★ THE BLOG ★ Ramblings on WiFi & stuff.

Hp to Buy Aruba?! No, Frakking Way!

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 58 seconds. Contains 396 words

It's late. When I wake up I'll formulate a proper response.  

For now...

An accurate depiction of me at the hearing the news of the HP/Aruba "merger".


Ok, I'm up. And I've been on the Twitters twittering away about this. The video above pretty much sums up what I feel about the HP/Aruba acquisition.

I have strong feelings about this because I've been an Aruba partner for a long time. They have been a fantastic partner on every level. And even more - I really love their products. To me that's the worst part of this.

HP has a poor history of successful acquisitions. Most of their acquisitions are given up on after they lose interest. Or, decide to leave the market. Or, decide to become a software services company instead of a hardware company. Or, a new CEO comes in. Or, or , or... you get the picture.

I see no plus here at all. Not for HP, because I honestly believe they have no idea what to do with Aruba. And not for Aruba, because they will become, as most other HP acquisitions, irrelevant and forgotten.

They've had 7-8 years to make Colubris Networks something. And they have done nothing, but squandered their opportunity. They are practically invisible in the WLAN community with no contributions, or engagement at all. What will this change?

Aruba is an extremely active member in the WLAN community, but these are two different worlds - two different cultures. HP is the multi-billion dollar giant, and Aruba is the sub-billion dollar kid with the good looks. With the exception of Steve Jobs/NeXT, acquisitions rarely have impact on the culture they're being brought into - there's no way Aruba will influence the way HP does business. It's just not how it works. The smaller, less powerful, acquisition comes and gets absorbed into the corporation. Anyone really thing think a snotty 13 year old is gonna change an 80 year old curmudgeon?

In some cases,such as Aruba itself, acquisitions are strategic and targeted, and incorporated to make improve their products, or empowered to become even better than they were to start. HP is not a company that inspires the confidence that this will happen with Aruba. They have a culture of vain, arrogant, CEOs, that make large, expensive moves to boost their own egos, "legacy", and temporary bottom-line.

So, one could say I'm not happy with this move.

UPDATE: Monday, March 2, 2015 @ 8:03 AM

It happened.

Sad day for Wi-Fi.


UPDATE #2: Friday, March 6, 2015 @ 7:03 PM

I got some new thoughts.

Leverage DHCP Fingerprinting in ArubaOS


Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 16 seconds. Contains 1254 words

I was recently at a customer site upgrading an Aruba controller and doing some basic WLAN “best-practices”. During this I was asked by the customer if there was a way to keep mobile devices off the corporate network. Without something like Aruba’s ClearPass it’s not easy to identify and restrict these devices

My initial thought was with their current solution (Microsoft NPS) they couldn’t easily keep 802.1X capable devices from connecting to the corporate WLAN if they had valid AD credentials. Then as I was working it occurred to me that Aruba mobility controllers use DHCP fingerprinting to profile devices. I could leverage that ability to help keep mobile devices off the corp WLAN. It’s not 100% accurate *(and should not be considered a complete security solution), and I let the customer know this, but it identifies iOS and Android devices pretty well.

Essentially, a DHCP fingerprint is an “almost” unique identifier for OSes, or device types. The DHCP protocol (RFC 2132) allows for information other than just IP requests and acknowledgments to be sent. These DHCP “options” includes vendor specific information which makes it possible to identify devices and even OSes by their unique signature. That being the case we can use the fact the ArubsOS supports this to create roles for these various devices and OSes and thus provide some level of management of these devices.

For example, we can create a rule that says if a device is an iPhone it will be placed in the “Mobile_Device” role. This role can than be restricted to Internet only with no access to internal resources, placed in another VLAN, or just sandboxed altogether. *Not the best overall solution, but it works well enough.

Step one is to identify the DHCP fingerprint for that specfic device. There are several ways to do this and a simple Google search will give you plenty of options. You can also search for the specific fingerprint as well and hopefully someone will have posted it. In this post we’ll just focus on using Aruba OS to find the fingerprint. But here is a list I’ve compiled so far from various blog-posts and from the Aruba Airheads community:


  • Android_device - (3C64686370636420342E302E3135)
  • Android 2.X - (3c6468637063642034)
  • Android 2.2 - (3701792103061c333a3b)
  • Android 2.3.X - (0c616E64726F69645F)
  • Android 4.0.X - (37012103060f1c333a3b)
  • Android 4.0.X(2) - (37012103061c333a3b)
  • Blackberry 2 - (3C426C61636B4265727279)
  • Blackberry(2) - (370103060F775ffc2c2e2f)
  • iOS Device - (370103060F77FC)
  • iPad - (37011c02030f06770c2c2f1a792a)
  • OS X 10.6 - (370103060f775ffc2c2e2f)
  • OS X 10.7 - (370103060f775ffc2c2e)
  • Win Mobile6 - (370103060f2c2e2f)


How To Find A DHCP Fingerprint

Step 1

Log in to the CLI of your Aruba controller and go to enable mode. Once there go to configure mode and enable logging level debug for DHCP by entering:

(config)# logging level debugging network

Step 2

Connect your device to the appropriate WLAN and then use the show command to view all the recent network entries. Search for the MAC address of the device and locate the DHCP option:

(config)#show log network all | include options

You should then see a output like this:

Sep 7 12:54:43 :202536: |dhcpdwrap| |dhcp| Datapath vlan10: REQUEST b8:e8:56:xx:xx:xx Transaction ID:0xb78173e6 reqIP= Options 37:0103060f77fc 39:05dc 3d:01b8e856f1e09c 33:0076a700 0c:46697265666c79 Sep 7 12:55:15 :202536: |dhcpdwrap| |dhcp| Datapath vlan1: REQUEST 00:60:2e:xx:xx:xx Transaction ID:0x464bcafb reqIP=

Options 3d:0100602e024a08


37:0103060c0f1c Sep 7 12:57:20 :202536: |dhcpdwrap| |dhcp| Datapath vlan10: REQUEST b8:e8:56:xx:xx:xx Transaction ID:0xb78173ef reqIP= Options 37:0103060f77fc 39:05dc 3d:01b8e856f1e09c 33:0076a700 0c:46697265666c79

You’re looking for options that start with 37, 0C, 32, or 33. These are hex for DHCP options 12, 55, 60, and 81. In the above example the fingerprint for my device is 37:0103060f77fc, an iPhone. So, what I would use is that value without the colon (:) - just 370103060f77fc. Now that we have found the DHCP fingerpring we can create our rules and start enforcing policy.

Create a User Role

A user role us just a set of policies for the user/device in that role. This role can simply be an “allow-all” policy that does not restrict access, or it can be very specific like only allowing DHCP, DNS, and http/hhtps to the Internet. Or, as stated previously, placing the device in a different VLAN. It can even just be a role that denies access altogether. Regardless, the role needs to be created first so we can apply it in the User Rules for the devices later on. Since roles are pretty common usage in ArubaOS I’ll just say create the roles you want how you want. You can call it “iPhones”, or “MacBooks”, or “Android”, etc. If don’t know how to create roles page 265 in the Aruba OS User Guide walks you step-by-step.

Create A User Rule for the DHCP Fingerprints

  1. In the controller UI go to Security > Authentication > User Rules.
  2. Click on “Add” to create a new User Rule. Give it a name like “Mobile_devices.” You will be able to add multiple fingerprints in one rule so you don’t have to create multiples if don’t need to.
  3. Now click on your newly created rule and then click “Add” to start adding your rules. Here’s an example of adding iOS signature:
  • In this image the “set-type” is Role since we want a specific role to be assigned this device when it connects.
  • "Rule Type" says we’re looking at the DHCP options.
  • "Condition" is what condition is met to trigger this rule - so "equals" is what we want.
  • "Value" is what the condition of "equals" will match. This will be your DHCP fingerprint.
  • "Role" is the role you created earlier.
  • And lastly the description of the this rule. (i.e. iOS Device, Android Phone, AppleTV, etc.)

Finally, click “add” and you’ve created your first rule!

Apply The New User Rule

So, now we have the User Role that will be assigned to devices matching the DHCP fingerprints we have added in the User Rule. So, to make the magic happen we need to apply the User Rule to the AAA profile assigned to the specific VAP (Virtual AP) that you want this rule to function on.

  1. In the controller UI navigate to Configuration > Security > Authentication > AAA Profiles.
  2. Click on the profile for the WLAN/SSID you want to apply the User Rules to.
  3. On the right you should see an option called "User derivation rules". From the drop-down select the User Rule you created. Click "Apply" to save you changes.

Now connect your fingerprinted device to the appropriate SSID. If your device was recently connected it may still have same role it had before. This is because it has not yet aged out of the database. To ensure that the device gets the correct role you should delete it from the database. The best way to do this is from the CLI. SSH into the controller, go to enable mode, and enter the following:

(Master-7010) #aaa user delete mac [device mac address]

Now you should reconnect and see that your device has been given the new mobile device role that you assigned in your User Rule for that specific devices DHCP fingerprint. The controller matched the DHCP fingerprtint of your device with the rule you created and assigned the appropriate User Role.

Now, as I said in the beginnig this isn’t 100% fool-proof, but it catch most modern devices. It’s already part of the OS and short of purchasing ClearPass this is a great way to manage devices on your WLAN.

*UPDATE: As one reader has already mentioned this should not be considered as a high-security solution. At best it allows you maybe keep some devices off, or keep others from using ip DHCP space, etc. For a more comprehensive way to secure and manage BYOD you should look at products such as Aruba’s ClearPass.

In any case, if all you have is an Aruba WLAN this is another useful tool to have in your tool bag.

So, I got my ACCP

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 10 seconds. Contains 836 words

Today I passed my ACCP v6.0 Exam (Aruba Certified ClearPass Professional). I’ve been working on ClearPass Policy Manger (CPPM) since early 2013 and I have to say I really enjoy deploying this solution, but I totally forgot about the exam this Monday. I was a little nervous on Friday after I got back from the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference. I never test well, so even though I have several deployments under my belt I was still wondering how many questions I’d miss just from not reading them correctly, or pure nerves. Well, fortunately I passed with a pretty decent grade and can add another bunch of letters to my name!

I have to say CPPM is quite a large beast to tangle with and the first training class I took did not instill confidence. I remember taking this class in late 2012 and thinking after we were done that I spent a week on a product and I still don’t know anything about it. I mean I had an idea of what it did, but it felt more like a week-long sales training class than a technical deep dive.

So, along comes my first deployment and it’s for a large non-profit with a pretty complex network. Also, very smart people so it’s not like I could pull the wool over their eyes! :-) I honestly had no idea how to move ahead with this project. But, sometimes those are the projects that force you to focus and get the job done. And I did. I dug through some really limited not-so-great documentation (at the time), and even had support from the great Matt Sidhu, and Kaveh Mehrjoo at Aruba (Matt’s no longer there).

Fortunately, Aruba had figured out that their existing training was wholly inadequate for getting qualified implementers out on the streets. They started an advanced CPPM Workshop that was invite only (I think - could be wrong) to get partners up to speed. The class was a week long at their Sunnyvale campus. It was in the ClearPass engineering department so we literally had direct access to them. I mean we could call over the cubicles to them of we needed to. And of course they had several on hand just for the training. So, in the midst of the project we postponed for a week so I could go to the workshop.

The workshop consisted of all of us arriving for a briefing on Monday morning. The briefing was a faux school district that was presenting their requirements for the CPPM (802.1x, OnBoarding, Integrating Cisco WLC and IP Phones, Guest Access, OnGuard, AirGroup sharing, etc.). Our job - in groups of two - was to complete a successful working deployment by the end of the week. So, that’s what we did. We would start on each piece, have a break-out session to go over the deliverables and best practices and then, BOOM! You’re off!

It was the hardest training class I think I’ve ever taken. Most of us worked until 8, 9, sometime 10pm each night (Aruba was kind enough to leave the lights on for us) and we loved it! So, basically without using a customer as our lab (as I had begin to do) each of us were able to go through the pain and glory of a full deployment. Not only did I meet some awesome people there among the trainees and Aruba employees I got deep into CPPM in a way you normally can’t in a standard training course.

I have to hand it to Aruba. They were in a pickle. They had this fantastic product that was so deep, so powerful, so complex that partners couldn’t do the deployment on there own. Believe me - as a partner - professional services is where it’s at. If you have to bring in the manufacturer to deploy you’ve already lost a big chunk of your income (and stake) in the project. But, Aruba’s Advanced Workshop was exactly what they needed to do. A real “deep-dive” into a product where you not only get hands-on, but you get access to the people who built it, and work on it everyday. At the end of the week you really felt like you had a handle on CPPM. Not experts mind you, but at least you knew you were ready to tackle an enterprise project and come out the other end alive.

Coming back to the customer site afterwards was night and day. I had a mental handle on what we were doing. It wasn’t easy as it was still my first deployment, but at least now I had the tools to figure out what and how things needed to be done. Talk about trial by fire!

I would love to see this kind of approach across other products and vendors. Especially with deep, complicated products like ClearPass. I don’t know if this approach works with every product, but I can say I’ve never been to anything like that class and it would be a shame if I never did again.

How to Perform a PCAP with Aruba Instant AP

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 7 seconds. Contains 224 words

So, this guy at WLAN Pros Conference says, “I wish I could do a packet capture on Aruba Instant”. This other guy says, “I don’t think they can do that”. I say, “Oh, yes, they can.” The other guy say, “Really? Are you sure?” And I say, “Absolutely. I think. Hold on.”

So, I proceed to login to my knowledge base, download, and then e-mail the first guy this PDF that PROVES - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that I am nobody’s fool!

I was wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong…

Or, so I thought! I sent him the wrong document. Turns out you CAN do pcap on Aruba Instant I just didn’t know that I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Anyways. here’s how it’s done. I stole it from Aruba AirHeads.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Make sure you’ve upgraded to the latest version of Instant OS so you can use the pcap command to do the wireless packet capture on the IAP.

Run the Aruba version of Wireshark on the PC, on the capture interface, select ARUBA udp-port=5555

SSH into IAP

Use “pcap start <base bssid> <ip address of PC with Aruba version of Wireshark installed> <port> 0 1518”

Use “show pcap” to check the active pcap session

Use “pcap stop <base bssid> <pcap-id> to stop the capture