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wireless controller functionality of 3850 switch 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.

 

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 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.

 

Can somebody tell me how I can make this work?

 

 

EDIT: I didn't know if this would fit into wireless or LAN since it touches on both.  I posted the same question here: https://supportforums.cisco.com/discussion/12157626/3850-switch-wireless-controller-functionality-question

  • Security and Network Management
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
VIP Purple

Hi,Indeed you have got

Hi,

Indeed you have got conflicting information. Here are the some facts about this CA depoyment where it will help you to clarify you doubts.

1. If you want to use this Converged Access (CA), then your APs should directly connected to 3850/3650 access layer switches. yes that involve placing those into wiring closest.

2. In CA, there are two roles MA-Mobilty Agent & MC- Mobility controller, where MA is responsible for terminating CAPWAP & keep client database while MC is responsible for RRM, Inter-SPG Mobility, Licensing, etc. 

3. MA/MC can be in same switch stack for small branch, In your case MC-3850 can be in Data Centre, but MA-3850 or 3650 should be there in every wirering closet. But for a large campus network 5760/5508 MC at distribution layer would be the recommended solution (instead of 3850 as MC).

4. Once you use 3850 as MA, all APs connect to that switch has to terminate CAPWAP on that switch. You cannot register few APs to that 3850 & some other APs to another central controller like 5508,2504. It is all or nothing.

5. If you want 3850 connected AP to register or terminate CAPWAP to a central controller, you need to disable WLC functionality (by default it is disabled) using "no wireless management interface vlan x" command.

 

Below post may help you if you want to get start with 3850 as WLC

http://mrncciew.com/2013/09/29/getting-started-with-3850/

Here is a recent CiscoLive presentation about CA architecture, please go through it as it explain topic in detail. (if you interested you can watch the video of the above sesion from here)

 

HTH

Rasika

*** Pls rate all useful responses ****

1 REPLY
VIP Purple

Hi,Indeed you have got

Hi,

Indeed you have got conflicting information. Here are the some facts about this CA depoyment where it will help you to clarify you doubts.

1. If you want to use this Converged Access (CA), then your APs should directly connected to 3850/3650 access layer switches. yes that involve placing those into wiring closest.

2. In CA, there are two roles MA-Mobilty Agent & MC- Mobility controller, where MA is responsible for terminating CAPWAP & keep client database while MC is responsible for RRM, Inter-SPG Mobility, Licensing, etc. 

3. MA/MC can be in same switch stack for small branch, In your case MC-3850 can be in Data Centre, but MA-3850 or 3650 should be there in every wirering closet. But for a large campus network 5760/5508 MC at distribution layer would be the recommended solution (instead of 3850 as MC).

4. Once you use 3850 as MA, all APs connect to that switch has to terminate CAPWAP on that switch. You cannot register few APs to that 3850 & some other APs to another central controller like 5508,2504. It is all or nothing.

5. If you want 3850 connected AP to register or terminate CAPWAP to a central controller, you need to disable WLC functionality (by default it is disabled) using "no wireless management interface vlan x" command.

 

Below post may help you if you want to get start with 3850 as WLC

http://mrncciew.com/2013/09/29/getting-started-with-3850/

Here is a recent CiscoLive presentation about CA architecture, please go through it as it explain topic in detail. (if you interested you can watch the video of the above sesion from here)

 

HTH

Rasika

*** Pls rate all useful responses ****

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