Look in the Right Places to Troubleshoot Wireless Networks

By Lee Badman, Blog Contributor

The most reliable wireless networks start with good designs, and Aruba’s validated design library can help lay the right performance foundation for a wide range of operational WLAN environments. But even when everything is provisioned correctly, the many variables in most wireless network environments mean the occasional trouble situation is inevitable. You may need to diagnose client device behavior, access points, wireless controllers or other resources that integrate with the WLAN. Knowing where to look in each case is pivotal to a quick resolution.

When Trouble Does Hit
The overwhelming majority of problems on a healthy network are single-client device-related. Maybe a Windows machine has a driver that’s long in the tooth or an iPhone got a problematic OS update. If you have the right analytics framework in place, you may be able to drill right into a specific client’s problem. But a basic central syslog system can also be a goldmine: Did the client get an IP address? Were they seen on the network at all? Are they offering a faulty password or misconfigured 802.1X supplicant? You need to know your troubleshooting resources and how to leverage them for individual client issues.

But what if multiple users are in duress? There are only so many building blocks in a given WLAN that can impact multiple users. Your network management system will show the low-hanging fruit – the AP or controller that’s offline, for example – but it can only go so far. When the multiple-user problem isn’t obvious, you may be facing a code bug issue, a problem with integration between your RADIUS environment and the likes of Active Directory, or a problematic core service like DHCP or DNS.

Depending on your own role, you may not have views into all of the logs that you need. Perhaps your own instrumentation doesn’t reach that far, and your administrative access doesn’t let you into the important network nooks and crannies to inspect the logs that show overall network integration health. Simply knowing who to call for each resource in question is powerful when problems arise. It’s easy to get lost in a problem that you can’t solve and ignore when it’s time to pick up the phone and get some help. Meanwhile, end users suffer and the organizational bottom line takes a hit. Ultimately, knowing when to ask for assistance is a major strength.

Outside Help
We all live in our own bubbles. Even when we have good solution provider and vendor SEs to bounce things off of, there may still be a bigger picture to be discovered. There are a slew of historic and ask-now resources to leverage in the Aruba Airheads Community, and you should be versed in opening a support case on the Aruba portal for any and all of your network products and applications.

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