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CWNA Guide to Wireless

LANs, Second Edition

Chapter Eleven
Network Settings and Wireless LAN
Troubleshooting
Objectives
• Explain the wired network settings that can be
modified in a wireless network
• List troubleshooting techniques for solving RF
transmission problems
• Describe how to solve access point problems
• Describe the types of wireless device problems and
explain how to solve them

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 2


Wired Network Settings for Wireless
Networks
• All APs have RJ-45 connector that allows them to
connect to an Ethernet hub or switch
– Provide wired network resources to wireless devices
– Settings for connecting to Ethernet network
occasionally need to be adjusted
• To improve wireless performance or provide additional
capabilities
• Mobile IP parameters can be set on APs

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 3


Ethernet Parameters: Basic Settings

Figure 11-1: Basic Ethernet settings


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 4
Ethernet Parameters: Basic Settings
(continued)
• Allow wireless network administrators to designate
Ethernet port as primary port of the AP
– Select whether port “adopts” identity of primary port

Table 11-1: Ethernet identification


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 5
Ethernet Parameters: Advanced
Settings

Figure 11-2: Advanced DNS settings


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 6
Ethernet Parameters: Advanced
Settings (continued)
• Setting on Figure 11-2:
– Default Domain: Name of network’s IP domain
– Current Domain: Domain that is serving the AP
– IP addresses of up to three DNS servers can be
entered under Domain Name Servers
– Domain Suffix: Last portion of domain name of
current network domain

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 7


Ethernet Parameters: Advanced
Settings (continued)

Figure 11-3: Advanced Ethernet settings


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 8
Ethernet Parameters: Filtering
• Allows control of types of network traffic that pass
from wired Ethernet network to WLAN devices
– Configure AP to act as type of firewall
• Different types of filtering:
– Some devices filter at high level and can block an
application from being requested
– Other filtering can reject request for specific IP port
– At the lowest level, filtering can look at received
frames and block based on type of frame

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 9


Ethernet Parameters: Filtering
(continued)
• Frames can be filtered by protocol used
– e.g., TCP, UDP, IPX
• Frames can be filtered by frame format
– Four-character hexadecimal number found in each
frame that indicates protocol and frame format

Table 11-2: Frame formats


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 10
Mobile IP Settings
• Most WLAN implementations follow standard IP
address plan
– Single subnet for entire WLAN
– Subnet: Portion of network that shares a common
address component
• Subnetting WLANs creates problems for users who
roam between WLAN subnets
– Cannot roam into new subnet without changing IP
address
– Need mechanism to ensure a device configured with
specific IP address can continue to communicate
when entering new subnet
CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 11
Mobile IP Settings (continued)

Figure 11-4: Roaming between wireless subnets


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 12
Mobile IP Settings (continued)
• Mobile IP: Provides freedom to roam beyond
home subnet while maintaining home IP address
– AP forwards packets through Mobile IP enabled
router to router on client’s home network
• Five required devices:
– Visiting device
– Access point with Mobile IP enabled
– Home agent
– Authoritative access point
– Foreign agent
CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 13
Mobile IP Settings (continued)
• Mobile IP begins with home agents and foreign
agents advertising their services
– APs with Mobile IP enabled listen to advertisements
• When visiting client associates to AP, AP
compares client’s IP address with own IP network
– Detects that client is a visitor
– Begins registration
– Gets home agent’s IP address by looking it up on a
subnet map table

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 14


Mobile IP Settings (continued)

Table 11-3: Subnet map table

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 15


Mobile IP Settings (continued)
• Authoritative access point (AAP) responsible for
maintaining/distributing master subnet map table of
APs and home agent information
• On some WLANs, may have multiple AAPs
• When client roams to another network, foreign
agent provides routing services
– Assigns mobile client new temporary IP number
• Care-of address
– Registers care-of address with home agent
– Home agent redirects frames to client via care-of-
address

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 16


Troubleshooting Wireless Networks
• Troubleshooting can be difficult with WLANs
– Many factors can impact wireless transmissions
• Many of them are “non-technical”
– Technology is relatively new
– Problems can be result of anything from overlooking
check box on a dialog box to metal objects in path of
RF signal
• Categorized into identifying and solving problems
with RF transmissions, APs, and wireless devices

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 17


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Near/Far

Figure 11-6: Near/far transmission problem


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 18
Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Near/Far (continued)
• Two steps to identify device that is a victim of
near/far transmission problem
– Wireless protocol analyzer running on a device
displays signal strength
• Low signal strength may indicate problem
– May not indicate near/far problem
– Also determine signal strength on nearby devices
– Review placement of wireless devices

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 19


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Near/Far (continued)

Figure 11-7: Signal strength


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 20
Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Near/Far (continued)
• Several solutions to near/far transmission
problems:
– Move device with stronger transmission power
farther away from AP
– Reduce transmission power of devices closer to AP
– Increase transmission power of devices farther away
from AP

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 21


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
All-Band Interference
• FHSS uses range of frequencies that change
during transmission
– Bluetooth, for example, is a close-range, frequency
hopping technology that operates in same 2.4 GHz
ISM band as IEEE 802.11b/gWLANs
• Can create all-band interference
– IEEE 802.11b/g and Bluetooth devices do not
“peacefully coexist” in same environment

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 22


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
All-Band Interference (continued)
• Several options have been proposed for 802.11b/g
and Bluetooth to work together:
– Change the RF spectrum used
– Modify power levels
– Add switching software
– Change the MAC layer
– Change PHY layer
• Best solutions is to not use the two devices
together or migrate to 802.11a wireless technology

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 23


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
System Throughput
• Many factors influence WLAN transmission speed:
– AP processor speed
– Distance from AP
– Implementing security solutions
– Number of users associated with an AP
– Packet size
– RTS/CTS protocol
– Types of RF interference
– Using PCF protocol

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 24


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
System Throughput (continued)
• To troubleshoot:
– Determine if all devices experiencing problem or only
a single device
– Identify potential causes that may have least impact
on system if changed

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 25


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Co-Location Throughput
• When a mobile wireless user enters into range of
more than one AP, wireless device will choose an
AP based on signal strength or packet error rates
– For 802.11b and 802.11g wireless LANs only
channels 1, 6, and 11 can be used to co-locate
multiple APs in same area
• Small amount of overlap between channels 1 and
6, as well as between channels 6 and 11
– Co-location throughput
– Can affect wireless network performance

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 26


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Co-Location Throughput (continued)

Figure 11-8: Adjacent Channels 1 and 6


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 27
Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Co-Location Throughput (continued)
• Possible solutions:
– Change channels to Channels 1 and 11
– Migrate to 802.11a
• 8 non-overlapping channels

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 28


Solving RF Transmission Problems:
Co-Location Throughput (continued)

Figure 11-9: Separate channels


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Solving Access Point Problems
• All APs have external light emitting diodes
– Ethernet indicator: Signals traffic on wired LAN
• Green when Ethernet cable is connected
• Blinks green when packet received or transmitted
• Off when Ethernet cable not connected
– Status indicator: Signals operational status
• Green indicates AP associated with at least one
wireless device,
• Blinking green means AP operating normally but is not
associated with any wireless devices
– Radio indicator: Blinks green to indicate RF activity
CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 30
Solving Access Point Problems
(continued)

Table 11-4: Cisco Aironet LED information


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 31
Solving Access Point Problems
(continued)

Table 11-4 (continued): Cisco Aironet LED information


CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 32
Solving Access Point Problems
(continued)
• If AP does not communicate with devices, check:
– SSID
– WEP keys
– Security settings
• In extreme circumstances, may be necessary to
delete current AP configuration and return all
settings to factory defaults

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 33


Solving Wireless Device Problems:
Wireless Device Connection Process
• Five-step connection process:
– Scan for access points
• Wireless network adapter sends series of Probe
Request frames
• APs within range respond with Beacon frame that
contains the capabilities of the wireless AP
– Choose an access point
• Decision based on:
– Wireless AP capabilities
– SSID matches a preferred network
– Signal strength
CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 34
Solving Wireless Device Problems:
Wireless Device Connection Process
(continued)
• Five-step connection process (continued):
– Authenticate with the access point
• Type of authentication depends on security
capabilities of AP and how wireless device has
configured to authenticate with AP
– Associate with the access point
– Obtain an IP address
• Manual addressing
• DHCP addressing
• APIPA addressing

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 35


Solving Wireless Device Problems:
Troubleshooting Wireless Devices
• Possible causes if problems makings connection:
– Incompatible IEEE 802.11 standards
– Mismatched authentication methods
– Different WEP keys
• Will not prevent association, but will prevent
successful communication
– Incorrect WEP key order
– Mismatched pre-shared key
– Conflict between Windows Wireless Auto
Configuration and a third-party configuration tool
– Incorrect MAC address

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 36


Solving Wireless Device Problems:
Troubleshooting Wireless Devices
(continued)
• Possible causes if wireless device intermittently
disconnects from AP:
– Incompatible 802.1x authentication
• For computers running Windows XP with SP1, clear
Enable IEEE 802.1x authentication for this network
check box in Authentication tab
– Duplicate SSID
• Generally result of default SSID being used on APs
– Infection by computer virus
• Run antivirus software

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 37


Solving Wireless Device Problems:
Troubleshooting Wireless Devices
(continued)
• Possible causes if wireless device intermittently
disconnects from AP (continued):
– Faulty hardware
• Run diagnostic tests for AP or wireless network
adapter
• Use current drivers
– Wireless attacks
• May require special scanners to pinpoint attacker
– Device misconfiguration

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 38


Summary
• Maintaining a wireless LAN involves adjusting the
wired Ethernet settings to ensure peak
performance
• Most WLAN network implementations follow the
standard Internet protocol (IP) address plan, which
calls for a single subnet to be used for the entire
WLAN
• Mobile IP provides users the freedom to roam
beyond their home subnets while still maintaining
their home IP addresses

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 39


Summary (continued)
• A device that is transmitting at higher signal
strength and is located closer to the access point
will drown out a weaker signal from a device that is
farther away and is using less power
• Technologies such as Bluetooth which use the
entire 2.4 GHz spectrum can impact IEEE 802.11
WLANs that use the same frequency spectrum
• Co-location throughput can affect the performance
of access points that use 802.11b/g technology
because of channel overlap on channels 1, 6, 11

CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs, Second Edition 40


Summary (continued)
• Solving access point problems often starts with
observing the LED lights that provide information
regarding Ethernet and RF activity along with
operational status
• Wireless device problems fall into two broad
categories: the inability to make a successful
wireless connection and intermittently
disconnecting from the access point

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