Random wireless network commissioning bits

(This post has been in my drafts since last week … we’re post commissioning on wireless now)

One of these things is not like the other one…

We recently mentioned that we completed deleting the WLC from the wireless equation at the venue. In rolling our the custom configs to the 50 autonomous devices we found that one of them returned an error.

One of these things is not like the other ones

One of these things is not like the other ones

It turned out that the radios were mounted in the chassis back-to-front. This changes the way that IOS enumerates the radios so that dot11Radio 0 and dot11Radio 1 are the opposite of all of the other APs. Consequently our templates scripts would fail on this unit.

Luckily the radios are completely modular with respect to the chassis:

1252AG with modular radios removed

1252AG with modular radios removed

And so popping them around the right way did not involve an RMA. 😉

1252AG modular radio slot

1252AG modular radio slot

I was rather impressed by the whole thing (we normally use 1232AGs which are not like this) … there had to be at least one sunny/bright point from these units given all of the brain damage they’ve inflicted on everyone over the past three months.

We previously posted performance metrics that were from a controlled set of tests with the APs patched into the venue network. We just did final tests yesterday (31 Aug) with the wireless network using our replacement Catalyst edge and core and the performance is consistent with what we saw earlier (after our rectification work, not before ;)). A good lappy will get 8MB/s (megabytes not megabits) from a 144 mbps associated link speed.

We (well David Eagles from iVolve) made some final recommendations regarding the RF utilisation on 5GHz. In the end we made the call to limit the maximum channel bandwidth on the 5GHz network to 20 MHz. This will ensure that there are 12 unique channels available at the expense of limiting the radio link speed for any client to 144mbps (instead of 300mbps). In practical terms this means a maximum download speed to your netbook of 8 megabytes per second instead of 16. Besides, it was a bit pointless having 300mbps radio link speeds supported when the edge of the network is 100mbps.

So in the final analysis we’re able to drive the wifi hard enough to saturate the RF – as it should be.

Oh yeah, and on those 400% throughput improvements we mentioned, there was one AP where we showed 700% improvement by making them all autonomous. Yay!

So we’re basically in production now for the folks attending the Australian Partner Conference. There is still a lot of work to do before tech•ed 2009:

  • heaps of imaging work and issues that are keeping Jorke up until 2am 🙁
  • bringing up and cutting over to a new 500mbps Internet service that is going in on Friday (yes, that is cutting it fine)
  • Setting up the load balanced RRAS servers to cope with the expected load at tech•ed (we’re just using one for APC as that’s all we need to translate 100mbps)

We had to work through a few interesting EDNS0 issues with RRAS over the past few days – hopefully I’ll get a chance to write that up before Haysom overwrites those parts of my brain with helpdesk tickets.

Some random photos of work  starting in the main halls follow.

NetBook imaging

NetBook imaging

Rigging begins for tech•ed

Rigging begins for tech•ed

More tech•ed rigging

More tech•ed rigging

tech•ed backstage Visit Site