How to configure a cisco wireless access point (ap) from scratch
How to Configure a Cisco Wireless Access-Point (AP) from Scratch?Cisco APs are strong and reliable but require a little more configuration than yourtypical Linksys, Dlink, or Netgear. In this article, you will find out how to configure thisenterprise grade wireless AP (a Cisco 1242G) to allow your wireless users to connectto your LAN, through your Wireless LAN (WLAN). Lots of photos are included!What does the Cisco 1242AG AP offer?This Cisco 1242 wireless access-point (AP) is a wireless AP for business-grade users. Ifyou have a lot of traffic, you need reliability, and some advanced features, this AP isfor you. For a business, personally, I wouldn’t ever install any consumer grade APunless you are asking for trouble. The reason being is that those consumer grade APs(the ones you can buy at your local electronics store), just don’t have the capabilities,the reliability of connections, the troubleshooting, or the throughput to do what youneed them to do.Here is a photo of my actual 1242AG that I configured in this video:Here is a photo of the front of the AP:As you can see, this AP has an power connection port (which goes to an AC/DC
adaptor), a console port, Ethernet port (to connect to the physical LAN), andindicator lights. You can also power the AP over the Ethernet wire with PoE (802.3af)On this model of AP, you will notice 4 black rubber covers. These cover theconnectors for the wireless antennas (2 on the front and 2 on the back). On the frontof the AP are the 2 antenna connectors for the 2.4Ghz network with the rightconnector being the primary. On the back, are the connectors for the 5Ghz network.These antennas can be bought separately and are only required if you want to extendthe range in some way or do point to point bridging between APs. Many times, in abusiness you do want to extend or shape the wireless range, both for coverage andsecurity. In that case, you would want to investigate and use the external antennas.The Cisco Aironet 1242 AP offers the following: A, B, and G wireless protocols in the 2.4 and 5Ghz wireless ranges A long list of security protocols that you won’t find in consumer grade APs Intrusion Detection & Prevention Hardware assisted AES encryption Locking mounting bracket and a rugged NEMA metal case Compatibility with Cisco’s wireless management applications That Cisco IOS CLI look and feel that we are used to configuring (or a webbrowser interface if you so desire)You can find more specifics on these APs at the Cisco homepage for the Aironet 1242series.Configuring the 1242 Wireless APHere are the steps I took to get my wireless AP functioning on my network:1. Connect to power and LAN Ethernet2. AP obtains IP address from DHCP server. I went to my DHCP server and foundthe IP address that it had obtained:
1. Point your web browser to the AP. In my case, the DHCP-obtained IP addresswas 192.168.1.106. The default login (console or web) is Cisco and Cisco (notcisco and cisco) for the username & password. Here is what I saw:Notice how both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radios show to be “down”. On APs withversion 12.3(4)JA and above, the wireless radio is disabled by default and there is noSSID configured. This is for security reasons.Also, note on the menu selections for the interface that there are options for ExpressSetup and Express Security. If these are available, why not use them?1. Click on Express Set-up. Notice the changes I made in the following screen.Not all of these are required. I changed the AP’s name, set it to a static IP,changed the SNMP community string, and took the default of “Access Point”for both radios.
Next, I clicked Apply. I was redirected to the new IP address of the AP and I had tologin again.1. Next, I clicked on Express Security and set the SSID, the SSID to be broadcast,and 40bit WEP encryption with a static key (basic I know but just an example).
1. Still, there are two important things left to do- change the admin passwordand enable the radios. To enable the radios, I clicked in Network Interfaces,on the left. In my case, I was only using the 2.4Ghz radio so I clickedon Radio0-802.11G, then on the Settings tab. I clicked on Enable for the radioand took all the other default settings.At the bottom of the page, I clicked Apply.1. Finally, let’s change the admin password so that no one else can get into ourAP. To do this, I clicked on Security on the left hand side, then Admin Access.From here, I changed the default Authentication password and clicked Apply. I
had to reauthenticate to the AP.Then, I created a new account called Admin with a securepassword, andRead-Write capability (clicked Apply). After that, I deleted the defaultCisco account (clicked Apply).Here is what is looked like:Note that we are still using a single global password for all users instead of individualusers having their own passwords. You may want to change this.1. At this point, I could see the wireless network from my Windows computerand was successfully able to connect to it using the configured WEP key. Mycomputer received a DHCP IP address from my DHCP server.
Wow! Configuration Successful!In this article, we learned what the Cisco 1242 wireless AP can do for you and how toconfigure one from scratch. We applied basic security settings to it, enabled thewireless radios, and successfully connected to it. The 1242AG is a powerfulbusiness-grade wireless AP and lots of features. While it costs much more than aconsumer grade wireless AP, I believe you will find the features are well worth it.Complete Cisco documentation for the Cisco AP1242 is available at:http://www.cisco.com/univercd/cc/td/doc/product/wireless/airo1240/index.htmMore Related Cisco Wireless AP Tips:General Questions Help You Realize Cisco Aironet 1250 Series Access PointGuide to Order Cisco Aironet 1230AG Series Access PointCisco Ushers in the Next Generation in Enterprise Class Wi-Fi ConnectivityWhat You Should Pay Attention to Cisco Aironet Access Point While Purchasing?Antenna Product Portfolio for Cisco Aironet 802.11n Access Points