Managing Guest Wireless at a Hospital

Note: The target audience of this article is other computer networking professionals. If there are terms and concepts you don’t understand either Google them or press the “I believe” button and move on. ūüôā

One of the first projects I had when I was hired at San Joaquin General Hospital was to implement a wireless network for hospital visitors and patients. There was an existing guest wireless network on the old wireless controller but since we were installing a new wireless controller it was the perfect opportunity to come up with a new solution. The main objectives of the new installation were:

  • Allow guests to access the Internet
  • Prevent guests from accessing internal networks and resources
  • Easy to manage

The existing architecture of guest wireless used an existing VLAN and IP address that was part of our internal network. To prevent the guest users from accessing internal resources there was a combination of Access Control Lists on our internal routing infrastructure and the wireless controllers. The average person wouldn’t be able to cause any harm with this configuration but a good hacker could probably hop to a different VLAN and begin wreaking havoc on our internal resources. This made the existing configuration both difficult to manage (multiple ACLs on multiple devices) and insecure.

I elected to leverage our new Palo Alto Networks firewall to replace the multiple ACLs on the different devices. I removed the IP address from the existing VLAN by deleting it from the core router. I then moved it to the PAN firewall. So at this point there was no Layer 3 addresses on the VLAN within our switching infrastructure. It existed only on the PAN firewall. I then set up a DHCP server on the firewall and used an IP address scheme that was not routable on our internal networks (192.168.x.x). I also configured DHCP to set Google’s DNS servers in the DHCP client config.

Next was setting up the security policy on the firewall that would only allow DHCP from the firewall to the wireless clients, and then only allow them to go out to the Internet. Since the IP addresses handed out by DHCP are not routable on our internal network, there was no need to set up ACLs. Once the security policies were in place I tested DHCP and the security rules by plugging my laptop into a network port that was on the Guest Wireless VLAN. My laptop received a 192.168.x.x IP address from the firewall and I was able to get to Google and Yahoo on my laptop. I checked a few other websites to make sure Internet access was working as expected.

The last step was setting up Guest Wireless on our wireless controller. We set it up so that when they join the Guest Wireless network, they are redirected to a web portal page that displays legal disclaimers and terms of service that the guest user has to accept by clicking on an okay button. This is available out of the box with our Extreme Networks wireless controller. I did change the header image and web page colors to match our hospital branding. There are controls to do this on the web portal’s configuration pages. Once everything looked the way I wanted it I saved the Guest portal page configuration. A nice feature of Extreme Networks’ wireless controller is that when clients connect and get the portal page, at that point they are just tunneled directly to the wireless controller and don’t even have an IP address yet. Until they click “I accept” to the terms and conditions they are going nowhere.

After enabling Guest Wireless on my local access point I tested it. I connected to Guest Wireless and was re-directed to the portal page. I clicked “I Accpt” to the terms and conditions and then was redirected to the Internet. I then tried to access internal resources but was not able to get to anything but the Internet. Success. I then enabled the Guest Wireless network on all the other APs at the hospital and watched to see if guests started connecting. It was almost immediate. I checked the firewall logs and I could see that they were accessing the Internet with no problems.

An added bonus of putting a non-routable Layer 3 address on an internal VLAN is you can connect wired machines to just as easily. If vendors show up and need wired access to the internet I put them on the Guest Wireless VLAN on whatever network port they are on. This allows them to access the Internet and they can connect to whatever they need to (their workplace VPN, email, etc) from there. They do not get the Guest Portal page as they are not connecting to the wireless controller at all.

So that’s how I set up Guest Wireless at my workplace. Granted it’s not a step-by-step how-to on guest wireless services but can serve as a framework on which you can base your own implementations. Relatively easy, simple, and pretty secure.

COVID-19 in 2022

It’s been a while since I updated the blog and it’s been for a good reason. COVID! What?? Who get’s COVID anymore…? Well, we did. Working at a hospital for 2 years during a pandemic and I didn’t get a sniffle. Now that it’s over, we all caught it. Here’s what happened.

It was on our camping trip that I just blogged about. We drove up to Roseville to meet a friend at a dive bar called The Almond Tree. We had dinner, a few drinks, danced a few times to the campy two man band they had playing live music and then called it an evening and headed back to the trailer. We enjoyed the rest of our short weekend getaway and drove home.

After putting all our stuff away and taking the trailer back to the storage lot I began feeling a little tired. Kind of that “oh no, I’ve got a cold coming on” kind of feeling. By bedtime that night I was really feeling bad. I woke up feeling even worse. I had a suspicion so I took one of those “at home” COVID tests. 15 minutes later it registered positive for COVID. Well shoot. I didn’t believe it so I drove to work and took one of our covid tests from the hospital. A few days later I got an email stating I had tested positive for COVID. Double shoot. About this time Cristy started feeling bad. Triple shoot!! Then our daughter, and then Cristy’s mother. Well…. I’m all out of ammunition.

For the next week I endured the worst sore throat I can remember having since having strep throat in my teens. Terrible headache. I’m used to those but the rest of my family is not and that was the worst part for them. We never lost our sense of smell or taste but every food we ate ended up tasting SUPER salty even if there was no salt in it. It followed pretty much the same pattern with all of us so we knew we all had the same thing. It also spread very quickly. Cristy had stayed away from her mother but her mother caught it within a few days of us returning from our trip. The pattern was; feeling sick, bad headache, feeling very weak, no nasal congestion but a cough quickly developed and held on for weeks. I had to sleep upright on the couch for a week because every time I laid down I began coughing uncontrollably.

I took some cough medicine that was super strong and supposed to stop any cough. It didn’t. The only thing it did was to make me pass out for the first time in my life. I’m sure the disease had something to do with it too. I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night (from all the water I was drinking). I remember feeling a little dizzy as I was leaving the bathroom. The next thing I remember was waking up under the vanity in the bathroom and crawling back to bed.

Thanks to Cristy’s foresight we had both hydroxychloroquin and Ivermectin (in pill form) on hand. The hydroxy. came from some friends who had some to lend us. The Ivermectin was purchased ahead of time just in case. We took the Ivermectin first and when it ran out we started on the hydroxy. I’m not sure if it helped us or not but we’re all still here. Cristy’s mother did end up getting an IV of monoclonal antibodies and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. But at the rip old age of 89 she recovered too. Without these medications I’m not sure she would have made it.

It took me almost three weeks to get back to work. And though the symptoms left me almost as suddenly has they came on, the brain fog that COVID left behind took a little longer to get over. My first day back at work I couldn’t remember the commands that I would normally type in to configure our network devices. It took about a week more to recover my mental state. Cristy took a little longer to recover. My daughter was back at work a week before I was. Cristy’s mother spent a week in the hospital and then three more weeks at a convalescent home. Cristy was prevented from seeing her mother this entire time. She would sneak onto the care home grounds and visit her mother through the sliding glass door in her mother’s room. However Cristy remained outside so she wouldn’t get her mother into any trouble. Her mother is still receiving in-home visits from physical therapy nurses to help her regain her strength. In another week she shouldn’t need them.

So it was a very not-fun two months in January and February, but it’s all in the rear view mirror now. AND we have the best immunity you can have, natural immunity! Thank God for bringing us through it all!

Work Shift / Paradigm Shift

Work Shift

This past week I started a new shift at work. For the past 4 years I’ve worked 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. It’s fine but at previous employers I’ve been allowed to work a 4×10 shift. This started at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Co when they introduced their Commute Alternatives Program. You were given two choices. First, you could work five nine-hour days one week, and then three 9-hour days and one 8-hour day the next week with every other Friday off. Or you could work four 10-hour days per week and have every Friday off. No brainer. I took that one.

Then I got a new job at a bank and they didn’t offer this. After a couple of years I pitched it to my coworker and once he agreed then to our boss. My coworker would have Mondays off and I would have Fridays off and we’d both work 10-hour days. The boss finally agreed and I was back on my favorite shift! We were all laid off and I spent the next 11 years working at a newspaper who would not even consider such a thing.

Two weeks ago we were notified that the Alternative Work Schedule was being proposed as a response to COVID-19. We could either work from home two days per week or we could work 10 hour days and have one day off per week. No-brainer. I put in early for Fridays off. I got it and started last week. So far I love it!

Paradigm Shift

Social media was really fun when I first got into it. Now it’s just a faster vehicle to foment hatred. I can’t stand most of what I see on there. I put up a test post this past weekend that I crafted to be slightly incendiary. It work. It was only a matter of hours before a few of my so-called “friends” (that’s what Facebook calls them) began name calling and using profanity towards others and myself. I took the offending comments down and ultimately deleted the post. I learned everything I needed.

As a result I have deleted my Facebook account. It’s not deactivated, it’s deleted. In 30 days I will not have existed on Facebook. I will do the same for Instagram, also owned by Facebook. I am tired of the left-wing rhetoric on that site. I am tired of having my posts “fact-checked” and removed because they don’t conform to what the liberal left is saying. There is no freedom of speech on Facebook, only freedom of conformity. We are in this position because conservatives tolerate dissenting speech but, as we have found out, liberals do not.

Therefore, this my blog,, and will be my social platforms. Friends and relatives may come here to see what’s new in my life. They may contact me via email, text message, or (gulp) phone. I’ve threatened to leave Facebook before but have always gone back. Not this time.

The Obligatory New Year’s Post

Happy New Year 2020!

Wow, 2020.  Seems so futuristic.

Sealab 2020 (1972)

When I was a kid in the 1970’s 2020 seemed so far away with it’s underwater cities and moon bases.¬† Here it is and we don’t live underwater or on the moon.¬† Instead we’ve expanded to living in tents on sidewalks or under freeway overpasses.

But I’m not going to turn this into social commentary.¬† I am, however, going to take a look at the past 10 years and how much things have changed for my family.¬† Way back in 2010 I was building my second airplane with the help of my kids.¬† I did the majority of the work but they did help on many components.

We were attending church at Central Valley Presbyterian where I was a deacon.¬† Also, Cristy had to make an emergency trip back home to the Philippines because her father passed away. That’s how the decade began.

In 2011 I sold our pop-up tent trailer in which I had taken the family on several camping trips.  The most memorable of which was Zion Canyon National Park.  I also flew the Rans S6 to Oshkosh, WI for EAA Airventure.  My oldest graduated high school.

In 2012 we took a family trip to Maui.¬† Yep, all of us, mother-in-law included.¬† However, my daughter had broken her ankle just prior to the trip… and then came down with a cold!¬† She didn’t get to have much fun in Hawaii, poor thing.¬† But she made up for that later.

In 2013 life was pretty much on auto-pilot.¬† Going to work, going home.¬† Home-schooling our daughter was coming to an as we put her in a private school so she could get some socialization and a real-live high school diploma.¬† Two kittens named Jovie and Truffles showed up in my son’s pockets one day when he came home.¬† Truffles still lives with us.¬† Jovie moved on shortly after he came to live with us.¬† Cristy and I also took a trip to Oregon to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.


In 2014 I was beginning to explore full-time RV living.  I started coming up with a plan to travel from property to property for my employer to do network work.  However 2015 would put an end to those dreams, temporarily.

2015 was a harbinger of change for our lives.  Our daughter graduated from high school and we changed churches.

2015 was also when I had an accident in my airplane.¬† I landed up in the Sierra Nevada foothills and took the landing gear off.¬† Hey, it could happen to anybody!¬† Unfortunately, it happened to me.¬† We got a big insurance settlement and everything was good.¬† I was putting the airplane up for sale anyway.¬† It was at this point Cristy and I were seriously looking at RV’s so I was looking for a more portable form of aviation.¬† I found it in the form of powered paragliding.

2016 was a gut punch.  I was told that my entire department would be laid off that year.  Also my son was going through some extreme behaviors.  It seemed like my life was about to hit rock bottom.  SEEMED.  We started putting my son in group homes which he kept getting kicked out of due to his behaviors.  But 2016 was the year God truly moved in our lives.  He found a home that was able to really work with my son.  And He found me a job.  This is when I started working at San Joaquin General Hospital.  To celebrate my getting a job we took a family road trip to SoCal.  I also got a Ham radio license so I could legally use a Ham radio on my powered-paraglider.


In 2017 life started getting somewhat better for us.  My son was living in a home only 5 miles from where I worked.  My daughter was getting very involved in church and starting college.  Cristy and I also celebrated our 30th anniversary in Hawaii.






Also, Angela finished the Spartan Race

By 2017 I had sold my powered paraglider and had bought my powered parachute.  Cristy and I had also started walking more, trying to get in shape.

2018 was another year that brought a lot of change.  Mostly in me.  Through walking and intermittent fasting I was able to lose about 50 lbs.

This is me just prior to losing weight…

And this is what I looked like post weight loss…

2019 was a sad year.¬† We lost my sister Sheila to cancer.¬† We lost my wife’s cousin Jaime to kidney disease.¬† I was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma.

2019 was a happy year because we became part of a small group at our new church.  We received a lot of support from them and they came along side us in prayer many times.  The doctors were able to remove all of the melanoma.  I also sold my powered parachute and began flying rental airplanes.  I got back into regular airplanes after a young man from my old church took me for a ride to pay me back for all those times I took him for rides when he was learning to fly.  Now we fly together whenever we can.

2019 ended with my son being removed from a bad living situation in the group home he was in.  He now lives back in town with us, which, he has been asking for quite some time.  My daughter also bought a poodle this year.

It’s been a tumultuous decade.¬† We’ve covered a lot of territory in the last 10 years.¬† Who knows where we’ll be 10 years from now.¬† Not sure but I sure like where we are now.¬† I wouldn’t trade a second of the last 10 years for anything.¬† I’ve seen God’s faithfulness and Providence countless times.¬† I see God’s love in those around me every day.¬† I don’t expect that to change much.¬† I’ll keep doing what I can to reflect God’s love to those around me.








Life’s Little Joys

We can’t always travel the globe when we like.¬† I don’t have the money for one, and secondly I have no time.¬† Personally I love to hike.¬† I don’t have much time for hiking either.¬† So I try to grab little moments of joy when I can.¬† Like the field behind the hospital where I work.


Besides the verdant green fields next to the dirt farm road there is a low drainage canal full of trees and rabbits.¬† There is also the San Joaquin County Jail on the far side of the field to keep me company as I walk.¬† Under the trees there is a lush growth of miner’s lettuce.


There is also an abandoned bridge here and paved roads that lead nowhere and are slowly disintegrating.¬† It’s a really interesting place to walk.¬† And peaceful.¬† And many days, that’s just what I need.

A Day In The Life

I’m a network administrator for a local county hospital. ¬†Every once in a while I like to video some of the glamorous things I get to do as a network administrator. ¬†Most of the time I’m proving that there is nothing wrong with the network. ¬†That is 99% of what I do. ¬†But every once in a while “the network” actually breaks. ¬†This is a short video of me fixing “the network.”

One Year Ago Today

I have a bad habit of hanging on to calendars so I can see what I did over the past few years. ¬†I was looking at last year’s calendar tonight. ¬†Last January my son had just moved out to the first of three group homes he lived in. ¬†My wife was just getting over the flu. ¬†I was still planning to live full-time on the road and finding a way to get my employer to buy off on my hair-brained scheme.

The plan was to travel from data center to data center, hitting all our properties on the way to or from. ¬†I had meticulously planned routes to RV parks and campgrounds closest to our business properties. ¬†My job at the time was pretty much location independent. ¬†However, management being what it is, they always wanted us to be somewhere so it’s pretty unlikely they would have bought off on this plan. ¬†I was still blissfully unaware of the plans management had for us. ¬†I was still driving an hour to our corporate headquarters to plan to bond two core switches together. ¬†Happily, my time with my employer came to an end before I had to do that work. ¬†I was wondering why my boss wasn’t pushing me to move faster on that project. ¬†Now I know why, I would never have been able to complete it before the transition happened.

There’s no moral to this story. ¬†No point really. ¬†Just reminiscing while looking at the calendar. ¬†Well, maybe there is a moral to the story; don’t set your plans in stone, stay flexible and be ready to adapt those plans to what life hands you. ¬†And if you’re so inlined, as I am, never stop having faith that God will work things out for the best for those whom He loves.

Goodbye Sienna, Hello Ram

img_20161119_143059After 18 years of reliable service we decided it was time to put our 1998 Toyota Sienna out to pasture. ¬†I knew that I wanted a Ram 3500 to be our tow vehicle when we eventually start travelling full time. ¬†I also knew that we won’t be able to live that lifestyle for another 7 to 10 years. ¬†There would be no point in having a Ram 3500 as my daily driver for the next 7 years. ¬†But I also knew the Sienna wasn’t going to last another 7 years. ¬†After discussing it with my wife she suggested I get an interim truck. ¬†After searching around a little I finally settled on a bare bones Ram 1500. ¬†This particular truck has storage compartments on either side of the bed, and basic instrumentation. ¬†I went basic so the truck wouldn’t be an attractive target for thieves.


It’s good to finally have a vehicle that doesn’t sound like it’s about to fall apart, will pass smog, and can tow heavier loads than the minivan could. ¬†I’m even starting to think about a small travel trailer so my wife and I can do some camping.

The Outsourcing Of America

I don’t blame Hillary for this, I blame both political parties. ¬†Both are standing by and allowing this to happen. ¬†People who have worked and trained hard to get and hold their jobs are being forced to train much lower-paid replacements. ¬† ¬†I had to go through the same thing. ¬†What’s happening in America is shameful.

Read about it here: