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Mesh design question

Unanswered Question
Jan 15th, 2014
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Dear Sirs.


My customer plans to extend existing wireless coverage and upgrade to controller based network.

Let me shortly describe the situation based on the attached network map.

RAP points are installed on the buildings, they have wired uplink.

MAP points are installed outdoors (in the IP66 sealed ABB boxes) on the poles (height 5 m), only power is present on the poles, no wired uplink.

Now MAPs (Non root bridges) are connected to RAPs (Root bridges) via 5 GHz interface in bridge mode.

Red points: already installed Autonomous APs, 1242AG model.

Green points: APs planned for installation.


1. In order to upgrage to controller base network I want to install two 2504-25 controllers in failover mode. I have AP-to-LWAPP-Upgrade-Tool and is familiar with the image upgrade procedure. However, I have a question: if I upgrade all existing RAPs and MAPs to LWAPP mode, how the MAPs without wired uplinks will connect to RAPs and then to controller? Should I have physical access to their console port to issue some CLI commands to connect to RAPs?


2. Can 2504 controller be configured for operation in mesh network mode without additional licenses?


3. For network expansion I plan to install 3502E access points in sealed boxes. I chose them due to separate 2.4 and 5 GHz antenna ports, in order to use omni antennas for 2.4 client coverage and 5 GHz directional antennas for wireless uplinks. The distance between APs is abou 100 - 250 meters. Is it recomended to use directional antennas for wireless uplinks or I can take 1602E (or 2602E) access points and dual band omni antennas and install a good working mesh network with 5 GHz uplinks on omni antennas?


4. Can 2504 controller work together with 1242AG, 1602E and 3502E points?


5. How should MAPs be preconfigured to begin working in mesh network after powering them up on the poles on site?


Kind reagrds

Alexei

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Scott Fella Wed, 01/15/2014 - 03:28
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1. In order to upgrage to controller base network I want to install two 2504-25 controllers in failover mode. I have AP-to-LWAPP-Upgrade-Tool and is familiar with the image upgrade procedure. However, I have a question: if I upgrade all existing RAPs and MAPs to LWAPP mode, how the MAPs without wired uplinks will connect to RAPs and then to controller? Should I have physical access to their console port to issue some CLI commands to connect to RAPs?

> The MESH AP's along with your other access points (lightweight) will obtain their code from the WLC when they join. I would always stage the MESH AP's prior to mounting them to certify they work and they can form a link. You would need to purchase a power injectors for each RAP and get a AC power adapter for each MAP.

The Upgrade tool is to only convert autonomous AP's to lightweight. They stopped supporting 802.11n access points in that tool.

2. Can 2504 controller be configured for operation in mesh network mode without additional licenses?

> With the newer code version you will be using, yes. You can have both MESH and traditional Local mode or FlexConnect mode access points.

3. For network expansion I plan to install 3502E access points in sealed boxes. I chose them due to separate 2.4 and 5 GHz antenna ports, in order to use omni antennas for 2.4 client coverage and 5 GHz directional antennas for wireless uplinks. The distance between APs is abou 100 - 250 meters. Is it recomended to use directional antennas for wireless uplinks or I can take 1602E (or 2602E) access points and dual band omni antennas and install a good working mesh network with 5 GHz uplinks on omni antennas?

> If these are going to be exposed to the outdoor elements, then you need an outdoor antenna. It's hard to say what antenna you need, but if your using a 3502e, make sure you get an antenna that is a 3 lead so you can utilize all 3 antenna ports. Patches are directional, so if you are going MAP to MAP to MAP to RAP for example, you would need an omni. Patch works if your going Fromm MAP to RAP.

4. Can 2504 controller work together with 1242AG, 1602E and 3502E points?

> Yes they can. The code you run in the WLC, you need to make sure it's supported by the access points. Here is a compatibility matrix

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/wireless/controller/5500/tech_notes/Wire...

5. How should MAPs be preconfigured to begin working in mesh network after powering them up on the poles on site?

> Stage them first. Please reference these guides.

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/wireless/technology/mesh/7.4/design/guid...

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk722/tk809/technologies_white_paper0918...

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AlexioUBS Wed, 01/15/2014 - 06:25
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Hi Scott.


Thanks for the prompt reply.

The access points which need to be upgraded to LWAPP mode are 1242AG points, they do not support 11n, so I think I can use that upgrade tool. The thing is that points (MAP1, MAP2 and MAP3) are already mounted on the poles and are working as non root bridges. So I worry that when I change them from autonomus mode to LWAPP they will not save previous configuration and will not connect to their root access points via 5 GHz. And will not join the controller. I ask this question because I want to know if I need a lift vehicle to make some configuration changes to these APs after upgrading them to LWAPP in order to join the controller.

Will I need to login to these MAPs physically on their locations to join a controller via wireless link or should I take them to the switch and first connect them via Ehternet to initially join a controller?


From the documents you've provided I assume that I need to configure the MAC addresses of 11a interface of all points (I can do it before the upgrade to LWAPP) in the controller and configure MAP role in MAPs settings (after they joined a controller in Bridge mode). Does "Capture the Base radio MAC address of the AP" phrase refer to 11a interface MAC address?


KR

Alexei

Scott Fella Wed, 01/15/2014 - 06:33
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If the 1242's are autonomous, then they are not MESH. If you convert any ap from autonomous to lightweight or vice versa, they loose all configurations except for IP.

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Scott Fella Wed, 01/15/2014 - 03:34
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By the way... I typically will not go over 2-3 hops, meaning RAP > MAP > MAP

The more hops, the less throughput you will have. Even with outdoor MESH, it's a good idea to survey or at a minimum, use the mesh calculator to determine your backhaul. Main thing also is to make sure the RAP's and MAP's are connected to a circuit with constant power. I have seen deployments in which the light pole power turned off during the day.

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AlexioUBS Wed, 01/15/2014 - 07:14
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Scott, can I setup a MAP to connect to a particular RAP? For example, referring to my network map, I want MAP11 to connect directly to RAP4 using directinal antenna and not to MAP8. Can this links be manually configured?


KR

Alexei

Scott Fella Wed, 01/15/2014 - 07:16
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You can define BGN (bridge group names) so you can define your RAP's to MAP's


Thanks,

Scott

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AlexioUBS Wed, 01/15/2014 - 07:43
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Scott, can you give more explanation regarding BGN?


Alexei

Scott Fella Wed, 01/15/2014 - 07:52
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A BGN is a defined name for MESH group per say.  So you can set a BGN like MESH1 and only MESH AP's with MESH1 as the BGN will connumicate to each other.


Thanks,

Scott

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