WCS: lack of reporting capabilities

Unanswered Question
Mar 14th, 2007
User Badges:

Am I missing something or is WCS seriously lacking on its reporting capabilities? I just saw an Airwave presentation and I was blown away by the variety of reporting capabilities that their product offers. With the Cisco "unified" wireless network I have to get my information from different sources like WCS, ACS, even the individual controllers. I'm curious to hear what other customers think about this.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Overall Rating: 3 (1 ratings)
Loading.

Here's one limitation that has been a real problem:


The Cisco Unified Wireless system now creates a unique "virtual" MAC radio address for each SSID that is supported on the AP. Cisco APs (1131, 1231, 1242, etc.) can support up to eight SSIDs. Therefore, there can be up to eight "virutal" radio MAC addresses per physical LWAP.


As you can imagine, this creates quite a problem in post-installation surveys with eight times the RF MAC addresses appearing in most survey tools (i.e.: Ekahau Site Survey and Airmagnet Site Survey).


Currently, there is no known way to extract theses virtual MAC addresses from the WCS (or WLC for that matter) in order to determine which physical AP they correspond to.


So... in answer to your question, I would like to see a report that shows all of the virtual radio MAC addresses and their associated LWAP (name, wired MAC, wired IP address).


Also, there does not appear to be any way to export reports (to a comma-delimited file, Excel spreadsheet, etc.). This could be helpful when inventorying network equipment, etc.


Finally, while the reporting features could be more robust, I would like to point out a far more interesting feature that I would like to see on the WCS:


The ability to bulk-import access points configuration parameters directly into the WCS from a comma-delimited file.


This would operate similarly to the BAT (Bulk Administration Tool) that is present in the Cisco Call Manager for bulk-importing IP phones.


By barcode scanning AP serial numbers (which is typically good practice when you attach a printout of this information to a packing list to the customer) you can use this information to correspond to other settings such as AP Name, primary controller, secondary controller, etc. Other settings can then be easily applied via access point templates.


Anyway, I have digressed from your reporting comments. But the above features are two of my highest-priority wishlist items:


* Virtual Radio MAC address/AP Name report with comma-delimited export.


* Bulk administration via import of comma-delimited file.


One final thought: If you want to see new features in the WCS, the only way they are goint to get considered is if you ask your Cisco SE to forward these requests to the WCS product manager.


Talking about them here may get some creative juices flowing among those intersted in the forum, but in order for these ideas to materialize into actual future features, you need to run them through your Cisco SE.


- John

Hrios,


I echo your sentiments about the lack of WCS reporting, and also am interested in AirWave's customer feedback. You may be best served getting references from AirWave directly.


IMHO, Cisco has never excelled at NMS products. The WLSE was actually better than the WCS. This probably reflects the fact that the WCS was anacquired product from Airspace. In the case of the WCS I am amazed by how little attention is given to using AP and WLC names in the configration functions, and not taking advantage of grouping capabilities to make provisioning easier in large scale deployments. AP Groups for example could be leveraged for reporting and AP Templates details like WLAN Override, rather than having to choose every single AP (after you find their WLC by IP mind you).


The bottom line is the WCS is not a full fledged NMS. Its a fault (except it doesn't integrate with standard syslog facility levels) and configuration (except it doesn't do configuration checking and enforcement) tool. AirWave adds Performance Management, Configuration policy management, TACACS support, and wired-side Rogue Detection. That's all they do, and for seceral manufacturers to boot.


Maybe Cisco should be a little more proactive rather than think they have their LWAPP customers on a nose-ring. At least they sent out an annual WLSE user survey for the IOS product.


I'm hoping to get an AMP demo soon. Ask them for their AMP configuration guide.

ericgarnel Mon, 03/19/2007 - 12:31
User Badges:
  • Gold, 750 points or more

Ditto on your comments about Cisco nms...


WCS looks to be derived from Adventnets wifi manager or something similiar.

If you read the COPYRIGHT file under /opt/WCS4.0/webnms/ it has Adventnets' info in there, not Ciscos'


Having used Adventnet wifi manager before, there are some nice reporting features that are not in WCS. Not to say that WCS code was in fact derived from Adventnet wifi manager, but they do appear close in nature and function

ericgarnel Fri, 03/23/2007 - 06:33
User Badges:
  • Gold, 750 points or more

that would be cool. MARS pricetag is a little steep - I wonder if there is an open source solution that offers similar functionality?


alanwoods Tue, 03/27/2007 - 05:18
User Badges:

I too have been struggling with the limitations of WCS reporting.

Perhaps if one could access WCS' SQL database directly, it may be possible to do all kinds of queries that should yield useful information.

The database behind WCS v4 (The windows version anyway - not sure which DB the linux version uses) seems to be a product called Solid. It lives under \webnms\db. There is even a console program "solcon" and this of course requires a username and password to access.

Does anybody know if it is somehow permitted, or possible to access this database?

If it were possible, then the raw SQL data could be extracted and used in all kinds of reporting tools, open source or otherwise.


ericgarnel Tue, 03/27/2007 - 08:19
User Badges:
  • Gold, 750 points or more

look for a file called "database_params.conf"


under webnms\conf


Of course, tinkering with the files may not be covered under smartnet

ericgarnel Tue, 03/27/2007 - 08:22
User Badges:
  • Gold, 750 points or more

Cool, there are options to connect to other types of database, mysql,mssql,sybase,etc.


There is a lot under WCS that is not being used

Actions

This Discussion

 

 

Trending Topics - Security & Network