The Cisco 9104 AP is designed for a particular use case – generally that’s stadiums. The AP has a high-gain antenna with built in AP. There are some features we’ve not seen before on a Cisco AP – dynamically configurable antennas, with the advantage of a third radio.
Let’s take a look what makes this AP so well suited for high density environments.
If you're interested to read more on Stadium Wi-Fi we have a blog on that too!
There is no doubt that the Cisco 9104 is a hefty access point.
Kevin is modelling the AP for us and as you can see, it’s quite large.
This is something that needs to be taken into account for mounting the AP.
Considerations are twofold – both for aesthetics of the AP, as well as the physical strength of the brackets needed to support.
It is best to try and avoid mounting locations that could be subject to high winds (exposed locations in the stadium) as this can produce a high wind loading on the mounting bracket.
Survey & Installation
Placement of the AP in a stadium environment is paramount for excellent coverage and performance.
These surveys are essential components in our deployment process to ensure best results.
For the Pre-Deployment, we use a carbon fibre pole which is extra durable to cope with the weight of the AP during testing.
Testing out coverage, before finalising the location of the antennas is very important in a stadium - there are many obstructions and a multitude of mounting points, all of which should be taken into account when designing the final location for the AP.
The picture here shows the AP on its pole, while the pre-deployment survey is carried out - take care to ensure the pole is rated for the weight of the antenna and doesn't tip over!
Dynamic Configurable Antenna
The 9104 not only is a high gain antenna / AP combination, but the thing that sets is apart is the ability to reconfigure the antenna.
This is a pretty handy feature for a space which itself is reconfigurable – think of convention centres, sports fields and the like. The Cisco image below shows the option for the 9104 – as you can see the beams can be set to adjust across different beamwidths, as well as converging or diverging them:
The AP beamwidth can be changed from 25 to 80 degrees – this is pretty handy when you need to do a high-density installation.
The configurable antenna is actually built around the 9130 AP, and this is undertaken in the factory.
The pre-built package provides a neat unit, designed and built for either very high density, or some specific scenarios – an AP in the board room to support a lot of video conferencing for board meetings, for example.
Configuration of the AP
If the AP is being installed in an outdoor venue, take note of the optional solar cover, which needs to be bought as an extra item. This allows the unit to operate up to 50 degrees Celsius.
The built in AP is configured in the normal manner via the wireless LAN Controller, even though it's built into the antenna itself.
The 9104 AP is supported on the 9800 WLC, similar to any AP – however it has some additional configuration you can undertake, which determines the way in which the beams are configured:
Australian ACMA Approval
The AP offers a 2.4GHz radio, dual 5GHz radios and an IoT radio.
The 5GHz radios can use channels normally reserved for indoor used (U-NII-1) – you’ll need to get ACMA approval to use these in an outdoor setting, so worth noting this.
Cisco 9104 – Summary
The Cisco 9104 AP is a combination of stadium antenna and 9130 AP. The key aspect is the reconfigurable antenna.
Not only do we already have a high-gain antenna, we have the ability to change the coverage pattern to suit an event or changing space.
This is a great option to increase client density during when an area is reconfigured or provide coverage onto a pitch when its being used for event.
Hopefully this was a useful run through on the 9104 stadium antenna. Drop us a line if we can help with your stadium or high-density design.
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