Configuring a 3602 for Wireless Surveying

Cisco has recently released their new flagship access point, the 3602. This access point is nothing short of a beast. It has been completely redesigned with 4 transmit and 4 receive antennas and can sustain three spatial streams. This AP also features the first-to-market expansion slot that will be used for the Security and Spectrum Intelligence (SSI) module scheduled for release in Q1 of 2013. Cisco will then be releasing an 802.11ac capable module in the first half of 2013.

Now that you’ve invested (or are planning on investing) in this new generation of access points, you’re going to be out surveying new deployments with them. The only problem with this AP is it comes with a Lightweight IOS image preloaded. Cisco does offer a feature limited autonomous IOS that can be used for surveying – which is what we will be setting up and configuring today.

This process will require a few things:

  • Cisco 3600 Autonomous IOS (Available from Cisco.com)
  • TFTP Server (Available free from http://tftpd32.jounin.net)
  • Console Cable
  • Switch – Workstation and AP MUST be on the same VLAN

Below I have listed two options for you to choose from for converting your access point to the autonomous IOS required for active surveying. Option A is your easiest and most preferred method, Option B will work if you run into a problem using Option A.

Option A
Step 1: Change your IP Addressing on your TFTP Server to the following:

  • IP Address: 10.0.0.5

We have to do this because when we set the AP into default mode it will automatically use the address of 10.0.0.2 and will send a broadcast looking for a recovery image.

Step 2: Change the name of your Autonomous IOS to:

  • ap3g2-k9w7-tar.default

Step 3: Boot your AP while holding the MODE button. Do NOT release until you see “image_recovery: Download default IOS tar image tftp://255.255.255.255/ap3g2-k9w7-tar.default.”

At this point you will see the IOS downloading to your AP.

Step 4: Once the download is complete your AP should reboot automatically. If not, then enter the following command to boot into the autonomous IOS.
ap: boot flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

Now that we have the IOS booted we need to configure the boot statements to make sure we boot into the autonomous IOS at startup.

ap.>enable
Password: Cisco (default password)
ap.#config t
ap.(config)#boot system flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

Now scroll down to the Configuration section and get ready to survey!

Option B
First things first, load up your TFTP server and set it to use the folder where your IOS is stored.

Now that your TFTP server is ready, we can get your access point ready to go.

My network is addressed as a 192.168.1.0/24 network and this is the addressing we will be using for the remaining commands in this guide.

Step 1: Boot your AP while holding the MODE button. Do NOT release until you see “image_recovery: Download default IOS tar image tftp://255.255.255.255/ap3g2-k9w7-tar.default.”

Step 2: At the ‘ap:’ prompt, configure the following commands:
ap: set IP_ADDR 192.168.1.10
ap: set NETMASK 255.255.255.0
ap: set DEFAULT_ROUTER 192.168.1.1

Step 3: Prepare the AP for the TFTP transmission.
ap: ether_init
ap: tftp_init

Step 4: Using the tar command begin the TFTP transmission.
ap: tar -xtract tftp://(ServerIP)/Filename Flash:
eg: ap: tar -xtract tftp://192.168.1.5/ap3g2-k9w7-tar.152-2.JA.tar flash:

This portion may take some time, but keep an eye on it to make sure there are no prompts that may time the process out.

Step 5: Boot into the new autonomous IOS.
ap: boot flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

Now that we have the IOS booted we need to configure the boot statements to make sure we boot into the autonomous IOS at startup.

ap.>enable
Password: Cisco
(default password)
ap.#config t
ap.(config)#boot system flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA

SSID Configuration
Finally, we can now begin configuring the AP for surveying.
What I prefer to do is to create an SSID on the 2.4GHz frequency and a separate SSID for the 5GHz frequency. It makes it easier for me while in the field to select the correct band I want to survey. We will step through the process for creating both and some of the options we can use.

Step 1: Let’s create the 5GHz SSID:
ap.#Dot11 SSID Survey-5
ap.(config-ssid)#Authentication Open
ap.(config-ssid)#guest-mode
– This tells the AP to broadcast this SSID.

Step 2: Now let’s configure the 5GHz Radio, Dot11Radio1.
ap.(config)#interface dot11radio1
ap.(config-if)#ssid Survey-5
ap.(config-if)#channel width 40-above
– Set your channel width to what you will be using in production, either 20MHz or 40MHz.
ap.(config-if)#channel 5180 – Locks the AP into using channel 36. This will come in handy when setting up your channel scanning in your surveying program.
ap.(config-if)#power local 17 – this will configure the radio to use 50mW – Refer to Cisco Radio Transmit Power for a handy conversion chart.
ap.(config-if)#no shutdown

At this point you now have the ability to connect to the access point and can survey on 5GHz. Now let’s continue by configuring the 2.4GHz Radio.

Many of the steps will be the same, with minor differences.

Step 1: Let’s create the 2.4GHz SSID:
ap.#Dot11 SSID Survey-2
ap.(config-ssid)#Authentication Open
ap.(config-ssid)#guest-mode
– This tells the AP to broadcast this SSID

Step 2: Now let’s configure the 2.4GHz Radio, Dot11Radio0.
ap.(config)#interface dot11radio0
ap.(config-if)#ssid Survey-2
ap.(config-if)#channel width 20
– This is the default and does not need to be entered, I just wanted you to know that 20MHz is the only option for 2.4GHz.
ap.(config-if)#channel 1 – Locks the AP into using channel 1. This will come in handy when setting up your channel scanning in your surveying program.
ap.(config-if)#power local 14 – This will configure the radio to use 25mW – Refer to Cisco Radio Transmit Power for a handy conversion chart.
ap.(config-if)#no shutdown

DHCP Configuration
You can enable your AP to be a DHCP server – allowing for quicker configuration changes in the field.
ap.(config)#interface BVI 1
ap.(config-if)#ip address 192.168.0.1 255.255.255.0
ap.(config-if)#exit
ap.(config)#ip dhcp excluded-address 192.168.0.1 192.168.0.5
ap.(config)#ip dhcp pool NAME
ap.(dhcp-config)#network 192.168.0.0 /24
ap.(dhcp-config)#default-router 192.168.0.1

You can now telnet into your AP using the default username Cisco and password Cisco.

Well, that’s it! You’re done and ready to go out into the wild blue yonder and survey to your hearts content!
In the next blog we will be using the SSIDs that we just created to perform surveys using Airmagnet Pro.
Please leave any feedback in the comments and feel free to ask questions.

Credit for the steps to TFTP the IOS goto Vinay Sharma

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27 thoughts on “Configuring a 3602 for Wireless Surveying

  1. RF Guy January 9, 2013 / 10:58 am

    When I am in the field I like to telnet to the AP to adjust the power of each radio. Using your configuration how do I get an IP address from the AP/

    • ciscotophat January 9, 2013 / 10:05 pm

      RF Guy – I’ve never taken that into account. So thanks for teaching me something new! So i’ve edited the blog post to be cleaner and have the SSIDs use the BVI 1 interface. This will allow a DHCP server to work and will allow the telnet configuration.

  2. Jesper January 13, 2013 / 12:47 pm

    Great post, will definately try this 🙂

  3. plizz March 27, 2013 / 8:21 am

    Great blog. Its helps me to flash my AP3602i.

  4. leadpan June 24, 2013 / 6:44 pm

    After hours of searching for right fix, your how-to worked!
    Thank you!

  5. leadpan June 24, 2013 / 6:47 pm

    Reblogged this on leadpan and commented:
    Excellent how-to for Cisco Autonmous AP setup!

  6. philip September 6, 2013 / 12:15 am

    To be able to telnet to the AP you also need to set a username and password.

    • ciscotophat September 6, 2013 / 9:46 am

      Setting a username and password is not a requirement as the AP comes with a default username and password of: Cisco/Cisco

  7. CD Guru November 19, 2013 / 2:21 pm

    Very clear and concise, Thank you
    Two points if someone could clarify, firstly changing the IOS name to .default is this the zip file name or a certain file within the zip file once extracted? Secondly, what would stop the download process occuring assuming IP settings are within range?
    firewall settings maybe?

    • ciscotophat November 19, 2013 / 4:16 pm

      Thanks CD Guru! Changing the IOS name to .default is the actual IOS image you downloaded from Cisco.
      This would meaning changing from ap3g2-k9w7-tar.152-2.JA.tar to ap3g2-k9w7-tar.default without extracting the tar.

      Can you give a bit more information about the download process stopping? Are you able to connect to your TFTP server and start a download? Is there an error message?
      If it’s not your firewall the flash: on the AP may be full.
      Also another note, I haven’t had any luck using ANY TFTP server on the Mac, and believe me, I’ve tried.

      • CD Guru November 19, 2013 / 4:41 pm

        Thank you for clearing up on the renaming, the IOS I have ends in .JB but its a fairly recent download.
        I get a timed out response but notice I can’t ping the AP either. Should I be able to ping the unit once it defaults to 10.0.0.2 without any further command inputs. I’ll check the flash size on the AP.
        Thank you also for the MAC tip,handy to know.

      • Steven Sperra (@stevensperra) November 22, 2013 / 2:00 pm

        Interestingly I have the same issue, though with a 3502i – TFTP server starts, but then the client times out, and this is using Windows 7 on Boot Camp (MBP)…I’ve tried numerous TFTP servers, but nothing seems to allow it to complete. I can do it from another client (use tftp from terminal and download the file, etc.).

      • Steven Sperra (@stevensperra) November 22, 2013 / 2:15 pm

        Ok – I solved it by setting my TFTP server in ‘single-port mode’ – apparently there was a problem with the AP switching to a different port and pulling the file.

  8. Packet Guy November 29, 2013 / 11:06 pm

    Your instructions are great, but I’m getting a weird problem. Everything works fine, including loading the image, but I can’t put it. I get:

    “Loading “flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA1/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA1″…uncompress: Unknown mzip segment type: 2”

    I’ve tried every available 3602i image, I’ve tried obtaining them from both Cisco CCO and my AP supplier, and I’ve tried three separate APs (all that I have). Researching this message seems to indicate the image is corrupted, but I get no checksum alerts, and the “tar -xtract” command successfully unpacks the tar file from my tftp server.

    Any ideas?

    • Flavio August 8, 2014 / 4:41 am

      Hi Packet Guiy,
      I faced the same issue with the newest 15.x firmare:
      ap: boot flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-4.JB5
      Rebooting system to reset DPAA…

      [cut]

      Loading “flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-4.JB5″…uncompress: Unknown mzip segment type: 2

      Error loading “flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-4.JB5”

      Then I restarted the boot process as follows:
      ap: boot flash:ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5
      Loading “flash:ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5″…#########################

      File “flash:ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-4.JB5” uncompressed and installed, entry point: 0x2003000
      executing…

      … and it worked!

      Try it this way.

      F.

  9. Packet Guy November 29, 2013 / 11:07 pm

    That first sentence in my comment above should say “But i can’t boot it.” 😉

  10. Packet Guy November 29, 2013 / 11:15 pm

    A new development. I noticed that the BOOT environment variable wasn’t set, so I set it:

    set BOOT=flash:/ap3g2-k9w7-mx.152-2.JA1/ap3g2-k9w7-xx.152-2.JA1

    And then executed the boot command. The boot completed but issued the error message “Warning: the compile-time code checksum does not appear to be present.” Perhaps this is normal.

    In any event, the radio is now running the stand-alone image. Perhaps in RMON mode you should add this “set BOOT” command? I’m thinking on systems that have it left over from a previous image this mem2 failure doesn’t occur, so that filling in the BOOT var solves the problem.

  11. Martin Parodi June 23, 2014 / 3:19 pm

    Hello All, I cant ping from my PC to 10.0.0.1, how can I check? and tar -xtract give me an error Time Out.

    • Martin Parodi June 23, 2014 / 3:19 pm

      I have a direct connection between AP and PC.

  12. Diego December 9, 2014 / 12:55 pm

    This works on 2602I?

  13. mkihumuroes February 6, 2015 / 9:38 am

    Worked like a charm and saved me a lot of headache … Thanks alot

  14. Seshu Kumar March 21, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    Really helpful for me. Thanks a lot bro.

  15. Ron April 5, 2015 / 2:30 pm

    Has anyone used this method on a 3602 with the 802.11AC module? If so how is the 802.11AC radio configured in autonomous mode for surveys.

  16. MUQ April 19, 2015 / 7:19 am

    Why did you choose these power levels for the radios ?

    • ciscotophat April 19, 2015 / 7:44 am

      No specific reason. You should use power levels that work for your environment and devices. Best practice is to not exceed 25mW on 5Ghz as it is the max power allowed on UNII I channels.

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