I have been very lucky in my career. There is pretty much no network vendor whose gear has not come across my desk and I have had the opportunity to install and play with on some level. Last year we engaged Meraki to consider then for both their Cloud Controller based Access Points but also for their new Access Switch product line. I did lots and lots of research and honestly found a mixed bag of info. On one hand people were saying this is really amazing stuff and if you can handle a bit less than full enterprise class gear you should really look at it. On the other hand I read a few articles like this one out of Canada that paints a picture of pretty shady practices from Meraki.
So I sat through their online demos, had local partners come in to tell me how amazing it was then I got my AP (Modle MR12) from them to play with and see what I thought. In all honestly their AP and overall wireless product underwhelmed me. My Cisco 1200 B only radio covered better and and my Cisco 1252 even in 2.4 only mode way out gunned this poor little guy. But what they do very very well is the management of it all. Even after I had decided that my company would not be moving to their access points nor the new switch line I decided to stick with System Manager because how good it was at managing remote devices and it was free! So right off the bat I do not hate these guys or their products I actually think they are pretty cool but over just not the right fit for what we needed.
Then tonight it happened. @MrFogg97 hit me up and said “Saw this on #meraki’s site when reading the announcement. http://twitter.com/MrFogg97/status/270346667495145472/photo/1 and yes I did say that and to this second I still believe its a great product. But then I asked myself what announcement. A quick trip to Meraki’s website told the tale. Cisco announces intent to acquire Meraki And that is why I am really writing this post. Read more
Recently we got an order of Cisco 1142 Access Points in. What we discovered was that if you order a 5 pack you end up with Autonomous Access Points. If you order the 10 pack you can choose Autonomous or LWAPP. Anyway we needed the ones we ordered to be LWAPP for the environment they were destined for. So we did what we normally do and we fired up the AP conversion tool
wait for it
but it does not support conversion of the 1142. Yeah thats right the conversion tool wont convert the 1142N APs. So after about 3 seconds of digging I found this Convert 1142 to LWAPP.
That link gives you 99% of what you need to pull this off. The rest is a valid CCO account and the hardware. To do mine quickly I setup a spare 3750-PoE switch we had on our bench. Keeping it quick and dirty I just set it up as follows using my console cable for the the CLI input:
One of the Cisco Sales reps I work for called me a few months back and said hey why don’t we use a Cisco Wireless setup and client X to save them a bunch of money? My reply was…crap why didn’t I think of that followed by sure let me get to working on it. In the end we provided a solution that used Cisco 1240 A/G radios, two 5Ghz Point to Point panel antennas. We also got to use the 2.4 Radios for WiFi access on the insides of the buildings that the 5Ghz bridge was serving. Currently I am completing the config but once I have it all done I am going to post the juicy bits (sanitized to protect the client of course) as well as a few pics if the client will permit me to do so.
My company has done quite a few of these in the past. However this was my first go at a Wireless bridge setup. As usual with new projects I was a bit nervous but in the end I have been amazed at how smooth the whole thing went. Wireless connectivity has really jumped a level in my mind now. It was interesting though when I called one of our designers and then one of our engineers and asked “so now that my link is up how do I test the link quality and speed?” The answer was I’m really not sure they just work. For the moment I accepted the answer but in the end I have been troubleshooting a few things and I added my question to the list of things I wanted to solve by the time I handed it off to the client. Read more