I recently had a run-in with figuring out some hard to find settings on a Cisco AIR-AP1130AG WAP. If you don’t know what that is, you probably shouldn’t be fussing with it. It’s a Commercial Cisco Wireless Access Point that can also be configured to act as a Repeater, Bridge, Gateway, ect.. It’s a pretty nifty device with a decent output that drowns most retail Residential WiFi toys.
The fact that they offer 54MBps factors into their current price of about $30 used (in various working conditions), which is an acceptable speed for most uses. With a 150′ “G” range, these toys work great for event WiFi AP’s and Repeaters, especially in areas like in the concrete tunnels and on stage of Arena’s where rockstars and touring staff live during their stay. They can be powered by POE, which is sweet if you’re going to install one in your home on the ceiling, or if you’re just running a single cable to a tripod with a WAP mounted on top of it for temporary WAP points like we do in Arena’s. I have a collection of these just for setting up WiFi connections at events, and I use a LAP version (Lightweight Access Point) in the home.
They take some Level-2.98 wisdom and plenty of patience to configure, as mentioned, this is a Commercial toy, not something you’re going to find on the shelf at WalMart or Staples; you’ll have to look higher, like at their ceiling, because that’s where they typically install them.
These notes are mainly for my own reference, for when I get senile and develop CRS syndrome, and for my own temporary celebration because this is the kind of networking puzzle I enjoy conquering.
For one, there’s an easy-peasy YouTube video produced by my friend Quincy Raybon that basically walks you through a standard set-up with these WAP devices. If you’re looking for a more secure connection, you’ll have to do some additional configurations that aren’t in the video.
Express Setup – Easy.
Express Security Setup – Easy.
Binding the SSID to a Radio – It’s on the SECURITY > SSID Management page at the bottom, just be sure to select the SSID you’re working with at the top FIRST; at the bottom, Set Infrastructure SSID + Check the FORCE DEVICES box as shown below.
You may have to ENABLE the Radio and set the Radio Channel before seeing your AP. I would recommend using a WiFi scanner to identify how busy your nearby WiFi traffic is to locate a channel that isn’t being used, or is at least being used by a weak signal.
The most difficult (and rather important) items to find was the location to set the Date and Time. Google nor Cisco offered any results that didn’t require using the CLI through a Console connection, so I set out to hunt it down myself, and it was Terminology that solved the issue. Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) – you’d have to know what it means to see it.
Looking for it in the Web Interface is not simple; one would imagine Cisco would put such an important asset on the top of the configuration list, like on the HOME page, Express SetUp page or even the System Configuration page – but it’s actually on the SERVICES > SNTP configuration page as shown below.
There it is. Just pick an SNTP Server that works from the NIST Internet Time Server List and put that data to use to automatically sync the time for you, or you can just set it manually – I did both (Rule #2: Double-Tap).
Now the Event Logs will make sense, instead of dating back to March of 2002, which I presume to be the devices hardware birthday. It should also solve some potential connection problems from Server Certificate Errors caused by incorrect Time and Date errors, which was the whole reason I had to hunt this squirrel down in the first place.
Beyond that, the setup wasn’t completely working. My household WiFi devices were rejecting the connection still, the puzzle had more pieces to place, and I was sure that the problems were somewhere in the settings. The household devices had previously connected just fine, something happened where I had to perform a IOS Reset on the WAP and poof – I now remember the reason for the eighteen grey hairs I had discovered from the first time I had to setup this WAP.
Fortunately, I’m somewhat of a backupaholic, and I eventually found the config.txt that I had saved from the first time I was pleased with the settings. Importing the config.txt would (and should) have solved everything, but it didn’t. I dug into the file with my favorite text editor (EditPlus) and began comparing each of the settings (shown below), correcting the ones that didn’t seem right until success had been confirmed.
I located data in the area that I was focusing my investigation on, which was Encryption, Authentication and Security.
I then headed to SECURITY > ENCRYPTION MANAGER to adjust the Encryption settings to comply with the SSID WPA Key Management rules. If you don’t do this, the device will politely inform you that you have to do it anyway to use the WPA Key Management feature.
Back over to the SECURITY > SSID MANAGEMENT page to adjust the rest to match the information in my original CONFIG.TXT file.
Make sure you go to SYSTEM SOFTWARE > SYSTEM CONFIGURATION to save the CONFIG.TXT file once you’ve confirmed the settings are working as needed.
Without going into every detail as to all the pieces I had to rearrange, the bottom line here is: Backup your CONFIG.TXT file and save it somewhere (using a less common name like “Cisco_Configuration_2016-01-22.txt”)that won’t take you 2 hours to locate. Just keep in mind, if you’re going to import that file to restore your settings, you’ll need to rename it back to “config.txt” for the device to use.