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No Bad Wi-Fi Series E02 – Aruba’s Air Pass

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How can you make it easier to transition clients from Wi-Fi 6 to 5G networks? Join us for this second episode of WWT’s “No Bad Wi-Fi” series where featured guest, Aruba's Chuck Lukaszewski discusses Aruba's Air Pass; the industry's first seamless cellular roaming solution designed to unify enterprise and mobile network experiences. Throughout this series, hosts Robb Boyd and Jennifer Huber give you the inside look into OEM and Ecosystem Partners solutions and services revolving around “wireless.” In subsequent episodes, the panel will include thought leaders and leading engineers from Cisco, Meraki, Ekahau, 7Signal and more. Be sure to check back each month for a new, informative and exciting session. #NoBadWiFI

Please view transcript below:

 

Robb Boyd:

Welcome to the second episode in our No Bad Wi-Fi Series from WWT and today's topic it's Aruba Air Pass.

Jennifer Huber:

Chuck from Aruba joins us to review the industry need for this kind of solution and the forward thinking actions that Aruba is already taking. And as usual, we'll round out this episode by visiting a few experts.

Robb Boyd:

Anssi from Ekahau has an announcement about Android support that many of you are going to want to stay tuned in for.

Jennifer Huber:

Carter from Exceltex walks us through some Aruba specific installations, unique enclosures, and of course, the unique interfaces you should be aware of.

Robb Boyd:

We'll wrap it all up with Eric Jackson from WWT's, ATC. That's the Advanced Technology Center, and Eric's is going to show us some of the remotely accessible resources that you can get to on their platform. Such a great way to get hands on with Aruba solutions without having to buy anything or frankly even leave your office. Hey, my name is Robb Boyd.

Jennifer Huber:

And my name is Jennifer Huber, and welcome to the No Bad Wi-Fi Aruba edition.

Robb Boyd:

Well, let's kick things off with Chuck Lukaszewski, VP of Wireless Strategy and Policy for Aruba networks. All right. Well let's, on to our main story for this episode. And Jennifer, you were telling me that you had had the pleasure of experiencing one of your favorite presenters from Aruba. And so I'll let you handle the introductions here and then we'll let him get into the topic.

Jennifer Huber:

Yeah, today I am thrilled to have Chuck with us presenting for HPE Aruba. And I'm going to totally right away hand the microphone over to him because every word that comes out of his mouth is like raw gold and I'm super excited that he's here.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Thanks Jennifer. So I hope like I can live up to that billing. Yeah, no, it's great. Thanks for having me on the program and I love the series. And so for the audience that hasn't met me before. So I'm Chuck Lukaszewski. I'm the wireless Chief Technologist at Aruba. We're the networking division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and I'm responsible for a team of folks that does wireless standards, we do Next Gen kind of product strategy. And we do policy work. For example we've been involved in the six gigahertz activity that I know many of you are tracking.

Jennifer Huber:

I heard Aruba launched a new tool to make Guest WiFi easier to get on or make it more secure. Can you tell us more about that feature or that tool that you've got?

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah, absolutely. I would be very happy to. So it's actually a service, and we call it Aruba Air Pass. We announced it back in March, but it's the culmination of several years of trial and technical development. So what it's about is, connecting cellular subscribers, specifically Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices with sim credentials automatically to Aruba Wi-Fi networks. And ultimately, it's not limited to cellular subscribers or cell cellular devices, but that's where we're starting with.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And so the way it works is, we're using a technology called Passpoint, which I'll explain a little bit in a couple of slides for folks that might not be familiar with it. But Passpoint is a Wi-Fi Alliance standard that's been around for quite some time actually, that allows a Wi-Fi infrastructure to advertise a third party network services, specifically identity providers. And if your device has a compatible profile pre-installed on it, then it's actually listening for operator announcements. And if it sees one it recognizes it all by itself without any user interaction with whatsoever, will attempt to join that network. And then if they're granted access, it's automatically encrypted, which is another benefit for guest traffic.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So the diagram on the left is just a quick architecture view, just a simplification of the system. So what we've done is, the way it's set up, is we'll just go from bottom to top. So there's an Air Pass SSID that gets added. And this is a .1X encrypted network. And ultimately actually the Passpoint doesn't require a dedicated SSID. So this is just how we're doing it in the current trial phase. But you could piggyback it on any .1Xs ID. As I said, if you have a device with a profile, and that's what the little circles are meant to get across, then it's listening for operator announcements, and if it sees one, it'll connect and then the Aruba infrastructure is plumbed back to a cloud service called the Air Pass hub, which in turn is plumbed at all.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

I'll show you another diagram breaking that out a little back to the various operators with whom Aruba has agreements. And so that's all control playing. So it's secure, it's encrypted, we run rad sec with it. And then once the device is authenticated, then typically we're from a data path perspective, we're just putting it in the usual guest VLAN and it has guest access the way you would in any other situation.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And so some of the benefits of this are, first of all we have a lot of customers that are experiencing cellular coverage challenges today with LTE. And it seems like we're only hearing more with every day and later we'll talk about how that changes with 5G. So the one of the immediate wins with Air Pass is, for devices that have Wi-Fi calling enabled, you can make and receive calls over Wi-Fi automatically by coming onto Passpoint. Even if the Wi-Fi calling is not enabled, the device is still offloading data and text messages, and so it's reducing the demand on the local macro network.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

But there are other advantages too. So we're also hearing from customers. We've done a lot of work, folks are probably familiar with our ClearPass Guest function for captive portals. But captive portals are a friction at the end of the day and customers have been looking for a long time at ways to minimize the friction. So, for this class of devices, it's great, because there's no friction at all, it just connects up automatically.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And, particularly as we go to Zero Trust environments, this is a really great fit for those types of networks. We're also hearing for employee BYOD devices, a little bit different, but still important desire. Enterprises are running mobile device management solutions, they have for years and nobody is really happy with them. The enterprise, from an IT perspective, it's another system to manage. From an employee perspective, I have to give the enterprise some footprint on my personal device. And as companies go to Zero Trust an Internet First, what we're hearing is, "Hey they'd like to just get BYOD devices off the network entirely." And again this... Air Pass is a great way to do that because the device literally can just be handled by the network, and that traffic is naturally segmented.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And then finally, because most people carry a mobile device, if those devices are on the network deterministically, all of a sudden the analytics get really rich. So anybody doing location analysis, using a location engine, all of a sudden, you've got a pretty good level of confidence that you're able to develop an anonymized analytics about where people are going. So if you want to do facility space utilization, or let's say you're an airport, and you want to know how long does it take to get through security or how long does it take to get from parking to the gate, that sort of thing. All of a sudden, that data set gets really rich. So there's a lot of benefits beyond improving cellular coverage, but that's one of the primary benefits.

Jennifer Huber:

[crosstalk 00:08:25].

Robb Boyd:

Oh, yeah. Go ahead.

Jennifer Huber:

I have a question. How do I know if my device has a profile on it? And there was another question I had, but you got answered that one-

Robb Boyd:

That was when I was going to go for too, which is what is the user interaction requirement? And if partially, your question, yours is probably more technical. But I'm just curious, because I feel like things like security especially tend to fail if users have to be involved in the chain somewhere. And the easier you make this, and it sounds like this is designed to just happen in the background on your behalf, if I understand correctly.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Correct. So that's the magic and that's really the thing that has changed in the last couple of years, that frankly makes this possible. So again I said Passpoint, has been around for 10 years or more. But what we haven't had are these profiles on the devices. And starting maybe four or five years ago, we started to see the first North American operators start to adopt Passpoint, so AT&T for example has been very public. They're one of the most aggressive users of Passpoint and they have a simple use case for it, which is that if you're an AT&T subscriber and you travel internationally, your chances are good that you bought a Wi-Fi roaming package.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

But if even if you didn't, they're trying to provide a better user experience and reduce the roaming costs. So they have gone to Passpoint worldwide for these devices. So if you're going through London Heathrow or Dubai or what have you, when we all start traveling again, what you'll find is that if your devices your AT&T device is automatically associated to the networks as you pass through to reduce those costs. And so what's happened? Other operators have seen that and the situation today is that, basically all of the major North American operators support Passpoint, there's nothing you have to do.

Jennifer Huber:

When you spoke to the analytics it was possible or more intense analytics that are possible. How does the operating system of our smart devices doing the Mac randomization, does that adversely affect that in any way?

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Awesome question. So it actually is better... Well so either way you're going to get on with Mac randomization, I think that the challenge that poses for some types of organizations, so particularly anybody that is doing analytics and may be doing advertising for example. A lot of the hotel property management systems use the MAC address to recognize a guest when they come in. So randomization then creates a lot of friction when I change hotels, because the hotel doesn't know that it's me anymore. So with Passpoint, it may be possible to actually restore a layer of recognition, without actually giving up any privacy, the cellular identities that are passed through the system are anonymized and encrypted. So we have no idea who's actually authenticating, but there may be ways to actually provide some consistency in the user experience.

Robb Boyd:

Excellent.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So if we look at the Air Pass architecture, so now the diagram on the right side is showing, this is what I was referring to before with a little bit of the plumbing. So in order to construct this experience, I'll just go from left to right now on this diagram. So you have devices with sim credentials that appear in a room of footprints and all manner of different types of facilities. And we have hospitals participating in the trial, we have multidwelling unit operators participating, we have restaurants, we have universities participating in a really interesting range of customers, airports.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And so the device shows up, those devices are plumbed to the Air Pass hub via typically, it's ClearPass today, if they have that on site. And then they can actually connect through Aruba Central, if it's an instant deployment, and there's no controller. The Air Pass hub in turn is connected to what are called proxy partners. And essentially, every mobile network operator has a preferred proxy partner. No one will let you connect directly to their core network, just for security reasons. So you have to go through this front door and we have agreements that we've signed, again, with the proxy partners, as well as with the mobile operators, that allow us to connect up and pass those authentication messages on an end to end basis. And I'll show you the super high level protocol flow here in a couple slides.

Robb Boyd:

This is cool, it feels like to me, there is... I know I promised you Jennifer I wasn't going to jump in.

Jennifer Huber:

It's okay.

Robb Boyd:

But it sounds like to me that this has been around for years, but it hasn't taken root. And there's been so much work to make it easy, but it feels like Aruba is taking an aggressively, and I mean that in a positive way, stance on saying there's a couple of background items that have to be resolved. Maybe a few little agreements here and there, some authentication things.

Robb Boyd:

And this becomes then the tipping point for something that was envisioned 10 years ago, but has not lessened in importance of that. Because even with 5G we know the reality, as much as the commercials may make it an Apple launch announcements, may make it sound like 5G is here. It's not. And it's not going to be anything that we imagine in many of the situations that are most important to us.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah, that's right. And maybe I'll just take a second because I'm sure a question on the minds of some folks in the audience's "Okay, well, how does this contrast with what's called Open roaming?" which has been announced recently. So, open roaming is an initiative the Wireless Broadband Alliance. And it is designed to do something similar, but it's much more of a decentralized architecture. It's based around using essentially the DNS system to connect network owners, Wi-Fi network footprint with identity database owners or managers to allow for ad hoc authentication between the systems. And actually open roaming is compatible with this design. In this diagram actually, you could put open roaming up as one of these identity providers on the right side. And someday we may actually enable open roaming through Air Passes as an additional provider.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

But to your point, what our customers have said loud and clear is, we want to improve cellular roaming indoors. And so their top, top, top priority is the identity providers they care about are the major mobile network operators. And so to get them, you have to go sign agreements, and you've got to go build infrastructure. So this is a very different architecture. It's complimentary to open roaming, but it goes well above and beyond I think the open roaming vision, which does not contemplate necessarily having. There's no entity with open roaming that's signing roaming agreements.

Robb Boyd:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. Dirty little secret.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah.

Robb Boyd:

Excellent. Okay.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So maybe to pick up the pace a little bit. So just a quick update for the audience. So there's actually a lot of great collateral. In fact, we just literally in the last two weeks published a new white paper that looks at not only Wi-Fi and Air Pass, but also we talk about CBRS and 5G and how radio access networks are converging in the enterprise. And so I encourage folks, if you could just google these or you can drop us an email, and we can get you a link to it.

Robb Boyd:

I'd like to ask a question of Jennifer and Chuck. And that is, in my experience which is not your experience. But CBRS to me, has been a different world. Wirelessly, it's of course very similar to some existing cellular architecture, but where it's coming from and how it's actually making inroads and offers some really positive things, I feel like it has been kind of an isolation, the separate discussion out of the glamorous notion of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 perhaps? What has been your experience Jennifer to customers? Is that what their experiences or do customers already understand what CBRS stands for perhaps or what it actually is?

Jennifer Huber:

Customers may understand what CBRS stands for, they may understand a couple of niche use cases for it. I've seen a lot of questions about it in recent months, and it seems that the two technologies have been running in parallel, but now they're starting to overlap because there are use cases for CBRS, where it's not going to replace an internal Wi-Fi network, it's the leverage for a specific reason.

Robb Boyd:

And that's probably a good point to make. And then Chuck, so that's why I think it jumped out at me on this white paper, that you've got the combination and they're starting to address that, and I could be completely off base. But I don't think many people have started to write about that as a holistic topic. And so I'm glad to see you guys doing that.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah, we wanted to get ahead of the curve on it, because the questions are coming up, obviously from customers. And so the way we think about it is that Air Pass and CBRS are actually really complimentary. One of the main CBRS use cases is the neutral host case where again, our customers are looking for a way to cost effectively improve indoor cellular coverage. And because CBRS has limited band support, in terms of the number of devices, it's going to take a few years for devices to become ubiquitous, that can do Band 48. And conversely, because Wi-Fi as we already mentioned to do, I can get you on the Wi-Fi automatically, but Wi-Fi calling you have to turn on manually, for because of the 911 issue.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So they're actually really complimentary, because if you want to maximize the reach of your cellular coverage solution and you have the resources, you should actually do both. You should do CBRS and Air Pass, and you're going to reach the largest number of devices. So here's a really simplified diagram that again, for those that aren't familiar with it. I said that Passpoint is a way to let in Wi-Fi infrastructure advertise that it has in this case mobile operators, but could be more general services. And so there's a information element that gets added to the Wi-Fi beacons, and that's what the device with the profile is actually listening for. So we're just chirping out 10 times a second. So in this case we're basically sending out what are called the PLMN, the Public Land Mobile Network identifiers of the participating operators with Air Pass, and then if the device sees its operator it'll go ahead and start up a connection.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And then on this next diagram, this is showing you just a very simplified end to end picture then of what happens. So again, as I said before, it's the identity is anonymized from the device. So we don't know who the subscriber is, we don't get the phone number or anything of that nature, we're just passing radius messages between the device and the operator on the back end of all the plumbing we were looking at before. And then if the operator agrees... So for example I guess if I hadn't paid my bill or something, the operator might say no, but normally the operator is going to say, accept and user is you just bang right on the network. So it's super simple. And again, to your point about the user experience, it's like magic, you walk in the door and you're on the network.

Jennifer Huber:

And I'm assuming that the Passpoint notification is sent out like any other SSID beacon. So it doesn't add to any additional overhead. It's just there.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah, correct.

Jennifer Huber:

Cool.

Robb Boyd:

Easy.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So we've been running a trial now for, oh, gosh, over a year. And one of the questions I get a lot is, "Okay, well, what does this do to my network and what should I expect in terms of attach rates." And so here's some data that I we shared publicly in the past, this is pre COVID, just to be clear. But I think this is a good indicator of what customers could expect when we all return to work. So what you see on the left is the unique devices. So this is data over an extended period of time at our headquarters building, and we have multiple operators on the network.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And so what this is showing you is that on average over a quarter of the devices on the network are Passpoint devices. And by the way, these are devices that were not getting on the network before we turn on Air Pass. So these were phones that were sitting at people's purses or backpacks or pockets and not doing anything, frankly. But the diagram on the right is really interesting. So what we found is that the network load, that these devices are generating is really small. It's like, low single digit type percentage of bytes. And that makes sense, because again, a lot of the users don't necessarily know that they're offloaded. And so this is just giving you a sense of what the background traffic is that's coming off a mobile device.

Jennifer Huber:

That's really interesting, because one would think that if everybody knew that they were being offloaded, and they were saving their data, they would probably be ramping up their usage.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah, it could be. But those are also the types of people that are probably most likely to manually get on the Wi-Fi in the first place. So at the end of the day, I don't know that it would necessarily change the load on the network. And our message to our customers is, this is just a win-win for everybody here because it's not going to really increase the network costs at all.

Robb Boyd:

Well, it sounds like it's saving time too for those people that are going to go to the trouble to go through the portals and stuff like this. That goes away. They're just there and we get back to what we all want, which is I just want to use my device and have it do what I needed to do-

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Exactly, no friction.

Robb Boyd:

And not having to fumble through all those. I hate those portals.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And if you think about Zero Trust, and Zero Trust means different things to different people. But the way I think of Zero Trust, or what some of our customers call Internet First, is that there's always internet dial tone available, right? And it may be super restricted, it might just port 8443, maybe there's content filtering or whatnot. But it's never the case that anybody that walks in the building cannot get on the network.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And then you have privilege from there, right? That's just the baseline. And so Passpoint is super compatible with that philosophy. Because if you're already in that headspace, then ideally, you want all these devices to come on. Because it's going to reduce helpdesk calls, it's going to simplify, it's going to reduce friction. And again, I want to stress here, while we may be focused on sim devices today, ultimately, there's nothing about Passpoint that is limited to Sims.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And so we very much look forward to being able to for example, you could imagine a customer using our clearpass AAA system, we could in the onboarding process that we take people through today. Instead of onboarding us a conventional cert, we could onboard a passport profile onto that device and it just walks in and you're on automatic. Something that's interesting is again, I said a lot of our customers are finding that they're having trouble with 4G.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So my message to the audiences is anybody that's having that problem today, is that it's about to get dramatically worse with 5G and the reason for that very simply is that, the spectrum that is used for 4G is basically a 2.1 gigahertz and below, and the primary 5G spectrum is much, much higher on the dial, it's actually in between the two Wi-Fi bands. CBRS, for example, is one of the 5G bands, it's three and a half gigahertz. And then there's a rulemaking underway now in the US to clear the upper part of what's called the C band. And that's really the core 5G spectrum, and that will run from about 3.7 gigahertz to about four gigahertz.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And so as you know, this has much more difficult propagation characteristics. And so if your building is having a hard time with 4G at two gigahertz, the 5G signals at four gigahertz are just not going to make it in at all. And so part of our thinking with Air Pass is to set the table for a new conversation between enterprises and operators, who really need each other more than ever, to figure out because enterprises, the Help Desk calls are only going to increase about cellular coverage. The operators just don't... They there's not enough money to deploy small cells in every building, in every bit of commercial real estate in the US. So we think Air Pass is a really great win for operators and our customers as well

Robb Boyd:

Femtocells, if I'm saying that right. We're kind of an attempt to address in building coverage and this feels much more elegant than trying to do that. And because it's using existing architecture that most likely has already been deployed.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah. Well, and CBRS for folks who can afford it, those are also femtocells in a sense, but as a practical matter, CBRS is going to be more expensive on a area adjusted basis than Wi-Fi. So it's not a silver bullet.

Robb Boyd:

Yeah. Nothing ever is, is it? That seems to be always the lesson that I take away from every technical conversation as well. Just FYI, it's nothing. Nothing is a silver bullet. All right. Very cool. So buyer beware when it comes to 5G, answering all of your hopes and dreams.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Yeah, exactly. And then I think the last diagram maybe just to give folks a sense of where this is headed for the future is, if you haven't seen the 5G block diagram for those engineers in the audience. So that's what this is. And on the right side of the dashes, is a cartoon version of a 5G core network. Actually from my perspective, the single most interesting development with 5G is not getting talked about a lot. And that is the fact that Wi-Fi and the cellular networks are true peers now in the cellular standards. And the reason for that is that, the folks that do the cellular standards decided that they were going to separate the standards paths for the core network from the radio network going forward. And one consequence of that is of course they each have to be agnostic to the other.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

And so once you have a core network that is agnostic as to the radio network, now it doesn't matter if it's a cellular network or if it's Wi-Fi, or potentially even something else, they get managed the same way. And so it becomes possible to actually aggregate capacity from a 3GPP network or a cellular 5G network with the Wi-Fi network. It's almost like lagging Ethernet ports together. If I have a mobile device with multiple uplinks, but for that to be possible, what I want is for this thing to get both radios on the network automatically. And so you see Air Pass here in the diagram. And Air Pass is the way that we get the Wi-Fi device always on the network, so that this feature of the 5G system could actually be used by subscribers.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So we're a ways, we're not there yet. Obviously, we're waiting on the mobile operators to fully roll out their 5G systems. But in a couple of years, this or maybe sooner even for some operators, this is really the vision we're executing too. So Air Pass delivers a lot of benefits today in 4G but in 5G it's going to be even more impactful.

Jennifer Huber:

So how do I go about getting Air Passes? It's just like, any other Aruba solution that I purchase and license like how do I get this new stuff on our Aruba networks?

Chuck Lukaszewski:

So awesome question. So as I mentioned, so right now we're in this, we call it an early access pilot, and we're always looking for more companies to join. So if you're interested, just contact your... WWT, you can work with your Aruba reseller, sorry. With your Aruba account manager.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

There's a couple of forms to fill out. And we can make sure that you've got the right code running on the infrastructure and so on. We do anticipate towards next summer, actually the GA release of the service. And so we're working through right now what pricing might look like and packaging and so on. But if you want to participate in the trial and kick the tires and get a sense of how this might work in your environment, we'd love to hear from you.

Robb Boyd:

Excellent.

Jennifer Huber:

Great.

Robb Boyd:

Yeah. Chuck, thank you so much for taking the time. And I think beyond up we'll try to put a link to the white paper. But it sounds like some of this is like knowledge to have for planning as we go forward and to show the forward thinking that Aruba is taking to resolving issues that once again, are not going away that fast. Excellent. Thank you.

Chuck Lukaszewski:

Exactly. Right. Yeah, no, appreciate the chance to share this. And look forward to your feedback and comments.

Jennifer Huber:

Hey, Carter, I'm so glad to have you back again. I can't wait to hear what you're going to tell us about. Please let us know what you've got to talk to us about today.

Carter Burke:

Well, I appreciate you guys having me on always, I appreciate [inaudible 00:31:27] technologies having us all in the partnership. And I need to talk to somebody about that cool red WWT t-shirts you have. But that'll be at another time. But anyway, thanks for having us on. I know our goal today is to talk about all things cool with you guys, and what you're doing with Aruba. Obviously, a great product, really been some neat stuff.

Carter Burke:

So I think our goal today is to talk about some cool use cases we've done with them. I think everybody's pretty comfortable with us and antennas, which is great product line, we do a lot of antennas with Aruba. Obviously we just have to make sure when you're doing Aruba, you get the right connector, as we always tell people, APAs, and make sure you have the right number of leads. But that's all stuff we can help you with that we've been have a little tool on our website that'll help you.

Carter Burke:

But actually some of the cool stuff we've been doing with them lately is around, some around hospital installations. And really, I would say just like office space, where I'm happy to bring this big sucker up, but it's around like our ceiling tile enclosures. And the cool thing about this guy is, if you know some of the 500 Series radios for Aruba. They actually... I'm frozen, I think. They actually allow me to be able to take apart and connect it and actually have an access point right here, we'll talk a little bit about what I'm showing you here in a second.

Carter Burke:

But it actually hooks on the back, real nice. It allows you to easily come in and snap it into the ceiling tile enclosure, it makes the installation to field pretty quick and easy. We learned that the hard way when we started working with some of these new 500 Series radios, but all good stuff. And we're using that in hospitals that want to be able to service the access point and not break open the ceiling tile area. Obviously you get up in the podium anytime you're in, let's say health care facility, you're going to drop stuff all over the floor. And there's regulations around that, you don't want to have to get into all that. So it makes it kind of nice.

Carter Burke:

Plus for places like hotels and office buildings and sometimes they just want to do it to make it look pretty. And that's okay too. And on that note, I showed you this just a second ago, actually some of the coolest stuff we've been doing with Aruba. We've done ski resorts, and I've been talking about another use case. But this is one where we were in a facility that you wanted to hide the product and make it look like shrubbery. So this happens just to be greenery and which is kind of cool.

Carter Burke:

Anyway, and I'm going to ask the question. Are you able to see me okay on the camera? Good. Okay, because I got frozen on my end. Anyway, so that's good. So that's some of the stuff we're doing and actually, one of the slides that Rob will show talks about a good use case we've done with the University of Denver, they're in Colorado. Obviously a beautiful campus, and they wanted to be able to use some of the Aruba outdoor products and blend them in and really just soften them. The products are nice and pretty white, which we're all used to nice, pretty wide access points. Nothing wrong with that.

Carter Burke:

But when you're trying to put it outdoors up against maybe concrete or brick, they just wanted to make it look cleaner and nicer. So we did a bunch of different scenarios with them where we skinned some of the outdoor products. So the one that we skinned it looks black, we call it a Darth Vader that actually looks like Darth Vader when it's done. So that's actually what people call ski resorts too, and they started calling it Darth Vader.

Speaker 7:

The force is strong with this one.

Carter Burke:

So we did a lot of stuff around that. Another great use case we've been doing around Aruba is with The Golden State Warriors or the Chase Center where we get some undersea enclosures. And we actually put the Aruba AP inside. And the nice thing is it's thermoformed and Rob will be showing you a slide. This is designed to be stepped on kicked, beer dropped on which we were buying there. But really has a nice cool thing as an [inaudible 00:35:20] to keep in the back too. Everybody always worries about what's going on, how you're dissipating the heat. So this nice heat seek in the back allows your way to really have a nice undersea enclosure, but not worry about it overheating because it's in this hardened shell so people again can kick it.

Carter Burke:

So that's some of the cool stuff we've been doing. And the neat thing is with you guys, you all call us all the time and say, "Hey, here's an opportunity, can you help us?" So that's where we shine, is coming in and solving problems around whatever the vertical application and those are some cool ones and fun ones we've done. And those are probably my favorite one, I just talked about the different ways we hide stuff or make it just make it work, but nobody knows it's there.

Robb Boyd:

Well, and from my perspective, Carter, I always think of you guys as really just being problem solvers when it comes to... Everybody wants their connectivity, but they don't want the look of technology. And you guys seem to excel at hiding your own work, which is oddly-

Carter Burke:

[inaudible 00:36:15]. I'm like, "Yeah, that's fine."

Robb Boyd:

Yeah. Well and this is fantastic.

Carter Burke:

And we can do more and more of that. It's not, more people want to have it where they don't see it. And now with all the new Wi-Fi 6 coming out [inaudible 00:36:28] it's going to proliferate even more.

Robb Boyd:

That's excellent. Jennifer, do you have any final questions?

Jennifer Huber:

No, I don't. Man, Carter did such a great job telling us all about the new stuff they've got. It's great.

Robb Boyd:

I think we're going to change the name of this segment, [crosstalk 00:36:40] Carter show and tell. Yeah.

Jennifer Huber:

I love that. That will be awesome.

Carter Burke:

It looks like everybody came in, I'm tripping over stuff. But that's okay. I'm a hardware geek. I like the hardware side. So I've good stuff all over my office.

Robb Boyd:

That's awesome.

Carter Burke:

Anyway, I appreciate the time as always, and thanks for having me on.

Robb Boyd:

You got it. Carter, thank you so much, appreciate you joining us.

Carter Burke:

All right, you guys. Take care.

Robb Boyd:

All right. Well, we're back with Anssi from Ekahau. And Anssi the last time we spoke with you, you were talking about troubleshooting and you promised to continue that discussion with some more tools that we needed to be aware of to take us further down this path. What have you got for us?

Anssi Tauriainen:

That's right. First of all, thanks for the invitation. It's good to be back again. Yes, last time, we discussed about the importance of the accurate measurements, and how we are leveraging our sidekick unit to collect those measurements. And yes, in the same context, I mentioned that next time, we'll talk a little bit more on how we are utilizing those measurements in our applications and on the software.

Anssi Tauriainen:

So let me start by giving you a first a quick overview on the portfolio. So for those of you who don't know Ekahau, we are the global leaders for Wi-Fi design and optimization and troubleshooting software. And basically, first of all, we have a product called Ekahau Pro, which is really for designing and planning networks. We have the sidekick unit that we discussed before, we have the survey software, which is really designed for doing side service. We have packet capture application, and we have cloud on the backend that we use to synchronize the data between the apps and between the users.

Anssi Tauriainen:

And today, I wanted to talk to you about Ekahau analyzer, which is basically a product which is designed for troubleshooting and diagnosing the network when something goes wrong. And also, I would like to make a quick announcement today, an important announcement. The analyzer is changing how you troubleshoot Wi-Fi networks.

Anssi Tauriainen:

So first of all, it runs on your mobile device like this, you connect it to your sidekick unit, which I have right here. And basically, whenever the sidekick is powered and you have the application running, it's constantly running an autotest functions on the background. So you predefine your requirements, and then the application keeps testing on the background against those requirements. So we look things like primary and secondary signal strength. We look signal to [inaudible 00:39:27] ratio, we look at channel utilization, we also do connectivity testing. And at the same time, we test the roaming behavior, and we also look at the live spectrum where we can do that with the device. So it's basically turning your mobile device that you carry with you all the time, is turning it into a really accurate troubleshooting and diagnosis device.

Robb Boyd:

I love that so much easier to carry around than the laptop and cables and all the different things that we would be doing to try and get those measurements and make sense of them, and you're making it all compact and easy to interface with. That's awesome.

Anssi Tauriainen:

Right. And then you've got the point exactly. So you avoid all the mess with the carrying the devices around and dongles and all of that. So that's something you have with you anyway. And then you have in a very compact form the ability to test how basically the quality and the connectivity of your network.

Anssi Tauriainen:

Testing here currently against our guest network at Ekahau office. As you can see, immediately from the top screen, the signal strength is fine, the SNR is fine, but the channel quality seems to be problematic. So I click that button to find out more of what's going on in the network. And here, I can see now the channel utilization for my 2.4 and probably for my five gigahertz band. And I can see here that on the channel one, I can hear at least 14 SSIDs, which is actually a lot.

Anssi Tauriainen:

Again, if I go back to the main screen, and I click the spectrum analyzer, I can see basically how much traffic is being carried in each of these channels. And as you can see on the top screen on the 2.4 channel, I actually have amazing amount of traffic going on all the time. So this is just a quick example to show how to illustrate, how to diagnose the performance of your Wi-Fi network. So basically, with the two simple buttons, I can see that in this environment, 2.4 gigahertz is actually not a usable option. And instead, I should actually go ahead and configure my network to five gigahertz band, which seems to be which seems to be having much more capacity in this particular location.

Robb Boyd:

Very helpful information. Yeah, absolutely.

Anssi Tauriainen:

So that's that's how easy it is, as you can hear, I'm not a Wi-Fi expert, and even not I can do it. So let's call the announcement, right?

Robb Boyd:

Oh, yeah. What's the announcement?

Anssi Tauriainen:

So, when we launched the analyzer application in last January. It was designed for iPhone and iPad. That's the first version that we announced. And as you know actually, majority of the users are using Android. So we are actually getting ready to launch the Android version. This is not the secret, we already launched the beta testing phase, public beta for the Android app a few days ago. So the testing is ongoing and it's actually going really well. So we are confident that we can launch the Android version of the analyzer in very, very near future.

Anssi Tauriainen:

So that means that all of our Connect customers who have Android devices and Android tablets can start utilizing the same functionality. So basically, it will look identical to the application that I just showed you a few minutes ago. So basically, it will perform the autotesting. Within few minutes, you can find the quality of your network. And then you can see the ClearPass and fail indications to clear red and green buttons. And then simply by clicking the button, you can find out more about your signals strength, about your signal to noise ratio, your channel quality, and so on.

Robb Boyd:

There's going to be a lot of Android users very happy that's the case. It's always a balancing act on what platforms to capture first, because there's both hugely deployed, hugely important, and certainly and used by the community. So I think that's great news.

Anssi Tauriainen:

Right. And as you might know, this is our first Android application, but this is certainly not the last one. So these is more to come in the near future, but we will stay back to the next session.

Robb Boyd:

Well, excellent, Anssi, thank you so much. You heard it here first guys. They're making announcements on NO Bad Wi-Fi. This is where you come for the latest breaking news on Ekahau support for Android. It's a big turning point, big future. I'm having fun with it. Thank you so much Anssi, appreciate your time. I'm just always fascinated by how you can visualize things that we have never been able to see before and make it simple, even for someone that you try to claim that you're not a Wi-Fi expert, and I'll take your word for it. But you continue to teach me things about it, so I'll give you that. Thank you so much.

Anssi Tauriainen:

Thank you.

Robb Boyd:

All right, it's time for a visit to the ATC. Eric Jackson, looking forward to having you back for every episode, where we can virtually visit the ATC. Today we're talking about Aruba. And I understand that there are some things that we can do to learn more about Aruba virtually just via our web browser, if I understood that correctly. Did I characterize that right?

Eric Jackson:

Yes Rob, you characterized that right. So what I'm going to be walking you through today, is just some things that we've been Columbus on our platform around Aruba wireless. Show you how to navigate to those from the WWT platform. And then going to the lab, it just you show as a user what the experience is going to be like as you launch that lab. So the first thing you would do with it is open up your browser, type in wwt.com. Once you get to our homepage, from there you will navigate to networking, and then you will scroll down to wireless access mobility.

Eric Jackson:

Now just one quick thing I want to point out here, when you're at the wireless and access before you go into wireless access and mobility, as [inaudible 00:45:34] talked about a little bit what's on this page, right? So some of the things that's on this page are things like briefings, case studies, labs, videos, training, a lot of different content around a lot of solutions that are hosted out of our Advanced Technology Center. So of course today, we're going to be talking about an Aruba wireless lab. And because we know that we're going to be accessing our lab, which you would do at this point is click on the link labeled lab.

Eric Jackson:

Here we see our lab that we're looking for the day and we're going to be talking about is our Aruba Wireless Solutions Lab. Once you click on that lab, this will take you to a page where you have a solution overview. So that's going to talk briefly about the lab, some of the things you can expect. Also, it's going to give you a diagram that gives you a visual perspective of what's in the lab, our mobility masters ClearPass, mobility, controllers, things of that nature.

Eric Jackson:

Once you get here, you just click on schedule lab, it'll bring you to a screen where you can fill out information on yourself, your company, and how long you expect the link to need this lab. Once you fill out this information, hit submit, then that goes to our ATC team on our backend, that will actually look at the schedule and make sure that there's no conflicts with the day that you want your lab. Once there's no conflict determined, then you'll get an email that will actually allow you to access the lab environment.

Eric Jackson:

The email will have a link that will take you into the lab environment itself. Once you're inside the lab, it's going to take you to our documentation. This is referred to as our lab guide. The lab guide is just going to walk you through an introduction of the lab environment. And again, some of this is covered on the previous page before you reserve the lab. But just to restate an introduction to the lab, and then also some of the steps that you're going to be walking through.

Eric Jackson:

Give you a view of the topology, and then once you get into the topology [inaudible 00:47:30] topology or some of the steps that you're going to be walking through today, in this lab or we're going to walk you through in this lab. So what I want to do then is launch my Chrome Browser, and you can see here that we already have a lot of those items that you're going to be accessing already bookmark. For example, the first step in our lab guide is, bootstrapping mobility master.

Eric Jackson:

So you can see here we have some IP addresses associated with devices and environment. So you would basically, the way you would navigate the lab is you would actually walk down the different steps in our lab guide. And then from there, you'll click on the different bookmarks in your dashboard.

Jennifer Huber:

Are there any prerequisites for setting up an account on the WWT platform?

Eric Jackson:

Yes, there is Jen. So, as long as you have a organizational account, meaning that if you're going to register on our platform to access one of our labs, you can't do it from a Gmail or a Hotmail or anything like that. It has to be from a validated organizational account, whether that be Aruba, HPE, Cisco, or whatever organization your access to the ATC is from.

Robb Boyd:

Customers account I assume. Yeah.

Eric Jackson:

Yes.

Robb Boyd:

So obviously, this is fantastic. Because you guys build these labs. In your you obviously built specific scenarios, so it's not just slapping something together. So I don't have to go out and wait for you to install a demonstration on my site or visit or something like that. This is a virtual visit to your St. Louis based Advanced Technology Center, but I'm doing it from the comfort of my own browser.

Eric Jackson:

Yep, absolutely Robb. Everything is remote, everything is already pre-canned. So we try to have everything set up in advance to offer the best customer experience for those people that are accessing the lab environment. And It also enables the users and our customers, to get a taste of the ATC without actually having to travel to St. Louis.

Robb Boyd:

Yeah, it's important these days for sure. But it's amazing that you're able to do all this virtually because I know you guys actually put all this together before we ever knew we were going to have to stay at home. So you're on this path, but thank Gosh.

Eric Jackson:

So this is all we're going to cover for today on the Aruba Wireless Solutions Lab. However we are constantly changing and evolving and adding things to our ATC environment. So we are adding additional Aruba technologies, but for the purpose of today we're just going to cover the Aruba wireless piece.

Robb Boyd:

Perfect. Well obviously that is the topic for today. But thank you, Eric and also thank you to your team. I know there's a lot of people that work on these things. We're going to be coming back to you every episode on the No Bad Wi-Fi series. Today was Aruba, there's many others coming in the future here. So I expect that we will be learning a lot more about what kind of resources you guys have put together. But thank you. Thank you so much.

Eric Jackson:

Thank you.

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