Peek-a-boo, I See You

This Cisco 3702i was spotted peeking out from behind the curtain in a conference room at a hotel.

Peek-a-boo

What’s odd to me is that the whole conference level was already blanketed in WiFi. Why the lone AP casually left on the floor? Also, does anyone else immediately wonder what they would get access to if they plugged their own equipment into a public network port like this?

I didn’t notice the label on the AP until zooming in on the photo (the original, multi-megapixel photo).

MacTAVISH!!!

MacTAVISH. The name of the AP? A nod to a decently famous pro hockey player? A reference to living dangerously? (I’ll leave the last one as an exercise to the reader).

Only in Canada

Thanks to Colin for this one 🙂

At a hockey arena in Edmonton, they installed a Cisco AP over the ice, presumably to try and maximize coverage across the whole arena. That makes sense… until you think about the age range of the players.

If you look closely, you can see black smudges on the AP where kids where shooting hockey pucks up at the AP. And it looks like even with the cover over it, the kids are still keen to try and knock it down. 😁🏒

 

LAX

Man, LAX is pretty gnarly. Between taking photos of planes and APs, it's amazing I didn't miss a flight. First off, pretty obvious–at least in Terminal 2– that they're an all-Cisco shop. No shortage of 3702i APs anywhere.

Curiously, they also had a healthy amount of 3802e APs ("e" denotes a model with external antennas).

I'd love to know why they mixed models like this. They even had the two models fairly well intermixed; a specific model was not just in a specific area. I saw a few of the 3802e units with the LED lit green (meaning no stations were associated) which made me wonder if they were dedicated monitor APs, but then there were units like the one above with their LED lit blue (indicating at least one station associated).

As for the external antennas, at least the one above is nice and symmetrical. If not ideal from an RF perspective, at least it's purrrrdy. Then I saw this guy.

I can imagine the conversation that lead to this installation:

👨Which way do we orient the antennas?
👷…‍
👨Do they go horizontal? Vertical? In between?
👷Hold my coffee

On the outdoor front, LAX had what appeared to be Cisco 1572 APs mounted on all the jet bridges (again, I was only in Terminal 2).

Lots to see at LAX!

Vancouver International (YVR)

Ok, last of the airport posts for this week. This time, Vancouver International (YVR). Similar to SAN, YVR has Cisco APs providing Wi-Fi coverage in the rental car garage.

YVR Rental Car Garage

Unlike SAN, YVR went with the ruggedized Cisco 1532i AP which can operate in below-freezing temperatures.

What I like most about YVR’s network is their extensive use of the Cisco Hyperlocation Antenna. The 32-element antenna array wraps around the AP and plugs in on the bottom of the AP into the module slot. The antenna uses a bunch of RF magic (which I have seen explained multiple times but continually forget) to precisely determine the location of a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth device with an accuracy of 1 meter (give or take).

Hyberlocation at YVR
Hyberlocation at YVR

An airport like YVR could use this kind of location data to feed an analytics engine (like Cisco CMX) to determine how long it takes passengers to move around the terminal or to clear a security checkpoint.

Chicago O’Hare Airport

Continuing on with this mini series on Wi-Fi at airports, here’s a couple of shots from O’Hare (ORD). ORD seems to be in the middle of either an evaluation/bake-off or a transition between vendors because I saw a healthy amount of Aruba and Cisco in the terminal (I don’t remember which terminal this was in).

Aruba at ORD

This looks like an Aruba AP-228 which, if I’ve identified this correctly, does make some sense because I spotted this unit in the jet bridge getting onto the plane and if you’ve ever walked on/off a plane somewhere in Canada in the dead of winter, you KNOW those things do not have very good temperature control. The marketing literature says this guy is nicely suited for indoor locations that have little/no temperature control such as warehouses and stadiums.

On the Cisco side we’ve got 3702i APs (left-most arrow).

Cisco at ORD

Those saucer-looking thingies were antennas for the distributed antenna system (DAS). One was labeled AT&T and the other wasn’t readable.

It’s interesting that both the Aruba and Cisco APs appear to be the same generation (802.11ac Wave 1) which gives some credibility to the idea of an ongoing evaluation or bake-off between the vendors.

San Diego Airport (SAN)

Ok, more sightings at an airport! Similar to Calgary International (YYC), San Diego International (SAN) has APs mounted right outside the terminal along the arrivals/departures road. SAN is using Cisco 1552s.

San Diego International

I’m sure the metal-wrapped cement column does wonders for the signal in the Taxi line. Also not sure why these APs are carrying the SSID for the conference room?

SAN SSIDs

What was cool though was in the rental center garage, there were APs everywhere.

SAN Rental Car Garage

Those look like Cisco 2700e APs to me mounted inside a nifty enclosure with a glass/plastic door. With some blinky rope lighting, those things could almost pass as a Flux Capacitor. In a testament to how awesome San Diego’s weather is, they’re using an indoor AP in an unheated, open air garage. Jealous. 😎

I’m not familiar with the type of antenna mounted to the underside of the enclosure (the white rectangle), however it looks like it could be a Cisco AIR-ANT2451V-R which is a dual-band, omnidirectional ceiling mounted antenna. What’s most interesting to me is that most of the APs in the garage were showing a green LED indicating no devices were associated. Doing passive scanning only perhaps? Unfortunately I forgot to get a list of SSIDs being broadcast. 😣

Here are two more at the exit gate. I wonder if their being mounted directly over the attendant stations is significant? The AP on the right is the only one I saw with a blue LED (clients are associated).

SAN Rental Car Garage

Rogers Place in Edmonton

I was recently in Edmonton for work and made a point of going with a colleague (hi SK!) to the brand new Rogers Place stadium to catch an NHL game. This stadium is fully teched out with digital signage, a high capacity, robust IP backbone, and of course, serious Wi-Fi coverage. The stadium offers free Wi-Fi to event attendees and also uses the network for their own services and applications.

First off, at the top of each section is a narrow-beam panel antenna that covers the top half of the section:

Rogers Place YEG Panel Antennas

These antennas seemed to be everywhere in both the lower and upper bowl.

Rogers Place YEG Panel Antennas

Mounted behind each of these panels is a Cisco 3702e AP:

Rogers Place YEG Access Point

Now, one of the coolest installs I’ve ever seen (or kinda, NOT seen, actually) is where the APs sit that provide connectivity to the lower part of a section. The APs and antennas are actually built into the railing!

Rogers Place YEG Railing AP

Those rhomboids are the plastic-y enclosures that the AP+antenna sits inside of. The enclosures blend right in and are so thin that they don’t get in your way as you’re moving up and down the stairs. The cabling for the AP runs inside the hollow railing and down one of the vertical legs and through the stair where it’s run back to the nearest access switch.

Rogers Place YEG Railing AP
Rogers Place YEG Railing AP

Lastly, even though there’s no visual evidence of this, the inside of the scoreboard is filled with APs and antennas providing connectivity to the event floor (think concerts and such where you have event attendees standing/sitting where the ice is in this photo).

Rogers Place YEG Scoreboard

Needless to say, the Wi-Fi service was excellent! We were told by someone who helped build the network that there is mega Internet bandwidth coming into the building so end to end, the service was awesome. The biggest issue seemed to be that the Wi-Fi was not advertised very well. We saw very few people using it and the folks we asked about it had no idea it was there.

Cisco Indoor and Outdoor at Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows is an equestrian facility in Calgary, Alberta which hosts multiple well-known horse jumping events throughout the summer. There’s lots to see there, but of course I had one eye peeled for technology 😉.

I spotted this Cisco 1532I access point at a distance of a few meters. At that distance, I almost mistook it for a speaker because it’s so small! I guess I’m used-to the larger-sized 1552s. The grey color also didn’t help in identifying it.

Cisco 1532I at Spruce Meadows
Cisco 1532I at Spruce Meadows

A label has been placed on the front which says, somewhat humorously: “ANT 2”.

Cisco 1532I at Spruce Meadows
Cisco 1532I at Spruce Meadows
Cisco 1532I at Spruce Meadows
Cisco 1532I at Spruce Meadows

Kudos on the installation though: the AP is facing towards a large area where shops are setup during events and visitors sit and eat.

On the indoor front, I found some 3702I units in the stables.

Cisco 3702I at Spruce Meadows
Cisco 3702I at Spruce Meadows

Not sure why these are so close together or why the one near the exit sign isn’t mounted on the lower part of the ceiling so it has clear sight down the wings of the stable.