2017 Internet2 Global Summit

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A Cohesive Monitoring Strategy for Campus Wireless Networks

Time 04/26/17 04:30PM-05:30PM

Room Mount Vernon A

Session Abstract

Campus wireless networks have evolved over the last few years into the primary network access for faculty, staff and students, eclipsing the campus wired network. Managing thousands of access points to serve a mobile device-centric audience is challenging because wireless networks can no longer afford to be “just good enough”. Instead, the community expects a highly available, ubiquitous (including residential areas) and secure network with seamless roaming. The twin pressures of 5 Ghz coverage and explosion of consumer and IoT wireless devices have led to a need to proactively identify issues and improve the wireless experience for campus users.

This presentation will discuss the challenges that Duke has dealt with in expanding and securing wireless coverage to meet the increased demand from students, faculty and staff. In our experience, the wireless network is one of the most complex IT systems on campus, where issues could range from:

  • Radio Frequency (RF) coverage and interference (also known as finding the appropriate balance between optimal performance, and client expectations)
  • Increased complexity due to use of private IP addresses and port address translation for Internet access.
  • Reliable and fast authentication mechanisms
  • Ease of use
  • Client-side issues and reporting of the issues
  • Automated reporting of issues and faults in the wireless infrastructure.

Rather than addressing the issues individually, Duke’s Office of Information Technology took a holistic team approach with engineers for wireless, DevOps/automation, and log analysis, working together to develop testing and statistical analysis of end user experience, testing methodologies for central IT (raspberry pi’s + trending), and dashboards in Splunk to track issues reported by wireless LAN controllers and access points, and actively identify trouble spots independently of user complaints

This presentation will provide attendees on steps they can take to develop a more complete picture of their wireless environment from layer 1 (RF) to layer 3 (DHCP) to layer 5 (radius authentication). We will present on the challenges Duke faced and how we developed monitoring and testing to proactively identify and improve the wireless experience on campus. We will also discuss what led us to build our own monitoring framework, so that we could monitor as much of the end-to-end experience on wireless as possible.

Speakers

Speaker Richard Biever Duke University

Speaker Mark McCahill Duke University

Speaker Stan Francis Duke University

Speaker Charles Francis Duke University

Presentation Media

media item thumbnail A Cohesive Monitoring Strategy for Campus Wireless Networks

Speaker Richard Biever Duke University

Speaker Charles Francis Duke University

Speaker Stan Francis Duke University

Speaker Mark McCahill Duke University

Primary track Applications and Services

Secondary tracks Network Foundations for the Future

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