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Overview of Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance

SUMMARY Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance is a cloud-based subscription service that serves as a single pane of glass for configuring, monitoring, and optimizing wireless access.

Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance includes access points (APs), wireless LANs (WLANs)s, radio management, security, network segmentation, and a whole lot of automation. But perhaps the best benefits come from the telementry that streams from Juniper APs, switches, and WAN (SSR, SRX) devices. Mist AI leverages this data to meet network experience goals, and to perform root-cause analysis so you can reduce manual troubleshooting with automated, adaptive learning and optimization.

Features and Benefits

  • Guest wireless access that provides flexible options including: multiple language support, customizable branding, social login, external captive portal integration, and AAA/RADIUS integration.

  • WxLAN policies let you secure network resources (such as servers and printers) bound to a user or device (such as IoT).

  • Customizable wireless service levels allow you to set, monitor, and enforce service-level expectations (SLEs) for key performance metrics that apply to individual and multiple users.

  • Data science applied to the cumulative SLE performance data to learn and optimize radio settings to assure performance, and adapt to interference.

  • Dynamic packet capture enables troubleshooting from the Juniper Mist cloud architecture, for example, upon authorization failure.

  • The Proactive Analytics and Correlation Engine (PACE) aides root-cause identification so you can identify and fix the issue.

Cloud-based Architecture

There are no intermediary controllers to install or manage so your network is easy to scale. Instead, wireless assurance runs in the cloud. To comply with data-residency regulations and optimize performance, Mist clouds are located world-wide, including Europe, east and west coast in United States, a US federal cloud, and clouds local to Asia and Australia.

The microservice architecture naturally supports multitenancy, and inherently scales with the elasticity of the cloud. Thus, for example, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can manage wireless access for dozens of client organizations. Or a large retailer can accommodate various site-specific requirements yet still manage the organization centrally, with a single login per cloud, and a comprehensive view.

Centralized Portal

As for the Juniper Mist portal itself, you can configure radio management, set up access policies, and configure security (encryption, access, and malicious APs). You can also group and configure (or preconfigure), dozens, even thousands, of APs so they are automatically onboarded to the network as the AP is powered on. Likewise, you can define however many WLANs you want, for example, to provide a secure, even segmented, network for office spaces, one for guest portals, one for IoT devices, and another for the automated cranes in your warehouses.

When the network is configured, the Juniper APs deployed in a given organization or site send real-time telemetry representing users' network experiences to the Juniper Mist portal, where the data is consolidated and measured against the performance metrics you set. For strategic wireless network updates, Mist AI works in the cloud to aggregate AP data collected over multiple days, where it uses machine learning to identify trends and make performance optimizations. Individually, Juniper APs can automatically make real-time updates in response to acute changes in the network, for example in response to channel interference or congestion.

Wireless Service Levels

Service-level expectations (SLEs) help you understand the wireless network experience. Juniper APs collect key data for every minute of every user's wireless experience, which is then rolled up in the Juniper Mist cloud, which applies machine learning to create useful information. From the dashboard, you can visualize the data for the entire organization, individual sites, or even individual clients.

Common SLE metrics include Wi-Fi coverage, roaming, connection times, and AP health. Juniper Mist compares inbound data against your configured acceptance thresholds. If a metric does not meet the threshold, Juniper Mist attributes the failure to a classifiers or sub-classifiers, which in many cases is enough to identify the root cause.

The following video explains further what SLEs are and how you can use them.

In addition to visualizing the network, Marvis Virtual Network Assistant leverages the analytics from PACE and can also perform root cause analysis, as well as predictive recommendations to resolve the problem. Both real-time data and PACE analytics are also rolled up into daily and weekly reports which you can use to visualize long-term trends.

You can see both SLEs and reports in the Juniper Mist dashboard by selecting Monitor> Service Levels from the main menu. A summary of each follows.

  • Time to Connect—Shows the percentage of successful connections (initial, roaming, and ongoing) compared to the set threshold.
  • Successful Connects—Shows the percentage of connections (initial, roaming, and ongoing) that completed successfully.
  • Coverage—Shows the percentage of the time that the signal strength received from wireless clients exceeded the set threshold.
  • Roaming—Shows the percentage of successful roams compared to the set threshold.
  • Throughput—Shows the percentage of the time that the throughput available to the wireless clients was greater than the set threshold.
  • Capacity—Shows the percentage of the time that the capacity of the available radio frequency channel exceeded the set threshold.
  • AP Health—Shows the percentage of the time the APs have been operational without losing connectivity to the cloud or rebooting. It also includes the sub-classifiers, Latency, Jitter, and Tunnel.

SLE updates are available every 10 minutes. We recommend, though, a minimum query interval of one hour, and hourly, or longer, polling periods to reduce data fluctuations when viewing the charts.

Client and AP Insights

Client and AP Insights provide an overview of the network experience across an entire site, including detailed views into your WLANs and APs. For example, you can select a site and a time period and then drill-down into AP level events that you are interested in. This is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The AP Insights Page The AP Insights Page

When you select an event from the list, the Mist portal displays a summary of the event to the right of the list. You can do the same for the AP Events block by clicking the settings button in the upper- right corner of the block.

In the Access Points block, you can see the names of all APs associated with the selected site. Along with the AP name, you can see the connection status, MAC address, uptime, and other information. When you click the name of the AP, the configuration page for that AP appears, where you can view and edit the configuration details.

Templates and Device Profiles

In the Juniper Mist dashboard, you'll often find that the same configuration settings can be made in different places. For example, you can configure RRM and certain other radio settings directly on the Juniper APs, in a device profile, in a RF templates, and in a WLAN template. Having multiple configuration points for the same settings can be confusing at first, but the modular design makes it to easy scale configurations across different AP groupings, and it provides flexibility so you can quickly associate any combination of APs, WLANs, access policies, and RF configurations. The configuration levels are described here:

  • RF Template—Settings made here can apply to all APs in a site. You can also use multiple RF templates to cover different use cases within the same site. You can also include various model-specific tweaks in the same RF template by selecting the model from the Default Settings drop-down and making the change for that model only.
  • Device Profile—Settings made in a device profile apply to all Juniper APs attached to the profile.
  • AP—Settings made at the device level apply to that AP only. As noted, you can also attach the AP to a device profile to inherit those settings, or get the settings from an RF Template attached to the site.
  • WLAN—Settings made for a WLAN apply to that WLAN only.
  • WLAN Template—Settings made for a WLAN template apply to all WLANs attached to that template.

In the case of conflicts, AP-specific settings have precedence, followed by those made in device profiles, and then RF templates. You can always override these defaults, and the Mist portal will prompt you whenever it detects a conflict.