CCIE Pursuit Blog

June 22, 2008

Cisco “Unofficially” Changes My Life

At the IE Mock Lab Workshop last week (I will get some blog entries up about this over the next few days) it was interesting how many CCIE candidates intended to get more than one CCIE.  For me, this has always been a ‘one and done’ pursuit.  The amount of time and toil that this has required has pretty much made this the toughest thing that I’ve ever done (educationally).  But now Josh at the Internetwork Expert blog drops this:

After speaking with multiple Cisco employees within the wireless group, the Wireless CCIE has been confirmed. Beta candidate registration should begin this fall, along with a blueprint release. Beginning early 2009 the Wireless CCIE beta testing will begin! As of now, topics of the test are expected to cover all aspects of wireless from design through implementation including the implications of security, routing and switching and voice technologies. Check back often for any additional information!

I love wireless networking.  At my previous position, wireless networking (a few thousand “fat client” 1240s administered by a WLSE device) was about 50% of my job, but it was my favorite part.  I’ve always said that if there were an independent wireless certification track announced, that I would be all over it.  It looks like I will be attempting at least two CCIEs.  For now I have to pass my R&S lab, then I need to formulate a way to tell my wife that I want to get a second CCIE.  The former might turn out to be easier than the latter.  :-)

September 4, 2007

Off Topic: Cisco Announces New 802.11n Wireless Access Point

Filed under: Cisco,Wireless,Work — cciepursuit @ 5:03 pm

Sorry for the off topic posting, but since I’m a big wireless geek (if they ever develop a wireless CCIE track, I’m all over that sucker) I was very happy to see this announcement.  I have a running  bet with one of my collegues that by 2012 the majority of corporate end users will access the network wirelessly.  I’m not sure that I’ll win that bet, but this is good news. 

Computer World  – Cisco jumps into 802.11n wireless market with new access point

September 04, 2007 (Computerworld) Cisco Systems Inc. is diving into the emerging 802.11n wireless market with its first 802.11n-based Ethernet access point (AP), the Aironet 1250, which will offer higher speeds and greater reliability for a wide range of enterprise-ready wireless devices.

In an announcement today, Cisco said the new AP is based on the emerging 802.11n Draft 2 standard, which is still a year or more away from being adopted as a final standard.

The move is being made now, according to the company, because some chip makers and laptop hardware manufacturers have been building 802.11n Draft 2 features into their new products, making them ready for use under the new draft standards. “There’s lots of momentum behind it,” said Ben Gibson, director of mobility solutions at Cisco.

The Aironet 1250, which will be available for sale next month starting at $1,299 each, is the first wireless product to be certified for the 802.11n standard by the Wi-Fi Alliance standards body, which reviews and compiles the standards, according to Gibson.

Cisco also said that upcoming 802.11n access points can be powered over their Ethernet connections, making them much easier to deploy. That’s important, Gibson said, because they are often placed in ceilings and other remote locations where an electrical outlet is not available, making their installation more complicated.

The move to the 802.11n wireless standard offers customers a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 300MB/sec. That’s up from today’s theoretical maximum of 54MB/sec. using the 802.11g wireless standard.

“Customers are looking at the prospect of an exponential increase both of the quantity and diversity of Wi-Fi-enabled devices that are going to be coming into the business market,” Gibson said. “These devices will need a higher-speed network with higher reliability; that’s going to be the driver. Will this happen overnight? Absolutely not.”

Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group in Ashland, Mass., said it’s a major endorsement of the emerging 802.11n standard by Cisco. For many other vendors in the market, he said, the question has been, Should they wait for the final standard to be adopted, or should they move to bring out products based on the Draft 2 standard? With Cisco’s move and adoption of the Draft 2 standard, the floodgates may soon open, Mathias said.

“My feeling is that [Cisco] is happy with what the Wi-Fi Alliance has done” in creating the latest draft protocol, Mathias said. The standard could still change slightly, but Mathias said he believes it will be relatively close to the Draft 2 standard at final adoption. “What Cisco is basically saying is, ‘There’s a new technology available, the risk is very low, we know that customers want to buy it, so we’re in the game,'” he said.

With the prospect of better bandwidth, improved capacity and higher reliability, the move to 802.11n makes sense for Cisco, users and other vendors, he said. “The bottom line is it’s happening now,” Mathias said. “There’s no reason to wait.”

July 23, 2007

Off Topic: Apple Get Its Revenge…

Filed under: Cisco,OT: Humor,Wireless — cciepursuit @ 2:27 pm

…on me at least.

I thought that being away from work for the week would spare me from vengeance for pointing blame at Apple over the Duke iPhone incident (details here, here, and here).  Not so.  Yesterday, my iPod Nano lost all of its data.  All of my podcasts and music files (3.5 gigs) were completely erased.  Coincidence or retribution from Apple?

*Actually, this happened after I installed a newer version of iTunes and then moved some recently purchased music files to my iPod.  I would point the finger at Apple, but I’ve learned my lesson.  :-)  

July 21, 2007

Off Topic: Apple Vindicated…Cisco To Blame…

Filed under: Cisco,IOS,Wireless,Work — cciepursuit @ 1:10 pm

…and I’m gonna eat crow due to me messing with my “Apple Core” buddies.  :-(

If you haven’t been following this (here and here), then here’s a brief recap:

On Friday, July 13, as it happens, Duke’s IT staff identified the source of intermittent floods of Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) requests as at least two Apple iPhones connecting via the phone’s built in wireless LAN adapter to Duke’s campus-wide net. The ARP floods, up to 30,000 requests per second, knocked offline sometimes as many as 30 access points, for 10 to 15 minutes.

It appeared that Apple’s iPhone was to blame, but now Network World is reporting that Cisco’s gear was to blame:

UPDATE: Cisco confirms its network gear caused Duke’s iPhone flooding
By John Cox, NetworkWorld.com, 07/20/07

5:54 p.m. ET update: Cisco confirmed that the networking problem Duke University experienced involving Cisco’s wireless network and Apple’s iPhone was caused by a Cisco network issue. Cisco says it has worked closely with Duke and Apple to identify the source of the problem.

See also:

* Duke CIO issues statement
* Duke’s iPhone mystery reportedly resolved
* Duke’s iPhone wireless mystery sparks debate, rants, ponderings and Osmond Brothers nostalgia

A two-sentence e-mail from a Cisco PR spokeswoman to Network World confirmed the problem was caused by a “Cisco-based network issue.”

“Cisco has provided a fix that has been applied to Duke’s network and the problem has not occurred since,” according to the e-mail.

No other details were provided, and no reply has been received yet to an e-mail and two phone requests to Cisco for more details. No additional details have been provided by Duke University or by Apple.

The wireless problem crystallized exactly a week ago, on Friday, July 13 as it happens, when Duke’s IT staff identified the source of intermittent floods of Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) requests as at least two Apple iPhones connecting via the phone’s built in wireless LAN adapter to Duke’s campus-wide net. The ARP floods, up to 30,000 requests per second, knocked offline sometimes as many as 30 access points, for between 10 and 15 minutes.

That conclusion was based on an early analysis of traffic trace data by Duke IT staff. Frank Miller, assistant director, communications infrastructure, with Duke’s Office of Information Technology, was firmly convinced that the iPhone was the instigator. “I don’t believe it’s a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form,” he said at the time.

The Cisco spokeswoman’s e-mail said Cisco ” worked closely with Duke and Apple to identify the source of this problem.”

They had plenty of help, from amateurs, experts and would-be experts who debated the possible causes, and assigned blame, in online forums at NetworkWorld.com and dozens of other Web sites.

All contents copyright 1995-2007 Network World, Inc. http://www.networkworld.com

It’s a good thing that I have the next week off from work.  Hopefully my colleagues will forget all of the Apple bashing I’ve been doing this week….but somehow I doubt that they will.   :-)

It would be nice if there were some actual technical detail concerning the reason for the issue and the fix from Cisco, in case there are similar issues that start to pop up in other WLANs.

July 20, 2007

Off Topic: iPhone vs Cisco Resolved???

Filed under: Cisco,Wireless,Work — cciepursuit @ 4:17 pm

***Update: It WAS a Cisco issue – not an Apple iPhone issue***

Here’s a follow up to the story of the new Apple iPhone killing Duke University’s Cisco WLAN.  Well…..not much of a follow up as it turns out.  The entire text of the article is below, no mention of what caused the issue (pretty anti-climatic to say the least):

This story appeared on Network World at
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/072007-duke-iphone.html

Duke’s iPhone mystery reportedly resolved
By John Cox, Network World, 07/20/07

The Duke University wireless problem involving a few Apple iPhones has been resolved, according to Apple. But so far, neither Apple nor Duke has released any details about the cause of, or solution to, a problem that ignited a tidal wave of interest among IT professionals and bloggers on the Internet.

A Duke spokesperson, via e-mail, says “We are still trying to get details about this ourselves.” Whether the “we” referred to Duke’s IT staff or the PR staff was not clear. E-mails to Duke’s CIO and deputy CIO had not yet received a reply. Confirmation of the resolution came via a short e-mail from an Apple spokesperson.

The wireless problem crystallized exactly a week ago, on Friday, July 13, as it happens, when Duke’s IT staff identified the source of intermittent floods of Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) requests as at least two Apple iPhones connecting via the phone’s built in wireless LAN adapter to Duke’s campus-wide net. The ARP floods, up to 30,000 requests per second, knocked offline sometimes as many as 30 access points, for 10 to 15 minutes.

As of last Tuesday, the last day Duke provided any details of the ongoing problem, nine such events had been recorded. The IT staff have been working with both Cisco, the school’s WLAN vendor, and Apple to puzzle out the problem.

They had plenty of help, from amateurs, experts and would-be experts who debated the possible causes, and assigned blame, in online forums at NetworkWorld.com and dozens of other Web sites.

All contents copyright 1995-2007 Network World, Inc. http://www.networkworld.com

July 17, 2007

Off Topic: Apple iPhone Kills Cisco WLAN

Filed under: Cisco,Wireless — cciepursuit @ 4:22 pm

***Update: It WAS a Cisco issue – not an Apple iPhone issue*** 

Here’s a disturbing article from Network World describing how the new iPhones are killing Duke’s Cisco WLAN.  It appears that the new iPhones are sending tons of ARP requests and eating up bandwidth and CPU cycles on the WLAN APs and controllers.

…the misbehaving iPhones flood the access points with up to 18,000 address requests per second, nearly 10Mbps of bandwidth, and monopolizing the AP’s airtime.

The requests are for what is, at least for Duke’s network, an invalid router address. Devices use the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to request the MAC address of the destination node, for which it already has the IP address. When it doesn’t get an answer, the iPhone just keeps asking.

“I’m not exactly sure where the ‘bad’ router address is coming from,” Miller says. One possibility: each offending iPhone may have been first connected to a home wireless router or gateway, and it may automatically and repeatedly be trying to reconnect to it again when something happens to the iPhone’s initial connection on the Duke WLAN.

Most of the WLAN is comprised of Cisco thin access points and controllers. Some older autonomous Cisco Aironet access points tend to uncover the flooding first, since they try to resolve the ARP request themselves. But Miller’s team has seen the CPU utilization on the WLAN controllers spiking as they try to process the request flood passed on to them in control traffic from the thin access points.

“I don’t believe it’s a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form,” he says firmly.

So far, the communication with Apple has been “one-way,” Miller says, with the Duke team filing the problem ticket. He says Apple has told him the problem is being “escalated” but as of midafternoon Monday, nothing substantive had been heard from Apple.

It will be interesting to see what the problem turns out to be.  The article mentions that Duke is using both automonous APs as well as the newer lightweight APs with wireless controllers.  What is NOT mentioned is what type of authentication they are using.  It would be interesting to get more information about their WLAN as I would like to know if we can start expecting some fuckwit with their shiny new iPhone to take down our corporate WLAN.

Sorry for highlighting the anti-Apple comments in the last paragraph.  I have a lot of friends who are members of the Apple cult, so it’s fun to hate on Apple every now and then.  :-)

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