Aruba Service Assurance - Cape Networks Sensor

Aruba Service Assurance - Cape Networks Sensor


It has been almost a year since Aruba acquired Cape Networks to add a Service Assurance product to its portfolio. The Aruba Sensor is a client device that can act as the eyes and ears for your Wi-Fi Network Operations team across your entire organisation.The Sensor reports on the health of the Wireless (and Wired) network because it is actively performing a suite of tests and logging the results.This enables Network Operations to isolate faults and hopefully resolve issues before the end users start raising trouble tickets.Common end user trouble tickets around “bad/slow wireless performance” are tricky to pin point for a remote team of network engineers.That is where the Cape Sensor will come to your aid.

Talking to the Cloud

Every Sensor must talk back to the Aruba servers in the Internet.Setting up the Sensor can be a 5 minute job, depending on whether you decide to connect the sensor to the LAN, or via the cellular network.The cellular connection sounds tempting because it circumvents any need to configure a LAN port and allow that client to reach the internet.But be warned that the data limit is 5MB unless an additional data plan is purchased through Aruba.The primary connectivity should be via the LAN port for the following reasons:

  • Ability to supply Power over Ethernet
  • Stable connection versus a potentially volatile cellular coverage
  • No cellular data limits
  • Perform testing over the LAN connection (in addition to the WiFi testing)

The cellular connection is a safety net back to Aruba, in case the Ethernet port were to fail, or the WAN connection fails. The cellular connection is also a nice and easy method to demonstrate a proof of concept without requiring too much approval from the IT department.

Once the Sensor is talking to the Aruba back end, the fun can begin - configuring the sensor. There are some main things to consider:

  • You can associate up to three SSIDs
  • Configure a suite of internal tests that will be performed
  • Configure a suite of external tests that will be performed
  • Enable alarming thresholds
  • Enable email notifications
  • Setup user accounts

Network Management

The wireless association can include pre-shared key, open ssid, or EAP-PEAP/TLS. In the case of EAP authentication, it makes sense to perform the monitoring with a non-user service account, preferably an account that resides in Active Directory/LDAP. This would test the end-to-end scenario of a user authentication against the authentication source such as AD.

Testing Services

Internal tests include services internal to the organisation (e.g. Email server in the DC, or web servers, etc.). External services include social media sites and popular internet services that represent a typical client traffic mix. Custom services can be configured, including iPerf and other performance monitoring tools. Core services such as DHCP and DNS are also monitored without any user intervention. The Services Testing setup is simple and streamlined, since most of the default settings can be accepted and tweaked at a later stage.

Alarming Thresholds

The default threshold settings are most likely going to be acceptable for most users, but they can be easily changed in the GUI. Not all customer networks follow the same baseline performance and this is an area that each sensor deployment may spend tuning and tweaking until the right thresholds are met. Some customers might find 10 minutes of unavailable WiFi worthy of a Major Error, while other customers may want to trigger that Error after 1 minute.

Email Notifications

You can define the date and time range (Regular Hours vs After Hours) to receive email alerts. There is also an option to receive a weekly summary email. The recipient of these emails is tied to the email address of the portal user.

If a particular alert starts to become bothersome (i.e. spamming your inbox) then you can very quickly mute them for a defined time period. It takes seconds to select the Alert(s) and stop them while you attend to the cause of the Alert(s).

User Accounts

Users can either be administrators or have read-only access. Administrators can manage all the Sensors and have complete control over the entire deployment. Read-Only users can be restricted to a subset of sensors if required, and these users have no ability to make changes. There is a grouping feature in the product suite that allows Sensors to be grouped to allow segregated access and control. It is not meant as a multi-tenanted solution. However, it is possible to create multiple customer accounts and have an admin user view them all via a single portal login. The user toggles the customer account via a drop-down box in the portal.


The initial setup and configuration is very smooth and well thought out. Navigating the portal is a pleasure and it is clearly evident, that a simple end-user experience was the driving force behind this product. For example, if you get stuck during the initial setup, a Cape engineer auto-magically starts a chat session to assist you to completion. Setting up the Sensors is only the beginning of the journey. Creating more services Tests and setting appropriate thresholds will be the topic of another blog article. Watch this space.

If you want more information on these products, contact us at or check out Arubas section on Assurance or Cape Networks website

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