Discussion around issues in Catlina MacOS

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  • (Edited)
There has been a lot of chaos on Catalina MacOS and its interaction with networks that have deployed Ruckus products for wireless service.  Issues are being seen in current Catalina MacOS that did not appear in earlier releases of MacOS: Mojave, High-Sierra, etc.

TAC managers have asked that we share information with our customers.

It is recommended that Macbook users use 10.15.4 who wish to use Catalina OS or have got an relatively older version of Catalina MacOS: namely 10.15, 10.15.1, 10.15.2 or 10.15.3. Apple has fixed a variety of bugs including but not limited to Wi-Fi, Safari stop responding when attempting to use Apple Pay, HSTS enhancement etc.

Apple has released beta version of 10.15.5 and it will soon be available officially on their website.

Some of the useful URLs on issues encountered with Catalino OS are:

-> https://www.techradar.com/news/macos-catalina-10154-gets-a-stability-update-but-reports-claim-its-breaking-some-macbooks

-> https://macreports.com/mac-catalina-wi-fi-problems-fix/

-> https://www.switchingtomac.com/tutorials/osx/macbook-pro-constantly-dropping-wireless-connection

-> https://osxdaily.com/2014/04/24/fix-mac-disconnect-wifi-sleep/

 

Please note that Catalina is true 64-bit operating system and Apple has asked all the users to use 64-bit version of those applications. Please read the following URLs for further information:

-> https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/12/20908567/apple-macos-catalina-breaking-apps-32-bit-support-how-to-prepare-avoid-update

 

Quotes on 32-bit applications:

“Apple first announced that it would ultimately wind down support for 32-bit apps more than a year and a half ago, when it began pushing alerts to macOS High Sierra users that 32-bit software was “unsupported.” The apps still worked, but with Catalina’s official unveiling back in June at WWDC, Apple made the eventual discontinuation official. With the launch of Catalina, 32-bit apps no longer function.”
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Michael Brado, Official Rep

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Posted 5 months ago

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Tony Chuah

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I have an unleashed network with R610 + 2 x R310 that drops Zoom meetings on a new macbook pro. Could this be the issue, or do I need to raise a ticket with support?
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Michael Brado, Official Rep

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It is recommended that Macbook users use 10.15.4 who wish to use Catalina OS.
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Michael Brado, Official Rep

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And/But I have found further information,
Apple has made some further announcements: latest MacOS isCatalina: 10.15.5. It has some interesting features and fixes, please read ityour leisure:

// Apple releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 with newBattery Health Management feature

https://9to5mac.com/2020/05/26/apple-releases-macos-catalina-10-15-5-with-new-battery-health-management-feature/

//What's new in the updates for macOS Catalina

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210642

It may be that in few weeks 10.15.4 will be inaccessible...
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Bway NOC

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What's the current recommendation on this. We are working w/coworking spaces and we can't just ask random people to downgrade, especially with the "it works everywhere else" response we tend to get.
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Bway NOC

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bump - seeing 10.15.6 clients dropping like crazy, no reason code on the ZD side.

Posted elsewhere, but this "we don't validate Mac/iOS anymore" upsets me because of sites like this:

(Edited)
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Vineet Nejawala, Employee

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Hi Team,

Since this seems to be affecting you on a larger aspect it would be best if you can open a TAC ticket with Ruckus to investigate this further. We would need ZD debug log and AP support logs along with client MAC which is dropping frequently.

Please reach out to us using below :

https://support.ruckuswireless.com/contact-us

Best Regards
Vineet

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Bway NOC

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Do you have any explanation why 10.14 and 10.15 are not validated with any Ruckus gear?
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Vineet Nejawala, Employee

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Hi Team,

I am not sure who gave that information or could validate it but if I see from customer's setup I know many customer's are using MACOS 10.14 and 10.15 on Ruckus gears, sometime there might be connectivity issue but with the right set of information and debugging it is always narrowed down and resolved. It would be best if you can open a TAC case, let support gather the details ex. AP model, Wlan type, Version on controller/AP, debug log information and accordingly progress to find the cause.

Best Regards
Vineet
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Bway NOC

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The information comes from your own release notes!
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Vineet Nejawala, Employee

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Hi Team,

I was able to find out the below article that would be helpful. The article has explained the recommended version for MacOS as well as the issue that were specific to MacOS devices.

https://support.ruckuswireless.com/articles/000010544

Best Regards
Vineet

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Chris Downing

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Vineet... this is an issue affecting LOTS of sites... the response from Ruckus (including that article you link to here) has been dismal.

We (Prince Alfred College - in South Australia) reported this issue 11 months ago... we've had the 'roam-save 2' change in place for 10 months and still have macOS clients running 10.15.4 and 10.15.6 that are still exhibiting this problem.

That article also states "Ruckus wireless AP has connectivity issues with Catalina version of MacOS; ALTHOUGH TECHNICALLY NOT TRUE, customers like to get technically analyzed answer to prove otherwise"  ...I note that there is no "technically analyzed answer" provided!

For your reference, in the last 9 months we have tested, Cisco Meraki, Cisco Aironet, Aruba, Ubiquiti, Xirrus, Aerohive and Mikrotik AP's in the same environment, against the same RADIUS server. Ruckus are the only AP's that exhibit this issue.

Can you explain that?

... or point us to an article that does.

Regards,

Chris Downing

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Bway NOC

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We are really loathe to shell out the kind of money they want for support when in the end we can just get pointed back to "we only validate up to 10.13".

One thing we're looking at is that we have other sites where the same devices have no issues. They are running 10.1.2.0 build 210. As a last ditch effort before just throwing some ubiquiti in as a stopgap, we're going to roll this site back to that version to see if it resolves the mac issues. Sadly a rollback entails a factory reset, so we have to find a time to do this w/o disruption and then after noting all the settings in the web UI, downgrade and re-enter it all by hand (plain text config files like cisco and juniper, who needs them!).

We have verbose logging from the mac side of things, but it's not entirely clear from that what is causing the drop. I can share with anyone interested.
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Vineet Nejawala, Employee

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Hi Chris and Bway NOC,

It would be best if you can open a TAC ticket with Ruckus to investigate this further, since it requires debug on a packet level and it would be best to keep this all logs documented on a case. Until unless we debug this issue we would not be able to identify the Root cause.

Please reach out to us using below :

https://support.ruckuswireless.com/contact-us

Best Regards
Vineet

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Chris Downing

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Hi Vineet,
I have a TAC case open for this now... will let you (& Bway NOC) know what we find here. This issue is intermittent so it may be some time before I ca report anything conclusive.

Regards,
Chris Downing.
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Bway NOC

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For less than the cost of a support contract, we dumped in a few UBNT APs and resolved the problem.

I spent a TON of time (free labor for Ruckus!) digging through the client side logs. If your users are flexible, I suggest doing two things to improve the wifi experience on Catalina:

- Disable bluetooth (or in our case we found, simply don't use BT if enabled)
- Disable Airdrop (more specifically, AWDL)

I strongly suspect that there are bugs on both sides happening here. Ruckus side is a big unknown since there's not much public discussion of the issue. On the Mac side, it's worth looking at what AWDL is and how it works. Airdrop and other services like it (Airplay, what else?) use a local ad-hoc wifi network for data transfer. The OS "seamlessly" flips the wifi chip between two channels (your real wifi connection and the airwhatever device) to sort of "multiplex" two wifi connections in one. This generally doesn't break things, but it does mean that the radio IS off-channel for the main wifi at times, and I'm guessing this is where things get screwy.

Anecdotally, our problem users had far fewer problems if they just stopped using their airpods (yes, BT is on 2GHz, and this site is 5GHz only, but it's a shared radio and who knows what Apple is doing here). Same w/disabling AWDL (assuming they got the instructions right).

But the AP swap has gone really well - we went from guys on Zoom all day having drops every 5-10 minutes to going a full day without a single drop that they noticed. I hate UBNT stuff, but we had some spares so we gave it a shot... I suspect they simply have more customers than Ruckus that have a large Mac population. I think Ruckus is so entrenched in the enterprise market that they still think of Mac/ios as "fringe" and just don't put resources into it.
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Chris Downing

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Hey Bway NOC... this is a VERY insightful find. It's interesting to me that AWDL uses similar techniques for 'off channel' scanning to what Ruckus "Channel Fly" uses for interference discovery, channel & power selection decisions. I'm due on another remote support session with a senior Ruckus engineer (about this and a Bonjour Fencing failure)  in 3 minutes time... and I will raise this with him.

Thanks for the update.
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David Lipkin

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We're seeing this happen more with slightly older MacBook pros. Our 2017 and newer ones seem stable whereas the 2016 and older ones keep falling off the network. This is a small network of Wave 2 APs running current firmware. 

Has anyone looked at this with the Big Sur previews? 


Best,

David
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Tony Heung, Official Rep

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I am on Big Sur 11.0 developer beta (20A5384c) against Unleashed 200.9 on R750 with no issue.
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David Lipkin

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Did you have issues with Catalina? I'm finding some devices have issues and some don't on Catalina. I don't know with Big Sur yet.
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Tony Heung, Official Rep

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I have another MBP early 2015 running Catalina 10.15.6 Beta (19G60d) and experienced issue with connecting Wi-Fi, recently updated to 10.15.7 and saw the release note from Apple with the first bug fix as "Resolves an issue where macOS would not automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks", see below screenshot.

  

After the upgrade, this Catalina MBP on my home Unleashed on R750 is pretty stable as I am running Plex server so if any packet lost would be quite obvious.
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Chris Downing

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Hi Tony, I'm inclined to think that this 10.15.7 fix listed by Apple is to fix a problem introduced in 10.15.6 that is affecting more than just Apple<––>Ruckus connections... as this has appeared in several JAMF forums and was affecting non-Ruckus sites.

That said, this doesn't mean that in fixing that issue Apple haven't also addressed the issue we're all seeing here.
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David Lipkin

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I'm sorry to take this conversation sideways but has Ruckus officially ended support for Macs and iOS? Am I allowed to curse in this forum? 
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Chris Downing

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I don't believe this to be the case either... I think this is more a case of poor documentation than poor support... I'm currently being supported by Ruckus TAC for Apple devices running 10.15.6 and 10.16 (and iOS 14).
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Tony Heung, Official Rep

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AFAIK, it is not the case.
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Chris Downing

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Just to put it out there... over the last couple of months, we have seen a sharp reduction in the number of macOS clients exhibiting this problem (having changed nothing in our main wireless config). To the point now that I am finding it hard to reproduce the problem for Ruckus Support.

Two possibilities could explain this (somewhat obviously, seeing as this problem requires both macOS clients and Ruckus AP's). The first thing that has changed is that macOS clients have moved from 10.15.5 to 10.15.6 and now 10.15.7. The second thing is that we have applied two updates to our Ruckus controllers (Virtual SmartZone controllers - vSZ-E) - from version: 5.2.0.0.699 to 5.2.0.0.5527 and now 5.2.1.0.515.

More importantly (I believe) is that these firmware bundles included AP firmware updates. We were running version: 5.1.2.0.373... which updated to 5.2.0.0.1412 and now 5.2.1.0.698.

Now, in the hope that this helps others, I'm planning on downgrading a 2015 MBA to 10.15.5 (or earlier) and testing to see if the problem returns, but it may be that Ruckus have fixed the issue (either inadvertently or knowingly).

If it's as simple as now updating AP firmware, hopefully this helps you.
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Chris Downing

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Hi all,
So, over the last week I have tested a 2015 MBA running macOS 10.15.6 and a 2015 MBP running 10.15.4. I have done multiple sleep/wake resume(s) and multiple wireless NIC power cycles each day, with both machines... on occasion using both machines at the same time and sometimes individually.

These tests have also been done during bandwidth speed tests from the MacBooks (locally and to public internet) and have been done while there is both light 'other' load on the AP and while there have been as many as 45-50 other clients (student devices) on the same AP.

Neither machine has exhibited the problems listed here under any conditions.

With this in mind, I have instructed the Ruckus support engineer to close the ticket, based on the presumption that one of the AP Firmware updates listed above has resolved the issue. I have also asked if he can provide any documentation about the discovered cause or the 'fix' for this issue.

So while I can't give you all a definitive cause, I can cay with a fair degree of confidence that the AP firmware version 5.2.1.0.698 has resolved the issue (for us at least).

For your information, we are running Ruckus R710 AP's (mostly) controlled by virtual Smart Zone (vSZ-E) controllers.

Hopefully the latest AP firmware version(s) fix this for others as well. If Ruckus TAC get back to me with any more definitive info about the cause or fix, I'll post it here.

Cheers.