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Good Morning, We have noticed that after ~4 months the quality of our Cisco wireless network sours. We will get reports of poor wireless quality from users sitting directly under an access point. Often the WCS will report users on the access points with good dBm, but in reality the users can barely search the web. (I cannot remember if the average client SNR was looked at). The "solution" is to reboot the access point. So, we now are now talking about scheduling a reboot of all access points and controllers (4400s) every 3 months. While this may work to keep the problem at bay, it does not address two related questions. 1. Why is this happening? When I mentioned this behavior to a Cisco TAC, they said they had never heard of this before. As this has been our norm through multiple code and access point upgrades, I cannot believe this. 2. What are other schools using to monitor the quality of the wifi? I do not mean the rf interference quailty but instead a way to monitor of how well the access points are passing traffic, signal strength, average client SNR, etc? Thank you, -- Christina Christina Klam Network Administrator Institute for Advanced Study Email: cklam@ias.edu Einstein Drive Telephone: 609-734-8154 Princeton, NJ 08540 Fax: 609-951-4418 ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

I'm glad you asked this question. We seem to have the same issue though I had not thought of rebooting the APs & controllers to help it. I hate to do this to 3500 Cisco APs and 24 controllers, but I might try it. Hopefully, we will hear from other folks who can shed more light on this subject. -jcw ------------------------------------- John Watters    UA: OIT  205-348-3992
Www.7signal.com Caston Thomas InterWorks Sent from my iPhone 586.530.4981 mobile 248.608.0000 office
We have a much much smaller wireless network than you all at 200 Cisco fat AP's controlled with Aruba's Airwave product, but I have been noticing in the last several months the same type of behavior with our AP's. I have traditionally rebooted the AP's twice a year to clear out the memory and or during a firmware upgrade. In the past year I did not reboot the AP's and have begun to receive complaints of poor connectivity and throughput. A reboot of the AP fixes the problem. 

I have not contacted Cisco about this problem yet. 

Mike


Mike Hanson, CISSP
Network Security Manager
The College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, MN 55811



We use 7Signal (www.7signal.com) to continually test and compare performance against areas of campus.  Neat product, it’s been good at detecting issues, but even more useful in providing good feedback when we make changes to the wireless environment, such as dropping B support, etc.    They can do a lot (spectrum analysis, wifi monitoring, etc), but one of the basic features is that they act as clients, target specific AP’s and test attaching, login in, DHCP and then file and VOIP performance tests. 

 

(Don’t let their Health Care centric web page discourage you… J )

 

- Carl

 

From: The EDUCAUSE Wireless Issues Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WIRELESS-LAN@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Hanson, Mike
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 7:18 AM
To: WIRELESS-LAN@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [WIRELESS-LAN] WiFi Quality Monitoring

 

We have a much much smaller wireless network than you all at 200 Cisco fat AP's controlled with Aruba's Airwave product, but I have been noticing in the last several months the same type of behavior with our AP's. I have traditionally rebooted the AP's twice a year to clear out the memory and or during a firmware upgrade. In the past year I did not reboot the AP's and have begun to receive complaints of poor connectivity and throughput. A reboot of the AP fixes the problem. 

 

I have not contacted Cisco about this problem yet. 

 

Mike

 


Mike Hanson, CISSP
Network Security Manager
The College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, MN 55811

 

I know there have been multiple discussions regarding how schools deal with rogue APs connected to the campus network. However we have run into a different situation and I was wondering how other campuses are dealing with this. We have students who are purchasing their own internet service to their room through the local cable company, then installing their own AP on this network. While this does not carry the normal concerns associated with rogue APs there is the concern about the wireless interference created. I am curious to know what policies/procedures others have used to deal with this situation. Thank you Bruce Entwistle Network Manager University of Redlands ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
Our policy is to allow the AP unless it is causing interference with our wireless. Most home wireless plays nicely if you have them set the channel to auto. Our wireless - Ruckus - shifts the frequencies, radio strength and antenna patterns to alleviate much of any potential interference. The Ruckus we use has 16 antennas and uses dynamic beam-forming which definitely helps compared to the Cisco we used to have. Harry Rauch Sr. Network Analyst Eckerd College 4200 - 54th Ave S St. Petersburg, FL 33711
I am glad we are not alone in our experience with performance degradation over time. I will definitely take a look at 7Signal. It appears to do everything I requested. --Christina
Does 7Signals have any competitors out there? Certainly wireless gear has sensing capabilities, and there are some dedicated sensors out there, but that's all got an IDS focus to it. As I look around I don't see anyone else that's monitoring the wireless network and its performance from the point of view of a wireless client.
Not that I could find. I'd been looking for quite a while to find such a tool and none of the items out there tested from a client perspective. I talked to vendors like Aruba, Cisco, AirMagnet, Fluke, some resellers, etc and mentioned what I was looking for, none of them could do it, nor knew of a company that was doing it. The closest thing I found was Meru could take their AP's and switch it into client mode and test its neighbors. Airwave also has a cool client utility, but it's not widely used, my hope is they will do more with it. I was just about to develop a tool in house that would leverage our existing performance tools, the plan was to deploy some PC's in key locations and do some tests on a recurring schedule and alert on issues, I just started to play with that when I found 7Signal. 7Signal has some overlap with other tools, it can do Spectrum scanning, Rogue detection, etc, all handy to have btw, and could be worth it on their own merit. The ability to work as a client and report back on Association/Authentication/DHCP/File Transfer and VOIP metrics seems to be unique to them for now, and it provides a lot of good info both from a troubleshooting / pro-active response point of view, and as validation of parameter tweaking. Our initial deployment was one "Eye" per controller so that at a minimum we know the AP's / Controllers are operational. We choose high density areas for each controller to get the most benefit from the unit (Student Union, Library, etc). We are hoping to expand this year for additional coverage of other high density areas along with key classrooms. Carl Oakes California State University Sacramento -----Original Message----- From: The EDUCAUSE Wireless Issues Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:WIRELESS-LAN@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Adam Forsyth Sent: Friday, October 26, 2012 5:26 PM To: WIRELESS-LAN@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [WIRELESS-LAN] WiFi Quality Monitoring Does 7Signals have any competitors out there? Certainly wireless gear has sensing capabilities, and there are some dedicated sensors out there, but that's all got an IDS focus to it. As I look around I don't see anyone else that's monitoring the wireless network and its performance from the point of view of a wireless client.
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