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ITGround >> Need tips on becoming WiFi expert

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10/30/12 4:39 PM
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Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 101
Hi everybody. I recently started a new job as a field engineer for a Silicon Valley company. I have a lot of experience in enterprise IT and, so far, have my CCNA, A+, and Security+ certs.

Part of my job will be troubleshooting WiFi issues at different sites. I have a Wi-Spy and the Chanalyzer software. I will also be using a tool called Zniffer.
Never done a site survey before. So far, it doesn't look too bad but none of my certs were deep into WiFi.

I know we have a good group of experts here and am open to any information, feedback or opinions as to things I can do to rapidly increase my knowledge/skills in this area.
11/8/12 8:51 AM
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Member Since: 1/27/04
Posts: 12450

Always look for interference on the 2.4Ghz channel spectrum and look more towards 5Ghz for cleaner signals.

I currently run the Netgear Centria with dual band and has the capability to stream HD video with 450mbps on both 2.4 and 5Ghz.


11/12/12 4:43 PM
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Road Warrior Fin
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Surveying and getting good at surveying = Lots of practice in the field.

Honestly, the standard tools for the industry right now for site surveys is Airmagnet's software + Cisco's Spectrum expert.  Anything else, good luck (Except maybe some Motorola outdoor planning tools and/or Aruba's outdoor planning).

The more you pre-site survey's you do the more you'll understand and visualize RF.  I personally can sit down at a map, look at a building and build a network from experience up to 95% accuracy of a real site survey.  I basically do a site survey to CONFIRM my own design.

1, 6, 11 - don't try to be a superstar or tricky and ever use any other channels, I'll laugh at you.

The CWNA is the best route to REALLY understand wireless as it goes over the basic electronics to antenna propogation and what RF is, how it emits.  Understanding RF from the basics is much more important than you think and can help later on down the road troubleshooting or in your designs.  Following the CWNP guys routes isn't a bad idea but make sure you also know your equipment.  Depending on what company you work for you can get some decent training material from Cisco, Aruba, Meru, Motorola, Airmagnet, etc.,

Wireless has been evolving faster than any of the other network technologies out there so expect to keep up at a blazing rate.  You can become an old dog fast.

The buzzwords in wireless right now?  Location, Cellular data hand-off, voice, RTLS.

I've been specifically doing wireless since 2008 and I've worked in various field from ammunition depots for the Army to shipyards to office buildings to hospitals that required over 2,000 total APs.

Other pieces of advice?  When doing a survey KEEP IN MIND that some poor dude will have to run a wire and install an AP on the placement.  If you put an AP in a lobby with a 20 ft ceiling, you are going to have a problem and look forward to the 4k+ added on the bill for a man lift.  Cable guys can be your best friend or your worst nightmare.

One other thing is learning and understanding both the security of and the regulatory arena you are working in (FIPS, HIPPA, S&O).  Cisco and other controllers (Aruba) have certain code version (firmware) that you HAVE to install per regulatory reasons.

One last piece?  Have a CCNP Switch understanding before you get to the point of installing controllers.  While it should be a fairly easy task plugging into the core, you can run into problems and knowing how to run down through a config of a core switch is essential as well as blasting through access layer switches typing in show CDP ne to see if you AP's are coming up or using the show the POE users on that switch.

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