A weekly podcast about wireless network engineering. Wireless topics on education, wireless design, tips, interviews with other wireless engineers, tech news about wireless, and the products we configure. A podcast for any wireless professional or enthusiast.
CTS 275: What’s in Your APoS Kit?
A common question we get and see on the CTS Slack is what equipment we have in our AP-on-a-Stick (APoS) kit?
In this episode, we discuss the core components of our APoS kit including the tripod, AP stand, casters, cases, etc.
The most common question about APoS is the tripod. Which one should you get depends on how high you want your AP to go. There are various types of tripods from painters poles to specialized tripods that can go up to 40 feet high.
For example, take a look at this Neewer light stand (affiliate link). It can go up to 8.5 feet. One thing to consider may be casters for easy movement but that is your preference. It’s possible to get extenders as well for additional height. I use a Manfrotto 3-section extension pole (affiliate link) for an additional 7.6 feet.
Take a look at Manfrotto’s 12 foot tripod (affiliate link) too. It’s a good combination with the 3-section pole and will provide you with most of the heights you need.
If you need additional height, then you may want to look at the Vantage tripod which can extend up to 40 feet! I’ve used this in a warehouse and found it incredibly useful. There was no need for a scissor lift.
Now that you have your tripod, you need to mount your access point to something. That’s where the WiFi Stand bracket comes into play. I use the XL version and it will hold the majority of access points.
Speaking of WiFi Stand, you can grab a full kit with all the components you need. Just take a look at all the options.
Listen to the whole episode to hear what else we include in our APoS kit!
CTS 274: Designing Wi-Fi for Lecture Halls
Designing Wi-Fi for university lecture halls can be challenging. From dealing with BYOD, high density, aesthetics, and more.. How do you tackle it? What should you consider? And what will the results be?
There are many challenges to consider such as high density, high capacity, BYOD, aesthetics, application usage, and more. All must be considered in the design. In our experience, it is best to communicate with multiple people – building manager, professors, etc.
If you’re looking for a partner to work with on your next Wi-Fi project. Reach out to us. Rowell & François are available for engagements from our respective companies: Packet6 or SemFio Networks.
In this episode we discuss a specific scenario where over 1000 devices associated to Wi-Fi and brought it to it’s knees. This lecture hall had a seat capacity of 498 people.
When it comes to Wi-Fi design in lecture halls, we use Ekahau for the design so we can determine capacity. After determining installation possibilities, we identify the antenna we want to use. Our preference is to use directional antennas to shape signal over areas of the lecture hall. We avoid omnidirectional antennas because of the propagation pattern. Even in a lecture hall, the signal from directional antennas will still spread over the room.
We take the seat capacity to determine how many devices we can expect to see in the lecture hall. We will want to multiply that number by the number of devices each person typically carries. For example, if the room capacity is 500 and everyone has 2 devices, then we may expect 1000 total devices.
But not everyone uses both devices simultaneously. That’s when we determine a “take rate”. How many devices we believe will be using the Wi-Fi network. Maybe out of the 1000 devices the take rate is 80%? Around 800 devices. You have to determine what that number is.
Additionally, you must consider any applications that will be used. We add all these details into Ekahau for capacity planning to find out if we will exceed capacity or not.
Listen to the episode to hear the full conversation!
Here are a few photos and screenshots for context
Here’s a look at one of the access points before optimizations were made. The screenshots were taken from Cisco Prime.
Here is the result after making a channel change and optimizing transmit power.
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CTS 273 – Fortinet at MFD6
In this episode, we talk about what updates Fortinet brings to Mobility Field Day 6.
Fortinet reminds us that they have a full stack offering with security first. We like to call it their FortiOffering. Security is always at the heart of their solutions.
They have products to answer a lot of needs – Very scalable.
* FortiGate (NGFW) –* Access Points* Switches* NAC* SD-WAN
And for Wi-Fi, they have the ability for the Fortigate to be a wireless controller or have have APs on site and managed in the cloud. But if the business isn’t quite ready to scale, they also have Wi-Fi solutions for SMBs.
Fortinet is bringing more of their security solutions closer to the edge, specifically on the access points. Fortiguard services at the edge integrated into an AP (UTP). It will include web filtering, IPS, Anti botnet, app control and antivirus before the traffic hits the wire. It’s UTM at an SSID level.
What are your thoughts on bringing security closer to the users and directly on the access point? Let us know in the comments below.
CTS 272: NetAlly’s BLE Survey & LANBERT
NetAlly continues to add features to their existing handheld tools. In this episode, we’re going to take a look at two features for the EtherScope nXG, the BLE survey and LANBERT which was showcased at Mobility Field Day 6.
BLE is integrated into more and more APs nowadays (Mist, Aruba, Meraki…). BLE is leveraged for a lot of applications that we start to see being integrated into the WLAN infrastructure (Location, proximity tracing …). There are tools to do BLE design but not all of them can validate. We usually rely on the vendor tool to assess the BLE signal.
With the EtherScope nXG, you can do a BLE survey and validate the BLE coverage. The EtherScope collects information from different types of beacons: Eddystone UID, Eddystone URL and iBeacon. And this is done while performing a Wi-Fi survey.
LANBERT is a tool to assess the quality of transmission and available bandwidth of a cable or fiber. It measures the transmission of line rate Ethernet frames over your network cabling infrastructure. It’s a better way to do cable testing. It’s not just a simple pass/fail model. It shows the SNR and which speed will be supported. Noise is measured coming from ESD, crosstalk or EMF.
Tests can be done over a longer period to detect any sporadic interference. You can make sure that your multi-gig link will link and stay at a multi-gig speed.
CTS 271 – Ventev VenVolt 2 at MFD6
A new release that has both of us excited is the VenVolt 2 from Ventev. We do quite a number of AP-on-a-Stick surveys that require a portable battery pack for an access point. The previous VenVolt provided a lot of runtime when it came to the battery. But the unit itself was rather large and heavy.
The latest version, VenVolt 2, comes with a lot of welcomed updates. First off, it has a USB type C input and output (60W). So not only can you utilize an existing cable you might have, but you can also charge any other USB-C devices out of this port. For example, charging your Macbook Pro won’t be a problem with the VenVolt 2.
The battery itself is 26,400mAh / 98Wh Lithium Polymer battery. This battery can provide quite the power for an extended amount of time. The PoE ports onboard can provide 802.3af/at/bt. Pretty much covers nearly all access points out there. The VenVolt 2 can even power two PoE devices at once!
When it comes to charging the VenVolt 2, it will take approximately 3 hours to full charge. With that full charge, you can expect 7 hours and 43 minutes battery life when a Cisco 9120 (EWC) is connected running at full power. For a Cisco 3802e running mobility express, it will run for 5 hours and 54 minutes at full power.
The VenVolt 2 is absolutely portable. It fits right into a backpack and has a USB port so you can charge your mobile devices while you’re on the go. Just check out the MFD6 video for yourself.
CTS 270: MFD6 – Juniper / Mist
At MFD6, Mist has released their framework for how to design Wi-Fi networks. There are many videos to go through with supporting content. Many more videos are in the works.
The Wi-Fi design framework was developed by Peter Mackenzie. There’s a lot of great information on the site and they make it entertaining with characters such as Misty (the Mist personality) and Stanley (the old way of doing Wi-Fi personality).
A great presentation of how anyone can manage personal pre-shared keys using the Mist API was done by Thomas Munzer. He built a solution that can be self-service and managed. Additionally, the pre-shared keys can be used to identify devices. This could help solve the MAC randomization problem.
By automating the personal pre-shared key, one can use it to secure IoT devices without provisioning a dedicated SSID! There’s even a way to build lifecycle management of the pre-shared keys. Use the API to create and distribute the personal pre-shared key through a portal and also allow the user to manage their own pre-shared keys.
Very technical and informational, helped me a lot! ^_^👍👍
The Best by Far!
I’ve been listening to this podcast since September 2018, and I have to say it’s the most enjoyable technical podcast I’ve listened to by far. It’s so good in fact, I’ve gone back and listened to almost all of the old episodes as well. From interviews and current news, 802.11 basics to WiFi 6 deep dives, this one covers all the bases. If you are looking for a way to fill you commute and have a passion for Wireless Engineering, do yourself a favor and give this one a try.
Rowell and Francois, please keep the episodes coming!
Great Podcast for those commuting and wanting to become better Engineers
I've been listening to CTS for the last few months and its so refreshing. Sometimes as engineers we can get into a stride and comfortable. This podcast helped me get out and refocused about learning the ins and outs of 80211. Its so important for wireless engineers to be knowledgeable about our environment and Rowell/Francois help with focused episodes. Whether its the new stuff with ofdma, learning what it takes to be CWNE, or fundamentals of proper RF design, you will learn/refresh alot of information that will make you a better 802.11 engineer!