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Anonymous
N/A

Alternatives to Cisco 5760 WLC in Converged Access

Hi,

I cannot find confirmation of the recommended alternative WLC for the Converged Access (CUAN) solution since the Cisco 5760 WLC became end of sale. The Product migration options just say try one of the Wave 2 controllers but the CUAN documentation has not been updated to reflect the change in recommended products (still says 5760WLC).

My design highlight is as follows:

I want to build a CUAN network with Catalyst 3850/3650s at the access in MA role, using 2802i and 2802e APs (supporting CleanAir) and with a WLC at my HQ (or DC) to act as the MC role. I want users to be able to roam from AP to AP between a number of sites as some 'sites' are actually marine vessels, meaning that a user can associate with an AP at one ferry port, roam from there to another AP on a vessel (that goes between two ferry ports), then roam to another AP at the destination port - ideally a seamless wireless connection from end to end, also supporting guest wireless internet access, QoS and the ability to enforce policy and manage it from ISE and Prime.

The complexity is that the WAN connectivity for this roaming requirement will change as the user moves from one location to another, e.g.

  1. The initial connection from the AP group to the controller at the first site will be via a DMVPN via any available WAN transport such as ADSL, EFM or Fibre circuit.
  2. The client would then roam to another AP group on a vessel, which will use a DMVPN with multiple WAN transport options selected based on availability as the ferry moves from one ferry port to another - for example PTMP radio, cellular and potentially VSAT on some routes.
  3. The client would, at the destination, roam to another AP on land, at the destination ferry port, which again would be connecting back to a controller via any available transport such as ADSL, EFM or FIbre

My understanding is all of this is should possible in the reference architecture with careful SPG design, but I am unsure if this is something Cisco is still supporting or is moving away from?

My network requirements are challenging and specific, and it is not suited to Cisco DNA at this time. Therefore, I'm happy to go down the Converged Access route but only if it's still going to be supportable for the next 5+ years!

Any light the community can shed on this would be much appreciated!

[edit - just been advised that beyond IOS XE 16.3, CA is not supported on 3850/3650 series switches... hmmm]

Everyone's tags (3)
9 REPLIES
Hall of Fame Super Gold

just been advised that beyond

just been advised that beyond IOS XE 16.3, CA is not supported on 3850/3650 series switches

That is correct.  Starting from 16.3, 3650/3850 will no longer support CUWN.  

Cisco recently announced the Catalyst 9300, 9400 and 9500.  These new models will support CUWN 2.0.

9300 is going to be the direct replacement for the 3650 & 3850.

9400 is going to be the direct replacement for the entire 4K range. 

9500 is going to be the direct replacement for the entire 6K range, including 6840.

Protect your investment.  Talk to your local Cisco SE/AM about these new models.  

What is going to be new in

What is going to be new in CUWN 2.0 ?  So far all I have seen is that something new is coming, but no details.  I'd hate to be considering my options as to what I would buy right now.................

Anonymous
N/A

Had a look through the 9300

Had a look through the 9300 series and it does appear to support much of the same functionality of the Catalyst 3850 - I don't really understand the software subscription model yet (certainly makes no sense in CCW), I'll need to find a better source to read and understand how it's changed.

I'd really hope to be able to enable just the networking features as per the 3850 and have the optional SD-Access functionality enabled at a later time when the network I'm supporting is ready for it.

Regardless, I still need to figure out a suitable wireless solution as per the OP. Converged Access really made a lot of sense, I can't see why it was so problematic since the solution as described in the white paper was perfect in terms of reducing complexity of QoS, security policies etc. To see it ditched in only 3/4 years is disappointing.

Hall of Fame Super Gold

To see it ditched in only 3/4

To see it ditched in only 3/4 years is disappointing.

Cisco has ditched CUWN 1.0 but the new Catalyst 9K will re-introduce it back, dubbed "CUWN 2.0".  

I think the old "version" had (a lot of) problems with stability and "software parity" where the AireOS was years ahead in features compared to CUWN.  

CUWN 2.0 will have a new "lease in life", per se.  

Anonymous
N/A

Leo,

Leo,

Thanks - yes, let's hope that the IOS XE base and proven AireOS is the combination that is going to work for Cisco going forward. I really hoped that CA would still be viable since the distributed nature really makes good use of the investmement in redundancy/resiliency in LAN switching etc.

Hall of Fame Super Gold

In my opinion, AireOS doesn't

In my opinion, AireOS doesn't have long to go.  The main objective was to transition AireOS to Cisco IOS/IOS-XE but the CUWN team just weren't able to break the gap.  

As soon as CUWN 2.0 is able to stand up (even with crutches and hobbling), the end of AireOS will be announced.  I would hazard a guess that time would also coincide with the EoS of the 5520/8540 system.  

VIP Purple

My understanding is all of

My understanding is all of this is should possible in the reference architecture with careful SPG design, but I am unsure if this is something Cisco is still supporting or is moving away from?

Cisco already moved away from converged access. It is a dead technology. Do not proceed in that path for your design.

My network requirements are challenging and specific, and it is not suited to Cisco DNA at this time. Therefore, I'm happy to go down the Converged Access route but only if it's still going to be supportable for the next 5+ years!

There are no support for CA beyond 16.3 code. So not worth considering CA deployment at all. Have a look below CL session, you may get a feel about next iteration of CA (fabric enabled wireless or SDA-Wireless). As you already identified, it is too early to move on that direction for a complex project like what you got.

BRKEWN-2020 - Cisco SD-Access Wireless Integration (2017 Las Vegas)

I would suggest to think about AireOS based (5520 or 8540 depend on scale) if this need to be deployed within next 6-12 months.

HTH

Rasika

*** Pls rate all useful responses ***

Anonymous
N/A

Rasika,

Rasika,

Thanks for your input, much appreciated.

Do you have any comment on the WAN/IP transit complexities I have?

If I use DMVPN overlay network to route between hub and spoke subnets, do I have the flexibility in the centralized deployment scenario to tune keepalives / timers on the WLC/APs, to ensure that temporary loss of connectivity to the controller will still allow local WLAN connectivity to function accordingly?

I really need my design/configuration to be able to play nicely with variable connectivity between APs and WLCs until I can stabilise the WAN side of things.

VIP Purple

Hi Martin,

Hi Martin,

It is very difficult to say how it will work with given DMVPN scenarios (all depend on how good those back end internet services are)

I would use FlexConnect mode AP to avoid too much dependency on WAN and WLC for data traffic.

Best would be if you could have a proof of concept to see what obstacles you come across in each scenarios

HTH

Rasika

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