Cisco’s Catalyst 9130AXE access point (the external antenna model) doesn’t have any antennas built-in by design. It uses a DART connector with 8 RF lines and 16 digital lines. They carry the RF signals and allow communication between the AP and antenna.
All new C-ANT9101, C-ANT9102 and C-ANT9103 antennas connect natively using their directly-attached DART connector to the Catalyst 9130AXE access point. It significantly simplifies the deployment process, allows the AP to automatically detect the antenna model, type and gain, and it doesn’t allow any room for installation errors like loose RP-TNC connectors or swapped antenna RF ports.
Here is an example of the new bell antenna C-ANT9102 with directly-attached DART connector.
And here is one connected to the C9130AXE-E access point.
Now, if your scenario requires the antenna to be installed further away from the access point (inside of a freezer for example) there is a 3-feet DART extension cable for that sold by Cisco.
The part number is AIR-CAB003-D8-D8=.
It has 90-degree 8-port plug on one side and straight 8-port jack on the other.
This question comes up and every now and then. So, let’s put it to bed.
If you have a ceiling-mounted internal antenna AP (with built-in antennas), or external antenna AP with dipole antennas (AIR-ANT2524D), or with short dipole antennas (AIR-ANT2535SD), here are the correct Azimuth and Elevation angle settings.
Azimuth angle does not matter in this case (it does for directional antennas), because these antennas have the same pattern regardless of how you rotate them clockwise or counterclockwise. Simply use the default value of 0°.
Has your bike suddenly lost its Wi-Fi connection after a Peloton software update? Is it saying “Device not connected to internet”?
Here is why and how to fix it before it hopefully gets fixed in one of the upcoming Peloton software updates.
Peloton bikes use Android operating system, and they have recently upgraded to Android 10. Unfortunately, this version has compatibility issues with Cisco Wi-Fi access points and Adaptive Fast Transition feature, which is enabled by default.
To resolve the issue, simply set Fast Transition to Enabled.
Connect to your Wireless LAN Controller, go to Configuration > Tags & Profiles > WLANs > select the network > click Edit > Security > Layer2 > Fast Transition > Enabled > Update & Apply To Device. Now, test that your bike can connect, and test few other devices to make sure everything is working as expected. Then click the floppy disk icon to save this new configuration.
Optionally, you can order an AP + antenna collocation “pocket”, which the Catalyst 9130AXE slides nicely in. It is aesthetically pleasing it, and all it takes to install the AP and antenna is a single mounting bracket. You don’t have to worry about mounting the access point and antenna separately. This drastically simplifies temporary deployments – just think about Cisco Live for example.
Please always refer to the official Cisco documentation for the latest information and package contents.
If you have followed my hot-swappable series, my goal was to find a solution to swapping multiple outdoor AP + antenna combinations and a variety of AP models on the same tripod. What is the use case? I only wanted to carry a single tripod on the site survey day while still having the flexibility to survey with variety of antennas and different AP models.
Please excuse the DYI approach. I did this during UK’s second COVID-19 lockdown. Shops were closed, access to tools was limited and I had no access to my lab.
How it turned out?
It went surprisingly well this time as I’ve already built a similar adapter for Cisco Meraki MR APs and this time it was even easier. Same as last time, the alu tube slides inside the top tripod tube and we are ready to roll.
The actual steps
I stocked up on M6 x 30 mm bolts, cut the 16 mm aluminium tube to the right length and reused the last bit of decking from a different project.
I thought I will try making a template, which I then transferred onto the wood. That wasn’t the best idea and it seems to work best when you watch someone using this “trick” on YouTube. Next time I will go for an analog pencil and ruler, lesson learned;-)
The decking is quite thick so I ended up shaving few millimeters off it. And here is the final adapter.
Thanks to Alan Wang, who suggested I use the official articulating pole mount AIR-ACC1530PMK2 and attach it to my “back board”. Obviously azimuth you can adjust by rotating the tripod, and this allow you to change the elevation angle.
Catalyst 9800 controllers come with built-in support for WLAN availability scheduling. When a WLAN becomes disabled, APs do not broadcast the SSID and channel utilisation decreases. Also, it can be implemented as a security enhancement to prevent client devices from connecting during specified hours.
At the time of writing IOS-XE 17.3.1 does not yet offer a GUI for this capability, but there is a couple of options how to schedule WLAN availability.
Before we start, please double-check time settings on the controller, enable NTP client and set a correct timezone.
Option 1: Built-in Calendar Profile
The configuration is self-explanatory, so let’s start with that. My example enables all WLANs mapped to the “default-policy-profile” from 9 am to 5 pm every week day. Outside of these times, the SSIDs will not be available for clients to join.
wireless profile policy default-policy-profile
no wireless profile calendar-profile name WEEKDAYS-9-TO-5
wireless profile calendar-profile name WEEKDAYS-9-TO-5
start 09:00:00 end 17:00:00
wireless profile policy default-policy-profile
calendar-profile name WEEKDAYS-9-TO-5
You can verify using a Wi-Fi client. If you do “show wlan summary”, the WLANs will still appear as “Enabled” and this is expected. To verify current status of WLANs controlled by the Calendar Profile, please use “show logging | include SCHEDULED_WLAN”.
You may have used DHCP Option 43 to point an AP to its controller before. But only very few people know that Cisco APs can automatically convert themselves from the built-in controller mode (think Mobility Express or Embedded Wireless Controller) to Lightweight mode after they receive a special Option 43 from a DHCP server.
If you have a pallet of access points (or routers with built-in Wi-Fi in Mobility Express mode) next to your desk and need to convert all of them to Lightweight mode, simply configure DHCP Option 43 in the following format on your DHCP server and plug them into a PoE capable switch. After the APs boot up and receive the option from DHCP server, they automatically switch to the Lightweight mode and attempt to join the configured controller (192.168.130.2 in our case).
Option 43 format used for AP conversion
“f2” tells the AP that we want it to switch to Lightweight mode
“05” means that only one controller IP address will follow
“c0:a8:82:02” is the controller IP address (192.168.130.2 in this case) in hexadecimal format, search for “IP to Hex Converter” if you do no want to do the math
Cisco IOS/IOS-XE DHCP server configuration
You can run DHCP server on a Catalyst switch. The DHCP scope configuration is straightforward.
ip dhcp pool <pool name> network <ip network> <netmask> default-router <default-router IP address> dns-server <dns server IP address> option 43 hex f205c0a88202
WLAN Pi, Raspberry Pi and any other Linux ISC DHCP server configuration
Special thanks to Nicolas Darchis, who helped me find the “vendor-encapsulated-options” option. It lets you enter Option 43 in the hex format and all it takes is a single line of DHCP server configuration.
Officially, vWLC is not supported on Type-2 hosted hypervisors like Fusion or Workstation. However, if you need to build a non-production lab, portable demo or practice for your next exam, technically you can run vWLC in VMware Fusion.
The trick is to install Fusion on your Mac, create a new VM with the free ESXi Hypervisor (or the full-blown one if you have licenses) and deploy vWLC onto the ESXi:
macOS <-> VMware Fusion <-> ESXi Hypervisor running as a VM <-> vWLC VM
It may sound complex, but is actually quite easy to do and runs like a charm even on a 13″ Intel i5 MacBook Pro.
Download the vWLC OVA image from Cisco.com.
Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.7 ISO. Register on their website to get a free license key.
Download the ovftool 4.3.0 (older versions may not work correctly) for Windows and make sure you have a Windows machine or VM by hand as ovftool only runs on Windows.
Create a new VM in VMware Fusion, mount the Hypervisor ISO and install ESXi. Configure networking for this VM as Bridged Networking to Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Wi-Fi is a great option as it allows you to move freely with your Mac whilst running the vWLC.
With the free ESXi Hypervisor, we have to deploy the vWLC OVA using the ovftool. This will help us get past the errors we would have otherwise ran into the ESXi web GUI. To do this we need a Windows machine.
Install the ovftool in the Windows machine, transfer the vWLC OVA archive to it and deploy the OVA onto ESXi:
The IP address in this string “vi://192.168.196.136” is our ESXi address. You may have noticed that I am using the same network for both Service Port and Management interfaces. After I deploy the OVA, I usually disable the Service Port adapter in the VM settings and use Management interface for management and for APs to join. It just keeps things simple and we don’t need to worry about multiple adapters and subnets.
You can set the vWLC VM to Autostart and start it manually now.
Open Console to it and press any key to activate the console access.
Follow the installation guide.
If you are running the evaluation license, accept the EULA. If you purchased AP licenses, add then to the controller and accept the EULA.
Since vWLC only supports Flexconnect mode APs, make sure to convert your APs manually or apply this CLI command:
config ap autoconvert flexconnect
Finally connect your AP to a PoE capable switch or power injector and it should be able to discover and join the virtual controller.
Note: If you installed vWLC VM directly onto Fusion with no ESXi Hypervisor layer, the controller would not be able to communicate on its Management interface.
Catalyst 9800-CL IOS-XE controller
The above scenario covers the AireOS vWLC. Cisco now has a complete range of Catalyst 9800 series controllers with feature parity between them. The new virtual controller is called Catalyst 9800-CL and it brings all the great IOS-XE features, HA SSO, programmability, hot patching and supports all AP modes.