Troubleshooting Steps

Whether your studying for your CWNA-107 or just troubleshooting issues at your day job, it helps to have defined steps for discovering and remediating problems when they arise.  The steps laid out in the CWNA-107 blueprint section 7.1 are listed below and are the steps I personally use when working through an issue.

  1. Identify the Problem
  2. Discover the Scale of the Problem
  3. Define Possible Causes
  4. Narrow to the Most Likely Cause
  5. Create a Plan of Action or Escalate the Problem
  6. Perform Corrective Actions
  7. Verify the Solution
  8. Document the Results

Let’s take a look into each of these steps and how you can use them when trouble arises in your network.

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WiFi Explorer Pro, Troubleshooting, and You


There is a growing number of tools for macOS that allow you to see what wireless networks are around.  I have used several of them and even paid for some of them, but why use something with such limited functionality?  In this post I will be showing off why WiFi Explorer Pro is one of my favorite tools for wireless engineers on macOS and how it supersedes those scanners of yesteryear.

In WiFi Explorer Pro of course you can view a list of networks, RSSI values, and supported data rates.  Then, there are some features you would not typically find in other products at this price including a simple user interface, a breakdown of the information elements, and spectrum analysis.

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Cisco Mobility Express

Cisco recently announced a solution capable of bringing controller functionality to access points, bringing new options to your small to medium deployments.  The solution, Cisco Mobility Express, allows you to convert an 1830/1850 access point into a Mobility Express AP.  In this mode you are able to control up to 25 FlexConnect APs and 500 clients in as little as ten minutes.  But, why would Cisco put a controller in an AP?

Let’s face it, wireless is a dynamic space.  We see use cases and requirements ranging from straight-forward to something resembling that of a Willy Wonka contraption.  Cisco now has a fleet of options from Controllers for traditional CAPWAP networks, to IOS-XE for networks with Unified Access in mind, Meraki for customers who prefer cloud management, and now Mobility Express for customers with small to medium deployments who can benefit from nerd-knobs expected in an enterprise deployment.  I personally hope the diversity offered does not lead to more diversity in features leading to confusion or aggravation amongst users; only time will tell.

You may have asked yourself, “How can I set up a Wireless LAN Controller in less than ten minutes?”  Well, that is a good question and has a bit of a complicated answer.  Yes it is possible to configure the 1830/1850 to be a Mobility Express AP and have a network up and running in that short of time, but you will still need to make tweaks – as with any wireless deployment.

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