Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cisco 3G Aircard Configuration

1. Introduction
      Wireless services offer a compelling alternative to traditional terrestrial services, and with the increasing expansion of the Service Provider offerings in the 3G space, this offers the network designer a new exciting paradigm in Wide Area Network design:
              • a cheap alternative to leased line or satellite services
              • a high-speed wireless option for backup connectivity
              • an alternative to physical wireline infrastructure
              • business continuity and disaster recovery alternatives
       3G is the third generation of mobile technology standards which allow Service Providers the ability to deliver High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) data capabilities.  3G services are commonly associated to cellular phone technology and individual user-based aircard services; however, Cisco offers an integrated 3G interface card which will allow a router to take advantage of 3G services such as those typically only available to a mobile, individual user.
      It should be noted that 3G service is a subscription-based service, and use of that service requires an account with the vendor/provider offering that service.
      The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119

2. Aircard Installation & Activation
      Cisco 3G aircards are part of the HWIC, or High-Speed WAN Interface Card family, and have a part number beginning with HWIC-3G-CDMA.  This is going to be followed by another letter, which will represent the vendor associated with the aircard you have chosen.  For the remainder of this document, we will be referencing the “-V” option, which is associated to the Verizon Wireless service.  It is also worth noting that the RECOMMENDED service for the company in North America is the Verizon Wireless aircard service.
The following parts are used to assist in this configuration guide:
          • Cisco 2811 Integrated Services Router
               o   12.4(15)T7 Software Code (c2800nm-advipservicesk9-mz.124-15.T7.bin) – it should be noted that the 3G cards only work with a select version of IOS software.
               o    256MB DRAM
               o    64MB Compact Flash
          • HWIC-3G-CDMA-V aircard
               o    3G-ANTM1919D antenna (x2) – two antennae are required to achieve maximum throughput

   2.1 Installation
           Since the 3G aircards are part of the HWIC family, they need to be installed in an HWIC slot.  (The appendix of this document includes a table of ISR routers and the number of HWIC slots in each.)  Before installation, record the ESN number off of the aircard; this will be used to request activation of the aircard.
           If you forget to record the ESN, don’t worry about removing the card to record it, as you can also retrieve the information from within the command line interface (CLI).
                    Router2811#sho cellular 0/0/0 hardware
                    Modem Firmware Version = p2005700
                    Modem Firmware built = 12-14-06
                    Hardware Version = 2.0
                    Electronic Serial Number (ESN) = 0x603C97F6
                    Preferred Roaming List (PRL) Version = 50783
                    Current Modem Temperature = 26 degrees Celsius

   2.1. Activation
           The next step will be to activate the aircard.  In order to activate the aircard, you need to be connected on the Verizon Wireless REV-A (1xRTT/EVDO) network.  You can verify this with the following command/output:

3.Configuring the Aircard.
      For the purposes of this document, a simple configuration is used to establish basic connectivity.  The appendix includes a slightly more detailed configuration option, including local DHCP services for end-user connectivity needs.
The following commands are the minimum required configuration to establish connectivity to the Verizon Wireless 3G / REV-A network.  <script name> ”” “ATDT#777” TIMEOUT <timeout value> CONNECT
              The chat script defines the ATDT commands for when the dialer is initiated.  For this document, we use the chat script name of ‘VZW’

         2.interface cellular <slot/wic/port>
              For the sake of this document, we are using slot 0, wic 0, and port 0 – or 0/0/0.

         3.ip address negotiated
              The Cellular interface MUST be configured to retrieve an IP address from the provider via PPP/IPCP negotiation.
         4.dialer in-band
               This enabled dial-on-demand routing, or DDR, and the use of a chat script.

         5.dialer idle-timeout <seconds>
              The ‘dialer idle-timeout’ is the amount of inactive time before the interface is disconnected.  A RECOMMENDED value is 300, or 5 minutes.  If you are on a pay-per-use plan, it would be good to set this value to something more like 30 seconds to reduce the length of time connected without any ‘interesting’ traffic.

         6.dialer string <string>
              The ‘dialer string’ is the number to call – here you will specify the name of the chat script.

         7.dialer group <number>
              Associates the Cellular interface with a dialer access group.

         8.ppp chap hostname <hostname>
              This will specify the wireless hostname to use when authenticating to the 3G network. This username is your aircard 10-digit phone number, appended with
‘’.  Or, to find your phone number with the proper sufix already appended, execute the command ‘show cellular x/x/x profile’.  The command output is shortened for brevity.
                     Router2811#sho cellular 0/0/0 network
                     Current Service = 1xEV-DO (Rev A) and 1xRTT

      Additionally, you need to have a radio signal of better than -90dBm, and better than -80dBm for maximum throughput.  You can verify the received signal strength indication (RSSI) with the following command/output:
                     Router2811#sho cellular 0/0/0 radio
                     1xRTT related info

                     Current RSSI = -44 dBm, ECIO = -4 dBm     
                     Note that a value of zero (0) indicates no signal.

       Some aircards may have been shipped with REV-A capabilities disabled.  To ensure that your aircard is REV-A capable, please execute the following commands to ensure that your aircard is REV-A enabled:
                     Router2811#config terminal
                     Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
                     Router2811(config)#service internal
                     Router2811#test cellular 0/0/0 cdma rev-a enable
                     EVDO Rev A enabled successfully

Your aircard is now activated and ready for configuration.


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