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Lightweight AP Discovery Process for

Wireless LAN Controllers

Introduction on page 1
Layer 2 on page 1
Layer 3 attempts LWAPP WLAN controller discovery on page 2
Over-the-air provisioning (OTAP) on page 4
DNS discovery on page 4
Reference on page 5

Introduction

Access points (APs) must discover a controller before they can become an active part of the
network. The lightweight APs support the controller discovery processes.

These are the methods by which the AP discovers one or more controllers:

The AP issues a DHCP DISCOVER message in order to obtain an address.

Layer 2

attempts Lightweight Access Point Protocol (LWAPP) wireless LAN (WLAN) controller
discovery and Ethernet broadcast. This method is deprecated and supported only on older
Cisco AP1000 series. Current Cisco Aironet APs and wireless LAN controllers (WLCs) do
not support Layer 2.

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Lightweight AP Discovery Process for Wireless LAN Controllers

Layer 3 attempts LWAPP WLAN controller discovery

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Lightweight AP Discovery Process for Wireless LAN Controllers

LWAPP discovery broadcast on local subnet: This can be assisted across Layer 3-routed
boundaries with Cisco IOS commands:

ip helper-address

ip forward-protocol udp 12223 (LWAPP) or 5246 (Control and Provisioning of Wireless


Access Points [CAPWAP] as of version 5.2)

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Lightweight AP Discovery Process for Wireless LAN Controllers

Over-the-air provisioning (OTAP)

If this feature is enabled on the controller (Controller >General), all associated AP's transmit
wireless CAPWAP or LWAPP neighbor messages, and

the new APs receive the controller IP address from these messages. This feature is disabled
by default due to possible security issues and should be enabled only during deployment.
Locally stored controller IP address: This includes IP addresses of the controller that were
learned from a previously joined mobility group.

DHCP server discovery with option 43: This feature uses DHCP to provide controller IP
addresses to the AP. Cisco switches and routers support a DHCP server option that is
typically used for this capability. However, currently (as of version 5.2) controllers cannot
support this option.

DNS discovery

The AP can discover controllers through your Domain Name System (DNS) server. The
DNS server must be configured to return controller IP addresses in response to CISCO-
LWAPP-CONTROLLER.local domain.

4. Once the APs join the controller, the primary, secondary, and tertiary controllers of the
AP can be manually configured to join upon the next boot up, unless the master controller is
chosen (Controller > Advanced > Master Controller Mode).

Note that the AP will cycle through all discovery methods to compile a complete list of
controllers before selecting a WLC for joining. Also note that WLC version 5.2 changes the
default tunnel protocol from LWAPP to CAPWAP.

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Lightweight AP Discovery Process for Wireless LAN Controllers

Reference

DHCP OPTION 43 for Lightweight Cisco Aironet Access Points Configuration Example

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