Wireless Access

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Guest Blogger
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎11-16-2011

If Aruba Would Only

Within my organization my role requires me to have a wide range of skills as it relates to our mobility service. Because of this skill set requirement I get an opportunity to understand how different departments (NOC Infrastructure, Security, Customer Support, Service Management, etc.) interact with Aruba products (Good). When there is a problem with any aspect of our mobility solution/service, I also get a phone call (Bad).

 

As a result, I spent most of last week and part of this week working with an installer and the installation team regarding the deployment of one site. I was present for all three phases of the deployment - pre-installation, installation, and post-installation. Our organization has previously deployed many sites in the past and had no issues. Although the issue was not related to the IAP, I concluded that with an IAP deployment this should never happen. An installer should be able to quickly determine whether is issue is related an Aruba device. For many enterprises, mobility is the kid in town. As we know, when there is an issue, everyone blames the "new guy".

 

Ultimately, I concluded that despite the fact that the Aruba product line is almost zero-touch (97%), there still needs to be a troubleshooting guide for that 3%. For us, the 3% was the difference between a deployment that took all of two days (plus post-installation meetings explaining why this happened) and a four-hour deployment. My first step is to require every installer to have a couple of console cables (and USB to RS-232 adapter with drivers ) in his toolkit. The second step is to ensure that all installers have a CLI cheat sheet. That sheet will allow each installer to conduct some preliminary troubleshooting regarding the network. Our installers already have a couple of wireless devices and a tool that measures the signal strength of each access point. In the spirit of making the deployment process smoother...

 

What percentage of the Airheads community are installers?

Relative to other wireless products, how installers feel about deploying Aruba devices?

With the Aruba product line, what are some issues that installers encounter?

In order to minimize delays in deployment, what are some other tools that an installer should have in his toolkit?

Are there any additional diagnostic tools/software that you would like included within the controller (mobility or virtual)?

 

@KeepItMobile

Super Contributor II
Posts: 429
Registered: ‎01-19-2011

Re: If Aruba Would Only

In my experience there is no such thing as zero-touch and to imply that complicated pieces of infrastructure equipment are zero-touch is nothing short of a lie. I remember being called in to sort out my first instant deployment that someone had tried to demo. Theyd spent a couple of hours only for me to tell them they needed a DHCP server. If you lead people to believe that these things are simple youre just asking for disappointment and frustration which jeopardises confidence in a product line. Honest and realistic expectations are what customers really need (even if they dont realise it).

Oh and yes more in-depth documentation is required for troubleshooting, as you mention.

MVP
Posts: 1,111
Registered: ‎10-11-2011

Re: If Aruba Would Only

If all my offices had DHCP from their ISP, zero-touch provisioned would become more of a reality.  Until then, I'm still involved in IAP/RAP deployments.  It's honestly much easier to convert each IAP-to-RAP, set enet0, then ship it off.  The device is plug-and-play once it reaches the remote office.

 

Our installers already have a couple of wireless devices and a tool that measures the signal strength of each access point.

That's a good idea.  Very basic tool, but can be very helpful for verifying RSSI.  I typically use the inSSIDer on my Android for quick signal testing.

 

What percentage of the Airheads community are installers?

<-- Architect, configuration, installer, troubleshooter

 

Relative to other wireless products, how installers feel about deploying Aruba devices?

I don't have any experience with other vendors, but most of my installs local or remote are fairly painless.  My issues are more operational.

 

In order to minimize delays in deployment, what are some other tools that an installer should have in his toolkit?

In addition to what you said, packet capturing software w/capturing device is a must.  My favorite lately is WildPackets OmniPeek w/Wildpacket 3x3 wifi adapters.  Alternatively, an IAP-225 configured to send packet captures to my laptop.

 

Are there any additional diagnostic tools/software that you would like included within the controller (mobility or virtual)?

I'm very happy with being able to send AP packet captures directly to my computer in Wireshark or OmniPeek format in realtime.  This is a great feature.  There is an option to send the unencrypted client traffic from the controller to a destination as well, but for some reason it only shows traffic from the client you're tracking, it does not show traffic to that client.  If I had it my way, I'd be able to see to/from traffic for the client I'm doing the packet capture of.

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Guest Blogger
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎11-16-2011

Re: If Aruba Would Only

I agree that zero-touch is misleading. For zero-touch to be a reality, your criteria must be limited and very specific. In addition, a lot of preinstallation work is required. And we never use features such as minimal- or zero-touch provisioning a selling points. We consider that to be a functionality that helps us better do our job. The customer does not care if the device is literally zero-touch or if you have to configure every parameter. A customer just want the stuff to work.

 

For the situation that you mention, I created a guide that explains what is required before our organization begins to schedule the installation. You may appreciate this. One statement requires the customer to determine if transport has been installed to support this deployment. If so, what is the broadband (not narrowband) connection speed. The other statement requests that the customer tell us if IP addresses are available for this deployment. If so, are these addresses assigned dynamically or statically. In general, we really have to cover our bases. We accept the fact that the people that require our services do not have the expertise to deploy this network. Thanks for the input.

Guest Blogger
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎11-16-2011

Re: If Aruba Would Only

Thanks for the response...

 

In most of our current deployments we are fortunate to either own or manage the transport, the modem, the CPE (and DHCP server within), and the IAPs. That provides us with enough control. Today, our IAP deployments are not zero-touch, but we are close. But even if we could truly be zero-touch we would have to send an installer for more complicated locations.

In your message you mention that you send packets from you IAP to your laptop. Where would I configure this parameter?

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