Why Are You Speeding Up My Wi-Fi Calling, Apple? (It Might Make Things Worse)

It's summer in Los Angeles, which can only mean one thing: Sequels!

As movie fans indulge in a third 'Avengers', a fifth 'Jurassic Park', and what feels like a seven hundreth 'Star Wars', this here blog is providing a sequel to a probably-long-forgotten Sniff Wi-Fi post called 'Why Are You Slowing Down My Wi-Fi, Apple?'

Turn down the lights, pop some popcorn, and enjoy the twists and turns of this harrowing look into Wi-Fi Calling on iPhones.

Several months ago, this blog highlighted the Wi-Fi behavior of the iPhone X using OmniPeek.  Truth be told, that post was a little bit like the latest 'Spider-Man' sequel: attention-grabbing title, some interesting content, but ultimately nothing consequential.  And just as movie fans knew that Michael Keaton's flying bird character wasn't going to beat the lead superhero,  a lot of Wi-Fi folks already knew that Apple iOS devices use Protection (called a "TXOP" in the blog post; Devin A…

Why I Disabled Low Data Rates This One Time

After eight and a half years, one hundred forty posts, and a shade under one-and-a-half million page views, it is clear to me that one topic causes more controversy than any other on this here Sniff Wi-Fi blog: disabling low OFDM rates (such as 6 & 9 Mbps).

Wi-Fi vendors tell you to do it.

CWNP trainers tell you to do it.

Other bloggers tell you to do it.

I (and a very, very small group of other hardcore Wi-Fi professionals) tell younot todo it.

But this blog post isn't about re-litigating that controversial issue (for the most part).   This blog post is about telling you why I **did** disable the 6 & 9 Mbps data rates on a recent Wi-Fi optimization project.

Given the subject matter of this blog post, I feel compelled to begin with some shameless self-promotion: if you have a problematic Wi-Fi deployment (or if you're in the "design" phase and you want to avoid having a problematic Wi-Fi deployment, or if you would like training on how to avoid having a problemati…

Not Wi-Fi, But... How To Tell If Your Email Has Been Hacked (It Probably Hasn't)

A friend of mine recently posted a message on Twitter telling people that his email had been hacked.  

I told him that his email had most likely NOT been hacked, and it took all of thirty seconds to figure that out.  

A lot of people believe that their email has been hacked when they receive messages like this:

From: A Friend
To: Me
Subject: Has your email been hacked?

Body: [Forwarded message from "You" that you didn't actually send.]

When someone receives an email from "You" that you didn't send, it could mean that your email is hacked, but it probably doesn't.

Here's how to check:

Ask your friend to click or tap on Your Name (the "From" in the email).

If your real email address shows up, then the email was sent from your real email account.  That means your email has been hacked.

If an email address that is NOT yours shows up when your friend clicks/taps on Your Name (in the "From" field of the email), then the email was sent from …

Surveying Without Site Survey Software (My Aborted Ten Talk)

At the 2018 Wireless LAN Professional Conference (WLPC), I was scheduled to give a ten-minute "Ten Talk" on Wi-Fi surveying without using site survey software.  I aborted that talk at the last minute in favor of a talk on Ghost Frames.  

After the WLPC, Matthew Norwood told me on Twitter that he was looking forward to the talk about surveying without using site survey software.  I don't want to disappoint Matthew, or anyone else who was looking forward to that scheduled Ten Talk.  Here, then, is a YouTube version of the aborted talk on Wi-Fi surveying without using site survey software:


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Twitter: @Ben_SniffWiFi
ben at sniffwifi dot com

The Wi-Fi Stand Stands Up

The recently completed Wireless LAN Professionals Conference (WLPC) was nice enough to gift attendees a Wi-Fi Stand.  The product is a clever one, but as a person who believes in measuring Wi-Fi propagation accurately when surveying, I was concerned.  When I tested it, my results showed that my concerns appear to be unfounded.

The Wi-Fi stand is an apparatus that screws in to the top of a tripod to make a vertical, rectangular structure that allows enterprise APs to be hung upside down from standard ceiling mounts.  If that is a little bit hard to visualize, here's my best shot at describing it:

The graphic on the left is what the Wi-Fi Stand looks like and the graphic on the right is how the Wi-Fi Stand looks on top of a tripod.

I am a big believer in designing & surveying Wi-Fi using real, production devices, and a longstanding problem with that has been temporarily mounting APs for the design/survey.  I've tried zip ties, and velcro.  I've gone with makeshift wooden…

Optimizing Wi-Fi for High Occupancy Spaces

If I sound a little bit surly today, it's because I spent last night watching this:

For those who don't follow basketball, that's the brilliant Nikola Jokic (likely named in honor of wireless pioneer Nikola Tesla!) dissecting my beloved Milwaukee Bucks.

If the result of the game -- the Bucks losing by 11 points in Milwaukee -- didn't make me surly on its own, my Wi-Fi experience yesterday surely didn't help.  The Wi-Fi in the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX was slow and unstable, and the Wi-Fi at the aforementioned game (held at the 18,717 capacity Bradley Center) was mostly unusable in the seating bowl.  But what good does it do to stay surly?  Instead, I'll offer some tips on getting Wi-Fi working at high occupancy spaces.

High occupancy Wi-Fi is a sensitive issue for me for two reasons: 1) I'm sick of fixing high occupancy deployments, and 2) As a frequenter of high occupancy areas, I'm sick of bad Wi-Fi in those areas.

The trouble is that many of t…

We Need Wi-Fikileaks

Device vendor secrecy makes Wi-Fi worse for users.

"Wi-Fi is all about the users."  It's my Pinned Tweet and my professional operating philosophy.  I don't care about AP vendor preference or network management or heatmaps or anything else that doesn't improve the user experience.  I want every device for every user to work everywhere at all times, period.  That's the goal.

It is frustrating to me, therefore, that Wi-Fi device makers are so tight with their information. 

I've gotten a lot of blowback for my writing and Tweeting about what a mistake it is to set the Minimum Basic Rate (MBR) above 6 Mbps.  Most of it is balderdash from BS artists and other people who don't know Wi-Fi.  A not insignificant amount, however, is from people who know Wi-Fi, at least to some degree.  And the common refrain from those people can be summarized thusly: "Wi-Fi devices use more than just RSSI to determine when to roam." 

Maybe things have changed, and now…