Zit Seng's Blog

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Wireless Is Breaking Up Again

Always-on Internet connectivity is so much taken for granted these days, everyone just assumes the network will just work, and so if it doesn’t, it gets very frustrating. Sadly, our wireless is breaking up again. Like the episode that happened earlier this year, it’s not something we can directly solve. It’s very tempting to revive our workaround again.

Cisco Wireless Services Module (WiSM2)

Basically, the issue is this: When a wireless client authenticates to our network, we proxy and forward the authentication to a backend authentication server. We don’t control that backend. That backend is sending us a authentication failure response.

Auth: Login incorrect (Home Server says so)

The backend says the login is incorrect. There’s not much we can do about that. Except, of course, that we can do a workaround.

As much as this is frustrating to users, it’s also equally frustrating to people who run the network. There’s nothing wrong with the network, it is behaving correctly according to how it is supposed to operate. In this instance, a dependent service is making things break, and we can’t fix that problem.

Our workaround from the last episode wasn’t needed anymore when the dependent service was ultimately fixed. However, we didn’t actually tear down anything, choosing instead to keep them around anyway in case another similar situation, like the one now, should arise in the future. Reactivating that backup wasn’t too much trouble, even though between then and now a number of things have changed in our infrastructure.

So if any affected person is following here, you should have a hint about what this workaround is. Just do the same, more or less, like what you had done the last time. Not a great solution. But nevertheless, hopefully it does work better.

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