Category Archives: Troubleshooting

A Little PCAP Reader for iOS+ Meraki Remote Capture = Handy

I had been pecking away at a problem at a remote site, where phantom ringing was driving staff nuts on their Ring Central VoIP phones. I’ll spare you all the nasty things I want to say about the frailty of Ring Central phones and try to stay on topic… These devices are clients on a Meraki network, which means that you can capture their packets remotely, while doing analysis locally.

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It’s a nice feature, as it really helps you to exercise a common network troubleshooting task that traditionally requires you to be within the network environment to carry out. I had left the office, and my Wireshark-equipped workstation behind for the day, but found myself with free time, my iPad, and the phantom ringing problem on my mind.

Hmmm. I wonder if there are any PCAP-related apps for iOS? I doubt it, but what the hell… Let’s take a look and see if there is anything I can break down those remote capture files with… If I had my PC with Wireshark on it I wouldn’t need this… But all I have is my iPad… Let’s see.. 

Whoa- what’s this?

It’s an app for iOS called Telluric, and it reads (to a certain extent) packet capture files. It doesn’t do 802.11 radio header stuff. It doesn’t actually CAPTURE packets. You can’t really do display filtering or fancy stuff like Wireshark can. But it does do a decent job when no other tools are available, provided you have access to remote packet capture and local download (or can have someone send you a pcap file).

Sure, it’s a niche app of limited value. But it helped me find the source of my problem when I had no other real options:

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It’s time for a firewall rule. Sorry, Mr. Vicious.

(I do know that there are online resources for dumping and analyzing packet capture files. Don’t ruin the mood.)

 

 

NetAlly Drops Major Update for EtherScope nXG

It’s curious how we get accustomed to change, and how that which has changed suddenly feels normal. Remember back to the beloved original yellow AirCheck from Fluke Networks? For awhile it was the handheld tester of choice for WLAN professionals, and it built on Fluke Networks’ strength in putting huge amounts of testing and characterization capabilities in palm-friendly devices. Pair that with the original yellow LinkRunner for wired networks and you were equipped for just about anything you needed to do for daily support of LAN/WLAN environments.

Ch-ch-changes…

But yellow became green, and that part of Fluke Networks became Netscout. The old favorites were superseded by G2 versions of both the LinkRunner and the AirCheck with updated capabilities, and we all also got used to that paradigm. Daily use, occasional system updates, lots of problems solved… life simply went on- for a while.

But more change is inevitable, and a few months ago it hit again for these handy hand-helds. This time the color survived the corporate metamorphosis, but a new logo would end up on our tools as NetAlly was born as a spin-off from NetScout. I trust you all remember the big news at Mobility Field Day 4… That was in August, and as I write this it’s December of 2019- only a few months into NetAlly’s existence. As I bang this blog out, I’m looking at the AirCheck and Link Runner G2s on my desk, along with the NetAlly flagship EtherScope nXG. (I wrote about the new tester here, and my fellow Field Day delegate Haydn Andrews provided some thoughts as well).

NetAlly- Already Feeling Less “New”

It’s only been around 100 days or so since NetAlly has been a company, and I’ve barely had the EtherScope nXG in hand for maybe 65 of those days. Yet that old insidious change effect has already settled in. NetAlly doesn’t feel so new to the tongue anymore, and the EtherScopenXG has already become a trusted friend… a go-to force multiplier for my initial wired and wireless network issues and questions. It’s still impressive, but no longer feels exotic.

Now, NetAlly has announced version 1.1 code for the EtherScope nXG.

And so the cycle we got used to with Fluke Networks and then NETSCOUT continues- where good products get better with frequent updates and nice adds/enhancements.

Grass has never grown under this family of testers, and now NetAlly brings us a bag o’ new capabilities in 1.1 as detailed here: EtherScope nXG v1.1 Release Notes – Final.

I have no doubt that the enhancements are only just beginning on NetAlly’s flagship tester.

 

New Wireless Certification Coming From a Familiar Name

If you have been in the business of wireless networking for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard of Devin Akin. Perhaps you’ve bumped into him at any one of several leading wireless network vendors where he has worked through the years.  Maybe you sat in one of the many courses he teaches- if you did, you certainly came away smarter. Or maybe you’ve debated him on religion or politics on Twitter… Devin is a passionate guy, and he is as outgoing as they come. I personally have not agreed with him on everything we’ve ever talked about, but that  falls under the heading of The Spice of Life in my opinion.

When it come to sheer depth of wireless knowledge, Devin is a Titan.

I mentioned Devin in the context of training. He’s certainly done a lot of training through the years, and he’s been teasing out something new for those in the market for wireless training that’s coming in early 2020.

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Intriguing, no?

I’ve been chatting with Devin on the side a bit, and will be covering his new course more in-depth when he’s ready to turn it loose (I may even contribute a bit to it, if I can remember to send him my input), but in the meantime I wanted to share what he is saying about it publicly so far:

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Interesting- a practical lab-based approach built on excellent but inexpensive tools. As for “no lecture”… You get Devin talking about wireless and there is guaranteed to be in-depth discussion along the way. Let’s say that I expect “informal lecture” of a high quality!

Anyhow, now you know what I know, and I’ll share more as it comes out. Course frequency, cost, duration and locations are going to be questions on everyone’s minds, along with a deeper understanding of course goals and objectives.

Standby by for more, and best of luck to Devin as he gets Wireless Adjuster off the ground.