Lightweight AP Models (Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers)

The lingo for the APs can be tricky, but overall it is simple. APs come in two types or groups. Simply put, one group requires a controller to operate, and the other group does not. The APs that do not require a controller to operate also utilize IOS as their operating system. The exception to this rule is Remote-Edge AP (REAP) and Hybrid Remote Edge Access Point (H-REAP), which are discussed in the 1030 Section of this topic. Table 2-1 summarizes the differences between lightweight and autonomous APs.

Table 2-1 Typical Naming Conventions Based on Wireless Technology

Lightweight

Autonomous

Thin

Thick

LWAPP/CAPWAP

IOS

Controller Based

Standalone

Airespace

Aironet

Cisco Aironet APs

Cisco Aironet APs provide secure, manageable, and reliable wireless connectivity with exceptional range and performance. Wi-Fi certified for interoperability with a variety of client devices, these APs support robust 802.11a/b/g connectivity for indoor and outdoor environments.

These lightweight APs—APs that have been converted to run LWAPP—operate with Cisco WLCs to address the security, deployment, management, and control issues facing large-scale enterprise wireless LANs (WLANs).

As key elements of the Cisco Unified Wireless Network—an integrated, end-to-end wired and wireless network solution—Cisco Aironet APs offer comprehensive capabilities, including the following:

■ Wireless voice over IP

■ Guest access

■ Wireless intrusion detection and intrusion prevention

■ Scalable Layer 3 roaming

■ Location services

Aironet 1250 Series

You can deploy existing wireless technologies with the confidence that your network investment will extend to support emerging and future wireless technologies. The Cisco Aironet 1250 Series AP is a modular platform designed to make field upgrades easy and to support various wireless capabilities.

The Aironet 1250 Series is the first enterprise-class AP to support the IEEE 802.11n draft 2.0 standard. These APs do the following:

■ Offer combined data rates of up to 600 Mbps to provide users with mobile access to high-bandwidth data, voice, and video applications regardless of their location. Keep in mind that the 1250 AP really only provides optimum performance data rate at approximately 300 Mbps.

■ Use multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology to provide reliable and predictable WLAN coverage.

■ Improve user experience for both existing 802.11a/b/g clients and new 802.11n clients.

The Aironet 1250 Series is part of the Cisco Unified Wireless Network, a comprehensive solution that unifies the wired and wireless network to accomplish these tasks:

■ Deliver a common set of services and applications

■ Provide a single experience for any mode of network connectivity

■ Offer simplified operational management

Aironet 1240 Series

Cisco Aironet 1240AG Series IEEE 802.11a/b/g APs deliver the versatility, high capacity, security, and enterprise-class features that WLAN customers demand. Designed specifically for challenging RF environments such as factories, warehouses, and large retail establishments, it has the versatility associated with connected antennas, a rugged metal enclosure, and a broad operating temperature range.

The Aironet 1240AG Series is available in three versions:

■ A lightweight version

■ An autonomous version that can be field-upgraded to lightweight operation

■ A single-band 802.11g version for use in regulatory domains that do not allow 802.11a/5 GHz operation

The product comes complete with all the mounting hardware necessary for a secure, rugged installation. The mounting bracket locks the AP as well as the Ethernet and console cables in place to prevent theft and tampering.

Aironet 1230 Series

The Cisco Aironet 1230AG Series delivers the versatility, high capacity, security, and enterprise-class features required in more challenging RF environments. It is designed for WLANs in rugged environments or installations that require specialized antennas, and it features dual-antenna connectors for extended range, coverage versatility, and more flexible installation options. The Cisco Aironet 1230AG Series combines antenna versatility with industry-leading transmit power, receives sensitivity, and delays spread for high mul-tipath and indoor environments, providing reliable performance and throughput for the most demanding requirements.

Aironet 1200 Series

The Cisco Aironet 1200 Series AP is a single-band lightweight or autonomous AP with dual diversity antenna connectors for challenging RF environments. It offers the same versatility, high capacity, security, and enterprise-class features demanded by industrial WLAN customers in a single-band 802.11g solution. The modular device provides the flexibility to field-upgrade to a dual-band 802.11a/g network by adding a CardBus-based 802.11a upgrade module that can be easily installed into Cisco Aironet 1200 Series APs originally configured for 802.11g. The device is available in either a lightweight version or an autonomous version that can be field-upgraded to lightweight operation.

Aironet 1100 Series

Extend security, reliability, and scalability to the WLAN with an integrated wired and wireless framework. The Cisco Aironet 1100 Series offers customers an easy-to-install, single-band 802.11b/g AP that features enterprise-class management, security, and scalability. The device is available in an autonomous or lightweight version and is ideal for deployment in offices and similar environments.

Aironet 1130AG Series

The Cisco Aironet 1130AG Series packages high capacity, high security, and enterprise-class features delivering WLAN access for a low total cost of ownership. Designed for WLAN coverage in offices and similar RF environments, this unobtrusive AP features integrated antennas and dual IEEE 802.11a/g radios for robust and predictable coverage, delivering a combined capacity of 108 Mbps. The competitively priced Cisco Aironet 1130AG Series is ready to install and easy to manage, reducing the cost of deployment and ongoing maintenance.

Aironet 1140N Series

The Cisco Aironet 1140N is the next generation dual-band AP targeting indoor, carpeted area RF applications that are typically found in the ideal office space. The primary function of the 1140N series AP is that it is a dual-band AP with integrated 802.11n radios and integrated antennas.

Aironet 1300 Series

The Cisco Aironet 1300 Series Outdoor AP/Bridge is a flexible platform with the capability of AP, bridge, and workgroup bridge functionality. The Cisco Aironet 1300 Series provides high speed and cost-effective wireless connectivity between multiple fixed or mobile networks and clients. Building a metropolitan area wireless infrastructure with the Cisco Aironet 1300 Series offers deployment personnel a flexible, easy-to-use solution that meets the security requirements of wide area networking professionals. Typical applications for the Aironet 1300 Series are as follows:

■ Network connections within a campus area

■ Outdoor infrastructure for mobile networks and users

■ Public access for outdoor areas

■ Temporary networks for portable or military operations

The Cisco Aironet 1300 Series supports the 802.11b/g standard—providing 54 Mbps data rates with a proven, secure technology. Cisco makes the maintenance and installation of the 1300 Series easy by integrating it with your wired network. Based on the Cisco IOS operating system, the Cisco Aironet 1300 Series has advanced features such as Fast Secure Layer 2 Roaming, QoS, and VLANs. This series has the following key benefits:

■ Configurable for AP, bridge, or workgroup bridge roles

■ Support for both point-to-point or point-to-multipoint configurations

■ Enhanced security mechanisms based on 802.1x standards

■ Ruggedized enclosure optimized for harsh outdoor environments with extended operating temperature range

■ Integrated or optional external antennas for deployment flexibility

Aironet 1400 Series

The Cisco Aironet 1400 Wireless Bridge creates a new benchmark for wireless bridging by providing a high-performance and feature-rich solution for connecting multiple LANs in a metropolitan area. Building a metropolitan area wireless infrastructure with the Cisco Aironet 1400 gives deployment personnel a flexible, easy-to-use solution that meets the security requirements of wide area networking professionals. Designed to be a cost-effective alternative to leased lines, it is engineered specifically for harsh outdoor environments.

The Cisco Aironet 1400 Wireless Bridge is the premier high-speed, high-performance outdoor bridging solution for line-of-sight applications, providing features such as these:

■ Support for both point-to-point or point-to-multipoint configurations

■ Industry-leading range and throughput, supporting data rates up to 54 Mbps

■ Enhanced security mechanisms based on 802.11 standards

■ Ruggedized enclosure optimized for harsh outdoor environments with extended operating temperature range

■ Models with integrated antennas or models with connectors (must purchase an antenna, which is sold separately) for flexibility in deployment

■ Designed specifically for ease-of-installation and operation

Aironet 1500 Series

Cisco Aironet 1500 Series lightweight outdoor mesh AP provides the security, manageability, reliability, and ease of deployment to create high-performance WLANs for outdoor wireless networks.

The Cisco Aironet 1500 Series operates with Cisco WLCs and Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) Software, centralizing key functions of WLANs to provide scalable management, security, and mobility that is seamless between indoor and outdoor deployments. Designed to support zero-configuration deployments, the Cisco Aironet 1500 Series easily and securely joins the mesh network and is available to manage and monitor the network through the controller and WCS graphical or command-line interfaces (CLI). Compliant with Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) and employing hardware-based Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption between wireless nodes, the Cisco Aironet 1500 Series provides end-to-end security.

Aironet 1520 Series

The Cisco Aironet 1520 Series wireless broadband platform is a high-performance outdoor wireless mesh product for a cost-effective, scalable, and secure deployment in outdoor environments such as municipalities, public safety environments, and oil and gas or other outdoor enterprises.

The Cisco Aironet 1520 Series delivers design innovation for radio versatility and provides flexibility for deploying wireless mesh networks in dynamic environments.

This platform has the following key features and benefits:

■ Versatile: Provides a platform that enables mobility regardless of the frequency band required, with universal slots that allow for rapid development and integration of radio technology

■ Extensible: Enables the broadband wireless infrastructure to easily and securely extend services to third-party devices such as IP cameras and automated meter readers in the harshest environmental conditions

■ Fortified: Provides the highest standard of security with a secure rugged enclosure and the Cisco Self-Defending Network architecture

The 1520 Series wireless broadband platform operates with Cisco WLAN controllers and Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) software, centralizing key functions of WLANs to provide scalable management, configuration, security, and transparent mobility between indoor and outdoor environments.

Airespace APs

This is the only portion of the topic referring to Airespace and the 1000 series APs. Cisco acquired the company in early 2005 and consolidated the product line into the Aironet series. The premise behind the Aironet wireless network was that the APs would be in a standalone mode. Airespace took a different approach and developed a smaller and cheaper AP, often referred to as a thin or lightweight AP, which relied on a controller to function. The Airespace product line did not need as much hardware because it had a controller performing the majority of the functionality for the APs. For instance, the Aironet APs had faster processors and more memory because they had more tasks to perform and had to operate as a standalone unit.

Cisco found out it was able to develop the best AP by taking the benefits of both AP product lines and merging them. In addition, Cisco had already sold large numbers of the standalone AP models and needed a way for existing wireless customers to take advantage of this new technology. The solution here was to provide a conversion method for existing wireless customers. For these customers, Cisco developed code and a conversion utility so people had the option of converting their wireless network to a controller base network without purchasing all new equipment. As far as hardware, existing customers only needed to purchase a controller and convert their old IOS APs, and they had the new controller-based wireless technology. The new technology worked out for everyone in the long run, but it was even better for customers who had the original IOS-based APs. These units ended up being the core AP that Cisco would market and support. They also supported H-REAP, whereas the 1000 series could support only REAP.

The 1000 series APs are supported up to the 4.2.x software train. The older 1000 series APs are also labeled as AS1200. The AS letters referred to the Airespace company prior to Cisco acquiring the company. This model line, which is almost identical to the 1000 series, is last supported in the 4.0.x train. With that said, this topic is going to briefly discuss the 1000 series; it will be the last reference to this series in the topic. However, this does not mean to stop reading here if you do have a wireless network with the 1000 series APs. The functionality will still apply up to the versions mentioned earlier. You will still benefit greatly from this material, and much of it is still applicable to your current setup.

1010 Series APs

The 1010 offers two internal antennas and is the basic entry-level AP offered. This AP with the internal antennas was strictly for indoor applications.

1020 Series APs

The 1020 AP has two internal antennas and two connectors for the use of external antennas. This allows placement of antennas in environments that were not possible with the 1010 AP. The AP with external antennas allowed indoor and outdoor access.

1030 Series APs

The 1030 AP has two internal antennas and two connectors for the use of external antennas. This allows placement of antennas in environments that were not possible with the 1010 AP. The AP with external antennas allowed indoor and outdoor access. This device is also capable of performing a feature known as REAP. The idea behind a REAP is that it can be placed at branch offices to communicate with centrally located WLAN controllers. The REAP transverses the WAN to get to the centrally located controller. When the WAN connection breaks, the AP is still up and operational to provide wireless services. However, this service has limitations, which will be discussed in the AP 1000 Series Limitations Section.

AP 1000 Series Functionality Differences

The main difference between the 1010 and the 1020 is that the 1020 comes with external antenna adapters, whereas the 1010 does not. The 1010 has to use the internal dual omnidirectional antennas that are built into the AP. The 1030 AP is comparable to the 1020 AP because it also contains external antenna adapters. The main difference between the 1020 and the 1030 is that the 1030 has the ability to perform REAP. This allows APs in remote offices or locations to remain active if the link to the controller goes down. REAP does have limitations, however, which is why H-REAP was developed.

AP 1000 Series Limitations

The main requirement for the 1000 series AP is that it must run on controller version 4.2 or earlier. The support as far as software ends with 4.2.

The 1030 AP has REAP, Remote Edge Capability; with this in mind, there are limitations as outlined in Table 2-2.

Table 2-2 shows the various REAP mode features.

Table 2-2 REAP Mode Features

REAP (Normal Mode)

REAP (Standalone Mode)

Protocols

IPv4

Yes

Yes

IPv6

Yes

Yes

All other protocols

Yes (only if client is also IP enabled)

Yes (only if client is also IP enabled)

IP Proxy ARP

No

No

WLAN

Number of SSIDs1

16

1 (the first one)

Dynamic channel assign-

Yes

No

ment

Dynamic power control

Yes

No

Dynamic load balancing

Yes

No

VLAN

Multiple interfaces

No

No

802.1Q support

No

No

WLAN Security

Rogue AP detection

Yes

No

Exclusion list

Yes

Yes (existing members only)

Peer-to-peer blocking

No

No

IDS2

Yes

No

Layer 2 Security

MAC authentication 802.1X

Yes Yes

No No

WEP (64/128/152bits)

Yes

Yes

WPA-PSK

Yes

Yes

WPA2-PSK

Yes

No

WPA-EAP

Yes

No

WPA2-EAP

Yes

No

1SSID = Service Set Identifier 2IDS = Intrusion Detection System

Table 2-2 REAP Mode Features 

REAP (Normal Mode)

REAP (Standalone Mode)

Layer 3 Security

Web authentication

No

No

IPsec

No

No

L2TP

No

No

VPN pass-through

No

No

Access control lists

No

No

QoS

QoS profiles

Yes

Yes

Downlink QoS (weighted

Yes

Yes

round-robin queues)

802.1p support

No

No

Per-user bandwidth con-

No

No

tracts

WMM

No

No

802.11e (future)

No

No

AAA QoS profile override

Yes

No

Mobility

Intra-subnet

Yes

Yes

Inter-subnet

No

No

DHCP

Internal DHCP server

No

No

External DHCP server

Yes

Yes

Topology

Direct connect (2006)

No

No

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