When you are in a room of people trying to figure out who the idiot is, it’s probably you. This definitely rang true for me during my first visit to the holy grail of techie events, Wireless Field Day 6. Being surrounded by some of the greatest minds in WiFi, I felt as if i was a small fish in a big pond and I was excited for the opportunity to soak up every bit of information I could steal away from them!

I have been watching the field day events online since everything was a Tech Field Day, so needless to say, I was elated when I received an invitation from Mr. Foskett. I got to meet people in the wireless industry whom I look up to, have conversations with vendors, interact with the people of twitter under the WFD6 hashtag, and hear from two amazing organizations that are doing a lot of good around the world, Plan Ciebal and Disaster Tech Labs.

Now that WFD6 is over and everyone has headed home I figured now would be an appropriate time for a recap from my perspective. This will be a short blurb of what I thought about the vendors, with more detailed posts to come in the near future.

AirTight – It was awesome to see a presentation full of passion and energy, but I guess that just follows Devin Akin wherever he goes! AirTight is beginning to focus and deploy tools to the Managed Services Providers, announced an 802.11ac access-point, and revealed that even us WiFi savvy folks are still vulnerable to a good old fashion karma attack.

Aruba – Showed off their new Meridian technology, think indoor GPS, and Analytics Location Engine, a way to connect with customers. The old adage ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’ is ringing true, and as WiFi is becoming more of an expectation, businesses are looking for ways to connect with customers and gain analytics in return.

Disaster Tech Labs – One of those amazing do-good organizations I mentioned earlier. Their organization focuses on going to disaster ridden areas and providing wireless connectivity to assist with organizing recovery, helping families access the necessary forms, and give a feeling of normalcy to families so they can contact loved ones to let them know they are alright. A great reminder on how easy it is to take all the technology we have for granted.

Plan Ceibal – The other amazing do-good organization I mentioned earlier. This is a program that puts technology in the classroom and in the hands of children in Uruguay. Honestly, an example program that I would love to see pushed throughout the United States and other developed countries to better educate the next generation. Unfortunately, due to politics a project of this sort would be highly contested, and that my friends is a travesty.

CloudPath – Nerdy CEO makes the whole room happy. CloudPath was the only non-directly-wireless company to present at WFD6, but I think they deserved every second they got! An agentless way of configuring end user equipment for secure 802.1X wired and wireless networking has a need and CloudPath, in my opinion, is delivering the best solution compared to current on-boarding solutions being integrated by other vendors.

Xirrus – The most anticipated presentation of the event for me. At Wireless Field Day 5 Xirrus presented, but was bombarded with questions regarding their design of arrays and antenna design. This year Xirrus brought out the most interesting man in RF, Avi Hartenstein, to explain the antennas the HE designed. Xirrus finished off their presentation with a few marketing slides of their real world customers from large events, but around the room and twitter were mumbles of lack of good wifi at some of these events. Whether this is an integrator problem or a device problem is still the question of the day.

Extreme NetworksThe bathroom was extreme. They showed off a lot of slides and information about the stadiums they have designed for and how to design for stadiums, but lacked on the information side of how this all gets done. I agree with Sam that there is a lot of information to cover during a first WFD event as a sponsor, though I would like to see how the guts of everything works. Hopefully at WFD7 they will deliver an inside look at how they perform these functions.

Overall, I had an absolute blast at my first Wireless Field Day and hope to be invited back for more! If you have a chance, check out the recorded sessions on Youtube and comment any topics you would like to see in a future post.
In the meantime check out the other delegates fantastic websites and blogs:
Blake Krone – You’ll notice I stole the title for this post from Blake!
Evert Bopp
George Stefanick
Germán Capdehourat
Jake Snyder
Jennifer Huber
Keith R. Parsons
Lee Badman
Sam Clements
Scott Stapleton

Going to Cisco Live 2013 will be my first appearance at the convention that gathers the brightest minds in networking. I’ll have the opportunity to learn new technology, ways to advance my current infrastructure, and interact with the many people whom I speak with on Twitter and IRC. Just to state the obvious, I am beyond myself with excitement.
Over the past year I was assigned to take over the wireless infrastrucuture at my current position. I have had to go from almost zero knowledge to being able to migrate to new controllers, add security, redesign the entire way our end users use wireless, and learn the mysterious ins-and-outs of RF. It has been a great journey and I’ve been very proud to have been given the opportunity. With that being said I have a majority of my scheduled classes revolving around wireless technologies.

I also will be taking the CCIE Wireless Written exam on Monday afternoon. I know I am far less than ready to pass this exam, but if you don’t try you’ll never succeed. I figure it is a free test, my other certifications are up to day, and I’ve got nothing to lose. There is a severe lack of training material for CCIE Wireless compared to other tracks, but hopefully the CWNP books and CCIE Wireless Quick Reference book give me enough of an edge to squeeze out a pass.

Monday – June 24
8:00AM – 9:30AM: BRKEWN-2018 – RF Standards Update
10:00AM – 12:00PM: BRKEWN-3010 – Understanding and Deploying the CleanAir Technology to Improve Enterprise WLAN Spectrum Management
1:00PM – 3:00PM: BRKCRT-9105 – CCNA Wireless, master the 802.11 protocols!
2:00PM: CCIE Wireless Written Exam
7:00PM: INE Party at Hard Rock

Tuesday – June 25
8:00AM – 9:30AM: BRKDCT-2218 – Scalable Midsize Data Center Designs
10:00AM – 12:15PM: Tomorrow Starts Here Keynote
12:30PM – 2:30PM: BRKEWN-3011 – Troubleshooting Wireless LANs
3:00PM – 4:30PM: BRKSEC-2202 – Understanding and Preventing Layer 2 Attacks in IPv4 Networks

Wednesday – June 26
8:00AM – 9:30AM: BRKARC-3472 – NX-OS Routing Architecture and Best Practices
10:00AM – 1:30PM: Unlocking the Value of Innovation Keynote
1:30PM – 3:30PM: BRKEWN-2017 – Understanding RF Fundamentals and the Radio Design of Wireless Networks
4:00PM – 6:00PM: BRKSEC-3045 – Advanced ISE and Secure Access Deployment
7:30PM: Cisco Customer Appreciate Event at Universal Studios

Thursday – June 27
8:00AM – 9:30AM: BRKSPM-2007 – High Density WiFi networks for Stadiums and Large Public Venues
10:00AM – 11:30AM: BRKCRT-8104 – Deploying Cisco ASA Firewall Solutions for CCNP Security
12:30PM – 2:00PM: BRKEWN-3014 – Best Practices to Deploy High-Availibilty in Wireless LAN Architectures
2:30PM – 3:30PM: Celebrity Closing Keynote
4:00PM – 6:00PM: BRKEWN-3021 – Troubleshooting Converged Access Wireless Deployments

I hope to see a lot of you at Cisco Live this year! I know I’m already in the hole with Jennifer Huber and Sam Clements for drinks, since I’ve been bugging them so much over the year.

Cisco has recently released their new flagship access point, the 3602. This access point is nothing short of a beast. It has been completely redesigned with 4 transmit and 4 receive antennas and can sustain three spatial streams. This AP also features the first-to-market expansion slot that will be used for the Security and Spectrum Intelligence (SSI) module scheduled for release in Q1 of 2013. Cisco will then be releasing an 802.11ac capable module in the first half of 2013.

Now that you’ve invested (or are planning on investing) in this new generation of access points, you’re going to be out surveying new deployments with them. The only problem with this AP is it comes with a Lightweight IOS image preloaded. Cisco does offer a feature limited autonomous IOS that can be used for surveying – which is what we will be setting up and configuring today.

This process will require a few things:

  • Cisco 3600 Autonomous IOS (Available from Cisco.com)
  • TFTP Server (Available free from http://tftpd32.jounin.net)
  • Console Cable
  • Switch – Workstation and AP MUST be on the same VLAN

Below I have listed two options for you to choose from for converting your access point to the autonomous IOS required for active surveying. Option A is your easiest and most preferred method, Option B will work if you run into a problem using Option A.

Option A
Step 1: Change your IP Addressing on your TFTP Server to the following:

  • IP Address: 10.0.0.5

We have to do this because when we set the AP into default mode it will automatically use the address of 10.0.0.2 and will send a broadcast looking for a recovery image.

Step 2: Change the name of your Autonomous IOS to:

  • ap3g2-k9w7-tar.default

Step 3: Boot your AP while holding the MODE button. Do NOT release until you see “image_recovery: Download default IOS tar image tftp://255.255.255.255/ap3g2-k9w7-tar.default.”

At this point you will see the IOS downloading to your AP.

Step 4: Once the download is complete your AP should reboot automatically. If not, then enter the following command to boot into the autonomous IOS.
ap: boot flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

Now that we have the IOS booted we need to configure the boot statements to make sure we boot into the autonomous IOS at startup.

ap.>enable
Password: Cisco (default password)
ap.#config t
ap.(config)#boot system flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

Now scroll down to the Configuration section and get ready to survey!

Option B
First things first, load up your TFTP server and set it to use the folder where your IOS is stored.

Now that your TFTP server is ready, we can get your access point ready to go.

My network is addressed as a 192.168.1.0/24 network and this is the addressing we will be using for the remaining commands in this guide.

Step 1: Boot your AP while holding the MODE button. Do NOT release until you see “image_recovery: Download default IOS tar image tftp://255.255.255.255/ap3g2-k9w7-tar.default.”

Step 2: At the ‘ap:’ prompt, configure the following commands:
ap: set IP_ADDR 192.168.1.10
ap: set NETMASK 255.255.255.0
ap: set DEFAULT_ROUTER 192.168.1.1

Step 3: Prepare the AP for the TFTP transmission.
ap: ether_init
ap: tftp_init

Step 4: Using the tar command begin the TFTP transmission.
ap: tar -xtract tftp://(ServerIP)/Filename Flash:
eg: ap: tar -xtract tftp://192.168.1.5/ap3g2-k9w7-tar.152-2.JA.tar flash:

This portion may take some time, but keep an eye on it to make sure there are no prompts that may time the process out.

Step 5: Boot into the new autonomous IOS.
ap: boot flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

Now that we have the IOS booted we need to configure the boot statements to make sure we boot into the autonomous IOS at startup.

ap.>enable
Password: Cisco
(default password)
ap.#config t
ap.(config)#boot system flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

SSID Configuration
Finally, we can now begin configuring the AP for surveying.
What I prefer to do is to create an SSID on the 2.4GHz frequency and a separate SSID for the 5GHz frequency. It makes it easier for me while in the field to select the correct band I want to survey. We will step through the process for creating both and some of the options we can use.

Step 1: Let’s create the 5GHz SSID:
ap.#Dot11 SSID Survey-5
ap.(config-ssid)#Authentication Open
ap.(config-ssid)#guest-mode
– This tells the AP to broadcast this SSID.

Step 2: Now let’s configure the 5GHz Radio, Dot11Radio1.
ap.(config)#interface dot11radio1
ap.(config-if)#ssid Survey-5
ap.(config-if)#channel width 40-above
- Set your channel width to what you will be using in production, either 20MHz or 40MHz.
ap.(config-if)#channel 5180 – Locks the AP into using channel 36. This will come in handy when setting up your channel scanning in your surveying program.
ap.(config-if)#power local 17 – this will configure the radio to use 50mW – Refer to Cisco Radio Transmit Power for a handy conversion chart.
ap.(config-if)#no shutdown

At this point you now have the ability to connect to the access point and can survey on 5GHz. Now let’s continue by configuring the 2.4GHz Radio.

Many of the steps will be the same, with minor differences.

Step 1: Let’s create the 2.4GHz SSID:
ap.#Dot11 SSID Survey-2
ap.(config-ssid)#Authentication Open
ap.(config-ssid)#guest-mode
– This tells the AP to broadcast this SSID

Step 2: Now let’s configure the 2.4GHz Radio, Dot11Radio0.
ap.(config)#interface dot11radio0
ap.(config-if)#ssid Survey-2
ap.(config-if)#channel width 20
– This is the default and does not need to be entered, I just wanted you to know that 20MHz is the only option for 2.4GHz.
ap.(config-if)#channel 1 – Locks the AP into using channel 1. This will come in handy when setting up your channel scanning in your surveying program.
ap.(config-if)#power local 14 – This will configure the radio to use 25mW – Refer to Cisco Radio Transmit Power for a handy conversion chart.
ap.(config-if)#no shutdown

DHCP Configuration
You can enable your AP to be a DHCP server – allowing for quicker configuration changes in the field.
ap.(config)#interface BVI 1
ap.(config-if)#ip address 192.168.0.1 255.255.255.0
ap.(config-if)#exit
ap.(config)#ip dhcp excluded-address 192.168.0.1 192.168.0.5
ap.(config)#ip dhcp pool NAME
ap.(dhcp-config)#network 192.168.0.0 /24
ap.(dhcp-config)#default-router 192.168.0.1

You can now telnet into your AP using the default username Cisco and password Cisco.

Well, that’s it! You’re done and ready to go out into the wild blue yonder and survey to your hearts content!
In the next blog we will be using the SSIDs that we just created to perform surveys using Airmagnet Pro.
Please leave any feedback in the comments and feel free to ask questions.

Credit for the steps to TFTP the IOS goto Vinay Sharma

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