Back in the day, well not really that long ago let us just say 5 years ago. I was not a fan of the Cisco Configuration Professional Express. I had to create a few tweaks particularly with Java to just even make it work. It was so clunky which in a way I have no choice but to train myself to configure Cisco devices using the CLI.
As I was tinkering with a Cisco 887 VA-W which is a NBN capable router, if you live in Australia you’d understand its this fibre roll-out that happening replacing copper. I was configuring the access-point that is integrated within the router and I got reminded of the Aeronet AP I featured a few months ago, I decided to check out if I can configure it using CCP.
Alas! I got presented with CCP version 3.3 it was a huge improvement. No more playing around with Java though I had to make some minor CLI adjustments to access it.
Out of the box, 800 series routers have pre-setup dhcp configs, IPs and ACLs. I had to remove them first. I also have set-up a username/password with privilege 15 access.
In my lab, I had to configure vlan 1 to get its IP from my DHCP so I can access CCP from my PC. You always have that option to manually set the IP I just can’t be bothered manually assigning one to this device.
Once vlan 1 receives an IP, try pinging this IP from your PC and if you get an icmp response, open your favorite browser and type in the IP and you’ll be asked to enter the username & password which you created back in step 1. Then you’re in!
It is very easy to nativage, Basic Settings allows you to do configuration on the router like host name, domain ip even time zone, DNS and DHCP.
Interfaces and Connections page will of course allow you to configure the ports and IPs on the router. Just remember if you change the IP on VLAN 1 it would kick you out once changes have been made and would have to log back in using the new IP address assigned if this was the case.
Other pages are self-explanatory like Static Routing, Identity and Dashboard page. Let me jump into the page why I wanted to access CCP in the first place. The Wi-Fi page, for some reason using whatever browser, it would ask you to have the wireless portal access via a new browser tab.
Straight forward, just like how you configure any wifi router.
By clicking the Advance wireless access point configuration link it opens another browser which would give you another set of menus/options to configure your AP. The Express Security menu lets you create an SSID that uses a radius server for authentication.
By going to the Security menu > SSID Manager gives you more options for your AP.
Security menu > Server Manager allows you to configure the radius server that you intend to use for authentication, you can also setup backup radius servers including EAP authentication priority.
In conclusion, after not using Cisco Configuration Professional(CCP) for a while and now experiencing version 3.3 implores me to start using the routers GUI to configure the device. Let me make a disclaimer that at the time of this writing I have not completely configured any Cisco devices to be used in production using CCP as I would need to explore further. But definitely everything looks promising.