#WirelessFriday – March 2017 – #InsiderTips with Questions & Responses

Thank you very much for your interest in the Cisco #WirelessFriday event!  This article will list out each of the #InsiderTips that were presented and the Q&A/Q&R that went with each topic.  If you were not able to make the event live or if you just want to watch it again, you can catch the recording here.

I would like to thank the following Cisco Insiders for contributing tips and tricks:

WLAN Deployment Strategies

Tip #1:  It is important to carry out a site survey. Know the pitfalls when this isn’t undertaken.

Take an engineering approach to a site survey rather than guesstimating.  Don’t cut corners or you will be constantly placing band aids on the wireless network/design.  Either invest in site survey tools such as Air magnet, Ekahau, or others, or hire a Cisco reseller to perform this service.

Base the site survey off REAL requirements and design accordingly.  Use the REAL clients that will be present after the installation, as all clients act differently.  Try to baseline off the worst client capabilities typically yields best results.

Consider things like:

  • AP placement: Think of the AP like a lightbulb. Would it like up the room?
  • Channel and power: Even though there are 21 non-overlapping channels in 5 GHz, consider your needs today and leave room for client and application growth over the next several years. Some AP’s are on the ceiling for 5-7 (or more) years.

A survey is only as good as the information put into it. Sounds daft but is 100% reality. We see it so many times.

Tip #2:  It’s important to have a control-plane strategy for your network.

Wireless isn’t always easy, sometimes it’s complex.  In an ideal world, there would be an easy button for our networks. The reality is most of our networks are complex and managing each network element, each AP, individually is costly and can be prone to mistakes.  The more complex the environment, the more you need a  control plane, in this case a WLAN Controller. Once the wireless implementation becomes a function of your business, you need to design an environment that is enterprise ready.

Having a control plane gives you better control over security.  Security is simply an applied policy in a controller based environment.  Many organizations have regulatory requirements (HIPAA, PCI, etc.) that creates a challenge when you are managing network elements individually.  A controller environment gives you more flexibility with how you deploy and secure your wireless environment, giving you the option of placing your controller either behind your firewall, in your Data Center or in a hosted environment.

Tip #3:  AP’s are not all created equal.

Cisco AP’s are not built like just any ol’ AP.  Watch this TechWise TV episode to learn more about what makes Cisco’s AP’s different, and the special things we can do with them.

TechWise TV Wave 2

Q1.  Is that DART/Micro antenna only capable of running off the XOR radio? Or will all radios share those antennas?
A1.  Correct, when installed, all signals from the XOR radio would utilize the DART connector. Also note that the DART option is exclusive to the -E (external antenna) model AP units.

Cisco Technology Innovations

Tip #4:  Cisco HDX includes some great features that are often not marketed widely.

HDX is acronym speak for Cisco’s High Density Experience, which is marketing speak for a series of patented features that specifically address the challenges that stem from the ever growing number of WiFi clients and their need for more reliable, higher bandwidth network access.

Learn more about The 5 Major Features of @Cisco_Mobility HDX and How To Turn Them On

Q2.  How does CleanAir steer clients away from interference? Steering customizable
A2.  Clean Air has two main functions: 1) provide visibility for reporting, and 2) influence on Radio Resource Management for assigned Tx power on APs and Channel changes to allow clients to overcome the interference.  The first accurately identifies source, location, and scope of interference. The second is to take automatic action to avoid interference with adjusting Tx power and or channel changes for the AP(s).

Q3.  Do I have to coordinate the migration of multigig capable switches with the upgrade to the 3800 series WAP’s? Or can start deploying the 3800’s and circle back to infrastructure?
A3.  The mGig port on the 3800 series will auto negotiate back to GigE until a mGig switch is attached.

Tip #5:  Mobility Express is a powerful in smaller deployments, manageable by Prime

Cisco’s Wave 2 AP’s (3800, 2800, 1850, and 1830) have a very special feature.  They can be a WLAN Controller for up to 25 AP’s, and they don’t all have to be the same!  Not only that you can set it all up in less than 10 minutes (and it’s true, I’ve done it myself).  Learn more about Mobility Express on this product page or watch this Cisco TechWise TV Episode.

Q4.  If you use M.E. instead of a WLC. Are there features that are not supported when using Mobility Express?
A4.  Yes, reference the following Mobility Express Solution FAQ document for more info. However, with each new release, more and more features continue to be added to the ME feature-set. http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/enterprise-networks/mobility-express/q-and-a-c67-734485.html

Q5.  ME had a restriction of 25 per cluster, did that change to 50 with specific ME models?
A5.  As of our current SW release of 8.3, up to 25 APs can be managed via an ME enabled AP. That number could expand in the future

Tip #6:  Turn on Application Visibility.  Now even at the edge with multicore CPU’s on the 2800/3800.

The Cisco Application Visibility and Control solution for wireless networks identifies more than 1000 business- or consumer-class applications using deep packet inspection (DPI). This extraordinary visibility into application traffic allows administrators to mark applications for further prioritization, or block them for security reasons or to conserve limited network bandwidth.  The great thing about AVC is it will not impact user performance!  You can turn on Application Visibility in the Best Practices Dashboard or in the QoS tab of each WLAN (SSID) configuration page.  To learn what else you can do with Application Visibility, check out this video here.

Q6.  Does app visibility still require the setting DHCP req to be enabled? We have had trouble in the past with some clients not getting IPs from DHCP with this enabled. Has that changed?
A6.  If I understand your question correctly the DHCP req pop up was a result of choosing the device profiling. I am not aware of any AVC implications on DHCP being required. We do however snoop the DHCP request to help profile the device.

Q7.  Is there an upcoming AVC protocol pack that will support WiFi calling?
A7.  WiFi calling was added as of NBAR2 Protocol Pack 14.0.0 (Dec ’15). Latest version is now 19.1.0 (Nov ’16). http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/wireless/controller/nbar2_prot_pack/19-1-0/nbar-prot-pack1910_WLC.pdf

Features and Services

Tip #7:  Know that ISE is now simpler than ever, give consideration for managing guests.

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) has powerful, flexible guest management tools.  Learn more from the #WirelessFriday January 2016 Recording.

Tip #8:  Cisco Trust Anchor Module: Tamper Proof Storage, Embedded Crypto, & Applications.

Cisco hardware innovations embed security and protections at the chip level.  Learn more by watching this video or by checking out www.cisco.com/go/trust.

Tip #9:  Wireless LAN Controller Dashboard & Best Practices Recommendation (v8.1+)

Starting in code version 8.1 Cisco embedded a great controller dashboard with best practices recommendations.  Learn more by watching this video or get more in depth at this video.

Q8.  I have version 8.2 and I find that dashboard very creative and informative as well. We upgraded this to overcome some bugs with 3800. Is it most stable version we have for controller or 8.1 is most stable?
A8.  8.1 is at its final maintenance release and we just recently released 8.2MR5 which would be recommended over 8.1. More details here – https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/docs/wireless/wireless-lan-controller-software/200046-TAC-Recommended-AireOS.html

Education and Learning

Tip #10:  Cisco Live Sessions are posted online after the event.

Did you know you can register for a free account at ciscolive.com and have access to past Cisco Live presentations?  It’s a great way for self-paced, in-depth learning!

Tip #11:  Find product deep-dives, setup and configuration, and learning on YouTube product channels.

Be sure to check out YouTube for a bunch of Cisco posted training content.  For example, check the Mobility related videos here.

Tip #12:  How to decipher AireOS version numbers; Which are recommended?

Q9.  Can I jump from 8.0.133 to 8.2.141 directly or will it be multi-step? I can’t migrate until I decommission the 1100 series WAP’s.
A9.  Check the release notes on the code you want to migrate to and it will tell you if a direct upgrade is ok. Most cases yes. Please see http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/wireless/controller/release/notes/crn82mr5.html#68333. You can also reference the compatibility matrix at http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/wireless/compatibility/matrix/compatibility-matrix.html.

Licensing and Promotions

Tip #13:  Right to use licensing changes the game.

Cisco is moving away from node-locked licensing models to a right-to-use model.  Learn more here.

Tip #14:  Migration to Cisco ONE entitles the full suite of software products and features.

Learn more about the features and products Cisco ONE entitles at www.cisco.com/go/one.

Q10.  Can you have C1 lic. AP’s and traditional lic. AP’s on a controller or is it an all or nothing thing?
A10.  No mixing of C1 licenses on an existing platform. Also, note that the SmartNet on your controller will decrease in cost since it does not need to include support for AP licenses.

Q11.  How Do I migrate from traditional licensing to Cisco ONE?
A11.  Your Cisco reseller partner can provide an estimate. For more information check out http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/software/one-access/cisco-one-for-access-wireless-part-numbers.html or http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/software/one-access/switching-part-numbers.html.

Q12.  I’m under some pressure to justify Prime versus other tools like SolarWinds which we also have, so any Prime value add is helpful.
A12.  There is a great live demonstration done by the business unit that owns Prime Infrastructure that is done the 1st Thursday of each month. You can find details at http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/cloud-systems-management/prime-infrastructure/cisco_prime_demo.pdf

Tip #15:  The DNA Offers promotion includes a year free of StealthWatch.

As part of a current promotion, when you buy Cisco ONE licenses with your AP’s or Catalyst switches you get StealthWatch for free for an entire year.  Everything you need.  Talk to your Cisco or Partner account manager

Please join us next #WirelessFriday.  Sign up at cs.co/wirelessfriday!

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