3850 switch with wireless controller functionality question
We are looking at replacing our aging 3750 server room stack, and to implement a wireless controller to better manage our 11 APs and perhaps some new APs such as the 3700. At first it seemed the 3850 with integrated wireless controller was perfect for us. We could kill two birds with one stone. I’ve gotten a lot of conflicting information about its functionality, however.
One individual I talked to stated that the 3850 can only handle “Converged Access Mode” wireless controller functionality. In this mode, the AP’s CAPWAP tunnel can only be terminated by a directly connected 3850, or by a directly connected mobility agent that is directly connected to the 3850. This would require us to add MAs or replace switches in all our wiring closets as well. It was also mentioned that the WLC functionality is relatively new and is included for future support.
A second individual I talked to states the 3850 will work fine as a MC as long as I have at least a 2960 series switches to connect the APs to. I was told this is due to its limited layer 3 capabilities, and that’s good because we have 2960s in most of our wiring closets.
I was under the impression a WLC was to terminate CAPWAP tunnels, a layer 4 and up protocol that should be able to be shuttled around via VLANs or on our regular network without need for special equipment. I don’t see why I’m getting conflicting information, as it shouldn’t matter what device the AP actually connects to if it’s not using proprietary layer 2 protocols.
I understand the point of converged access is to make the routing decision earlier, but we have a relatively small network. I don’t mind if a few wireless clients have to make the trip all the way to the server room’s WLC just to get redirected back to the same room’s printer, for example. That’s how the 2504 series WLC works, but it doesn’t seem to have enough bandwidth to fully support 802.11ac clients.
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