Help with basic questions about 2106 capabilities..

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Apr 23rd, 2008
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Hi there,

we are setting up a large residence & some exterior buildings with a wireless setup and a central windows server with active directory. Normally we deal with a single wireless access point but it is clear on this setup that we will be dealing with 8-10+ access points due to the size of the building we are dealing with. This has led me to research wireless controllers. I have been browsing Cisco documentation but have a few questions I was hoping to get clarification on:

- I understand the 2106 can only support 6 access points. Seeing that we need to support 10, can I run two 2106's side by side seamlessly (want to have one SSID throughout the area)?

- Can I run this setup without WCS software?

- Can i configure this so that wireless cleints are authenticated against their active directory account via Radius?

- Will this controller/access point solution enable users to "roam" with a laptop throughout the house without major disruption? I am dealing with very non-techie users so it needs to be hassle free.

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bbxie Wed, 04/23/2008 - 16:55
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1. yes, you can use two 2106 to controll those 10 APs

2. yes, you can use https://wlc's ip address to login to the 2106 and do the configuration

3. yes, just do some configuration in Radius server, for example if you use ACS appliance, you can configure external database and install a remote agent in your AD server

4. yes,just put the 2106 into same mobility group to support seamless roaming

tommytuna Wed, 04/23/2008 - 17:13
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With two 2106's - I assume I would have to manage and configure them separately? I suppose if we went with the larger 4000 series, it would be easier to manage?

With respect to radius, i'm somewhat new to Radius so what I was hoping is that I could use the Radius service built into windows server 2008, tie it into Active Directory so that users would have to only supply their AD Username/pass to get on the wireless. Is this possible?

tommytuna Wed, 04/23/2008 - 17:31
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I also just noticed the very affordable Cisco Mobility Express solution. It says you can run two units and support upto 10 Access points which would be perfect. Are there any major limitations I need to be aware of with this solution? Seems like a great compromise between simplicity of consumer solutions and enterprise features.

Scott Fella Wed, 04/23/2008 - 17:49
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Not too familiar with the Express Solution, but you can use a WLC4402-12 that will support 12 LWAP's. You can also use MS IAS as a radius server and tie that to AD.

tommytuna Wed, 04/23/2008 - 17:57
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yah i'm struggling with justifying the cost of the 4400 series. The express solution can be had for a quarter of the cost. Seems that you are tied to the 521 access points but the basic functionality seems to be there. Can someone else comment?

SJessulat_2 Thu, 04/24/2008 - 02:29
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I think one major point is, that with the 521 APs you cannot use external antennas.

Other advantages of the enterprise solution would be:

-Scalability, if you come to a point where you need more than 12 APs, you would have to migrate to an enterprise solution for proper roaming.

-Management, you have to use Cisco Configuration Assistant in order to configure the 526 Controller i think

-Security, the express-solution does not support ids, ips of any kind

But you have to decide if these features justify the price. Because the basic features are included like encryption, authentication, Voice-over-Wifi or even guest-access.

tommytuna Thu, 04/24/2008 - 04:10
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The lack of external antenna could be an issue. How strong is the signal from the 521s when compared to the linksys consumer grade stuff?

Scott Fella Thu, 04/24/2008 - 04:14
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You must look ata and compare the transmit power and radio sensitivity of both products. Don't believe that the consumer grade ap's will have the same output power as an enterprise grade ap.


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