when networking meets wireless when networking meets wireless

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  • Slide 1
  • When Networking meets Wireless When Networking meets Wireless
  • Slide 2
  • The networking and wireless worlds sometime use identical words or expressions that have a different meaning in their respective environments Since we are approaching wireless in the context of networking (or vice versa ? :), we need to agree on definitions, and thus avoid misunderstandings. Terminology issues
  • Slide 3
  • Confusion Some of the terms that need clarifying: -PoE (Power over Ethernet) -Access point - Router - Roaming - Bridge -Broadcast domain
  • Slide 4
  • PoE (Power over Ethernet) In the wireless world, PoE is referred to any time a category 5/5e/6 cable is used to carry both the Ethernet signal and the power. The power can be 12, 24, or 48 volts DC (or any voltage in between). In the Networking world, PoE refers to the IEEE 802.3af standard that provides 48 volts DC over the same cable that carriers the Ethernet signal. The conflict is in the DC voltage. Beware!
  • Slide 5
  • Access point Reminder: in wireless, all equipment that can connect to a wireless network categoriezed into one of three categories: 1.access point, master, sometimes referred to as infrastructure. These are typically boxes that weve been configuring that have a combination of radios and wired Ethernet ports. 2.Client. This is typically your laptop. 3.Ad-hoc. A special mode where two devices act as peers and talk to each other
  • Slide 6
  • Access Point continued When connected to wired networks, an access point can function as a bridge (L2), a router (L3), or even both. In the networking world, the term access point is almost always used to designate a device used to bridge traffic between a wireless network and a wired network, at Layer 2. This terminology difference is the root of a large portion of our discussion yesterday.
  • Slide 7
  • Bridge A bridge is used to connect 2 or more Layer 2 segments together A segment in this case may be: - a wired network - a wireless network A bridge is essentially a 2 port switch 12
  • Slide 8
  • Bridge (2) An access point which connects 2 interfaces:... - a wired interface (e.g.: 100/1000baseT) - a wireless interface (e.g.: 802.1g) at Layer 2 is a bridge 12
  • Slide 9
  • Router There is not much ambiguity here, but still a good idea to refresh: - a router is a device that forwards packets between distinct Layer 3 networks - a router usually has at 2 or more physical network interfaces, though not a strict condition Classification by role and scale - core / backbone routers (large scale) - access routers (medium) - SOHO/residential GW/CPE/edge (small)
  • Slide 10
  • Router (2) Good to point out that NAT is not an essential function of an IP router Small devices usually implement it, including most access points, which frequently can be configured to function in router mode Probably not desirable in larger environments
  • Slide 11
  • Broadcast domain In computer networking, a division of the network where all nodes (or hosts) within can reach each other by broadcast at L2 Broadcast is, on ethernet, performed by sending traffic to MAC address ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff In the context of wireless, the equivalent of a broadcast domain from the networking world is implemented as SSIDs, so a single broadcast domain will be a single SSID
  • Slide 12
  • Roaming Roaming is somewhat harder to define Wireless world borrowed definition from cellular telephony world What do we mean by roaming on a campus? - Layer 2. Moving between access points that have the same SSID - Layer 3. Moving between access points that are advertising wireless networks that are separate/different subnets Does it matter ?
  • Slide 13
  • Roaming (2) No clear definition Some define it to be the seamless transition from one wireless network to another - how seamless ? - is it good enough for your Mail ? Web ? VoIP ? - does it need it to be L2 to be roaming ? Even with L2-only, other mechanisms will make the transition visible (e.g.: 802.1x transition)
  • Slide 14
  • Roaming (3) On smaller networks, it's easy to do L2 roaming As networks get bigger, best to avoid large L2 (broadcast) domains IP segmentation/subnetting - Why sacrifice this architectural principle when implementing wireless ?
  • Slide 15
  • Roaming (4) Necessary to find the right balance - Groups of access points in same L2, same SSID, when closely located (same building, room, ) - Different locations, different L3 (IP) networks, different SSIDs
  • Slide 16
  • Roaming matrix same SSIDdifferent SSID OK (1)OK (2)same IP subnet NO (3)OK (4)different IP subnet (1) same SSID, same IP subnet is considered seamless at L2, but large L2 does not scale (2) no practical application to have different SSIDs on same subnet (manual balancing ? ) (3) client may not be informed of change of L3 network, and continue to assume that it is on the still on the network it has dissociated from (4) 1 SSID = 1 broadcast domain principle, no roaming to speak of, all L3 ssA subnet ssA ssB subnet ssA subnet ssA ssB subnet
  • Slide 17
  • Networking World Network engineers may tend to oversimplify / downplay the complexity of wireless networks (it's just ethernet, no big deal) - goal is to constrain the role of wireless equipment to well defined L2 scenarios: edge access, PtP - best practice is to avoid L2 networks spanning multiple broadcast domains (usually an IP subnet)
  • Slide 18
  • Wireless World Wireless people may tend to oversimplify / underestimate the architecture of a wired network (an access point can route or bridge, no big deal) - somewhat less stringent about what is core
  • Slide 19
  • Questions ?