Site Surveys with a CW9162 AP

stgonzo
Getting noticed

Site Surveys with a CW9162 AP

Hi, we normally carry out site surveys with Meraki MR APs, but we are now looking into getting an AP for this purpose with Wi-Fi 6E capability, can the CW9162 be set to site-survey mode like the MR APs i.e. through the local status page?

 

Thank you

32 REPLIES 32
alemabrahao
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

@stgonzo,

 

What are you talking about? I didn't find a menu to set MR to site survey mode. Can you show the print screen?

 

Edited:

 Do you have a software to perform a site survey? 

I am not a Cisco Meraki employee. My suggestions are based on documentation of Meraki best practices and day-to-day experience.

Please, if this post was useful, leave your kudos and mark it as solved.
Brash
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

Hi alemabrahao,

 

This needs to be done from the Local Status page on MR APs, see the screen shot below

stgonzo_0-1664449449500.png

 

The following links describe the process

 

https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/WiFi_Basics_and_Best_Practices/Conducting_Site_Surveys_with_MR_A...

 

https://meraki.cisco.com/blog/tag/site-survey/

alemabrahao
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

For me, It's unnecessary, you can create a SSID for It, the result will be the same. It's my opinion, I have performed a lot of site survey without enable this mode and I have never had an issue. 

I am not a Cisco Meraki employee. My suggestions are based on documentation of Meraki best practices and day-to-day experience.

Please, if this post was useful, leave your kudos and mark it as solved.

Probably CW9162 supports because It uses the same firmware, but talking as a Wi-Fi design in my opinion It really doesn't make any difference.

I am not a Cisco Meraki employee. My suggestions are based on documentation of Meraki best practices and day-to-day experience.

Please, if this post was useful, leave your kudos and mark it as solved.
Brash
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

That's a good question.

Probably best to ask your Cisco rep.

GIdenJoe
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

I personally have a really bad experience with site survey mode on each MR model that came after the MR33.
They have this annoying bug where the AP loses it's regional code after a second boot without an internet connection and it won't broadcast on 5 GHz anymore.  The only way to get it back is to reset the AP to get it back on the cloud and then put it on survey mode again.  That's a real timewaster.

The whole point of site survey mode is to use it for AP on a stick surveys where you don't have an internet connection.  You only have a battery and a PoE injector (or both in the same device) and your device has to transmit an SSID you can or passive survey or actively connect to if you want to include some ping tests.

I haven't had any CW AP's yet so I'm not sure if you get one with Meraki software on it if it will support site survey mode and if the same bug will be present.

 

Also if you get a CW AP in Catalyst software mode it does not support the EWC image as far as the documentation goes.

Site survey mode on the CW916x models from a catalyst perspective you just have to ensure you have the correct image on the AP must be above 17.3 and it is a easy conversion to enable the AP to work in site survey mode. see below lin.

https://www.jiribrejcha.net/2023/04/new-site-survey-mode-on-cisco-catalyst-wi-fi-6e-access-points/

Not sure if it would be similar on a meraki flavoured version not tried.

I'll definitely try that mode if I get such an AP in Catalyst mode.
Most of our customers are Meraki though so it won't be easy to get one.

I don't want to flip between DNA en Meraki mode after ordering it.

stgonzo
Getting noticed

Thanks @GIdenJoe , I had that no 5GHz issue on an MR42 a couple of months ago

TBHPTL
A model citizen

Why would you survey with an end of sale AP that hasn't been offered by Cisco for over a year?

Why not survey with it, it provides 6GHz capabilities and if you know how to survey correctly it's not about the AP, its about attentuation, airtime utilisation, capacity & SINR. the AP is just to to prove you can get signal into the desired areas for the technology.  

@Radarspeed5  my reply was to @stgonzo...an MR42 does not support 6GHz. Its 100% about the AP. The AP model is unique unto itself. Rule #1 of AP on a stick survey is always use the model AP (and antenna) that you intend on deploying to conduct said survey.  If you want to guess use modeling software that at least uses antenna patterns for said AP. 

Thats all good and well but who as access to every single AP model ever made by every manufacturer, as long as your meeting the customer requirements an you use the access point to determine your cell edges & attenuation measurements you can then model the network and optimise the network with a post validation survey. No need to do a full AP on a stick survey unless your in a really challenging environment IMHO & i have surveyed lots of challenging environments in the past.

stgonzo
Getting noticed

The customer were moving to a new building and wanted to carry on using the MR42s they had.  

thomasthomsen
Head in the Cloud

We have done lots of surveying with the 9164 in Meraki survey mode, so my guess is that it would also work with the 9162.

BUT ... I just had one of the APs back to "normal operation" on the dashboard, and when I put it back into survey mode, 6Ghz was no longer functioning.

So I have no idea whats going on there.

 

I think we, moving forward, will run it in "DNA Persona" survey mode, that is now available, because that seems more "stable" (from some short testing we have done). 

have you set the relevant country code on the AP, once this is set then AP should show 5 & 6GHz as working, also dont forget the 6GHz to a PSC channel.

Yep ... as mentioned.

Worked fine for a long time, where we of course had it connected to the dashboard to start with just to get new firmware and so on , then in survey mode (offline) works. Recently we had it connected back to the same dashboard , same network (and of course same country code) .. now , back in survey mode, nothing on 6Ghz ... it is very strange. We have decided to convert back to "DNA persona" and run them there in the "DNA Persona" survey mode.

Just for good measure ( measure, survey, pun intended ? 🙂 ), I created a case for "6Ghz not working in survey mode". I have yet to have any useful feedback on it.

I think there is a bug in MR30 when in survey mode for 6Ghz.

When switching to survey mode, I very briefly see the 6Ghz survey ssid from the AP when using a tool like WiFi Explorer Lite. But I NEVER see it using Ekahau SK2.

My speculation is that the AP simply does not do FILS or Unsolicited probe response when in surveymode, and WiFi Exploere Lite only "found it" because the Intel NIC in my laptop did a passive scan. - This is bad, it has to do FILS or Unsolicited probe response in order for us to use it as a survey AP. (Im fairly certain it did in MR29 software, because I had a 9164 running in with that software for a long time in survey mode without issue).

The behaviors I have found out with regular online mode are the following:
The AP does do beacons on the PSC every 100ms.
Only the first SSID will be in the beacon because all other SSID's will be present in the MBSSID IE inside the beacon of the first SSID.  Ekahau does not understand this yet and will not list SSID's this way.  If you are connected to a second or third SSID like this and you use the Ekahau analyser you will get an empty name and no RSSI/SNR info.
The AP will use RNR IE in the 2.4/5 GHz SSID if you have any there.

GIdenJoe_0-1704207031915.pngGIdenJoe_1-1704207084146.pngGIdenJoe_2-1704207123113.png

 

Well in survey-mode there is only one SSID. And it worked just fine in MR29 for those APs, so something has changed.

And the "fun ting" is that the simple tool WiFi Explorer sees this SSID (on 6 GHz) in the first ... "5 minutes" after the AP has booted. Then it goes away.

Unfortunately I have not gotten an Ipad with USB-C yet, so I cannot use the SK2 for a packet capture. I really want to see whats going on.

Hmm, I have a CW9166-MR here running 30.5.  I will try letting it run in site-survey mode via de local page and capture those packets.  I do have an Ipad that can use the capture on the SK2.

Please do. Remember to set the flex-radio before putting it into survey mode to 6Ghz and, have it connected to the dashboard for more then 2 hours 🙂

I'll eagerly await the result 🙂

Thanks 🙂

SteveLilley
Just browsing

Same problem here with a Meraki 9164. I'm trying to do a 6GHz coverage bake-off between Cisco 9136, Meraki 9164, and Aruba 635 APs. Problem is, the 9164 doesn't advertise the site-survey SSID on 6GHz when it's in survey mode. This same behavior was independently verified by a co-worker, who's had a case open with Meraki support since around Christmas. Looks like I'm going to have to convert the 9164 AP from Meraki Mode to Cisco "DNA Center" Mode to allow me to survey 6GHz successfully.

Yeah, you can do " ap-type site-survey" as a command now on those 916x APs (from 17.something release) of 9800. - When I tried it, it worked just fine.

But .... unfortunately, for some reason, i got locked out of the AP after logging into the UI the first time.

The default, in DNA-Persona survey-mode, should be admin/admin, but for some reason it changed.

I will try again at some point on a newer 17.x release. 

PS: I now also have a case open, and so far, I have been told that the 9164 / 62 cannot "do" survey mode on 6Ghz because it is not a "flex-radio" ... excuse me, what ?

I think it was just the support person who misunderstood what the support page says about flex. : https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/Wi-Fi_Basics_and_Best_Practices/Conducting_Site_Surveys_with_MR_...

If true, and it changed for some reason, because I have used 9164 for survey in the MR29 software, it should be in that document in large red letters or something 🙂

 

I did however notice that it now requires the AP to be online in the dashboard for at least 2 hours ( most likely to be sure of reg. domain ) before it will work.

GIdenJoe
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

@thomasthomsenI have the following results.
The first screenshot shows the settings before putting the AP into survey mode + the settings in survey mode.

So I put the AP on all three band on the highest ETSI channel (highest PSC on 6 GHz) with a 20 MHz width.

surveymode-settings.png

The second screenshot first shows the capture that has been made only on the three channels using the SK2.  It has a display filter limiting only mgmt frames that contains the site_survey SSID.  There you can see that beacons only occur on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
When looking inside the beacon on both bands I did find the RNR that contains the info about channel 85 with the same SSID.  So technically you would be able to connect to it.
Below that I filtered out frames on the 2.4 and 5 GHz channels and found 0 frames on 6 GHz.

Since I don't have a device that supports 6 GHz outside of the survey Ipad I couldn't capture the connection flow.  Since on the IPad when you start a capture in Ekahau Analyser and you move to another screen like to connect to another SSID the capture stops.  However I was able to connect to the 6 GHz site_survey SSID briefly before the iPad choose to only connect to the 5 GHz version of it.  As you can see in the lowest part of the screenshot.  I believe this has to do with the fact that open SSID's are not allowed on 6 GHz and the site_survey SSID is open instead of enhanced open.

Surveymode-behavior.png

So in short the behavior in site survey mode is quite different from the normal online operation.
No beacons on 6 GHz but there is an RNR on 2.4 and 5 GHz versions of the site_survey SSID and connecting to it is technically possible.  However this is impossible to use for site surveys.  So for the time being if you want to do an AP on a stick survey you will need the AP connected to the cloud since then it actually does send beacons.

Thanks, this 100% confirms my findings.

No FILS or UPR on 6Ghz while in survey mode == you cant use it for surviving 6Ghz in MR30.x

 

And this also gives me a reason to why my Intel Laptop with the "lite" tool found the network on 6Ghz, it most likely got it from the 2,4 or 5Ghz beacon (as is allowed in the specs for 6Ghz , sometimes called "out-of-band discovery" or reduced neighbor reporting (RNR) (as far as I know). )

 

But bottom line is; when it does not send FILS or UPR in survey mode, you cant use it for surveying.

Thanks for all your work, I think I'll just point support to this forum page 🙂

 

/Thomas

 

One request. Could you upload the pcap file here, just so I can have a look at it ? 🙂

SteveLilley
Just browsing

I opened a case with Meraki support and asked them convert my 9164 AP to DNA-C mode (basically the traditional Cisco AP mode where the AP connects to a Cat9800 WLC). After a couple emails back and forth proving the AP was really mine, they converted it. Took about a day from the time I opened the ticket. Once that happened, the AP connected to my 9800 WLC, upgraded code, and then I was able to convert it into Cisco survey mode. I'm happy to report that the 6GHz radio comes up fine when the AP is in traditional Cisco mode. So this is definitely a Meraki bug.

Yep I have also run the 916x APs in "DNA persona" in survey mode almost without issue (except being locked out from the UI for some strange reason).

I just like the Meraki Survey mode, and it worked just as expected in the MR29 software.

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