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The Proposal Details
Wireless Network Monitoring and Management Toolkit
Networking
802.11 Networks are being extensively deployed in commercial, academic, industrial environments. Management of the network infrastructure - Access Points (APs), Wireless Gateways, RADIUS Servers - has indeed become a nightmare for the system administrator. Most of these devices permit remote configuration using SNMP (the SNMP MIBs are published by the manufacturer.) It is desired to have a software tool which allows the administrator to import these MIBs and then configure the devices in bulk. Thus, APs from the same manufacturer can be grouped and the SNMP configurations can be pushed to them automatically. In this project we plan to build such a network management tool. t is also necessary to monitor such wireless network deployments. System administrators wish to capture a snapshot of the network at any point in time. This includes information about client devices, their locations, network load conditions, error rates, congestion etc. Using conventional 802.11 WLAN NICs it is possible to sniff the air traffic and gather such statistical information. In this project, we plan to build such a monitoring toolkit.
The system has 2 components: A single instance of this exists on the entire network. It serves as a control center from where the system administrator can configure, control and monitor all the WLAN devices. Probe: The probe comprises of a wireless interface along with some air-sniffing software. Several such probes will be required to monitor the entire wireless network. Commercially such probes are available as off-the-shelf appliances ($300 to $500). In this project we plan to develop system software by which any Linux box (with a WLAN card) can be used as a probe. WLAN cards are much cheaper ( < $50). This would result in considerable monetary benefits. The following functionality will be supported by the system: * Discover access points in the network: o Using proprietary protocols like CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) o Sniffing air traffic and beacons broadcast by the AP (Using Probes) * Manually add access points to the CMS. * * Monitor status of APs - Alive, Power down etc. * Group APs according to vendor. * Import SNMP MIB definitions for each group. * Define a group configuration. * Support a manual and automated (periodic, one-off) push of group configuration. * Periodically retrieve the 'read-only' SNMP parameters from all the registered access points. * Each Probe constantly sniffs the air-traffic using its WLAN interface and gathers the following information: o Beacon's Broadcast by the Access Points. AP MAC Addresses, Signal Strength. o Associations between AP and the Client devices o Amount of data Transmitted between the AP and each client. o Number of retransmissions. * The information aggregated by the Probe is periodically sent to the CMS. The CMS will then present this statistical information to the system administrator. * The CMS will run as a system daemon constantly aggregating the monitoring information and responding to inputs from the system administrator. * The CMS will expose a web-interface to the system administrator. Alternatively, a native desktop application could be provided. Deliverables: * * CMS system software (back-end daemons) * CMS interface (Web-based or native GUI Application) * Probe System Software * Documentation and User Guide for CMS and Probe Resources: Software: o Linux, C++ Dev Environment o Web Server / Application Server to host the CMS's web interface. o Relational database - MySQL or PostGREs Hardware: o Wireless Access Points o WLAN NIC Cards (Prism Chipsets)
1] http://www.tribecaexpress.com/Cisco_aironet_1100.htm : Cisco Aironet WLAN APs [2] http://oob.freeshell.org/nzwireless/LWAP-HOWTO.html : Linux WLAN APs - How To [3] http://ap-utils.polesye.net/ : Access Point utilities for Linux [4] http://tuxmobil.org/linux_wireless_access_point.html : Linux and Wireless APs [5] http://wireless.gumph.org/content/4/7/071-linux-based-ap.html : Linux based Wireless APs [6] http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/netos/article.php/3467111 : Build a linux based WLAN AP [7] http://www.networkinstruments.com/products/observer.html : A Commercial Network Monitoring Toolkit [8] http://www.cromwell-intl.com/security/monitoring.html : Network monitoring and sniffing tools [9] http://www.pulsewan.com/data101/802_11_b_basics.htm : 802.11 System Architecture [10] http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/network/802x/AccessPts.mspx : Recommendations for configuring 802.11 Access Points