Cisco – WLC Config Analyzer

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As listed in my previous post Cisco has developed many tools to assist us in Cisco WiFi deploymets. Here is the list for a quick recap.

  1. WCAE – Wireless Config Analyzer Express ( AireOS & IOS-XE WLC config analysis)
  2. WLCCA –Wireless Config Analyzer (AireOS WLC config analysis tool)
  3. WLC Config Converter (Config conversion between AireOS/IOS-XE)
  4. Wireless Debug Analyzer (Parses client debug / traces)
  5. WLAN Poller (Bulk data collection from APs)
  6. WiFi Hawk (Analyze OTA captures)
  7. 9800 Guest Shell Scripts (Automate complex data collection)
  8. 9800 Telemetry Pipeline – Github (Real-time telemetry visualization from 9800)
  9. 9800 Traces to ELK – Github (Automate trace collection from 9800)

WCAEWireless Config Analyzer Express is one of the great tools to analyze your WLC configurations against Cisco best practices (Watch this CLUS2022 session from Javier Contreras to understand power of this tool). This tool supports both AireOS & IOS-XE WLC platforms (as oppose to WLCCA which only supports AireOS WLCs). WCAE comes in two different flavours & desktop version give additional reports & analysis.

  1. Cloud version (https://cway.cisco.com/wireless-config-analyzer)
  2. Mini Desktop-Win 10 or MacOS (https://github.com/CiscoDevNet/wcae)

With the configuration model changes & IOS-XE platforms being used in Cisco 9800 and many of us not familiar with all the configuration best practices required. Therefore If you are working on a 9800 deployment, this is your best tool to analyze your configuration & find out issues (WLC Config Converter is another tool if you need AireOS to IOS-XE CLI mapping). Here is the quick summary of what WCAE can do for you.

  • Application to analyze and validate your Wireless Network, including all controller types, and any AP model
  • Based on learnings over years of case experience from TAC and Wireless Escalation teams
  • New implementation for the WLC Config Analyzer. it is a new re-write of the application, with clean up and improved checks
  • Objectives:
    • Save time processing WLC configurations, finding hundreds of different possible configuration errors
      • In depth RF Analysis
      • Audit config against best practices rule sets
  • It is fully offline to the controller, it does not store any data, or sends any data back
  • It is not a TAC supported product, it is basically provided “as is”

You require “show tech wireless” output from your 9800 WLCs or “show run-config” outtput from AireOS WLCs. Pls notet that “show tech” output does not work with the application. It is very common you get “show tech” output instead of “show tech wireless” when you have to ask customer to provide it to you. It is best if you can set “terminal len 0” prior to collect the output from you 9800. You can enable “term len 24” once you get it. In AireOS WLCs

### 9800 WLCs ###
C9800-1#terminal len 0
C9800-1#show tech wireless
.
.
### After collecting output you can set previous ter len ###
C9800-1#terminal len 24

### AireOS WLCs ###
(H3504) >config paging disable
(H3504) >show run-config
.
.
### After collecting output you can enable paging ###
(H3504) >config paging enable

In here I have used mini Desktop version & you should have familiarity of the GUI wrapper looks if you read my previos post on “WiFi Hawk“. Once you run the “wcae.exe” in administrator mode, you will see familiar GUI wrapper.

If you are into find some configuration issues (WLC or AP specific) “Controller Check Results” & “APs check Results” is what you need to look first.

Here is a sample of “WLC check results” output where it giver “Error”, “Warning” or “Info” level severity and in which category of mismatches that it identify. Also it suggest you recommended action to fix the given issue. Here is an example

Then you noticed “Client Audit” section on the maint content page. Cisco will analyze configuration against best practices for differnt major client types (Apple ios, Cisco 8821, Drager medical devices, Spectralink, Vocera). You should check those reports if you got an environment where one of these devices are important to you. Example for Apple client here is the ruleset that it check agains (link available on xls spreadsheet for you to easliy find it)

Global Validations

  • EDCA is Fastlane
  • 5GHz band is enabled
  • 5GHz radios are present
  • High Troughput (11n, 11ax, 11ac) are enabled
  • No more than 10% of clients are on low SNR

WLAN/Policy profile combinations

  • Policy and WLAN profiles are both enabled
  • Radio policy is 5GHz only
  • 11v Transition Service is enabled
  • 11v Directed Multicast is enabled
  • 11v BSS Max Idle is enabled
  • 1k Neighbor List is enabled
  • Fast Roaming (either Adaptive or FT enabled)
  • if FT is in use, either respective FT-PSK or FT-dot1x are enabled
  • if FT is in use, Over DS is disabled
  • AutoQoS is set to fastlane
  • WMM must be either optional or mandatory
  • if 9130/9124 APs are present, and using 17.4 or higher, Fastlane+ requirements are met: PMF is enabled, feature is enabled

RF Profiles

This is only validated for 5GHz band

  • All MCS rates are enabled
  • 6 and 9 mbps are disabled
  • 12 is mandatory
  • 24 is set as supported
  • Channel width is 20 or 40
  • if Channel width is “best”, max width is set to 40

If you want to get all the detail about APs,”APs configuration” report is the one you should look for. There are lot of RF related reports available under that section. Here is sample for “AP configuration”. Pls note all the columns are not displays here

If you are managing a Cisco WLC or deploying Cisco WLC, this is a tool to save lot of your time and get your configurations close to Cisco best practices guides. Below shows best practices documents for 9800 & AireOS for your reference.

  1. Cisco 9800 Configuration Best Practices
  2. Cisco AireOS WLC best practices