Packet Wrangling Podcast – Episode 2

So, remember when I said that I would be doing these once a week?

Yeah, that was before life came along and decided that it had a different plan in mind!!

Apologies for the long silence. I actually started this recording well over a month ago, but tonight is the first night in a very long time that I’ve had time to actually sit down and put the finishing touches on the recording. We won a large services contract for a very large company (Fortune 10) to roll out new network segments at their datacenters across the US. So I’ve been on the road constantly, dealing with 11 PM to 6 AM change windows, change management meetings, status reports, project managers, and all kinds of “fun” stuff on top of actual network engineering… and then on top of that we’re buying a house and moving to a different state. A huge shout out to my wife for being a rockstar during this trying time.

Without further ado and rambling from me, here’s Episode 2 of the Packet Wrangling podcast. This one covers common wireless architectures and the pros and cons of each. Enjoy!

 

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Aruba UAP Boot Process

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There’s been many exciting announcements at the Atmosphere 2017 conference and it’s been really great to meet a bunch of the fellow wireless twittersphere. All in all, definitely worth the time to attend.

Many other wireless minds have been covering a lot of the “cool” stuff – new ArubaOS8, new machine learning analytics with RASA and Niara, new monitoring tech with Airwave Glass and Clarity Synthetic, crazy new ways of wireless with 802.11ax, and more.

But one thing that really stood out to me personally is the new Univeral AP code that’s being rolled out to their new APs. Those of you familiar with Aruba know that there used to be two primary “versions” of hardware – Instant and Campus. Campus APs were meant to be used with a controller and they were sold without region locks, assuming that the controller would handle the regulatory compliance. The advantage was that they locked in real quick to a controller with auto discovery. The disadvantage was that there wasn’t a supported way to flash them into an Instant system, so hope you like those controllers you got there. The Instant APs had more intelligence at the edge and had region locks baked in at order, and they could move back and forth between Instant and Controller architectures – but to have them discover a controller required manual intervention, meaning that converting a large scale Instant roll-out into Campus methodology was a pain in the ass. Both were sold at the exact same price point.

The new “Universal” code means that an AP can become either a Campus or Instant AP from birth without any funky conversions. The self discovery process has become much longer though, so to spare you from any hand wringing as the APs slowly toddle towards configuration, here’s the new boot process that was shared at Atmosphere 2017:

  • Static master assignment preconfigured
  • DHCP based discovery using DHCP options assigned by DHCP server
    • NOTE – This uses option 43 to give the controller IP address to the AP
    • NOTE – make sure that option 60 on the server is set to listen for the string “ArubaAP” – without option 60 configured, the option 43 response won’t fire.
    • NOTE – The AP has to have basic DHCP and DNS discovery for any automated discovery to tick. If it doesn’t, it will reboot constantly. Yes, you will need to edit the CLI config to allow APoaS site surveys
  • Aruba Discovery Protocol based discovery
    • NOTE – this only works if either the controller is in the same broadcast domain as the AP or if multicast forwarding is configured (multicast address used is 239.0.82.11)
  • DNS based discovery (this is what Aruba recommends as best practice)
    • NOTE – the AP will look for aruba-master
  • Instant Virtual Controller Discovery
    • NOTE – this means that the AP will reach out in its own broadcast domain with the PAPI protocol to find a local Instant AP that is elected as VC
  • Airwave Discovery
  • Activate Match Airwave
    • NOTE – Activate is Aruba’s cloud based provisioning service. The AP must be able to communicate on the Internet for this step or the following two to work.
  • Activate Match Central
  • Activate Match CAP/RAP
  • Broadcast Instant Provisioning SSID
    • NOTE – And here’s where you are off to the races with the Instant platform!

Quite a journey, isn’t it? Nice that we’ll be able to purchase as single SKU now though.

 

 

 

Atmosphere 2017

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No podcast/blogpost this week, as I’m out living it up in Nashville with some of the best and brightest minds in the wireless networking industry! They’ve revealed a lot of exciting new features in just the first day, ranging from the ambitious machine learning based security on the internal network to the practical new wired tunneling techniques and multi-zoned APs. And yes, the presentations are more than just marketing fluff. I’ve already attended several great sessions, including a technical deep dive on 802.11ax, with many more scheduled for the next several days. More to come.

Also, the ongoing Amazon S3 outage just proves that the cloud really is just someone else’s computer.