Sonicpoint: How-toadmin | Sunday, January 30th, 2011 | 18 Comments »
SonicWALL comes with nifty little access points called Sonicpoint’s. They can either be plugged in directly to your SonicWALL TZ or NSA series firewalls. They are PoE capable which makes installation a breeze if plugging them into PoE(802.3af) capable switchports.
If you do not have PoE switchports, you will need their power injector which I am using in this blog.
What I’m going to show you are the quick steps to get one up and running so you can see how easily these devices can be configured in your existing network.
Take a straight-through Cat5 cable and plug it into the “Data In” port, and plug the other end into a spare port on your firewall. I will be using X6. Once done, you’ll get a solid green light for your LED Port. Also make sure that you have plugged in the actual power cord that comes with the injector. If done properly, you’ll have a solid green light next to your LED AC light.
Now take another straight-through cable and plug the “Data&Power Out” port into your Sonicpoint. I am using a Sonicpoint Ni in this lab.
You’ll need to now jump on your firewall and configure your X6 port (or the port you have chosen) to be part of the WLAN zone. Once you establish this, the Sonicpoint will begin to be detected via it’s SDP protocol.
As you can see here, I’m giving my wireless network 192.168.50.x range. I always like to include HTTPS and PING for management reasons. This is up to you to decide based on your company’s policy. As soon as the the Sonicpoint is detected, it is autmatically given an IP address within the DHCP scope of the WLAN network.
In my case, my Sonicpoint was given an IP address of 192.168.50.239. I always like to use PING to make sure my devices are up. (if PING is enable of course. I jump over to the diagnostics page to ping 192.168.50.239 and you can see that it is alive!
So what’s next?
Now that the Sonicpoint has fully established a connection. It will go through a series of checking its firmware and updating it if necessary. In my next series of screenshots below, you’ll see that it first checks for firmware, downloads if necessary, and then goes into operational state! You can find this page in the “Sonicpoints” category in your navigation menu.
Connecting to our new WLAN
Our assigned SSID is: sonicwall-542C, as you can see in the following screenshots, my laptop quickly discovers the new SSID that is being broadcasted. Clicking on this SSID allows me to connect right away, receive an IP address from the DHCP scope and ping Google! It’s that simple!
There’s a lot of advantages when using one centrally managed system to control access to your network. I’ve seen many networks where they’ve naturally hung a D-Link or Linksys off their main network for guest access. Then they start hanging more of these WAP’s for other types of network access and it grows out of control.
If you are in the position to replace these and go with one nice clean system, I would recommend it. You can take advantage of the features within your firewall such as: content filtering, anti-virus, anti-spyware, IPS for example. It’s also easier to provide guest access to your printer segment, assuming you have one.
You can daisy-chain these or spread them out and still be part of one large guest network in multiple locations! The advantages become clearer as you deploy multiple Sonicpoints in your networking environment.
I’ll go into more details in future blogs of how you can secure your WLAN and even connect them from multiple buildings without directly connecting to the firewall itself!