Cisco 881W LWAPP problem

Cisco 881Got a new Cisco 881 router and I wanted to set up the internal 801Access Point to boot to  LWAPP on a newly purchased Cisco C881W.  LWAPP is Cisco’s propietary lightweight access point protocol, it requires a WLC (Cisco Wireless LAN Controller) to operate it.  Since we have many AP’s running this way at my place of business, it made sense to set it to run from the controller as opposed to autonomous mode.

So I entered the command

“service-module wlan-ap 0 boot image unified”

however, the router would not take it.


I searched Cisco’s site trying to find out what I missed.  I did a quick ‘show ver’ from the command line,  I realized that this router was running the ‘Advanced Security’ code.    (Look for the “License Level: advsecurity” toward the bottom of the ‘sh ver’ results.)   As it turns out, Advanced Security code does not support running the built in AP in LWAPP mode, you need the Advanced IP Services code to do that. 

After some research, I found that you can upgrade this license fairly inexpensively.   Also, Cisco allows you to demo the Advanced IP Services code for 60 days by running the command

 “license boot module c800 level advipservices”.


This will allow you to run the AP in LWAPP mode immediately, and apply the license within 60 days.

After running the command, verify it by running another ‘sh ver’  you should get something like this:


License Information for ‘c800’

License Level: advsecurity   Type: Permanent

Next reboot license Level: advipservices


Now reboot, run  the command “service-module wlan-ap 0 boot image unified” and enjoy your new LWAPP enabled 881!


Here are the SKU’s for upgrading the Cisco 881, 881W, 887V, 888, or IAD 881 from advanced security to advanced IP Services:

 SL-880-AIS=    Mailed PAK

L-880-AIS=     Electronically Delivered PAK



Here are a few links to help you find what you need:>

Build your own DIY IPChicken alternative

ipchickenIP Chicken ( is a website that will display the IP address of your computer, tablet or phone. While it is very popular, there are actually several useful websites out there that show you your IP address. This can come in handy when you are behind a firewall or router, and need to know the outside, NAT’d IP address. Just browse to the site (, or–pick your animal, there are lots out there) and up pops your ip address and browser information. Did you ever wonder how that works and if you  could ever build a cool website like that!??  Well, it’s a basic PHP script that pulls the information from your client when you are using your browser.


Here’s an example:

Display IP address:

More detailed host address:

Display browser info:
CCBot/2.0 (
Where you came from (if you clicked on a link to get here):
Page was directly requested


sweet, huh?
You can put some very simple code in your html site (or in this case WordPress) that makes your visitors IP address and information show on the page or post.
I used a WordPress plugin called “Shortcut Exec PHP” to allow the code to run in a post. You can also display it in a wordpress widget, but it requires an additional plugin.
Put the following code in your post:

ip address code

Here is a txt version for copying and pasting

Of course, you will want to tweak the code, add some relevant content  and make the site look somewhat interesting, but its a good start.  IP Chicken has owned the IP address finding market for a long time, and now that even Google will tell you your IP address (just type “ip address” in your search bar) the site may be losing some of it’s popularity.  Even so it would be hard to compete with the name-brand, but it’s a fun nerdy project anyway!

Find your IP address


How to find your Android’s IP address

os monitor
Every once in a while, you actually care what private IP address your Android phone picked up on your wireless network.  Why?  Well, you may be capturing packets at the network edge, troubleshooting some obscure problem, or testing network connectivity.  If you use an iphone, you most likely don’t need to know this because you don’t have network or connectivity problems…and even if you did, you’d most likely get an Android user to fix it….uh…ouch. I went there… (inject hint of sarcasm here).

Your private IP address differs from your public IP address.  Your public IP address can easily be found using, or the similar site   Your public IP address is the address you look like to a website you are visiting on the internet.

Your Private IP address is used locally, it is one of three networks which were defined by RFC-1918, 10.x.x.x, 172.16.x.x/20, and 192.168.x.x.  These addresses can not be routed on the internet, and so mere mortals get to use them for private networks. If you want to browse the internet, your Private IP address has to be NAT’ed to a Public IP address….but I digress.    If you really want to read more Network Address Translation… google it

So anyways…I recently needed to find my ip address, and instead of searching through the menus, I decided to do it the hard way and downloaded an App from the Play Store.   It’s called OS Monitor , and not only does it show you your IP address, it also shows you every TCP connection and state, every process that is running, cpu usage, battery usage, voltage, temperature, and everything else you could possibly want.


You can also do the easy thing and go to ‘settings’….click ‘WiFi’ then hit the menu button and choose ‘advanced’, but this is way more fun, and we’re all about having fun here.

While I was there, I also tried a couple other network tools, and found some really great Android network scanners. (Wow, I can still remember when you needed an install of NMAP to get network scans like that, now it’s a 10 second free download!).

So in the end, I was able to solve my network problem using my android and a network sniffer, and found some really cool tools in the process!  Hope this helps you out and puts your Android to work too.



Cisco Aironet wireless access point LED light not lit

cisco 3500eTypically the LED on Cisco Aironet wireless access points glows a soothing blue color if a client is associated, or a steady green if it is patiently waiting for someone to join it’s network and share its amazing WLANs.  Today I ran across an interesting problem that I hadn’t seen before.  One Cisco Aironet 3502e access point had an LED was not lit. Typically, this happens when an access point is not getting power.  It is usually caused when the AP is unplugged or has a power supply that is bad.  In this case, the access point was powered by power over ethernet (POE), and I could tell that it was getting power (the command ‘show power inline’ on a Cisco switch will tell you which switchport is supplying power and how many watts are being consumed). The switch also showed it’s status was ‘connected’ so I knew it had a valid ethernet link.  Hmmm..strange.   The Cisco Wireless Lan Controller (WLC) also showed the access point as booted up, connected and generally happy.   Why no LED?  Weird…. Then I shamefully fell into the old windows method of troubleshooting: “When all else fails, reboot!”  I disrupted the power to this remote access point by shutting down the switch interface and brought it back up, but it still had no LED light, not even during the reboot.  (At that point I may have uttered an obscenity under my breath, but don’t tell anyone.)  Since this access point was around 1000 miles away and over 20 feet off the ground, I didn’t really want to tell the end user to get on a lift and swap it out, and I didn’t want to tell them it was working fine as it obviously wasn’t from their perspective.    I did a little research and found there is a bug in Cisco’s access point code that causes the LED light to disable itself.  Nice.  Luckily the fix is easy, and it doesn’t require a software upgrade.  Just run the following command from the CLI of the Wireless Lan Controller (WLC).

wlc>config ap led-state enable all

That fixed it for me.  Happy blue and green lights for the end-user, another satisfied customer for me.    Hopefully you can get similar results if you run across the same problem in your wireless networking troubleshooting adventures!



Wireless Network Problems? Try these easy steps to improve signal!

OpenClips / Pixabay

Wireless network problems? Here are a few easy tips to make sure your wireless network is running great.

1.)  Is it really your WiFi?

Maybe the most difficult part of troubleshooting any technology problem is finding the root of the problem.  Is it really your WiFi or is it your broadband connection?  We can find out pretty easily if you have a device you can plug into your network router or cable/dsl modem.  First, find a laptop or desktop computer with a network cable, and plug the network cable into your modem or router (pick the device closest to your broadband device. Most of the time this device is provided by your ISP).   If you have trouble finding where to plug in to test, call your ISP and go through some troubleshooting with them, they are there to help and for things like this they are actually pretty well equipped to answer your questions! Once plugged in, point your browser to  to check your network upload  and download speed.  It should be reasonably close to what your ISP promised you when signing up for service.   If not, call the ISP and see if they can resolve the issue. If it is pretty close, try it from your wireless device and note the difference.  If it is slow, let’s check for wireless issues!  Read ON!

2.) Check your wireless channels

Wireless networks in the U.S. run on three primary, non-overlapping channels. 1, 6 and 11. WiFi ChannelsYou will see that you can choose other channels, but be aware that you will still potentially see interference from nearby channels. As you can see from the diagram, you want your wireless router to configured either on 1, 6 or 11, and you will want to know what wireless network channels are being used in your area so that you have a clean, solid signal. How do you know which channels are used? It’s easy. Have a smartphone? Check this out in Google Play or the app store: WiFiExplorer Download it and install. Here is a picture of the screen you will see. As you can see, my network “starbucks” is all alone on channel 6, and the neighbor’s is all along on channel 11. If another neighbor were on channel 9, you would see that it would overlap with both 6 and 11, an obvious bad choice. WifiExplorer is very easy to use, the higher the graph the stronger the signal.WiFiExplorer Try it out in the neighborhood and check out all the bad wireless choices (and unfortunate ssids name choices too…). If if the SSID is hidden, or someone nearby has a wireless device (video camera, etc) that doesn’t have an ssid and you are still having problems, you would need a full wifi network spectrum analyzer to get a good look into why it is happening, but this quick tip should be enough for the average home user.


3.) Check your WiFi coverage

Do you notice slowness or dropped signal in certain parts of your house or office? Probably the most common and overlooked wifi problem is the easiest to solve! Make sure your access point or wireless router is in a centralized location. Many people have their wireless router in a corner office somewhere in the basement, then try to connect to the wireless from the upstairs bedroom, usually the furthest possible place from the router! See if there is a way to extend your router to a centralized location. You may need to run a network cable or dsl line through a wall, the rafters, under a carpet or beside the baseboard. Sometimes you don’t have a choice where your wireless router is located. in cases like this, you can buy a [easyazon_link asin=”B004NBL9WK” locale=”US” new_window=”default” tag=”nrdos-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”yes”]wireless repeater[/easyazon_link] or some [easyazon_link asin=”B0034CQSKW” locale=”US” new_window=”default” tag=”nrdos-20″ add_to_cart=”no” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”yes”]high gain antennas[/easyazon_link]. Either way, you should get a better signal and your Ipad will thank you.
Nerd Alert: When checking your signal with WiFiExplorer, make sure your signal is as close to -40dbm as you can get! Use WiFiExplorer and check the signal in all areas. Again, the larger the number the worse the signal– anything over 75-80dbm is getting too weak. If you really want to nerd-out and impress your friends, download a copy of Ekahau Heatmapper (free software!), get an electronic copy of your floorplans (draw a rough copy and try the smartphone app camscanner to scan it in easily), and make a heatmap of your wireless network.wifi-heatmap I won’t guarantee your friends or family won’t check you in to a facility, but then they can use your awesome wireless signal in your home network to Skype you while you are spending quality time in your padded room.

4.) Upgrade your WiFi driver

A common problem on laptops is old wifi drivers.  Old drivers can cause lock-ups, weak signal, and other less-than-ideal wifi issues.  Update your driver by going to the device manufacturer website and look up your specific model, download and install.  Unfortunately, this is not quite as easy on tablets.

5.) I’m giving ‘er all she’s got, captain!

Some routers allow you to turn up the power on the wireless router.  If you are using DD-WRT (really awesome open source wireless router software), just turn it up!   Please be aware that cranking up the power on your router can decrease it’s life, and will void your warranty–but that’s how we roll at!

6.) Admit defeat

Yes, sometimes you have to cut your losses and just realize that technological devices need to be replaced every few years.  That router from 2003 may not be your best option for your brand new tablet that supports all the new wireless protocols.  Don’t be afraid to replace it with something a little newer, and while you are at it you might want to get rid of that 486sx beige bomber in your closet too.


Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Photosphere

photosphereIf you like Google Street View, you’ll love this! Google has new feature in it’s latest Android software called Photosphere.  It essentially allows your phone to take a 360 degree photo, you can even pan up and down–much like Street View. The only difference is, you are in charge of the camera, giving you (and anyone using Google Maps or Google Earth) access to photo awesomeness!   Although slated to come out in Android 4.3, it is also available early for those of us waiting for the next update.  The application is installed using a simple APK file, and does NOT require root!  I recently installed Photosphere on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, and how well it worked!   This file will work with many android devices, though I only personally tried it on my Note 2 running v. 4.1.2

If you haven’t seen Photosphere in action, check out this site:

No question, this was the greatest feature or app that I have put on my phone in a long time.   Now, along with Google Earth, we will be able to take that vacation we never could afford–all while sitting at the office! 🙂

Google Plus users can post photosphere images, there is a widget in google plus that allows viewers to get the full photosphere effect!

Browse here with your android and Download the install file here,

or visit the AndroidCentral sites below for more info.


Happy PhotoSphering!

P. S.   Post back with your awesome photosphere images here,  we would love to see them!







Linksys (Cisco) e2500 or n600 external antenna mod


linksys e2500Recently, I acquired a new linksys (Cisco)  e2500 (a.k.a n600) wireless router.  I wanted to use it to replace or mesh to an older D-link that I had in the basement of our four-level split.  I was having some issues with a weak signal from the dlink and wanted to fix that.  Also, I knew the E2500 was fully supported by DD-WRT, the open source, very flexible wireless software.

The first thing I tried was flashing ddwrt to the new wireless router, and setting it up as a bridged repeater.  That mode will associate to the current wireless ssid from the dlink, and broadcast its own ssid;  essentially extending the current network.   It was pretty easy to set up using instructions on the ddwrt site. Now I had two ssids I could use in my house,  one in the basement and one in the upstairs rooms.   Although it worked, I wasn’t happy with the performance.  The link between the two routers was pretty sketchy, and I would get occasional drops.

Linksys e2500

The Linksys e2500- great router for the money, but it has a fairly weak signal

So on to Plan B: Use the Linksys n600 (Cisco) E2500 in the basement and get better coverage around the house.

This plan also proved a total failure.  I needed something a little more powerful–even through with DD-WRT I could turn up the transmit power, the Linksys still did not give good enough coverage throughout the house.


Add four external antennas to the Linksys e2500!  There are kits available on ebay that will get you everything you need to crank the wireless coverage and satisfy your need for nerdification!

I bought a kit on ebay for about $24 that includes two 6db, two 7db and four pigtail connectors for this project.  It requires some soldering, and will allow you to extend your 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands.  If you are not nerdy enough to solder, order the two-antenna version (but it only will increase the 5GHz signal (A-band), not the 2.4 (b/g band).  So older wireless cards and older laptops may not benefit at all.

Opening the Linksys E2500

linksys e2500 warning

Yes, that’s right–I void warrantees. If you want to keep your warranty, don’t do this, or stop here and buy a $300 wireless router with better coverage.



1.) There are three screws on the bottom of the unit, flip it over.   The screws are located under the three rubber feet.  Remove all three screws and set them aside.






2.  Use a plastic wedge to pry the cover off.  I used a guitar pick, which really worked well.  I also had a small plastic ipod tool that came in handy as well.  Be careful not to damage anything, this is where patience and nerdyness meet.

inside of Linksys e2500

Ahh, finally, a look inside the linksys e2500.  Notice the fine tablecloth I am careful not to damage.