What to use for a small repeater to get an untethered ethernet connection

Greyston
New here

What to use for a small repeater to get an untethered ethernet connection

Hi.

 

I'm not even sure what the correct terminology is. 😨  I'm also reading something about "mesh" and some other installation and licensing to support that!  What's frustrating is that I purchased a TPLink AP for $50 bucks and ran it through a wizard to a temporary WiFi hotspot on my iPhone and that worked perfectly!!  But it WON'T connect to a Cisco 2504 controller and I'm told by both TPLink and my Cisco reseller/partner that it's by design that a Cisco controller will ONLY connect to Cisco (and Meraki) APs, extenders, repeaters, etc.  yeah...

 

So here's what I need to do, but still can't get anyone to tell me what AP to use!

 

I have a shop-floor piece of equipment in a dirty environment.

It has an ethernet connection only.

The ethernet connection is prone to failure because of both the dust when it's dirty and the water and resultant mud when they're cleaning.

 

We want to put a device INSIDE the protected case that will talk to the close-by WiFi AP and then provide an ethernet port that can be connected on the interior of the equipment.  I'm doing this now with temperature sensors with built-in WiFi for our refrigeration units and they work flawlessly.

 

I'm getting nowhere with Meraki pre-sales or with my Cisco Certified installation partner/reseller.  No one seems to know the product line well enough to know what an appropriate choice would be.

 

Can someone on this board suggest some units that would fit my requirements?

Relatively small, decent internal or external antenna(s), minimum 1  ethernet port needed, cost effective (at least by Cisco Meraki standards!).

 

I would really appreciate it if someone has knowledge of the choices and could suggest a few options.

 

Lost in a sea of WiFi,

 

Ed

4 REPLIES 4
Bruce
Kind of a big deal

I know it’s not directly related, but only a vendor’s AP will connect to a vendor’s controller. I’m sure there are exceptions, but they’ll be few. So for Aruba APs you need an Aruba controller, for Cisco APs a Cisco controller, for a Meraki AP the Meraki controller, which is in the Meraki cloud.

 

So far as your choice of AP, one of the things you mention is size. How small is small? The Meraki APs may all be too big. Is the protective case you talk about an IP67 rated case to keep the AP ‘healthy’ or are you talking about the case round plant machinery? Based on the way you describe the environment I’d be leaning to the outdoor range of APs these are IP67 rated so should survive, and if you don’t need much through put then the cheapest possible.

 

If you’re planning a wireless bridge to the device then you need two, one for each end. It should work reasonably easily, one MR plugged into the plant equipment, one located within RF sight on the wired network.

 

Hope this helps.

DashboardDunce
Meraki Employee

Hey @Greyston!

Thanks for reaching out!

Quick clarification: Meraki APs don't tunnel/connect/need a Cisco WLC for their connectivity. They will, however, listen to your other Cisco AP wireless infrastructure and adjust their channels, power, etc to make sure the experience of connected clients is ideal.

Another point to note: Meraki MESH will only mesh with other Meraki APs. This is only because Meraki developed a proprietary mesh that will seamlessly allow a wired uplink to flip to a wireless uplink and not miss a beat with connected wireless clients.

So, all that's to say - If you would like to use a ruggedized Meraki AP anyone of these outdoor models (MR70/74/84/76/86) should work! You could drop a couple of these and barring wireless environments be able to mesh them with any other Meraki indoor AP in an area that doesn't require the ruggedization.

Also, here's an interesting design if you want to wirelessly mesh a switch over as well! https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/WiFi_Basics_and_Best_Practices/Extending_the_LAN_with_a_Wireless...

If you weren't to go the Meraki route, you can buy a Cisco AP and install Autonomous mode firmware and build a WGB via CLI to talk to another Cisco autonomous mode AP... but that's another forum for another time 😉

Hope that helps!

Twitch
Building a reputation

Hey @Greyston - let me tell you what I did here at our shop.

 

We have Lincoln Electric welders that we wanted to get a network connection to. Our environment is also dirty and not technology-friendly (I often joke that this is the place where technology comes to die, but that's a post for another day). The welders are mounted to automated welding machines and moved back-and-forth on tracks with the machine, making the Ethernet connection prone to failure and very difficult to run. A wireless bridge was the answer for us.

 

We run MR74 access points for wireless network access. For the bridge device, we purchased MR30H access points that have a 4-port Ethernet switch on the bottom. These are attached to the welders in various creative ways, and they ride back on and forth with the machine.The welders are connected to the MR30H access point via Cat 6 cables, and we set-up a wireless bridge between the MR30H and a nearby MR74 AP, which transfers the bridge traffic to the wired LAN. To power the MR30H APs, some of the welders had available electric outlets, for others we used PoE Injectors. So far, this solution has worked flawlessly. Currently, we have about 10 of these wireless bridges running in our shops at several locations.

 

To keep end-user devices from connecting to the wireless bridge, we used the Tag function and separated the traffic into "Bridge" and "Production." This way, end-user devices will connect directly to the MR74s using the Production tag, and only the welders will be sending traffic across the Bridge. There are some nuances in the setup that are laid-out in the documentation below.

 

MR30H:  https://meraki.cisco.com/product/wi-fi/indoor-access-points/mr30h/

 

MR74:  https://meraki.cisco.com/product/wi-fi/outdoor-access-points/mr74/

 

Wireless Bridge Setup:  https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/WiFi_Basics_and_Best_Practices/Extending_the_LAN_with_a_Wireless...

 

 

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions or need more info.

 

Twitch

@Greyston It almost sounds like you would be better to hardwire an outdoor WAP rather than using an outlet on a wall thus avoiding contacts getting dirty. 

 

If you are having trouble with your Meraki Rep I would look for another in your area. 

 

Where are you located, possibly there is another community member close to you that might be able to help. 

Meraki CMNO, Ruckus WISE, Sonicwall CSSA, Allied Telesis CASE & CAI
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