Mist Wireless – Getting started

After receiving my Mist Wireless access points, my next step was to setup my account. You can create a Mist Wireless account by simply going to manage.mist.com and either create a new account or use Google to sign in. I chose not to use that option and opted to create a new account. It is a pretty painless process. You simply click on “Create Account” provide the information and you are in.

Mist – Create Account

After I signed in I was presented with the screen with following 3 options:

  1. Create a new Organization
  2. View or edit my account
  3. Take Mist Courses
Mist – First Login

I clicked on the first option and created my organization. This area allows users to make changes to the “Organization Settings” if applicable.

Mist – Organization Settings

The menu on the left provides all different options for configuration and monitoring. The screen below is where I pretty much set up all my sites initially. I was able to create templates and apply them to the test sites. I can configure everything individually however, template-based seems to be a pretty good option and so far I do like the flexibility of it.

The template-based configuration allowed me to create 3 different sites with different settings very easily. These templates can be configured to adjust to different requirements such as dual-band SSID’s, 5 GHz only SSIDs. I followed the following configuration flow:

  • Site Configuration
  • RF Templates
  • Config Templates
  • Add AP to a site (and that is it)

MistAI Mobile App

There is an option to claim and add access points from the web interface using the claim code, but for now, I decided to do that via MistAI Mobile App. Adding an access point using this application was very simple. Once I logged in, I simply picked my Organization and then “Claim AP to Org”. Next, I scanned the QR Codes and the access points showed up under “AP Inventory” and “Unassigned APs”. NOTE: this app syncs with the web interface so whatever Sites I created via web showed up in here.

I had multiple options for assigning the access points, I could either assign a single AP to each site, all APs to one site in any order. After I assigned one AP to a single site, it provisioned under that site and and the Template Configuration I had configured in the web interface pushed out to that access point. Tapping on “Edit” enables you to select AP(s) and then assign them to a site.

MistAI Mobile AP – Assigned AP
Wi-Fi Explorer – Mist Wireless SSID’s

After the AP was provisioned I was able to see the two SSID’s that I had created under the “Configuration Template”. I would like to mention something with regards to SSID’s. Users are allowed to create SSID’s under Network –> WLAN or under the “Configuration Template”. I opted to use the latter option. When using the “Configuration Template” option for creating the WLAN SSID’s you will not see them under “Network –> WLANs” until an access point is provisioned.

Mist – Network – WLANs

One of the coolest feature of this app is ability to update AP settings from the app itself. Such as:

  • Locate – this will make the AP LED blink
  • Name – Rename the access point
  • Map – Place Access point on the map, however, this is not very practical if you have a large floor plan and you are using a smaller phone.
  • Labels – Give labels to the access point (I’m not 100% certain just yet what advantage label function gives me, but I will update)
  • Notes – Allows users to add notes about the access point.
  • Show AP Photos – Allows you to take AP picture and save it.

Notes and AP Photos are excellent features in the MistAI Mobile App. These two features add great value for the Installers, Field Engineers, WLAN Engineers, and the whole organization. Installers and/or Field Engineers can add AP specific notes and take installation/mounting pictures, which comes in extremely handy when troubleshooting and or reviewing install documentation. Picture below shows how it will look like in the Mist dashboard.

Mist Dashboard – AP Notes and Photos

Setting up a single site took only a few mins considering this was my first time logging in an seeing the dashboard for myself. Site and AP provisioning is extremely easy from the Mist dashboard. There are many other configurations, monitoring and troubleshooting options available in the Mist dashboard and I intend to explore as many as possible.

From my WLPC Mist presentation/demo and looking at the dashboard, I can agree that Mist brings some incredible features to their dashboard/management platform such as Mist Edge, Mist VNA, Packet Captures, vBLE, etc. Specifically, their Marvis Virtual Network Assistant (VNA) which enables IT-Staff to use simple commands for troubleshooting and other purposes. Another great pain point that Mist seems to have removed from their licensing is that they do not brick the hardware once your license expires. Hardware will continue to function on the last configuration it was on. You will need to purchase licensing to access features and make changes in the dashboard. More to come ….

I recommend visiting the Mist Documentation website that has excellent videos and how-to sections.

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