Wi-Fi Monitoring & Assurance with NetBeez

Opportunity

I see a growing demand for Wi-Fi performance analytics (location, content, and experience analytics are a separate discussion piece) and assurance to form more robust and accountable service level agreements with wireless service providers.  Customers want to know if their network is performing properly, and the wireless network is no exception.

While wireless engineers can perform surveys to check coverage and interference, and perform packet analysis in various locations to assess operations and the user experience, and monitor network management system logs and reports; it is expensive to send engineers onsite at the hint of any wireless issue (and as we know, more often than not it can be an issue with the client device as opposed to the wireless network; or an issue further down the line in the wired network infrastructure), and it is difficult to replicate issues and correlate them to certain points in time.

I also see a strong use-case for post-implementation performance baseline establishment.  Performing post-implementation wireless surveys, end-user acceptance testing, throughput and packet analysis, and application tests are all necessary components of verifying if a wireless network is operating as per design.  However it would be great if there was a way to perform longer-term testing of the network to establish normal and expected operating conditions over say a two week period, perhaps pre and post-go live. Continue reading

Casual Wi-Fi Analysis

I’m sure I am not alone with my fellow Wi-Fi professionals in that when at a public venue I like to scope out for wireless access points; assess the installation location, positioning, and quality; and also do a quick connectivity and usability test.  Sometimes I might go as far to run a quick scan in the iPhone AirPort Utility to see signal strengths and channels in use.

Recently I purchased a MacBook Air and have had a lot of fun using Wi-Fi Explorer.  I saw that Adrian had posted instructions on how to import AirPort Utility scans into Wi-Fi Explorer – this could be useful!

I visited a brewpub here in town the other day and found some horrible configuration on the 2.4GHz bands with channels other than 1/6/11 being used.  I ran a scan for a few minutes and emailed myself the results.  As you can see below the emailed results don’t display in easily readable manner.

airport utility.PNG

So when I got home I followed Adrian’s instructions here to paste the data into Wi-Fi Explorer, and it conveniently organised the scanned BSSIDs and RF information into the default columns presented in the UI.  I could now easily see the AP vendor as well as signal strengths and channels configured, much to my dismay.

wifi explorer

I will definitely be using this import functionality more frequently in future!

First_Post.bat

Welcome to my blog!

I’ve been playing with the idea of starting a blog for a while, as there are already so many amazing networking & wireless blogs out there (see my blog-roll-ception on the home page) I wanted to ensure I could provide some useful content of my own.

I’m sure you’re well aware that not all devices are the same in the world of networking, and especially wireless networking.  While I am not a Mac user, I am envious of some of the native capabilities in MacOS that provide some handy Wi-Fi tools, including some brilliant apps by Adrian Granados (check out AirTool).  I also like the fact you can view detailed Wi-Fi info from the menu bar.  This is handy when analysing client roaming behaviour and viewing the changes in signal strength and BSSID as a client associates to a new AP.

So that made me wonder if us Windows users could utilise something similar.  I came across a handy Netsh command: ‘netsh wlan show interface’

netsh

We see more information compared to the usual ‘ipconfig /all’; we can see BSSID, authentication method, radio type, cipher, channel, data rates and signal.  Now, the latter I have noticed not to be accurate and it is dependent on the Wi-Fi chipset and driver (this is my Surface Pro 2017).

So I was happy to discover this command, but wanted more.  There have been many scenarios where I’m testing roaming (in this instance verifying an 802.11r bug) walking around with a continuous ping, a multi-adapter packet capture, a WLC debug running… I want to easily refresh this ‘netsh’ command.

So here’s a little gift to you all, a bat file that refreshes the command at the hit of any key!

Download ‘netsh wlan.zip‘ (disclaimer: this file was free of viruses/malware when uploaded).

I hope you enjoyed my first post, feel free to leave a comment below and please follow as I will add more content!

EDIT: Update! I’ve purchased a 2015 MacBook Air and have been playing around with Adrian’s tools (Wi-Fi Explorer, AirTool, and Wi-Fi Check) as well as trying out some tools native to Linux such as nmap and sslcan for vulnerability analysis.  Great fun!