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

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

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.

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

UBNT at the Wynn Casino Las Vegas

It’s not uncommon to see APs in the casinos in Las Vegas, however this one at the Wynn is a little odd in that it’s a) installed on the casino level in plain site, with no attempt to conceal it or blend it in and b) it’s installed just a few inches above the floor.

wynn_ubnt_01
UBNT at the Wynn Casino Las Vegas
UBNT at the Wynn Casino Las Vegas
UBNT at the Wynn Casino Las Vegas

I have no idea what it’s wired into amongst all those plants.

UBNT and Cisco at Fairmont Hotsprings

How horrible would camping be without WiFi?? 😜 There are a few APs scattered around the campground at Fairmont Hotsprings in British Columbia, Canada.

First are some Ubiquity units which I assume are owned by the campground since they are mounted on campground buildings and poles.

UBNT at Fairmont Hotsprings
UBNT at Fairmont Hotsprings
fairmont_ubnt_02
UBNT at Fairmont Hotsprings
fairmont_ubnt_03
Box at bottom of pole

Next, Shaw Cable has deployed Cisco 1552C outdoor APs with an integrated cable modem to cover the campground with their Shaw Go WiFi.

Cisco 1552C for Shaw Go Wifi at Fairmont
Cisco 1552C for Shaw Go Wifi at Fairmont

The box with the 3 nubs on the bottom is the AP; the box on the right closest to the pole is a Motorola fiber node. I don’t actually know what the middle box is. Anyone know?

Cisco Industrial Wireless 3702 at YYC

Usually you’d expect to find an industrial, IP67-rated access point such as the Cisco IW3702 in a harsh location such as in a manufacturing plant, on mining equipment, or mounted on a pole somewhere outside.

But this unit is located at Calgary International Airport (YYC) in the “A” wing of the Domestic Terminal Building. Specifically, it’s in the long, ground-level hall where passengers board the small, regional WestJet planes.

Cisco IW3702 at YYC in "A" Hall
Cisco IW3702 at YYC in “A” Hall

These pictures are actually taken from inside the hall; the AP is hanging inside where it’s protected from direct exposure to the elements and the antennas are hanging on the other side of the wall providing WiFi coverage to the apron.

Cisco IW3702 at YYC in "A" Hall
Cisco IW3702 at YYC in “A” Hall