AP541N bridge with WPA2?

Unanswered Question
Aug 24th, 2010

Hey guys,

I purchased quite a few of these APs as they listed the ability to function in WPA2-PSK mode, but on initial configuration I see that this may only apply to standard AP mode?  Is there any way to configure WPA2-PSK on an AP541 to AP541 bridge?  Unfortunately, this is a must have for our client.  If not, does anybody have any ideas for an AP that would allow for this with an external antenna port?



I have this problem too.
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sethschmautz Mon, 08/30/2010 - 09:27

I'm guessing from the silence that nobody has tried to use the AP541 in this way or simply does not know the answer.  Does anybody have any experience with other APs that will provide a WPA2 encrypted wireless bridge connection?



sethschmautz Mon, 08/30/2010 - 13:12

I would LOVE to hear a definitive answer from a Cisco engineer on the following piece of information that I found on page 93 of the Administration manual (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/wireless/access_point/csbap/AP541N/administration/guide/AP541Nadmin.pdf) for the AP541N:

Encryption You can use no encryption, WEP, or WPA (PSK) on the WDS link.

If you are unconcerned about security issues on the WDS link,

you might decide not to set any type of encryption.

Alternatively, if you have security concerns you can choose

between Static WEP and WPA (PSK). In WPA (PSK) mode, the

access point uses WPA2-PSK with CCMP (AES) encryption

over the WDS link.

NOTE: To configure WPA-PSK on any WDS link, VAP0 of the

selected wireless radio must be configured for WPA-PSK or


This makes it sound like the AP541N encrypts all WDS link data at WPA2-PSK encryption level even though you really only select WPA (PSK) in the WDS Bridge tab of configuration page.  Am I reading this correctly?



MICHAEL JOHNSON Mon, 08/30/2010 - 15:41

Ours is running WPAv2 (as far as we can tell), but I too would love some confirmation from Cisco.

Note: We had very poor results when bridging the AP541 within the 2.4GHz spectrum. This was not an issue of interference, but instead appears to be an issue with the product. We tested in our lab at 2.4GHz and had lots of dropped sessions. Once we bridged in the 5GHz spectrum, the bridging performs great.

Just an FYI.

sethschmautz Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:11

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the reply.  As of this morning at 4:00am, I got the following from the Cisco tech that I have been working with:

Dear Mr. Schmautz,

I’ve consulted with engineers from developers team and they confirmed, that you are right – when you use WPA-PSK on WDS link, access point uses WPA2-PSK with CCMP (AES) encryption over the WDS link. Because WPA2 is nothing more than WPA with CCMP encryption.

Ivan   Bondar
Sr. Network Engineer

[email protected]
Russia: 8 1080 022 721 044
                 8 800 700 9981

+44 2 030274627

Sounds to me like that is a very definitive answer.  I will take your experience with 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz to heart.  Are you using any external omni directional antennas by any chance?




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