Two Seasons One Router

It’s really snowy in parts of British Columbia, Canada right now. The trees are covered in a brilliant blanket of white snow. And so are the Cisco industrial WiFi routers that dot this part of the province 🙂

This particular router is one that I drive past a few times a year in different seasons. Right now it’s -20C (-4F) and there’s snow everywhere.

(That big pole on the back side of the router is just a mounting pole, not an antenna)

And a couple years ago when I stopped the take a picture it was August and could easily have been 30C (86F).

This kit is a Cisco 1240 Connected Grid Router. It looks like an outdoor access point, but it’s actually a full router in an IP67 rated enclosure that supports WiFi and cellular connectivity.

It’s cool to see this equipment operating in both extremes.

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!

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston had Wi-Fi all over the place (at least down town, in the market/tourist-y district). They appeared to be using Meraki MR74 or MR84 APs for their city/open Wi-Fi.

Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC
Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC
Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC
Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC

The city’s Wi-Fi network was open for anyone to use (I think? I don’t recall if there was a captive portal). Only real complaint is the side of the broadcast domain 😉.

Charleston, SC, free Wi-Fi

Apart from the city’s Wi-Fi, I noticed that the city and/or police appeared to be using Ubiquity to service cameras around the downtown area.

Charleston, SC

Resort at Panama City Beach Florida

Jekyll Island sits on the US east coast in the state of Georgia and has a few beaches that face the Pacific Ocean. On one such beach the hotel/resort had installed Wi-Fi.

Update Jan 5 2018: Oops. One of my travel mates pointed out that this was actually at a resort in Panama City Beach, Florida. I got my locations mixed up.

I don’t recognize the equipment, but a good use of outdoor APs given the exposure to sand and water. I’m also assuming that we’re looking at a panel antenna on the front of the AP which indicates some thought and engineering went into this deployment. Very cool, considering this is a hotel network after all.

One thing I noticed though is that their cabling is the weak link: they’ve installed RJ45 jacks right next to the APs which are certainly not protected against the elements.

Curious why they wouldn’t have extended the home run all the way into the gland on the AP so there were no connectors exposed to the elements.

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

Outdoor at Calgary International (YYC)

Calgary International Airport (YYC) has completely transformed their Wi-Fi service is the last couple of years. They switched from their prior vendor to a 100% Cisco solution all while greatly increasing the quality of the network and expanding the network’s footprint so they can provide high quality connectivity in areas of the airport they couldn’t before.

First off, when you get dropped off at the airport, as soon as you step out of the car you’re within the Wi-Fi coverage area. This is thanks to the APs and antennas that are mounted curb-side on the departures level (and arrivals too, actually).

YYC Curb-Side AP/Antenna

The white cylinder is a dual-band omnidirectional antenna and inside the gray enclosure is the access point. The departure and arrival roads are lined with multiple boxes like this (and that’s true alongside both the international and domestic terminals).

Since this post is just about the outdoor part of the network, I’m going to skip what’s inside the terminal buildings and jump all the way to the opposite side of the building, the side that faces the apron.

YYC PBB Antennas

In this photo, I’m pointing out the locations of the omni antennas that sit on the Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBBs). These antennas are meant to provide good coverage on the apron for things like bag tag scanners being used by the bag handlers loading and unloading luggage to/from the plane as well as the plane itself so that the plane can receive updated content for the in-flight entertainment system. Near the base of each mast that holds the antenna is an enclosure that houses the AP.

YYC PBB Antennas

Each PBB has a pair of APs+antennas: one topside and one underneath. It’s really hard to make out the mast and antenna on the bottom of the PBBs in this photo, but the topside ones are visible and marked with the arrows. This photo is of some PBBs on the international terminal building but the same design is used on the domestic side too.

YYC PBB Antennas

Port of Vancouver

I found this post sitting in my drafts folder. I started writing it in Dec of 2016 and guess I forgot to finish it!

After many weeks of talking about it, we finally flew out to Vancouver to visit a bunch of friends we have in the area. I saw these Cisco 1552 APs along the water front as we were wandering around downtown.

Vancouver City Downtown
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any proper tools with me to scan for SSIDs so I’m not sure what networks are operating in this area. This location is where the cruise ships doc so I was very curious whether these APs were providing Internet service to the cruise ship passengers as they come and go from the boat.

Cisco 1552
As a side note, the building in the first picture with what looks like a flying saucer on top is called Harbour Center. It’s one of–if not the–largest telecom/data center sites in Vancouver. This website physically lives in that building. 😁

 

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.

Cisco 1552EU at Canada’s National Women’s Open Championship

In August 2016, the Canadian National Women’s Open Championship was held at the Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club in Calgary, Alberta. A friend of mine, Stephen K, went to watch the tournament and took these pictures (👍).

Cisco 1552EU at Canadian National Women's Open Championship, 2016
Cisco 1552EU at Canadian National Women’s Open Championship, 2016

He said there were tripods like this all over the course holding Cisco 1552EU APs. A few things strike me as interesting here:

  1. The combination of a directional panel antenna and a dipole antenna in the same frequency band (in this case, 5Ghz, on the bottom of the AP in this photo). The install guide for the 1552 says you can either run with just dipoles in both bands or with dipoles in one band and a directional antenna in the other band. I’d be really interested to know why they’re running it in this hybrid configuration and what kind of performance they’re getting in the 5Ghz band.
  2. Look closely. There are no cables along the ground leading up to the tripod. Power for this unit must be coming from batteries in the pelican case. Naturally, I’m really curious what kind of run time they get on this setup. I’m also curious what’s in the smaller, black case.
Cisco 1552E at Canadian National Women's Open Championship, 2016
Cisco 1552E at Canadian National Women’s Open Championship, 2016