Friday, October 14, 2011

Cisco AP541

You would think that a product from Cisco would basically work, but the AP541N is proving this to be a bad assumption.  We have a pretty simple small network:

- 16 laptops.
- 2 printers, one of which is using a WET610N bridge to connect it's Ethernet, the other with built in WIFI.
- 20 Cisco SPA525G VIOP telephones.
- 2 Polycom VOIP speakerphones connected to the network via WET 610N bridges.
- a bunch of smartphones and ipads

No servers, no network devices other than the printers.  Really vanilla.We have 3 SSIDs configured on the AP541N, one for our IP phones, one for our computers and one for guests.  All are using WPA2 authentication.  Since this is a Dual Band WAP, but not a Dual Radio WAP, we have to choose between 2.4GHZ or 5GHZ and since some of our devices only support 2.4, we are set tp 2.4 with a fixes frequency (to see if auto was causing the problem).

We keep running into a problem in which the laptops lose the ability to connect to the printers and the only way to restore the connections is to reboot the AP541N (pull the plug).  Sometimes the laptops lose the network entirely and not just the printers and the SSIDs even vanish from the available networks  Possibly two different issues.  A little research showed that they are a pretty common issues.  The notes on the firmware describe a problem in which a feature called station isolation turns itself on, even though it is disabled.  This feature prevents communication between wifi devices.  The firmware notes indicate that this issue is fixed though.  Guess not.  Cisco support is not much help.  No resolutions or solutions are posted anywhere except to find a replacement product from another vendor.  Great.

So, for the time being, we continue to reboot the device once or twice a way whenever we lose connectivity to the printers, which seems to be the solution that everyone has implemented according to posts going back as far as 2010.

p.s. We are running the AP541N-K9-2.0(0) firmware.

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