“Basic” Aruba Wireless Issues?

The purpose of this post is help you understand what to do when certain basic “wireless issues” arise.

This is by no means a comprehensive list and you may have to tailor some things to your site.

This is basic 1st line support so I won’t be delving into the command line goodness.

If one access point is down:

  • Make a note of what lights on the Access Point are on/flashing/off and what colour they are.
    • If the AP is off check the cabling to the PoE switch
    • If the Power light is red, power cycle the AP but unplugging the network cable from it.
    • If the 11A/N and/or 11B/G/N lights are flashing green, it’s likely that they have not been provisioned. See how to provision an AP below.
    • If the 11A/N and/or 11B/G/N lights are green steady, this indicates it’s functioning correctly.
    • If the 11A/N and/or 11B/G/N lights are off, the AP cannot see its controller. See AP to controller connectivity below.

  • Power cycle the access point that has the issue

If all access points are down:

If the customer has Instant APs, this is likely a wired issue.

  • Check that the customers switches are all powered on

If the customer has a controller:

  • Check that the controller is accessible via it’s web console
  • Check that the controller is powered on
  • Check that the customers switches are all powered on
  • Check the cabling between the controller and the rest of the network is good
    • Unplug/plug back in
    • Swap cables

How to reset an AP

NOTE: to reset an AP you will need physical access to it.

Instant (controller less) APs

  • Find a paperclip!
  • Turn off the AP by unplugging the network cable from the Ethernet port on the back of the AP
  • Hold the reset button down with the paperclip (keep it held down!)
  • Plug the network cable back in
  • Wait 10 seconds
  • Release the reset button
  • That’s it. The AP will boot and find the master AP and get its config from there.

The image below shows the back of an AP 105

Thin AP (with controller)

  • Connect the serial console breakout adapter cable to the AP Ethernet port and your PC/Laptop
  • Use the default serial settings
  • Power on the AP and get into apboot mode. You’ll see the option to go into AP boot mode when the AP is booting. You will have to press Enter within a 1-2 second window so pay attention to console messages during bootup.
  • From the apboot prompt, enter the following commands
    apboot> purgeenv
    apboot> save
    apboot> print (To check that the setting were really purged! There should be no identifying IP addresses)
    apboot> boot

AP to controller connectivity

An AP will use 4 different method to connect to a controller:

  • AP Boot command (we don’t tend to do this)
  • DHCP option 43 (a DHCP option which contains the IP address of the controller can be configured)
  • ADP multicast & broadcast (If APs are on the same layer 2 subnet as the controller they can use this method)
  • DNS aruba-master (Create a DNS a record of aruba-master and the APs will use this to find the controller if other methods fail)

So if an AP is failing to connect to the controller it’s a good idea to pull the network cable out of the back of the AP and patch it into your laptop. Run ipconfig and check that you’ve got an IP address in the expected range. If you don’t get an IP address for the correct range or you get an APIPA address then you’ll need to start looking at the wired network.

Also it’s very important that the DHCP DNS Name is configured correctly. AP will try to connect to aruba-master.<DHCP DNS Domain>

Because of this you must ensure that the DNS Domain given out by DHCP matches one of the customers DNS zones and that the zone includes the DNS A record aruba-master that resolves to the IP address of the controller.

How to provision an AP

This is only applicable to thin APs (with a controller). Instant APs will self-provision.

  • Login to the controller
  • Go to Configuration > AP Installation
  • The AP that needs provisioning will likely have a U Flag. See below for details of an example of APs with different Flags.

    I’ve removed some identifying information from the image, hence the whitespace..

  • Select the AP using the tick box on the left and click Provision
  • Select the appropriate AP group from the dropdown lost (If not self-explanatory, ask someone who knows!)
  • Give the AP a name (copy the standard of the other APs.)
  • Click Apply and Reboot.
  • Wait a couple of minutes and you should see the AP re-appear in the AP Installation page with the new name you set.