01 November 2019 - A masterclass on wireless network troubleshooting

Wi-Fi Trek 2019


Gourav Rai, a 2019 ucisa bursary recipient, attended Wi-Fi Trek 2019 in Nashville as his bursary conference. His blogs outline some of the key presentations he saw there and what he learnt as a consequence. In this blog, he reflects on the conference’s master class by Keith R. Parson, founder of Wireless Lan Professionals.

Title : Wireless Troubleshooting by Keith R Parson
Social Presence : twitter @KeithRParson
Speaker Introduction : Keith R Parson

Colour photograph of Keith R Parson presenting on stage at Wi-Fi Trek 2019

Keith R Parson (Certified Wireless Network Expert - CWNW #3) is a renowned speaker, author and tutor on wireless networking. Keith is the founder of Wireless Lan Professionals and holds 60+ industry certifications. The past several years he has been working exclusively with Wireless LANs – consulting, designing, and teaching. Keith believes in the free sharing of knowledge, creating better training and education opportunities, and encouraging regular gatherings as professionals and peers. His hope and vision is to help develop better technicians, engineers, VARs, and vendors who in turn will build better networks around the world. [1: https://www.wlanpros.com/about/].

The second day highlight was the masterclass from Keith on wireless troubleshooting. Keith’s session on wireless troubleshooting started with discussion on the following:
1. Developing in depth know-how of wireless and its involved technologies
2. Follow range of approaches, resources, tools and techniques to troubleshoot and resolve issues with wireless
3. Understanding the basic wireless client joining process to WLAN.

Keith has developed a troubleshooting wireless LAN course after a lot of research, talking with scores of other WLAN Professionals, alpha testing, beta testing, and holding Train the Trainer sessions. The result resource is now a universal guide for wireless network troubleshooting which is applicable on most wireless network and is not vendor dependent. During the conference he shared this unique material with the attendees.

Colour image of a graphic showing the potential WALN troubleshooting causes 

Fig.1 Graphic showing the potential WLAN troubleshooting causes

In fig .1 there are 36 ‘Bubbles’ divided among three distinct groups i.e. wireless, local network and internet. These bubbles represent the items that could have problems in a wireless network. The one big item, the big red box on the top left side represents the RF Medium, which is most common zone to have any major wireless service issue. Delving further Keith then worked with other WLAN Professionals to get details and specifics of what might possibly be wrong in any one of these bubbles. He has so far documented over 400 individual items that one might need to understand, test, and perhaps troubleshoot just to solve the “Wi-Fi is Slow” complaint. The slide below enlists all his findings.

Colour image of a graphic showing a table of the WLAN troubleshooting causes 

Fig.2 Graphic showing the potential WLAN troubleshooting causes

See below a few more slides from his presentation showcasing a flow of events leading a full network access of a wireless client and a troubleshooting matrix to troubleshoot any wireless issues.

Colour image of a multi-coloured graphic showing the Wi-Fi Client joining process  

Fig.3 Graphic showing the Wi-Fi Client joining process

Colour image of a multi-colour graphic showing the WLAN troubleshooting process

Fig.4 Graphic showing the WLAN troubleshooting process

Keith emphasised the importance of a proper understanding of the basic wireless concepts and the need to build on them to formulate an excellent understanding. The key here is to develop strong foundation concepts on Open System Interconnect (OSI layer-1 and layer-2), which basically are the backbone of wireless networking. Lastly, Keith concluded the presentation with discussion on the client device green diamond which considers a number of factor to decide on which wireless access point to join on a wireless network. This green diamond setting to join the wireless network differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. This matrix is always a secret which no vendors reveal hence is a potential challenge in the wireless networking industry as it is difficult to tune networks to all such devices for efficient performance.

Colour image of a graphic showing the "Green Diamond" Association parameters for devices  

Fig.5 Graphic showing the "Green Diamond" parameters for device which help them decide which wireless access point to connect

This was one of the star sessions of the WifiTrek-2019 as it addressed the issues in a very structured manner. The resources shared by Keith are very comprehensive and will help all levels of technical support staff across wide range of industries.

Keith has now made the contents of his WiFiTrek-2019 presentation online at https://www.wlanpros.com/troubleshooting/