4400 Series Wireless LAN Controller Functionality

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Sep 16th, 2009
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I am thinking about buying a 4400 controller and converting my APs to lightweight to solve a major problem I have, but am unsure if I am reading the capabilities right.

I have a dozen symbol handhelds roaming around my outdoor facility that use the WLAN to connect an interactive telnet session to a VMS host. Right now, as the units roam, they disconnect from one AP and connect to another with the same IP, but it leaves the previous telnet session in limbo and they have to log on again. I have to repeatedly log off the orphaned sessions (session timeout doesn't work for other reasons). Am I reading the capabilities of the 4400 correctly that it says it maintains session(s) as the client roams? I would assume that this is the fact if it is designed to support VOIP over WLAN, but would like confirmation from someone who has the system installed.

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jeff.kish Wed, 09/16/2009 - 04:56
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Hi crooks,

You're correct that the lightweight system should be able to handle active telnet sessions over a roam. However, the autonomous system should also be handling this fine since you are not performing L3 roaming. What kind of authentication are you using on the APs? You might need to configure Cisco Fast Secure Roaming if you're using 802.1x authentication.

Before you go out and purchase a controller, I would contact your local Cisco rep and ask for a controller demo. They should be able to provide a small controller with several APs, and that way you can test things before spending all that cash to solve the issue.

ROBERT CROOKS Wed, 09/16/2009 - 06:11
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Appreciate the information and suggestion. Right now I'm not using any authentication as the symbol handhelds have bad internal batteries and the config doesn't survive a bettery removal.

I also am interested in the WLC ability to control and adjust the wireless spectrum as I often find APs occupying the same channel within an area and I have to manually adjust/reboot the AP, or that there is exterior interference.

On you suggestion,I'm going to contact my vendor and request a demo.

Leo Laohoo Thu, 09/17/2009 - 00:19
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I agree with Jeff. Ask for a site demo not just a WLC but with LWAP as well.

I, however, will recommend that you look into the WLC 5508 too. One of the feature I find useful in this model is the license upgrade for the support of the number of APs the WLC can support. With the 4400, if you purchased, say, the 12 AP support (WLC can support up to 12 APs) and decided that you should've purchased the 25, then your stuck with this. The 5508, on the other hand, you just purchase the license and off you go.

Robert.N.Barrett_2 Thu, 09/17/2009 - 10:30
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You might also want to think about a more intelligent Telnet server that can "remember" sessions and keep the active when a wireless client gets out of range. Don't know if this would work with VMS, but it's a good way to improve telnet services on wireless handhelds.



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