Learn about Wi-Fi
Not everyone can afford to hire a dedicated WLAN administrator. We would love to help by being your WLAN experts. But, the more you learn about how wireless works the better you will be able to plan, manage, and deploy wireless throughout your organization. And we can still help when you need it.
So, in the spirit of sharing knowledge here are some fantastic resources to learn about wireless.
First, we would recommend that at the very least you purchase a copy of the CWNA (Certified Wireless Network Administrator) Study Guide. Getting certified is great, but just having the basic understanding of how RF works in your environment will go a long way. And if you have the inclination - get certified!
Next, whenever you have some free time watch one of the many great videos from CWNPs (Certified Wireless Network Profession) YouTube channel. There's a lot of great information there.
CWNP White-paper on 802.11 Arbitration [PDF] by Marcus Burton - Understand how Wi-Fi actually works. This is the basis of how 802.11 functions. If you don't understand this you won't understand Wi-Fi, period.
WLAN Professional Conference - If you can only of to one conference - this is the one. It's a fantastic gathering of wireless professionals with amazing speakers talking about real-life experiences. Meet and network with other WLAN pros from around the world. Fortunately, WLAN Pros post all the videos for free so if you can't make it you can watch videos of all the sessions afterwards. But, being there engaging with the community alone is worth it.
Aruba Airheads - A great community of user based around Aruba Networks products and solutions. Get questions answered and help others. Even thought it's specific to Aruba Networks there is a lot of great information, white papers, and videos on wireless in general
The Ultimate Guide To Modernizing Classroom Wi-Fi by Keith Parson - This is a great webinar hosted by Aruba Networks on wi-fi in the classroom on the fallacy of 1 AP-per-classrrom.
Understanding common outdoor antenna types and patterns [VIDEO] - via Chuck Lukaszewski, Aruba Networks
Revolution Wi-Fi Blog - Andrew Von Nagy's blog is essential reading for anyone interested in learning about wireless.
Capacity Planner FREE Download from Revolution WiFi - Yet another fantastic contribution to the WLAN community by Andrew Von Nagy
Various tools we use when troubleshooting, designing, and deploying WLANs. Some of these should be in your toolkit too.
Airtool is a system menu bar application that provides basic functions to check the state and channel configuration of the built-in Wi-Fi adapter, as well as to perform frame captures on single and multiple channels[Mac] [FREE]
APPLE AIRPORT UTILITY ➥
Unfortunately, there are no scanning apps allowed on the app store. However, Apple does allow you to enable Wi-Fi scanning in their Airport Utility. You can now scan available WLANs on your iPhone. For [iOS] [FREE]
ARUBA UTILITIES ➥
Aruba Utilities includes a number of tools useful for characterizing and troubleshooting wireless LANs from Aruba Networks. Some tools work with any WLAN, others fetch data from Aruba’s controllers, Airwave management system and location engine. For [Android] [FREE]
EKAHAU SITE SURVEY ➥
The professional's choice for wireless site surveys and predictive modeling/planning. This is what all the cool kids are using! $$$$$
GOOGLE EARTH ➥
Great for getting measurements for outdoor deployments as well buildings.
We often get floor plans that have no scale on them so we use Google Earth to measure the longest line of a building and use that to calibrate our floor plans in our planning/surveying software. Google Earth Pro is also now [FREE].
METAGEEK EYE P.A. ➥
Wi-Fi specific packet analyzer. Shows your 802.11 frames like you've never seen them before! [Win] $$
METAGEEK WI-SPY + CHANALYZER 5 ➥
A 2.4 and 5GHz spectrum analyzer. See the invisible with Wi-Spy, a custom USB spectrum analyzer designed specifically for troubleshooting Wi-Fi issues. [Win] $$$
NETSCOUT AIRCHECK WI-FI TEST TOOL ➥
AutoTest quickly provides a pass/fail assessment of wireless environment; identifies common problems - for any level of Wi-Fi expertise. Fantastic device that should be in every WLAN pros toolbag. $$$$
NETSCOUT LINKSPRINTER 300 ➥
Handheld network tester to diagnose PoE, Link, DHCP, Gateway and Cloud connectivity.
Sometimes the problems aren't wireless. $$
TAMOSOFT THROUGHPUT TEST
Utility for testing the performance of a wired or wireless network. It continuously sends TCP & UDP data streams across your network and computes metrics,like upstream/downstream throughput, packet loss, round-trip time, and displays the results in both numeric and chart formats. [Mac/Win] [FREE]
WIFI ANALYZER ➥
Turns your android phone into a Wi-Fi analyzer. Shows the Wi-Fi channels around you.[FREE]
WIFI EXPLORER ➥
The BEST Wi-Fi Scanner period! Also provides detailed description of information elements (IE) advertised by the access point for advanced troubleshooting. We use this regularly. [Mac Only]. $
WI-FI SIGNAL ➥
System menu bar application that provides easy access to your Wi-Fi connection details, monitors the signal quality of your wireless network [Mac Only]. $
Wireshark is a free, open-source packet analyzer used for network troubleshooting, analysis.
The most famous packet analyzer of all time! And if you have a Mac no special hardware, or magic is required to do REAL 802.11 monitor-mode paps. If you use Windows read this blog post on the various options for doing wireless packet captures in that OS. [Win/Mac/Linux] [FREE]
And a totally biased endorsement…
With an OS based on UNIX/BSD you have the tools right at the command line. Also, with full-access to the wireless NIC you can capture wireless traffic natively in monitor mode - no need for expensive external wireless NICs. Yes, I'm biased - so sue me! :-) $$$$
A complete training course on Aruba Instant WLAN. Completely free.
Free online trading for the Aruba Central network management platform, a software-as-a-service subscription in the cloud, gives you streamlined management for multiple Aruba Instant™ Wireless LANs, and Aruba switches.
Instructional Videos & Webinars
Ekahau Webinar - The 7 Tricks of Wi Fi Professionals
Webinar hosted by Ekahau presented by Eddie Forero, ACMX #365, CWNE #160, and CEO at CommunicaONE Inc.
Aruba Webinar - "Modernizing Classroom WLAN"
Don't fall victim to the one-AP-per classroom mantra. It can, and often does, lead to poor WLANs that cost too much and do not function well. Presented by CWNE#3, Keith R Parsons, of WLAN Professionals.
Common Issues with Instant Access Point (IAP) Not Joining the Cluster
This video shows what are most common issues why a new Aruba Instant Access Point fail to join the existing Aruba Instant cluster.
Common Issues with IAP Not Joining Cluster
This video will teach you how to set up Virtual IP interfaces on two ClearPass Policy Managers in a cluster. This allows you to have a secondary RADIUS, TACACS+, WebAuth and captive portal options in the event one of the appliances is off-line. This is a great feature to use when setting up "Intermediate" ClearPass functionality.