Cisco Universal APs

A brief history lesson:

Prior to the announcement from Cisco of “Universal Access Points” you had to select an access point based on which regulatory domain it would operate within. Regulatory domains are simply places in the world with certain laws and regulations pertaining to radio frequency devices (mobile phones, radios, access points, etc.). In the world of Cisco this meant that an access point for use in Germany would have a different part number than one used in the United States. This led to much frustration and confusion.

The good stuff:

Cisco has announced Universal AP’s which are a single part number per access point model (2700, 3700, etc.) rather than the myriad of part numbers aligned to each and every regulatory domain. The details on how this works can be found in the following blog post.


Cisco 890 Series Router

I had a customer ask some very relevant questions about the Cisco 891W router yesterday and found the answers to be a little harder than expected to find so I thought it would make an informative blog entry.

The first question was related to how the integrated wireless access point operates in both standalone as well as lightweight mode.

The Cisco 891, and wireless version 891W, are part of the fixed configuration integrated services router family. These devices are the technical evolution of the highly popular 871 and 871W routers. One of my favorite features of the 891W is that the integrated access point can now be configured as a lightweight access point managed by a wireless LAN controller. The integrated access point runs its’ own software image enabling IOS upgrades and downgrades to occur independently from the software running on the access point. Just like other Cisco access points be sure to order the access point based on the regulatory domain of where it will be installed.

The next question related to if one can field upgrade an 891 router to include PoE capabilities. The answer is yes! There is an internal module with part number “800-IL-PM-4” which includes an additional 48V DC power supply with part number “PWR-80W-AC”. The PoE capabilities support 802.3af or Cisco PoE on up to 4 ports at up to 15.4W.

The 891 also offers a single V.92 analog modem interface for backup connectivity. The 892  variant offers an ISDN backup interface.

For more information check out the data sheet here.

Cisco Aironet Access Point Antenna Selection

When deploying any type of wireless network it is critically important to choose the right antennas and proper mounting hardware. I highly recommend reading through the document linked below to become familiar with both wireless technology in general as well as product specific information based on antenna models. Understanding how various antennas operate will also help determine what type of mounting hardware will work the best given a specific scenario.

Cisco Aironet Antenna and Accessories

Remember that no amount of reading or strategizing can replace a good site survey!

Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point Regulatory Domains

When it comes to ordering wireless access points there are a number of important pieces to consider including regulatory domain, antenna selection, and mounting hardware.

Regulatory domains are simply a way of grouping countries that have common policies related to radio frequency equipment (power level, channel set, etc.). If you’re only installing hardware in a single country then you’ll never need to concern yourself with choosing a different regulatory domain. If, however, your equipment spans several countries you need to evaluate which regulatory domain applies to each country. Here’s a link to Cisco’s Wireless LAN Compliance Status page. This page details which products are licensed for use in a specific country as well as which regulatory domain to use when ordering products.

The regulatory domain used for ordering a Cisco wireless access points is simply referred to by a single letter. When determining the part number to order simply substitute the letter of the regulatory domain with the ‘x’ in the product part number.

For example, to order a 3502 (with integrated antennas) for use in Mexico one would change the generic part number AIR-CAP3502I-x-K9 to AIR-CAP3502I-N-K9

Be aware that the regulatory domain can NOT be changed on an existing access point.