Thursday, August 13, 2009

AP Fallback

I've been reading the 802.11 Wireless LAN Fundamentals recently, just while traveling. It's not sinking in too well, really, but I'm slowly making some connections with real-world applications. They're few and far between, though. Studying the wireless physical layer isn't high on my priority of learning, but I guess it makes a good cornerstone...

A more pressing wireless question I've come up with is AP fallback mode. I would like all the APs on our network to be setup in Local mode so that they aren't overutilising their resources and creating a lot of heat in the process. However, because of our network configuration, we don't have backup WLCs in each location we have wireless deployed. So in order to get the APs to work properly in fallback mode, I think we're going to have to deploy them all in H-REAP.

Basically, I would like to keep the APs in Local mode unless they need to failover, in which case I'd like them in H-REAP. Since that's not possible, I have 2 options:

1. Keep the APs in Local mode 100% of the time. The drawback here is that when the APs failover, they tunnel all the traffic across our WAN to the closest WLC, but take up a lot of the bandwidth doing so. Also, the clients are forced to get IPs from a site across the WAN, which ultimately disrupts some of the applications they are able to access since they are hitting the firewalls with different IPs.

2. Keep the APs in H-REAP. This forces the APs to do the client authentication, association, etc., and forces them to use more resources thus giving less throughput to the clients. Plus, everything I'm reading says it isn't recommended except for remote sites where it's not cost effective to place a controller.

We had set everything to H-REAP. I think now, though, that we should have all APs deployed in Local mode and just recognize that if a controller fails, the clients won't have connectivity, or might not be able to access all their applications.

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