CISCO WLAN Deployment Models

An overview of different Cisco Wireless LAN [WLAN] Deployment Models.

Autonomous Deployment

  • Standalone Access Points are used for this deployment.
  • Access Points must have management IP address configured and connected as trunk link.

Centralized or Unified Wireless Deployment

  • Lightweight Access Points are used for this deployment.
  • Wireless LAN Controller[s] are needed.
  • Access Points still have unique management IP address and connected as as access link.
  • Layer 3 boundary for each data VLAN is handled at/or near the WLC.
  • CAPWAP tunnel between AP and WLC that is usually connected to Core Switch are used to carry multiple VLANs and WLANs.
  • Round-trip time [RTT] between AP and a controller should be less than 100ms to maintain wireless communication in near real-time.
  • Cisco unified WLC are meant for a large enterprise which can support up to 6000 APs.
Centralized Wireless Network

Cloud Wireless Deployment

  • WLC is deployed in private or public cloud environment.
  • WLC is deployed as Virtual Machine [VM].
  • vWLC supports up to 3000 APs.
Cloud-based Wireless Network

Embedded Wireless Deployment

  • WLC is embedded in Switch platform or hardware called embedded wireless.
  • Cost-effective because the WLC and switch are in the same hardware.
  • CAPWAP tunnel between AP and WLC connected to Access Switch are used to carry multiple VLANS and WLANs.
  • Embedded WLC supports up to 200 APs.
Embedded Wireless Network

Mobility Express WLC

  • WLC is moved to Access Layer and into Access Point level.
  • Access Points software run as a WLC.
  • Can be useful in small scale environments like small or multi-site branch locations.
  • Mobility Express WLC can support up to 100 APs.
Mobility Express Wireless Network


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