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DHCP for Wireless LAN Clients

For us wireless folks that aren’t stellar routing and switching guys, one of the most daunting network tasks is integrating our WLAN infrastructure with the existing wired infrastructure and its services. Understanding wired design topics is pretty fundamental to installing or managing any network, so it really should be on our priority list to spruce up those skills. To give you a nudge on your journey, let’s talk about Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) for wireless clients.

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Device Identification with a Spectrum Analyzer

Detecting and identifying radio transmitters in the Wi-Fi bands is an art. Gaining skill at this art requires knowledge and practice. Thankfully, there are tools that help us along the way by providing automated device identification, and those tools are becoming more sophisticated. But, there are different ways to skin the proverbial cat, and as new methods and features for device identification come to market, understanding how they work is the first step in determining their value. Let's take a quick look at the different ways to identify and classify RF transmitters with a spectrum analyzer.

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HT Duplicate (MCS 32) and non-HT Duplicate

Just when you think you pretty much understand 802.11n, you turn the corner and realize there’s more to learn. This time, the topic was non-HT duplicate and HT duplicate. I’d read before about the non-HT Duplicate format, but I had never realized that there is also an HT Duplicate format, which is the use of MCS 32. I'd like to document how they work and what they're for, even if I'm the only one who cares.

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802.11n and MIMO Are Not Synonymous

One of the most commonly confused concepts in 802.11n is the use of multiple input, multiple output (MIMO). There’s a ton of technical detail to understand in 802.11n, and for everyday network management, most of it is beyond the realm of necessary information. For us non-degreed engineers (what I call a pseudo-engineer), it’s easy to get lost in the numbers, formulas, and diversity schemes of 802.11n, but MIMO is a basic concept that networking folks should understand well.

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Aerohive, Big on Distinction (BoD)

…or is it Branch on Demand (BoD)? Either way, Aerohive announced the birth of a new child in their product family: the branch router, or AP, or router, or AP router. It’s the offspring of their cloud management offering, their distributed wireless architecture, and their Pareto acquisition in early 2011. Call it a branch in a box, or something like that.

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802.11s Whitepaper with Jerome Henry

A good friend of mine and real-deal wireless expert, Jerome Henry, just completed a new whitepaper on 802.11s. 802.11s covers mesh networking protocols within the 802.11 wireless standard. You should read this paper.

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Benefits of Newer WLAN Products (Other than Speed)

Because wireless networking speeds are usually lame when compared with wired networking speeds, we often celebrate and focus primarily on speed enhancements when new Wi-Fi products and standards hit the market. 802.11g is 5x faster than 802.11b. The 802.11n spec offers more than 10x the data rate of 802.11a/g. But, if we’re too narrow, we miss a number of other important features that come with hardware upgrades.

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Review of CCIE Wireless v2 Written BETA

I sat for the CCIE Wireless v2 Written BETA exam last Thursday (10/6). I went in cold turkey, no studying. For me, the exam had a twofold purpose; the first was to do a bit of recon on the exam itself for my own future study prep, and the second was to evaluate and learn from the exam quality since I am in the exam and content business.

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Interesting Wi-Fi Use Case: Trail Cameras

I just had to write this blog because I’m an outdoorsman (hunt, fish, camp, etc.) and Wi-Fi is showing up there. I spend many mornings and evenings in the fall season up in a tree, bow hunting. If you’re not familiar with the practice, bow hunting season begins in the fall (October 1, in Michigan), but if you’re really avid, you spend time in the spring and summer scouting likely deer trails, bedding and feeding areas, scrapes, rubs, transitions, etc. Given my interest in the wild places, I also subscribe to Field & Stream magazine, which recently featured a “Gear Tip” highlighting the use of Wi-Fi enabled trail cameras.

A lot of hunters get worked up about deer, so they mount trail cameras in strategic locations in the woods trying to catch a glimpse (and hopefully understand the patterns) of a big buck. The trail cameras use infrared and heat sensors to detect an animal and trigger a snapshot or short video of the animal. In the past, hunters had to periodically check on the physical camera and download the pictures from the memory card. But in our modern era, who wants to travel all the way to each trail camera in the woods when radio waves can travel for us?

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Upgrading to Intel Ultimate-N 6300

Last week, I swapped my old-ish Intel 4965 802.11n PCIe mini adapter for a hot new Intel 6300 PCIe half mini card. Good news. My update was a success…so far. I learned a few things along the way that could be helpful to someone else out there running Windows on a Lenovo laptop.

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