Course complete!. All the gear is factory reset, packed away, and the test has been written and passed. It was a fun three days of configuring, tweaking, and experimenting with wireless controllers, access points, and AirWave, but all fun things must come to an end.
The last day of the 3-day Implementing Aruba WLANs course was a bit like a catch-all day for the topics that didn’t fit nicely into the other sections. We covered captive portals, remote APs, Adaptive Radio Management, and Spectrum Analysis. Given the wide choice of topics, it was actually a little difficult to come up with just a few thoughts based on the days activities, but here goes:
As wireless vendors roll out amazing features like remote APs, which allows the office to follow the users regardless of where they are physically located, we will see WLANs positioned nicely to start displacing wires in a more permanent way at head offices and branch offices alike. The ability to control authentication, access, and encryption for wired and wireless users regardless of where they are is very empowering for organizations and I can’t see how this won’t be a standard offering by all wireless vendors in the very near future. I can already think of a few WLAN vendors who have rolled out remote AP offerings so, as far as I’m concerned, the flood gates have been opened.
Spectrum analysis is a cool feature which can be quite handy when it comes to keeping your WLAN running optimally. However, I can’t over-stress the importance of not relying too heavily on having your tools do all the troubleshooting and interpretion for you. Some decisions can be made fairly accurately by tools while others still require human interpretation. The introduction of spectrum analysis by a few large WLAN vendors is definitely a good thing but, like all things in IT, you need to take the time to learn what the tools output actually means so that you can make educated desicions regarding the behaviour and configuration of your WLAN deployment. Spectrum analysis is meant to provide more information which should help us make more informed decisions; the decisions still need to come from a trained WLAN professional though.
I would definitely recommend the Implementing Aruba WLANs course for anyone involved in deploying or administering a small to medium-sized Aruba deployment. For larger deployments involving multiple sites and controllers I suggest taking your training beyond ACMA certification and checking out the Scalable WLAN Design & Implementation course which will prepare you for the Aruba Certified Mobility Professional (ACMP) certification.
If you have any questions about wireless training or are planning a wireless deployment and would like to have a discussion about it, please feel free to contact us or post a comment.
I firmly believe that the only way to stay on top of the wireless networking industry is to fully embrace the idea of lifelong learning. To me, this doesn’t just mean learning new skills and products, but also taking the time to revisit and refresh the things you think you already know. That’s why I jumped at the chance to sit in on a three-day Implementing Aruba WLANs course being held at my office. True, I do already have my ACMA, but I attained this back when controllers were running ArubaOS 3.x. Now that ArubaOS 6.x is out, I figured it couldn’t hurt to revisit the course and make sure I’m still up to date. Here are a few observations after completing the first day:
Regardless of how simple a WLAN controller is to configure, anyone involved in designing, securing, or administering a WLAN must still understand the underlying 802.11 technology. Fancy wizards and snazzy interfaces are great when things are working fine, but don’t expect your WLAN to run as efficiently, securely, or resiliently if you don’t know what all those knobs and dials are actually doing. That beings said, Aruba Networks has done a great job improving and enhancing their configuration wizards. These wizards do such a good job of simplifying the basics of configuring your controller(s) that someone could technically get a secure WLAN up and running with very little wireless knowledge or experience. Unfortunately, there is no WLAN Administration Wizard. Until that day arrives, hit the books and start learning the underlying technology. A good place to look for vendor neutral wireless certification is the CWNP organization.
Wireless networks are at a critical, and potentially dangerous, juncture in their relatively short lives. If we spend the time to properly plan, design, and secure wireless networks they have the potential to dramatically affect the way we work and play in a very positive and reliable way. However, if we rely too heavily on the perceived simplicity of deploying wireless networks without doing our homework first, then we are setting mobile computing up for failure or, at the very least, an existence that falls very short of the true potential of wireless networking.
Overall, day one was very informative and a lot of fun. It’s always great to see people putting in the time and effort required to properly implement a wireless network. So far the Deploying Aruba WLANs course has delivered what was promised and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the next two days.
More often than not, organizations make the mistake of confusing security awareness training with a security awareness program. The two terms appear remarkably similar but are actually very different.
Security awareness training is a course designed to increase knowledge of security best-practices or procedures for employees. These courses can be instructor-led, self-paced, online, or a combination of all three. Like all courses, they all have a finite duration and employees earn a grade or a shiny check mark indicating completion. Security awareness training should be considered a small piece of an overall security awareness program. Continue reading →