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Cisco 1552E AP: Local Mode vs Bridge Mode Benefits

We recently upgraded our Cisco WLC 5508 from and older code 7.0 to 7.4.121.0 (as well as firmware upgrade). We have quite a few Cisco 1552E APs that aren't operating in a MESH fashion. They each have a wired uplink. They aren't located at any Branch location, so FlexConnect isn't needed. They are set up in Bridge Mode and each AP is set up as a RAP to use both bands. Each AP is tied to one VLAN only. From reading some Cisco documentation regarding the feature parity of Local Mode vs Bridge Mode in this code, as well as the benefits, I'm still unclear if we should convert these APs to Local Mode. One of the improvements I read, was an improved VoWLAN experience, but we have no customers using Voice over Wi-Fi. Another benefit mentioned was no mesh beacons would be sent out in Local Mode, but unclear really how much airtime can be cleaned up with this being eliminated or what kind of RF improvement this might provide. Our customer only uses these APs in an outdoor environment to provide our customer basic services such as web surfing and some streaming video. The other improvement I came across was painted with a broad brush, like improved rich media experience. Anyone, have any firsthand experience with any improvements that were achieved with this conversion, for the purpose these APs are used for?

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IMHO the better experience

IMHO the better experience with local mode is due lack of some processes that run with the MESH AP in background. saving the AP resources those extra processes, now the resources can be used for some thing else.

- In MESH mode if the connection to the WLC is lost on the wired side it will look for another MESH AP around to join the WLC via MESH. in Local mode this thing doesn't happen.

- In MESH mode you need usually to enable client access on backhaul if the clients wants to use 5 GHz band (and you have only one 5 GHz radio). in local mode the clients have normally access to 5 GHz band. that's by default.

- in MESH mode, if you have a neighbor MESH AP that doesn't belong to you, it may try sometimes to connect to your WLC via MESH and your WLC will be flooded with logs like authentication  failed for mac address x.x.x.x. In Local mode you don't have such things and no neighbor APs can try to connect to yours by default.

 

I think with the above 3 reasons I would use the local mode even there are no other benefits. :)
 

I was always wanting to use the outdoor APs in local mode if they're not part of MESH network but that wasn't unfortunately possible in 7.0.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Amjad

Rating useful replies is more useful than saying "Thank you"
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IMHO the better experience

IMHO the better experience with local mode is due lack of some processes that run with the MESH AP in background. saving the AP resources those extra processes, now the resources can be used for some thing else.

- In MESH mode if the connection to the WLC is lost on the wired side it will look for another MESH AP around to join the WLC via MESH. in Local mode this thing doesn't happen.

- In MESH mode you need usually to enable client access on backhaul if the clients wants to use 5 GHz band (and you have only one 5 GHz radio). in local mode the clients have normally access to 5 GHz band. that's by default.

- in MESH mode, if you have a neighbor MESH AP that doesn't belong to you, it may try sometimes to connect to your WLC via MESH and your WLC will be flooded with logs like authentication  failed for mac address x.x.x.x. In Local mode you don't have such things and no neighbor APs can try to connect to yours by default.

 

I think with the above 3 reasons I would use the local mode even there are no other benefits. :)
 

I was always wanting to use the outdoor APs in local mode if they're not part of MESH network but that wasn't unfortunately possible in 7.0.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Amjad

Rating useful replies is more useful than saying "Thank you"
New Member

Thanks, that is what I was

Thanks, that is what I was looking for.

We have two main wireless networks, one used for PTP and PTMP and another one that is a mix indoor/outdoor environment providing guest/morale wireless services (different SSID/WLC/Network). Because there are Cisco 1550 series APs used on both networks, I had noticed (as you stated)  log entries in both WLCs in regards to APs communicating with APs on the other network. I tried to eliminate that by configuring up BGNs and preferred parents in the PTP/PTMP network and BGNs for the outdoor APs in our other wireless network, but there was still traffic occurring, usually when SNRs got less than 20 dB (due to weather and such).

I converted all the 1552e APs on our morale wireless network yesterday from Bridge Mode to Local Mode. The process didn't take long for each AP (about 3 minutes). And essentially eliminated the issue with APs on opposite networks from trying to communicate with each other. I don't know roughly how much overhead this eliminated, by removing these APs from sending MESH beacons, but at least our logs are cleaner. Or how much airtime this cleared up, considering the amount of APs we have outdoors. Still testing to see what other benefits pan out, besides what you mentioned. 

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