you bought it on the market, so no problem getting access to software updates.

Ali is asking $1,500. contact him with a DM on Twitter, or email at mali27 on gmail. Or- contact me directly and I can share Ali’s phone number.

Awesome guy, awesome, tool, awesome deal.

do it

NetAlly Adds WLAN Survey Capabilities to Etherscope nXG

Step right up and don’t be shy
Because you will not believe your eyes
It’s right here behind the glass
And you’re gonna like it
‘Cause it’s got class

(Apologies to the The Tubes for butchering up “She’s a Beauty”)

It’s not a stretch to say that the Etherscope nXG has class. It feels good in your hand. And it tells you A LOT. It tells you things that you may not have realized you even needed to know about your LAN and wireless networks. And with every firmware release, it gets more powerful. Like a magic network Jedi in a well-put together hand-held tester.

I watched the Etherscope nXG make it’s debut mid-last last year. And then I saw it get better before 2019 gave way to 2020. Now, we see yet another update to this uber-capable analysis platform, with one particular feature I want to focus on:
Etherscope1

This is such a handy add, as it brings an important and very useful graphical element to the gathering and reporting of Wi-Fi signals with the new AirMapper functionality. Here’s just a tiny taste from my own environment:
etherscope3

Remember- this tool also works the LAN like a boss (including mGig switching environments), does the same thorough WLAN support that we’ve all come to appreciate from predecessor tools like the AirCheck G2, and now is making it’s way into wireless survey duties-  expanding the synergies between the powerful Link-Live cloud repository and the Etherscope nXG.

A quick video on AirMapper is here, and longer overview on the full suit of features in the latest Etherscope nXG is here.

It’s probably obvious that I’m a fan of both NetAlly and Etherscope nXG. One thing I have come to appreciate with the vendor and the tools is that they only gets better, with improved functionality always on the horizon. To that point, the current AirMapper abilities are the first step for the feature, with more coming within a few months. For example, NetAlly expects  to release interference heatmaps at the end of May to show both co-channel and adjacent-channel interference. We’ll also see AirMapper for the AirCheck G2, and both AirCheck and EtherScope will become collectors for AirMagnet SurveyPro.

Given the impact that the current crisis is having on networking budgets, it’s really nice to see a tool like this truly become an investment as more features are added.