Category Archives: Aruba

Using WiFi to find Someone?

inmates

How could WiFi Superman use his knowledge of 802.11 technologies to help apprehend the escapees of the Clinton Correctional Facility?  Well first we will need to suspend reality a bit as inmates get very limited access to the Internet and cell phones are strictly forbidden.  But in our little story let’s suppose that the accomplice of this love triangle, “Tillie” Mitchell, gave the escaped convicts her smart phone.

So at the Clinton Correctional Facility there is a BYOD network that Tillie uses for her smart phone.  Let’s say that law enforcement finds out that she gave her phone to the escapees.  There are a couple avenues a crime fighter could take, although a little far-fetched it would be possible.  The first thing that could be investigated is what the MAC address of the wireless card was.

This could be determined in several different ways.  Most of the WiFi manufacturers have client information that will remain in memory for some time, if we knew the hostname of the device we could correlate this.  ClearPass and ISE will have data regarding clients and may allow us to narrow down to a handful of MAC addresses if we only know the make and model of the device.  Once we have a MAC or a few MACs then we can proceed to search for these on the airwaves.

Let say Richard Matt has relatives in Albany and police have a strong suspicion that he is on the lam and hunkered down in Albany.  WiFi Superman could war-fly (akin to war-driving) until he finds the MAC address and try to pinpoint the building where they are hiding.  If Optimum Online was willing to help they could look for the MAC and if they saw it on 3 or more access points we could locate them by triangulation.

Now let’s say we have no idea what the MAC address is.  Another plan of attack could theoretically work.  Clients discover networks in one of two ways: passive or active.   The prison has a specific SSID for its BYOD and we know what it is.  When scanning the client is looking for info on available wireless networks.   In the passive scan the wireless NIC listens for beacons or probe responses.   Beacons will not help us.  They could hurt our effort if an access point happened to be broadcasting the same SSID.

In active scanning the wireless client SSID portion of the probe request is NULL or empty.  This is also of no use to us.  However in an active scan the probe request will request info in one of two manners.  The client will either ask “Is anyone there?” (FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF).  The client’s other option is to ask “Are you there Bill?” this request contain specific SSIDs stored in the clients wireless profiles of the clients software (e.g. Wireless Zero Config).  Since we know the SSID from the prison we can snoop for the SSID.  By putting a laptop in promiscuous mode and collecting all packets in an area we suspect the duo to be hiding we can later filter packets to show only probe requests and further filter on the SSID.

And there you have it, if we see the SSID in question we could ascertain is the inmates are in the area.  It is a little far-fetched, but super hero work always is.

Heating up Wifi with Heat Maps

sNetworking_wireless_heat_map

Patrick Hubbard of SolarWinds has written an article called “Wi-Fi heat map: Secret weapon for wireless network admins”.

http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/tip/Wi-Fi-heat-map-Secret-weapon-for-wireless-network-admins?utm_medium=EM&asrc=EM_ERU_43895949&utm_campaign=20150610_ERU%20Transmission%20for%2006/10/2015%20(UserUniverse:%201571981)_myka-reports@techtarget.com&utm_source=ERU&src=5397546

It is an interesting read and I agree with most of the article.  I will present one warning: heat maps are only as good as the information that has been fed to them.  When loading maps into WNMS systems it is critical to calibrate the floor plan accurately otherwise your coverage will be over or under represented.  Some systems allow you to select polarization of antennas this orientation is also critical for keeping the prediction somewhat accurate.  If you do not add attenuation values for objects like walls, doors, and windows then the heat map is just a general estimation.  Adding attenuation will make the prediction more realistic.

So as valuable as it is to see the estimation of your RF coverage, remember it is not a panacea and only as good as the info it has been fed.

 

Which wireless certification is right for you?

Hmm

 

You want to get certified in the WiFi field, but which one is right for you?  Well Clark Kent will help you decide.  I presently have certifications granted by 3 of the biggest WiFi vendors and 3 vendor-neutral certifications.  First lets look at the biggest vendors out there.  Cisco bought Meraki in 2013 so that kept them in the top slot.  HP bought Aruba keeping them at a strong #2.

CWNP was founded by Planet3 Wireless but I think is simply CWNP now.  There are a total of 5 tests in the certification track.  CWTS, CWNA, CWSP, CWDP, CWAP

CWNP certs

 

I have taken all of these (except I skipped the CWTS)  I have passed all the exams except the CWAP which I am presently working on.  These are great exams that really dig into RF and 802.11.  They also test your knowledge of “the tools of the trade” like packet analyzers and spectrum analyzers.  The tests vary in price from $150 to $225.  It is good idea to get one of the bundles from CWNP.  They offer a bundle with practice exams, textbook, and exam voucher for $325.  At present there are only 163 CWNE’s in the world.  This certification is real deal.  Pass the CWNA and the 3 Professional level certs and you are eligible to apply for the CWNE.  After publishing WiFi related material and verification of employment and good character, the CWNP board will grant you CWNE status.

More info at CWNP website:          www.cwnp.com/certifications/

Cisco has a Wireless certification track which follows the same model as their other tracks take the CENT entry-level networking exam based on routing and switching.  Then take the CCNA.  To achieve the CCNP you will need to pass 4 exams.  The exams are based on Site Survey, Voice/QoS, Security, and Mobility (this encompassed RTLS, WNMS, and MESH).  Once you achieve this (which I have) you can go for the CCIE, that is only if you are a masochist.  I have passed the CCIE written, but failed the CCIE practical exam twice.  I am not 100% sure but I think I will subject myself to this again in the future. There are also very few Wireless CCIEs.  Cisco does not publish the exact number but it is around 150 last it was referenced.  The Cisco track is very vendor-specific and not nearly as deep as the CWNP in IEEE and RF fundamentals.  The exams vary from $125 – $250 for associate and professional level.  The CCIE written is $400 and the lab is $1600.

Cisco wireless certification page:

www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/associate/ccna_wireless/index.html

Aruba (an HP company) offers a similar track as Cisco to advance in the Aruba WiFi realm.  Aruba offers the ACMA, ACMP, ACMX and ACDX.  I presently hold the ACMA and the ACMP.  I would say that the Aruba is a hybrid of the Cisco and CWNP tracks as it is vendor-specific but strong on standards as well. Aruba’s exams are all $125 except for the expert level exams, they are $1000.  There is another track that is interesting and helpful; it is for Aruba’s ClearPass.  ClearPass is an access management platform that is great for BYOD and Guest Access as well as TACACS and RADIUS.

Find out more from Aruba here:

www.arubanetworks.com/pdf/education/DS_certification.pdf

Meraki also has a certification called the CMNA.  It is based on taking a class and completing the labs and an exam.  I did complete this certification but it is in a different class of certs.  It is not taken at a Pearson Vue and it is free of charge.  Many of the vendors have this type of certification.  I have done these for Enterasys, Symbol, and Motorola in the past.  In general certifications are a great way to further your knowledge and education while increasing your potential for earning more.  Good luck and Happy studying!

 

 

ARUBA NETWORKS 270 Series Outdoor Access Points

aruba-270-series-access-points,S-A-423514-13

Posted originally on July 7, 2014 By: John Busso, CISSP, ACMP, ITIL

Aruba AP270 Highlights

  • 802.11ac in 5.0 GHz band with up to 1.3 Gbps data rate
  • 802.11n   in 2.4 GHz band with up to 600 Mbps data rate
  • AP275 has an integrated MIMO Omnidirectional antennas
  • AP274 allows for external MIMO N-type antennas
  • Aesthetic design mimics common fixture for lighting/cameras
  • NEMA and IP-rated (IP66/67) for harsh environments
  • ClientMatch enabled to leverage 802.11k,r,and v standards
  • Flexibility for use as campus, remote or independent AP
  • 48VDC 802.3at-compliant or  100-240-Volt AC Power

I have been designing and implementing wireless networks since the ratification of 802.11 (yes prior to 802.11a or b).  I have seen many technologies come and go, such as WiFi using 900 MHz and Free Space Optics (FSO), which was essentially wireless using lasers as opposed to microwaves.  Aruba gets it right again improving on their existing outdoor wireless access point (see full product line here).  The AP270 series outdoor access point is a purpose-built, state-of-the-art device that will survive extreme conditions and anticipated wireless standards, making it “future-proof” for years to come.

To understand what makes the AP270 such a great WiFi access point we need to look at a few key factors: being future-proof, easy install and manage, flexible, and high-performing.

  • AP270 access points are future-proof because they are fortified against extreme weather and environmental contaminants.  The AP270 can operate between -40° F and  150° F.  It withstands humidity in a range of 5%-95%.  The access point can withstand up to 165 mph winds.  The Aruba 270 series AP is also future-proof because it uses the latest IEEE specification 802.11ac .
  • This outdoor access point is easy to install with only two mounting template one for wall-mounting and one for pole-mounting.  The mounting kits come in long and short depending on your specific application. Ethernet and serial console access makes configuring the AP270 easy and flexible.  The AP275 comes with integrated internal 3×3 MIMO antennas.  The AP274 can utilize any N-type antennas needed for your application .
  • Managing Aruba APs is easy and flexible because one can use the virtual controller resident on iAPs, controllers for campus and remote APs, or AirWave network management system for all of the above.
  • Aruba’s AP274/275 Access Points are high performing 802.11ac Access points that leverage several technologies.  Transmit Beam Forming is used for increased reliability in signal delivery.  Low Density Parity Check allows for high-efficiency error correction and increased throughput.  Maximal Rate Combining improves receiver performance.  Advanced Cellular Coexistence is employed to minimize interference from cellular systems.  To improve downlink RF performance the AP270 uses Cyclic Delay Diversity.

So to sum it up, Aruba’s AP274’s and AP275’s are good looking, easy to install, flexible, and high-performing.  Remember that they can be used as APs, iAPs or RAPs.  You can use the turnkey AP275 with its integrated antennas or select the AP274 when antenna tuning is desired.  Aruba offers all this at a list price of$1595 USD for the AP274.  For more information Click Here

ClarkKent

WiFi Superman’s alter ego

RTLS: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING, but he is helping out too.

big-brother-is-watching-you

Posted by (originally May 20, 2014): John Busso

Real Time Locating Systems are no longer a secret.  For many years now companies like Ekahau, Pango and AeroScout have been selling tags to help track devices that do not have a wireless card to communicate via WiFi (802.11).

Sure tagging an item is great to track it along the supply chain, it is great to tag a heart monitor and retrieve it before it leaves the hospital for the laundry wrapped up in the  bed sheets.  But when your company asks you to wear a badge that tracks you  that is when you become very interested.

First off do not worry.  You can already be tracked by your smartphone, tablet and laptop.

The reality is that this can provide much value in the areas of supply chain, workflow, and shrinkage.  Aruba believes so strongly in RTLS and its ,many uses that it bought the company Meridian:

https://gigaom.com/2013/05/17/aruba-buys-indoor-location-startup-meridian-heres-why/

http://wirednot.wordpress.com/tag/aruba-ale/

Industry experts believe that the proliferation of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) exciters will accelerate the accuracy and adoption of RTLS technology.  Click here to learn more about how Aruba and RTLS can work together for you.

BigBro

Why do you need 802.11ac?

me                 REASONS YOU NEED 802.11AC

Originally posted 14 February, 2014

More, more, more

  • There are more devices which cries for efficiency
  • There are more applications which demands higher performance
  • There is more multimedia which necessitates getting users off and on quicker

Better coverage

  • Thanks to explicit transmit beam forming  your coverage is much more effective

Backwards compatibility

  • 802.11ac is backwards compatible for all other IEEE 802.11 standards
  • Even older chipset will benefit from many of the enhancements of 802.11ac

Security

  • If you do not have 802.11ac then you will not have any visibility into emerging 802.11ac threats
  • Even if you are not ready to rip and replace your legacy system you could benefit by adding some 802.11ac APs as monitors.

To read more on this topic go here:

https://meraki.cisco.com/solutions/80211ac

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/802-11ac-solution/index.html

http://www.arubanetworks.com/blogs/the80211acplunge/