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Difference between Local mode and FlexConnect central switching

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Sep 25th, 2013
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I'm trying to understand why you'd use FlexConnect "Vlan based central switching", when you could simply use Local mode? Please can anyone explain the difference.


I understand you may have a branch environment, which required two WLANs, one local switched and one centrally switched, but apart from that scenario, why would you choose "Vlan based central switching"?


I've been using the following article to understand this topic:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/solutions/Enterprise/Mobility/emob73dg/ch7_HREA.html#wp1103053

Correct Answer by Scott Fella about 3 years 10 months ago

Here are the limitation when using FlexConnect compared to local mode


http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/wireless/controller/7.2/configuration/guide/cg_flexconnect.html#wp1241304


Thanks,

Scott

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Scott Fella Wed, 09/25/2013 - 13:33
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Guest WLAN that egress at the central HQ. Or when you have buildings that are connected with OptiMAN or GigaMAN and want to tunnel traffic back.

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c.andrew Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:18
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Thanks. But why wouldn't regular "local mode" work in these scenarios?

Scott Fella Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:20
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AP's stay up if they loose connection the the WLC in FlexConnect but not in local mode.

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c.andrew Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:27
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I appreciate your answers, but I must be missing something - please bear with me.


In the URL (linked in my original post), it states that with central auth and central switching, if the link dies:


"Central switched WLANs (above) no longer beacon or respond to probe requests when the FlexConnect AP is in standalone mode. Existing clients are disassociated."

Scott Fella Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:32
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That's using 802.1x. Per shared key will still keep clients. It comes down to loosing the wan. If you loose the wan, do you care about wireless.

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Scott Fella Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:21
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Single WLC and no redundancy, FlexConnect is a good option. You need to understand the limitations to APs running in FlexConnect than in local mode.

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c.andrew Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:50
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Thanks for your help Scott. I'm not in full agreement with all you say, but you have helped me figure it out.


You said the article was related only to 802.1x, but the article states that "802.1X is used in the example, but other mechanisms are equally applicable.".


The article you linked regarding FlexConnect groups also states that central switching is only valid in "connected mode", i.e., when the WAN is up.


However, I have found the following, which kind of explains the purpose of a central switched FlexConnect deployment


http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11635/products_tech_note09186a0080b7f141.shtml#central


Thanks again.

Scott Fella Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:57
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You asked about local mode vs FlexConnect... Local mode requires the AP and WLC to have connectivity between them.  FlexConnect doesn't.  So when a FlexConnect is operational, it can be Connected or Standalone.  There are limitations to FlexConnect mode when compared to local mode.  The decision on using Flexconnect is simple... is it a remote site and the link isn't a big pipe.  Central switching depends on if you want traffic to tunnel back or not.... if all resources has to come back to HQ, then you centrally switch, if they have services out at the sites, you locally switch.  Authentication is a small piece to this, because, you have to take into consideration if the WAN goes down.


Thanks,


Scott

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Scott Fella Wed, 09/25/2013 - 15:03
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Here are the limitation when using FlexConnect compared to local mode


http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/wireless/controller/7.2/configuration/guide/cg_flexconnect.html#wp1241304


Thanks,

Scott

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