Need WiFi AP advice for a large office

Unanswered Question
Jul 27th, 2010

Hi,

I am considering upgrading our WiFi APs (old Aironet 1100 Series) from our headquarter offices (25 users on large areas).

I have contacted a Cisco sales rep and have been recommended the AP 3500 series with clean air and n technology.

A few days later I've found out, the 3500 series does not come on standalone version, meaning I would have to purchase an AP manager device (Wireless LAN controller). Is this true?

What other AP series/Model you guys can recommend to provide latest technology and speed to this large offices without the need of purchasing additional Cisco AP managers?

We will be using the AP for Data traffic from client computers, smart phones and voice traffic (7921G wifi phones).

Thanks

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Overall Rating: 3.4 (7 ratings)
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Leo Laohoo Tue, 07/27/2010 - 14:53

he 3500 series does not come on standalone version, meaning I would have to purchase an AP manager device (Wireless LAN controller). Is this true?

Yes.  Currently the 3500 series only has the controller-based IOS.  It is yet unknown if and when an autonomous IOS will be supported.

What other AP series/Model you guys can recommend to provide latest technology and speed to this large offices without the need of purchasing additional Cisco AP managers?

The latest-n-greatest that supports autonomous IOS would be the 1140.

Cisco Aironet 1140 Series Access Point

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps5678/ps10092/datasheet_c78-502793.html

Please don't forget to rate useful posts.  Thanks.

Kayle Miller Wed, 07/28/2010 - 05:56

Zeek,

     I completely agree with Lealaohoo. The 3500's are presently and most likely will only be a controller based product and as a result maybe cost prohibitive for you presently. As a result your best option is the 1140 Series access point alternatively you could use 1252's but for an indoor office environment the 1140's are a better, cleaner looking option.

     With all that in mind there is one thing to consider; is there a reason your staying with IOS Autonomous AP other than the price?? because the controller based solution drastically reducing overall management of the access points. So it might be worth weighing the benefits of a centralized configuration versus a distributed one.  If your unfamiliar with the controller based product line this is how it works.

     You configure your SSID's, Encryption, Radius, VLANs, etc on the centralized controller and connect it to your network and setup either a DNS Entry or Option 43 in DHCP. Now when you want to deploy and AP you simply unbox it and plug it into your network; it will get a DHCP address find the controller download it's code and configuration and start working. All AP's in a basic sense would be running the same code and configuration, when you make a change to the central config to changes on all the AP's..

     Unlike the Autonomous world where each AP is independent of one another, it's possible to configure 20 AP's and have 2 of them with different configs that cause you roaming or connectivity issues which makes it harder to troubleshoot.

Just my thoughts and things to consider.

Please rate useful posts.

Thanks,

Kayle

bmartin04 Mon, 08/16/2010 - 07:44

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Hi Kayle,

I don't have much experience with Cisco's wireless solutions and have some questions.  Let say you have a main office with a controller and several AP's.  Also there is a branch office with 1 or 2 AP's.  Yes it would be great to control all the AP's centrally, but what if there was a controller failure?  Will the AP's still fully function?  I’d prefer not to buy 2 controllers. 

Would REAP solve the issue of a downed point to point link between the main office and branch?  I don’t think this would help if the actual controller failed, correct?  I think the branch office would be a good spot for the Autonomous AP.

Thank you for your help,

Martin

Leo Laohoo Mon, 08/16/2010 - 18:35

Would REAP solve the issue of a downed point to point link between the main office and branch?

H-REAP would not solve if the WAN link between the office and the main office is down if you only have 1 link going out of the branch, however, H-REAP would solve your issue if your WLC goes down and your WAN link remains up ... on the proviso that you don't reboot your branch APs while the WLC is down.
bmartin04 Tue, 08/17/2010 - 13:10

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Thank you for your help.

I was also wondering if there would be a speed issue with using the 3500 with a 2100 controller?  Obviously its ports are only 10/100.  Can I get around this by hooking it up to a gig switch or does it still go through the controller?  Maybe there is an option not go through the controller except for management?

thank you,

Martin

Leo Laohoo Tue, 08/17/2010 - 14:48
Can I get around this by hooking it up to a gig switch or does it still go through the controller?

Same thing.  It's goes to a 10/100 port on the WLC.

At the end of the day, look at the volume of transactions from clients using the 3500.  If the volume is too much, say >5 per day, then talk to management and get at least a 4400.  Just let them know that the 2100 simply does not have enough grunt to support current and future applications and from the volume of clients.

Leo Laohoo Wed, 08/18/2010 - 15:53

would H-REAP with local switching solve the 10/100 issue if the AP was hooked up to a gig switch

Not 100% but it will give benefits to clients because all traffic will be sent to the local LAN.

Pairing a 3500 and a 2100 in a production environment is akin to you getting a car with a V12 engine but with a Fiat 350 transmission.

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