Cisco 802.11ax site survey (single AP method)

You may already be familiar with my Survey with Wi-Fi 6 APs workaround blog post previously where we used an AireOS WLC running on a second AP to do a site survey. Now that Cisco has launched the Embedded Wireless Controller (based on the CAT9800 platform), we can now use that functionality to do an APoS battery powered survey with a single AP! This is known as the Embedded Wireless Controller on Catalyst 9100 Access Points (or eWC for short). This is similar to 802.11ac wave 2 APs in that the WLC software runs on the AP after boot time, but the config model is notably different.

Prerequisites:

• Production 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) Access Point
This is unlikely to be an issue for most of you, but it should be noted that if you’re using a pre-production AP, it may not have the proper certificates required for this process. If you have issues with APs joining, please make sure you’re using a production AP.
• Local power source for your Access Point (this guide uses the Ventev VenVolt site survey battery pack)
• TFTP server (this guide uses the TFTP server Transfer from Adrian Granados)
• 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) Access Point (at the time of this writing, this is a c9115, 9117, c9120 or c9130 AP)
• A serial console cable to watch/configure your AP

Applying the correct image to the platform:

Step 1) Assuming your AP is currently in CAPWAP mode, you will first need to update the AP with the proper CAPWAP image prior to flashing it with EWC code. You MUST upgrade the CAPWAP image on the C9100 Access Points to AireOS 8.10.105.0 or IOS-XE 16.12.1s. Both these code versions are available on cisco.com.

Attach your AP to the VenVolt PoE out port. Boot your AP with the serial cable attached. Wait until you get to the AP prompt and configure the APs IP address to be on the same subnet as your workstation (192.168.1.2/24) using the following command:

AP7069.5A76.5460#capwap ap ip 192.168.1.2 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.1

Statically assign an IP address to your workstation (192.168.1.3/24). Put the update files into your TFTP server directory. Attach your workstation to the Ethernet port on the VenVolt. Run the following command to convert your AP to eWC mode:

For the 9115/9120:

ap-type mobility-express tftp://192.168.1.3/ap1g7 tftp://192.168.1.3/C9800-AP-iosxe-wlc.bin

For the 9117:

ap-type mobility-express tftp://192.168.1.3/ap1g6 tftp://192.168.1.3/C9800-AP-iosxe-wlc.bin

If you’re using a different AP, ensure you’re using the proper image file name (ap1gx) for your upload here. Once the AP has finished downloading the requisite code, it should reboot. At this point, you should be able to do all management from the GUI, although CLI commands for reference will be included later.  If by chance you run into the following messages, it is likely your code was corrupted:

 

AP2CF8.9B21.50C8#EWC-AP in Recovery Mode...
Please use 'archive download-sw ewc-ap' to upgrade or rollback the controller image.
Please use 'show flexconnect ewc-ap launch-log' to check EWC-AP launch log.
 EWC-AP in Recovery Mode...

Download the code again and run the following command:

archive download-sw ewc-ap tftp://192.168.1.3/C9800-AP-iosxe-wlc.bin

Once the code has pushed successfully you should see the typical WLC config prompts.

        --- System Configuration Dialog ---

Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]:
Num of cpu cores     4
Maximum number of AP's supported   100

Step 2) Wait for the CiscoAirProvisioning SSID to show up in your networks list. It should be noted that in the first builds, this site survey mode may take a while (15 minutes) to show up for the first time. You may need to be patient during this part of the setup. Once the SSID shows up, it will include a unique SSID based on the MAC address of the AP to prevent confusion when multiple ME APs are being setup. Find the SSID that matches your AP and join it using the PSK “password”.

Step 3) Open up a new web browser – if the Day-0 web page doesn’t open up, go to https://mywifi.cisco.com/ and accept the self-signed certificate warnings. Log in using:

Username:       webui
Password:        cisco

Step 4) Define the following values in the webui. For site survey functionality, it is recommended to use:

Username:       admin
Password:        Cisco123
IP Address:     192.168.1.1
Subnet Mask:  255.255.255.0

Click + Add, and define a site survey SSID:

Click the Finish button.

Click Yes.

Step 5) Wait for the eWC to apply the configuration. In the eWC product, the WC code does not reload, but rather immediately applies the configuration. The radios should come immediately available.

Step 6) Once the SSID comes up, join it using your defined PSK, and open your web browser to https://192.168.1.1/ . To set the transmit power and channel of the radio, navigate to Configuration -> Access Points -> 5 GHz radio or 2.4 GHz radio -> select the AP. From here you can change the channel and transmit power of your APs radio by changing the Assignment Method from Global to Custom, setting the required values, then clicking ‘Update & Apply to Device”:

Step 7) Do your survey!

CLI reference:

For those of you that are more comfortable with the CLI method of configuration, once you finish Step 5 above, you can connect to the WLC by either a serial console session or by ssh. Once you’re at the CLI and have enabled, you should rename the AP as shown below for simpler CLI config:

WLC7069.5A76.5460#show ap sum

Number of APs: 1

AP Name                            Slots    AP Model  Ethernet MAC    Radio MAC       Location                          Country     IP Address                                 State        

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AP7069.5A76.5460                     2      9115AXI   7069.5a76.5460  6cab.0562.e680  default location                  US          192.168.1.2                                Registered   

WLC7069.5A76.5460#ap name AP7069.5A76.5460 name ap

WLC7069.5A76.5460#show ap summary

Number of APs: 1

AP Name                            Slots    AP Model  Ethernet MAC    Radio MAC       Location                          Country     IP Address                                 State        

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ap                                   2      9115AXI   7069.5a76.5460  6cab.0562.e680  default location                  US          192.168.1.2                                Registered   

WLC7069.5A76.5460#


You can then change the channel and tx power of the AP radio using the following commands:

ap name ap dot11 24ghz channel X
ap name ap dot11 5ghz channel X
ap name ap dot11 24ghz txpower X
ap name ap dot11 5ghz txpower X

For FRA mode APs, you can change the channel of the dual-band radio using:

ap name ap dot11 dual-band channel 1
ap name ap dot11 dual-band channel 140

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: