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Thread: Trying to make sense of this

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Trying to make sense of this

    This is my first post to the forum. Just recently started using the Metageek products insider Office and Chanalyzer - great stuff and great guys to work with both on the sales and support side.

    I was at my local library the other day and had my laptop with me so decided to fire up insider Office to see what their wireless environment looked like. It was terrible. They broadcast 2 SSID's one called "staff wireless" (which is protected) and another called "library" which is open. From the info inSSIDer showed they are using routers from a company called Senao which I have to say is a new one on me. They must have multiple APs operating on 2.4GHz only since inSSIDer shows 4 active SSID/channel assignments 2 for "staff wireless" and 2 for "library.

    Both "staff wireless" APs are set up for 40MHz operation one using channels 1 + 5 the other using 3 + 7. It's not a large space and the signal strengths from where I was sitting (not far from the desk) were -54db and -60db. So they must be creating an awful lot of noise for each other depending on which AP's actually have clients attached to them.

    One of the "library AP's was set up for 20 MHz operation using channel 11 with a signal strength of -52db. The other set up for 40MHz operation using channel 9 + 5 at a signal strength of -67db.

    What puzzled me (other than why anyone would set things up this way) was that the physical view of things in inSSIDer did not show the "staff wireless" AP running on channels 1 + 5. Just the one on channels 3 + 7. It did show the mac address ending in Fx which implies virtual SSID's are in use. But I thought that would mean both would be using the same channel assignment.

    So my questions are:

    1. Can you have virtual ID's using different channels in the same AP (is this a Senao feature)? Or am I misunderstanding something (which is more likely).

    2. Why does inSSIDer not display both virtual SSID's on the physical view if they are using different channels?

    Attaching a couple of screen shots.

    Cheers
    Mike


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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    1. I'm not sure what you mean by virtual IDs. Most APs have multiple radios that can have independent SSIDs on any selected channel. I have an old consumer grade 802.11n AP that allows me 4 real SSIDs running on separate channels. The mac addresses are a 16 bit variant of the root mac address.

    2. inSSIDer shows the mac address assigned to each physical, not virtual, radio.
    Last edited by ua549; 02-21-2016 at 07:50 AM.
    Old Mod by the Sea

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the response.

    So if assuming the AP had independent radios for multiple SSID's why doesn't inSSIDer show both on the physical view each with it's own unique MAC address?

  4. #4
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    It does. One needs to separate the concept of a physical box from an AP. The AP is a radio inside the box. The box can contain many APs.
    Looking at the physical view there is an entry for each radio, i.e., mac address. Notice that there are no duplicate mac addresses.
    Looking at the logical view there is an entry for each SSID. There can be many radios with the same SSID.
    Old Mod by the Sea

  5. #5
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    Yes I totally understand the difference between the physical box and an AP and that there can be a 1:many relationship of such. However, I'm still not seeing the 2 AP's on the logical view that are both using the same SSID "staff wireless" shown on the logical view.

    The mac addresses for the 2 radios using the SSID are:

    00:02:6F:B7:94:FC
    00:02:6F:B7:94:F8

    These show up when looking at the details for SSID "staff wireless" in the logical view.

    When I look at the physical view I see one AP using channels 3 + 7 with a mac address of 00:02:6F:B7:94:Fx

    There is nothing shown that corresponds to the AP on channels 1 + 5.

    That's what I don't get.

    Sorry if I'm being thick and missing something obvious.

    Mike


    Quote Originally Posted by ua549 View Post
    It does. One needs to separate the concept of a physical box from an AP. The AP is a radio inside the box. The box can contain many APs.
    Looking at the physical view there is an entry for each radio, i.e., mac address. Notice that there are no duplicate mac addresses.
    Looking at the logical view there is an entry for each SSID. There can be many radios with the same SSID.

  6. #6
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    I see the issue you are looking at. The "x" as the last character in the mac address display indicates a special circumstance, but I don't remember what. What do you see when you select that entry from the table? Have you looked in the documentation for inSSIDer? I suggest that you submit a support request?

    Sorry I couldn't help you.
    Old Mod by the Sea

  7. #7
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    I was able to create the mac address situation on my Eagles network. It happened when I configured 4 SSIDs; 2 from each radio on the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band. The results as shown in the attached screen shots show 4 mac addresses from the 2 radios. inSSIDer substitutes a "x" as the last character to indicate multiples.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    .
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  8. #8
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    When you created the 2 SSID's on each band were they on the same channel? If yes then what you see is what I would expect. However, if sa y the 2 SSID's on the 2.4GHz band were on different channels (as they were in my example) why does inSSIDer group them and only show a network on one of the channels?

    Thanks for the follow up.

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by ua549 View Post
    I was able to create the mac address situation on my Eagles network. It happened when I configured 4 SSIDs; 2 from each radio on the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band. The results as shown in the attached screen shots show 4 mac addresses from the 2 radios. inSSIDer substitutes a "x" as the last character to indicate multiples.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	1092 . . . Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	1093

    .

  9. #9
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    I have no idea how logic of inSSIDer Office builds /combines mac address table entries. I surmise that the channel is not a consideration when combining entries. The "x" is the default last character in a mac address alias. It makes more sense to combine based on the radio alias and SSID. Radio alias is an inSSIDer Office configurable attribute.
    Old Mod by the Sea

  10. #10

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    inSSIDer Office (and the rest of our products) group networks in two ways.

    In *Physical* mode, we group all of the virtual SSID's on one radio together. For example, at home, I have "Joel's Network" and "Joel's Guest Network" on the same radio. They are both virtual SSIDs. Since they are broadcast from the same 2.4 GHz radio, inSSIDer groups them together. We accomplish this by looking at the last nibble of the MAC address. Most vendors increment the last nibble to distinguish between SSID's, e.g. DE:AD:BE:EF:0A:5B and DE:AD:BE:EF:0A:5C. When we display that MAC in the Physical view, we put an "x" over the last nibble to indicate that it is a wildcard. Virtual SSID's from the same AP will always be on the same channel. One AP can't broadcast virtual SSID's on two radios (unless we are talking about 2.4 vs 5 GHz).

    In *Logical* mode, we group all SSID's that are the same (that's basically the definition of an ESSID) together. If you had 10 AP's that were all called "Joel's Network", we'd group those together.

    I visited a church once that had two SSID's, a locked down admin SSID, and a guest SSID. They were on a pretty tight budget, so they didn't have gear that could do virtual SSID's. Instead, they placed pairs of home routers everywhere. One doing the admin SSID, and one doing the guest SSID. In this case, inSSIDer obviously won't group them, because they aren't virtual SSIDs.

    I hope that helps!
    Joel, Mobility+, ECSE, CWNE #233
    Technical Trainer
    MetaGeek

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