Aerohive Site Survey AP Configuration

Last year we made a significant investment with Aerohive for our Halls of Residence wireless. We opted for the AP250 which hit a sweet spot for price, performance and power requirements.

Having made that choice for residences it was obvious we would give very serious consideration to their 802.11ax line now that we’re looking to refresh the campus infrastructure and so a few weeks ago I was excited to receive a parcel of AP650 and AP630’s to trial from AIT Partnership Group. We’ve deployed a few around the office and I’m now on a mission to get a couple working as survey AP’s for a major building refresh we have going on.

The trouble with this of course is that these things are meant to be ruled by the mighty cloud and when cut off from the outside world they go a little crazy. Left to their own devices if they can’t contact their Hivemanager they assume that something is broken and start broadcasting an SSID you can connect to to troubleshoot, a very useful feature unless you’re trying to use one for a battery powered AP on a stick site survey.

Another fly in the ointment is the fact that they use LLDP to negotiate power levels. Despite our power brick being fully 802.3at compliant, and having enough juice to drive a Cisco 2802i, when connected to an Aerohive device it is seen as an 802.3af device and certain features are disabled. In the case of the 600 series AP’s those certain features seem to be the radios! We’ve become used to seeing usb ports or certain antenna being disabled but to entirely shut down the radios is a new one on me and slightly alarming.

And finally we get to the fact that Aerohive have a shiny new mount. Based on a twist lock design it is indeed much better for attaching an AP to a ceiling rail. The force required to release the lock though is substantial and I’m already having visions of pulling ceilings down trying to retrieve these things in the future. Sadly it’s somehow not compatible with our trusty survey bracket. No one beats Cisco on the bracket front and this is another valiant attempt that doesn’t quite make it.

So on to the configuration required to make the AP behave and shout out a couple of SSID’s to survey with. Remember this configuration is purely for survey work, it is not meant for connecting users. What we want is a known transmission power on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands that ekahau site survey can identify and map for us.

So on a brand new AP we fire it up from a PoE+ battery and connect to it using our terminal program of choice via the console port. When asked to login we use the default credentials of admin/aerohive and set to work.

First we want to define a couple of radio profiles, one for wifi0 for 2.4GHz and one for wifi1 for 5GHz

radio profile Survey-2GHz
radio profile Survey-2GHz phymode 11ax-2g
radio profile Survey-5GHz
radio profile Survey-5GHz phymode 11ax-5g

Then we’ll define a couple of SSID’s to broadcast and set our basic and supported rates.

ssid Survey-2GHz
ssid Survey-2GHz 11g-rate-set 12-basic 18 24-basic 36 48 54
ssid Survey-5GHz
ssid Survey-5GHz 11a-rate-set 12-basic 18 24-basic 36 48 54

Then we configure our interfaces with channel power and SSID’s to use

interface wifi0 radio profile Survey-2GHz
interface wifi0 radio channel 6
interface wifi0 radio power 8
interface wifi1 radio profile Survey-5GHz
interface wifi1 mode access
interface wifi1 radio channel 36
interface wifi1 radio power 14
interface wifi0 ssid Survey-2GHz
interface wifi1 ssid Survey-5GHz

Leave the lights on…

no system led power-saving-mode

Force 802.3at operation so that the radios work…

system power-mode 802.3at

Give our little friend a name and an address to stop the logs filling with dhcp requests and tell it to not try and get a time update from the mothership…

hostname UoB-Survey-APMODEL-X
interface mgt0 ip
no ntp enable

And finally tell the poor thing it’s on it’s own and that the hive won’t be talking to it.

no capwap client enable

After that I normally stick a label on it with the power levels set on the radios for ease of future reference and then all that’s left to do is to try and work out how to attach it to this safely at 3.5m….

Aerohive AP650 Mount vs WiFiStand – grrr

(Turns out a little brute force and ignorance will get you there as long as that plastic tab can withstand the strain – if anyone has any better suggestions please comment below)