Can you see what antenna type is connected to an AP

Unanswered Question
Jul 10th, 2008

Guys,

Can you see the antenna type, ie, dipole, omnidirectional and the actual part number.

Can you do this from the WLC or actual AP? or not atall?

Many thx indeed,

Ken

I have this problem too.
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kfarrington Fri, 07/11/2008 - 03:08

Thats a bit of a pain is it not?

Would be nice for the AP (say under the show controller dot11 0 or 1) command to see what the actual antenna was?

Just a thought?

Or for a way of the WLCs to interpret the antenna?

any other thoughts on this?

Many thx for the reply :) as always

Ken

scottmac Sat, 07/12/2008 - 04:33

It would be easy to do as you say.... but do you really WANT to pay another couple hundred dollars for your AP?

Just remember, from now on, when you install a new system (or update an existing system), to put a comment in your config "! This AP has a pair of 2.2dB dipoles".

Antennas are generally passive devices, in that there are no associated electronics ... just wire bent exactly right, cut to the right length, and spaced just so to cause the desired interaction of the RF waves.

If they are designed properly, antennas will all look exactly the same to radio ... a 50 Ohm load.

A 50 Ohm resistor looks exactly the same (to the radio) as a ultra-huge Banana 5000 Uber-radiator dish. Adding more active electronics just to do antenna ID increases the scope of potential failures.

Besides, most people look at the equipment they are installing: Some just look at the packing list or invoice. There should be a Bill of Materials from when the system was ordered.

If not, then a walk-around inventory session should happen, and documentation (an event nearing extinction these days) should be created and filed / distributed.

An installation without documentation is the sign of an amateur; it should be brought to the attention of the people that purchased the installation that they have been cheated (even if it's that they cheated themselves by being C H E A P), and any additional cost of proper documentation is the consequence.

Pardon the ramble. The bottom line is no, it's not a pain ... and I've thought too much already for an early Saturday morning with no coffee (yet).

Good Luck

Scott

rob.huffman Sat, 07/12/2008 - 08:05

Hey Scott,

I always enjoy your weekend pre-coffee discussions ;-) +5 points for your great info.

I do have to disagree with one point though, if you are the poor tech that comes in after the install and has to determine the Antenna types with no docs "it is a pain in the #!@"

In our environment most AP's and Antennas are hidden above the ceiling tiles so this would be an arduous task to say the least. We did however, keep great notes and created permanent reference material on all locations when we deployed our infrastructure so we lucked out there :) (you notice the reference to luck rather than skill here :)

I have to agree with Ken that having to physically visit every AP is very sad but your method of good documention and config notes is probably the way to go!

Take care buddy,

Rob

scottmac Sat, 07/12/2008 - 09:46

I'm all for documentation, 100%.

I've seen / heard of several documentation systems for hidden APs/antennas(aside from embedding the info into the config as a comment, when possible)

I've seen colored dots (Red=2.2 Dipole, yellow 90 Sector ...) stuck to the ceiling below the antenna position. That gives you a physical location, and it identifies the general antenna type at a glance.

I've see actual labels, colored such that they don't kill the decor, but can be seen (if you're looking for them) with the specific info (i.e., AP Name, Antenna types, etc).

At least for the foreseeable future, there can be no "automatic antenna ID" without some additional electronics (like an RFID chip embedded into the antenna radome or similar): It's going to be a manual system one way or the other.

If you are the unfortunate repair tech that has to follow a document-free installation, then let the client / boss know that it'll end up costing them an extra hour (or whatever time) of labor ($$) because it was not something that could be looked up or cross-referenced (as it should be!).

You know there are cases when the customer "saved money" by declining the cost of professional documentation at the time of the installation, there are installation crews where you're lucky to get "5 APs, 200 feet of UTP, 27 hours of labor" documented.

In either case, letting the customer / client / boss / management know that, because of no documentation (or poor docs) it will cost them more in labor time every time a tech shows up.

Perhaps he / they will catch on that it's ultimately less expensive to pay "up front" and do it right, when all the involved parties remember all the "special" stuff they had to do to make the implementation work than to skin the budget to "save" now and end up paying much more (in lost time/down time as well as repair time)in the future.

Thanks for the points, hope things are going well up there for ya.

Good Luck

Scott

kfarrington Tue, 07/29/2008 - 00:42

Hi Guys,

This is an excellent discussion guys. And some really good ideas. The descriptions and other lables that are un-obtrusive are good ideas.

Been away for a couple of weeks so nice to come back to this.

Many thx

Ken

dennischolmes Tue, 08/12/2008 - 12:08

Scotty, Im trying hard not to fall out of my chair. Great answer man! Demand documentation when you deploy your network. Demand antenna type, patch port, switch port, serial number, mac address, IP address if static, and AP labled name if available along with location on a floor diagram. These make it a whole lot easier to add to WCS maps.

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