WiFi 802.11AX (WiFi 6e) on 6GHz

Over the 2023 end of year, I moved home. A long process of three years of construction and I have a shiny new pad. And of course back in 202, I had done diagrams for the cabling and access points that I would require. I had used the Ubiquity Networks Design Centre, design.ui.com, to lay out the plan: two floors of primary residential, with WiFi access points around the outer walls.

I wanted the flexibility of also having some ethernet patches, so it made sense (to me) to use the Unifi In Wall access points, as the provide a 4 port switch (and one of those ports is pass-through PoE). I also anted to ensure good WiFi coverage from the far rear of the property by a proposed swimming pool: no excusing for whinging about coverage for iPad users when lounging by that end of the property.

In the period that passed, Ubiquiti released the U6-IW device to replace the IW-HD, and the Enterprise U6-IW which ups the game to include a radio on the 6GHz spectrum in addition tot he existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

This is now all in place. The topology now looks like this:

The core of this is still my original Unifi Dream machine, and a 24 port Enterprise switch: you’ll note that most ports are actually used. Nearly everything plugged directly to the core switch is PoE: security cameras and In Wall access points.

Nice, so lets fire up 6HGz (form newer devices) and see what we can do. I went to edit the existing Wireless network definition, and ticked the “6Hz” option. At this time, the WiFi security instantly changed from “WPA2/WPA3” to only WPA3.

This instantly dropped half my devices off the network . Even the newest of home “wifi” appliances – dishwasher, garage doors, ovens, home security systems, doorbell intercoms can not handle WPA3. Indeed, lets look at these devices:

  • Miele oven (2023): WiFi 4
  • DeLonghi Coffee machine (2023): WiFi 4
  • Bosch Dishwasher (2023): WiFi 4
  • Fronius 10kW solar inverter (2023): WiFi 4
  • iRobot Roomba J7+ (2022): WiFi 5

These are all new devices, and yet the best Wifi they support means I’ll have to leave 802.11n enabled for the next decade or longer (until I replace them with something newer).

So now I have two WiFi networks: the primary ESSID that is 6GHz and WPA3, and a secondary “compatible” ESSID that does not permit 6GHz, but does support WPA2.

These device manufacturers are only listing “WiFi” in their sales messaging. None of them are going the next level of calling out which WiFi version they support, and what version of WPA. It’s time that manufacturers catch up on this, and enable consumers to select products that are more secure, and not products that force deprecated protocols to be used.

New AWS Certification: Data Engineer — Associate

Today (Monday 27th of November) is the first day of a new AWS Certification: The AWS Certified Data Engineer —Associate. This is in a beta period now, and as such, any candidates who sit this certification won’t get a result until up to 13 weeks after the end of the beta period.

That beta period is November 27, 2023 – January 12, 2024; so in some time in February or March candidates will find out how they went. During that period, AWS will be assessing where the pass mark should be.

I’ve been pretty forthright in attempting most AWS certifications; I’ve always like to lead from the front to help demonstrate even an aging open source tech geek sys admin like myself can do this. And to that end, I reserved a quiet meeting room at 0200 UTC today (10am AWST) to do the online-proctored exam for this certification.

As always there are terms & conditions on disclosure, so I can only speak at high level. It was 85 questions, the vast majority where to select one correct answer (key) from four possibilities; only a handful had the “select any TWO” option.

The questions I received focuses on Glue, Redshift, Athena, Kinesis, and in passing, S3 and IAM. I say “I received“, as there is a pool of questions, and I would have only had 85 from a larger pool; your assessment would likely be different questions.

It took me around ne hour fifteen minutes, and I went back to review just 2 questrions.

Overall I found this was perhaps a little more detailed and domain based than the existing Associate level certifications. There were use cases for Redshift that I’ve not used that stumped me. There were Glue and Databrew use cases I haven’t used in production.

All in all I think its well placed to ensure that candidates have a solid understanding of data engineering, fault tolerance, cost, and durability of data. For those that are doing cloud native data analytics pipelines, then I would say this should be on your list of certs to get.

We’ll find out in Q1 if I am up to speed on this. 😉

AWS CodeBuild: Lambda Support

A few days ago, AWS announced Lambda support for their Code Build service.

Code build sits amongst a slew of Code* services, which developers can pick and chose from to get their jobs done. I’m going to concentrate on just three of them:

  • Code Commit: a managed Git repository
  • Code Build: a service to launch compute* to execute software compile/built/test services
  • Code Pipeline: a CI/CD pipeline that helps orchestrate the pattern of build and release actions, across different environments

My common use case is for publishing (mostly) static web sites. Being a web developer since the early 1990s, I’m pretty comfortable with importing some web frameworks, writing some HTML and additional CSS, grabbing some images, and then publishing the content.

That content is typically deployed to an S3 Bucket, with CloudFront sitting in front of it, and Route53 doing its duty for DNS resolution… times two or three environments (dev, test, prod).

CodePipeline can be automatically kicked off when a developer pushes a commit to the repo. For several years I have used the native Code Pipeline service to deploy this artifact, but there’s always been a few niggles.

As a developer, I also like having some pre-commit hooks. I like to ensure my HTML is reasonable, that I haven’t put any credentials in my code, etc. For this I use the pre-commit hooks.

Here’s my “.pre-commit-config.yaml” file, that sits in the base of my content repo:

 -   repo: https://github.com/pre-commit/pre-commit-hooks
     rev: v4.4.0
     -   id: mixed-line-ending
     -   id: trailing-whitespace
     -   id: detect-aws-credentials
     -   id: detect-private-key
 -   repo: https://github.com/Lucas-C/pre-commit-hooks-nodejs
     rev: v1.1.2
     -   id: htmllint

There’s a few more “dot” files such as “.htmllintrc” that also get created and persisted to the repo, but here’s the catch: I want them there for the developers, but I want them purged when being published.

Using the original CodePipeline with the native S3 Deployer was simple, but didn’t give the opportunity to tidy up. That would require Code Build.

However, until this new announcement, using code build meant defining a whole EC2 instance (and VPC for it to live in) and waiting the 20 – 60 seconds for it to start before running your code. The time, and cost, wasn’t worth it in my opinion.

Until now, with Lambda.

I defined (and committed to the repo) a buildspec.yml file, and the commands in the build section show what I am tidying up:

version: 0.2
      - rm -f buildspec.yml .htmllintrc .pre-commit-config.yaml package-lock.json package.json
      - rm -rf .git

Yes, the buildspec.yml file is one of the files I don’t want to publish.

Time to change the Pipeline order, and include a Build stage that created a new output artifact based upon that. The above buildspec.yml file then has an additional section at the end:

    - '**/*'

This the code Build job config, we define a new name for the output artifacts, int his case I called it “TidySource”.However there was an issue with the output artifact from this.

When CodeCommit triggers a build, it makes a single artifact available to the pipeline: the ZIP contents from the repo, in an S3 Bucket for the pipeline. The format of this object’s key (name) is:


The original S3 Deployer in CodePipeline understood that, and gave you the option to decompress the object (zip file) when it put it in the configured destination bucket.

CodeBuild supports multiple artifacts, and its format for the output object defined from the buildspec is:


As such, S3 Deployer would then look for the object that should match the first syntax, and fails.


OK, I had one more niggle about the s3 deployer: it doesn’t tidy up. If you delete something from your repo, the S3 deploy does not delete from the deployment location – it just unpacks over the top, leaving previously deployed files in place.

So my last change was to ditch both the output artifact from code build, and the original S3 deployer itself, and use the trusty aws s3 sync command, and a few variables in the code pipeline:

- aws s3 --region $AWS_REGION sync . s3://${S3DeployBucket}/${S3DeployPrefix}/ --delete

So the pipeline now looks like:

You can view the resulting web site at https://cv.jamesbromberger.com/. If you read the footnotes here it will tell you about some of the pipeline. Now I have a new place to play in – automating some of the framework management via NPM during the build phase, and running a few sed commands to update resulting paths in HTML content.

But my big wins are:

  1. You can’t hit https://cv.jamesbromberger.com/.htmllintrc any more (not that there was anything secure in there, but I like to be… tidy)
  2. Older versions of frameworks (bootstrap) are no longer lying around in /assets/bootstrap-${version}/.
  3. Its not costing me more timer or money when doing this tidy up, thanks to Lambda.

IPv6 for AWS Lambda connections (outbound)

Another step forward recently with the announcement that AWS Lambda now supports IPv6 for connections made from your lambda-executed code.

Its great to see another minor improvement like this. External resources that your service depends upon – APIs, etc – should now see connections over IPv6.

If you host an API, then you should be making it dual-stack in order to facilitate your clients making IPv6 connections, and avoiding things like small charged and complexity for using up scarce IPv4 addresses.

However, this is also useful if you’re trying to access private resources with in an AWS VPC.

VPC Subnets can be IPv4 only, dual-stack, or IPv6 only. Taking the IPv6 only approach permits you to provision vast numbers of EC2 instances, RDS, etc. Now your Lambda code can access those services directly without needing a proxy bottleneck) to do so.

At some stage, we’ll be looking at VPCs that are IPv6 only, with only API Gateways and/or Elastic Load Balancers being dual stack for external inbound requests.

Presumably Lambda will be dual stack for some time, but perhaps there is a future possibility that IPv6-only Lambda could be a thing – ditching the IPv4 requirement completely for use cases that support. Even then, having a VPC lambda connecting to an IPv6 only subnet, but with DNS64 and NAT64 enabled, would perhaps still permit backwards connectivity to IPv4 only services. It’s a few hops to jump through, but could be useful when there is very rare IPv4-only services being accessed from your code.

AWS SkillBuilder: moving to the new AWS Builder ID

For anyone learning AWS, then online learning platform that is Skillbuilder.aws is a well known resource. It took over from training.aws as the training platform several years ago, though the latter lives on in a very minor way – as a bridge between SkillBuilder and the AWS Certification portal.

Many individuals hold AWS certifications – personal I currently hold 9 of them. The majority of people have those certifications in an AWS Training & Certification account that is accessed via logging in via a personal login – something not linked to your employer. This is because certifications remain attached to the individual, not the employer.

Historically, this meant using Logon For Amazon, to use the same credentials you could potentially use on the Amazon.com retail platform. Yes, the same credentials that some people buy underpants with also links to your AWS Certifications.

In the AWS Partner space, individuals often end up needing to acquire AWS Accreditations; however they are not exposed on SkillBuilder.aws to individuals not linked to a recognised AWS Partner organisation. Instead, individuals much register in the AWS Partner portal, using a recognised email address domain that links to a given AWS partner entity.

From the partner portal, a user can then access SkillBuilder, using the AWS Partner Portal as a login provider, triggering the creation of a (second) SkillBuilder login – but this time linked as a Partner account.

This is clearly confusing, having multiple logins.

SkillBuilder has evolved, and now also offers paid subscriptions for enterprises. For that set of organisations, federated logins (SSO) are available.

Now, the situation is changing again for individuals. AWS has introduced their separate identity store, called the AWS Builder ID.

Login prompt from Skillbuilder, 2023

Luckily, this new AWS Builder ID does not create a separate identity within SkillBuilder, but adds an additional login for the account linked to your existing Login with Amazon identity.

Onboarding to this is easy. The process validates that you have the email address, and then you can simply use the AWS Builder ID login option where you used to use Login with Amazon.

I’d suggest if you are learning AWS, start using your AWS Builder ID to access SkillBuilder.