Click Play in the figure to view a demonstration of configuring a Cisco 3504 WLC with basic WLAN connectivity.
The topology and addressing scheme used for the videos and this topic are shown in the figure and the table. The access point (AP) is a controller-based AP as opposed to an autonomous AP. Recall that controller-based APs require no initial configuration and are often called lightweight APs (LAPs). LAPs use the Lightweight Access Point Protocol (LWAPP) to communicate with a WLAN controller (WLC). Controller-based APs are useful in situations where many APs are required in the network. As more APs are added, each AP is automatically configured and managed by the WLC.
The figure shows a wireless LAN controller (WLC) topology. PC-A is a RADIUS/SNMP Server connected to R1 on R1s F0/0 interface. PC-B is connected to S1 on S1s F0/6 port. R1 and S1 are connected together on R1s F0/1 interface and on S1s F0/5 interface. S1 is connected to a WLC on its F0/18 port. On S1s F0/1 port its connected to an access point, AP1. A laptop is wirelessly connected to AP1.
Log in to the WLC
Configuring a wireless LAN controller (WLC) is not that much different from configuring a wireless router. The big difference is that a WLC controls APs and provides more services and management capabilities, many of which are beyond the scope of this module.
Note: The figures in this topic that show the graphical user interface (GUI) and menus are from a Cisco 3504 Wireless Controller. However, other WLC models will have similar menus and features.
The figure shows the user logging into the WLC with credentials that were configured during initial setup.
The Network Summary page is a dashboard that provides a quick overview of the number of configured wireless networks, associated access points (APs), and active clients. You can also see the number of rogue access points and clients, as shown in the figure.
View AP Information
Click Access Points from the left menu to view an overall picture of the AP’s system information and performance, as shown in the next figure. The AP is using IP address 192.168.200.3. Because Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) is active on this network, the WLC knows that the AP is connected to the FastEthernet 0/1 port on the switch.
This AP in the topology is a Cisco Aironet 1815i which means you can use the command-line and a limited set of familiar IOS commands. In the example, the network administrator pinged the default gateway, pinged the WLC, and verified the wired interface.
AP1# ping 192.168.200.1
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 192.168.200.1, timeout is 2 seconds
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 1069812.242/1071814.785/1073817.215 ms
AP1# ping 192.168.200.254
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 192.168.200.254, timeout is 2 seconds
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 1055820.953/1057820.738/1059819.928 ms
AP1# show interface wired 0
wired0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 2C:4F:52:60:37:E8
inet addr:192.168.200.3 Bcast:192.168.200.255 Mask:255.255.255.255
UP BROADCAST RUNNING PROMISC MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:2478 errors:0 dropped:3 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:1494 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
RX bytes:207632 (202.7 KiB) TX bytes:300872 (293.8 KiB)
Most WLC will come with some basic settings and menus that users can quickly access to implement a variety of common configurations. However, as a network administrator, you will typically access the advanced settings. For the Cisco 3504 Wireless Controller, click Advanced in the upper right-hand corner to access the advanced Summary page, as shown in the figure. From here, you can access all the features of the WLC.
Configure a WLAN
Wireless LAN Controllers have ports and interfaces. Ports are the sockets for the physical connections to the wired network. They resemble switch ports. Interfaces are virtual. They are created in software and are very similar to VLAN interfaces. In fact, each interface that will carry traffic from a WLAN is configured on the WLC as a different VLAN. The Cisco 3504 WLC can support 150 access points and 4096 VLANs, however it only has five physical ports, as shown in the figure. This means that each physical port can support many APs and WLANs. The ports on the WLC are essentially trunk ports that can carry traffic from multiple VLANs to a switch for distribution to multiple APs. Each AP can support multiple WLANs.
Basic WLAN configuration on the WLC includes the following steps:
Create the WLAN
Apply and Enable the WLAN
Select the Interface
Secure the WLAN
Verify the WLAN is Operational
Monitor the WLAN
View Wireless Client Information
Click each step for more information and an example GUI.
In the figure, the administrator is creating a new WLAN that will use Wireless_LAN as the name and service set identifier (SSID). The ID is an arbitrary value that is used to identify the WLAN in display output on the WLC.
2. Apply and Enable the WLAN
After clicking Apply, the network administrator must enable the WLAN before it can be accessed by users, as shown in the figure. The Enable checkbox allows the network administrator to configure a variety of features for the WLAN, as well as additional WLANs, before enabling them for wireless client access. From here, the network administrator can configure a variety of settings for the WLAN including security, QoS, policies, and other advanced settings.
3. Select the Interface
When you create a WLAN, you must select the interface that will carry the WLAN traffic. The next figure shows the selection of an interface that has already been created on the WLC. We will learn how to create interfaces later in this module.
4. Secure the WLAN
Click the Security tab to access all the available options for securing the LAN. The network administrator wants to secure Layer 2 with WPA2-PSK. WPA2 and 802.1X are set by default. In the Layer 2 Security drop down box, verify that WPA+WPA2 is selected (not shown). Click PSK and enter the pre-shared key, as shown in the figure. Then click Apply. This will enable the WLAN with WPA2-PSK authentication. Wireless clients that know the pre-shared key can now associate and authenticate with the AP.
5. Verify the WLAN is Operational
Click WLANs in the menu on the left to view the newly configured WLAN. In the figure, you can verify that WLAN ID 1 is configured with Wireless_LAN as the name and SSID, it is enabled, and is using WPA2 PSK security.
6. Monitor the WLAN
Click the Monitor tab at the top to access the advanced Summary page again. Here you can see that the Wireless_LAN now has one client using its services, as shown in the figure.
7. View Wireless Client Details
Click Clients in the left menu to view more information about the clients connected to the WLAN, as shown in the figure. One client is attached to Wireless_LAN through AP1 and was given the IP address 192.168.5.2. DHCP services in this topology are provided by the router.
Packet Tracer – Configure a Basic WLAN on the WLC
In this lab, you will explore some of the features of a wireless LAN controller. You will create a new WLAN on the controller and implement security on that LAN. Then you will configure a wireless host to connect to the new WLAN through an AP that is under the control of the WLC. Finally, you will verify connectivity.
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