Access Points

New Contributor

AP 70 USB interface's future?

Can anyone from the Aruba team speak to the future usages of the AP 70's USB port? Reading articles like Jeff Smith's "WiSpy Makes RF Troubleshooting Affordable" (WiSpy is a USB device), seeing a slew of USB GPS receivers out on the market, and also looking down the road at options for adding on additional radios to current standing AP 70 units, it would seem like the USB port could potentially allow for a lot of expansion potential beyond the AP 70 acting as a mere AP/AM/pass-through traffic device.
In particular, here are some sample usages I could see as handy:
USB spectrum analyzer*: Could be used for temporary troubleshoots or permanent addition, also more cost effective than a full AP analyzer unit since you could re-use/move the USB analyzer around to different AP 70s where/when needed.
RFID tracking*
USB GPS receiver: Allows for more detailed location tracking and RF calibration since you could now tie an AP location to a earth-bound coordinate rather than just going off of 802.11 related statistics, e.g. An AP at x,y,z lat/long/alt sees other APs at x,y,z and SNR/RSSI is X between them, which can also aid in client location tracking.
Adding additional radios to the current AP units to support future 802.11 developments, or adding backward compatibility radios to solely support legacy clients while using the internal radios for higher speed clients (the Atheros AR5212 radio card used in both of the AP 70 radio slots is an A/B/G card according to the AP boot messages).
Note, the two USB usages marked with * are briefly mentioned in the AP 70 Installation Guide, but I haven't seen any specific plans called out for how these applications will be fullfilled.
Thanks for any and all information!
Aruba Employee
Aruba Employee

Re: AP 70 USB interface's future?

Just wanted to make sure we got this post answered. Today you can use the AP70 to connect a 3G modem under the remote networking branch of ArubaOS, but that needs to run on a different controller than your campus controller. You can find a description in this article:

Right now there isn't any formal support for the other items you've mentioned. We've done some work prototyping different uses of the USB port in our CTO labs and through some of the Aruba Labs projects. We're investigating some of the items such as spectrum.

I'd be interested in hearing more about how you would use the GPS connection. You're right, you might get a more accurate picture, assuming you can get a signal, but would you put one in every AP? Seems expensive to me but I'm always open to hearing about use cases.

I'm not sure what the RFID case is for USB, but you don't need to hang anything off the USB port of the AP to make this work. Take a look at the following page around our partnerships in this area:

Andy Logan, ACDX
Director, Strategic Account Solutions
Aruba Networks
Occasional Contributor II

Re: AP 70 USB interface's future?

I'd definitely be interested in the spectrum analysis, one of the projects on my to-do list for a while now has been to slap the ArubaLabs image on a 70 and try to get a WiSpy working with it remotely. That way, when a user has what I suspect to be an intermittent interference-related problem, I don't have to camp out in their office with my specan. I can just hook up the 70, leave it on their desk and kick back while monitoring them from my office.
New Contributor

Re: AP 70 USB interface's future?

We once set up a webcam on an AP70, using the OpenWRT Linux install. Now when there is suspicious Wi-Fi behavior in the area you can literally take a look to see who is there.

Another group also installed 'mote' sensor devices, which provide temperature, humidity, light level, sound level, and vibration. A motion sensor could also be a useful widget.
Contributor II

Re: AP 70 USB interface's future?

Any update on this?

Will we be ever able to use the USB port as storage for boot parameters, for example? Just like some industrial grade switches from Hirschmann that use such a port for easy provisioning on RMA replacements. An inexpensive USB stick could let L1 support replace dead AP without wasting expensive L2 resources for re-provisioning.
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