5 Replies to “WiFi Troubleshooting & Top Issues Fielded by Cisco TAC”

    1. As a small school without a full-time wireless person, this was a huge part of why we switched to Aruba. So far the random weirdness has gone down to almost nothing. That and Cisco ignored what we actually asked for when we put out our RFP.

      1. Hi Daniel.

        There’s a lot here I’d like to unpack but I want to start by apologizing for your experience with my colleagues. Responding to RFP’s is often difficult, especially when the product set we have to offer solves a problem using different methods… then again sometimes we just miss the mark completely. I’ve worked at Cisco for a long time and I can say with very few exceptions my colleagues conduct themselves with very high integrity and if they don’t, they don’t last long. I do hope you find that future interactions with Cisco are not defined by that experience. Frankly, it does not surprise me that a new system deployment (Aruba or otherwise) resolved problems of a network I’m guessing you likely inherited and worked like crazy to keep it stable.

        I too worked at a school. In fact my love of solving real-world problems with technology started in a high-school program. The district was awarded a technology levy and instead of having a turn-key integrator do all the work, students implemented a design and were mentored by consultants. As a junior and senior I helped deploy Microsoft Mail & LanManager on IBM OS2 and tying schools together with fractional T1’s and 3Com Brouters. (If you’re about to Google that timeline, it was 1990. 🙂 )

        Did a rag-tag group of students make it work? Mostly, yeah. Would they do it again that way? Not sure; Maybe. Did it slingshot that school past it’s competitors and open up new budget resources to expand? Sure did.

        I don’t know your specific story but I’ve heard others that sound similar. I’ve been pulled in to sales opportunities where we were trying to refresh aging gear with new technology and we encountered resistance because the existing Cisco WLAN isn’t performing. After looking in to the “why” we find things like 1 meg data rates are set to mandatory and none of the cool features they originally wanted were never turned on. Why? Because at the time the WiFi Alliance required a certain “default” configuration and we (Cisco) made it practically impossible to know what best practices were. Nearly 4 years ago I wrote the “3 Steps to Tuning Your WLAN Controller from Default Settings” as a result of one of those interactions and ever since I’ve been lobbying the product management team to make it easier. I think we’re getting better but we have a long way to go.

        Thank you for your comment, Daniel.

  1. Based solely on your years of experience I don’t doubt you are called on when something really smelly hits the fan. I think there’s a lot we can learn from you on the topic. I think we (Cisco …and in my experience a lot of tech companies) can do better in a few ways: Better testing that measures performance in real-world situations (…glad Javier and Salil talked about profile testing), better documentation and recommendations for various deployment scenarios, and better education on how to get the most out of TAC when help is needed.

    Part of the reason I have topics like this is to acknowledge we can always improve and to put a face to what that process looks like. These guys are real people and they’re working hard for our customers and partners.

    I don’t find myself in NY often (although my boss lives in the area) but when I’m there maybe I can buy you some dinner and we can talk shop.

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