In this howto I want to show you how to create a Wireless Mesh network using Cisco AP’s and a Cisco Wireless LAN Controller. In this example I use a Cisco WLC with firmware 7.4 and Cisco 2600 series Access Points.
Some Mesh terminology first. When configuring a Mesh network you can configure your access points in 1 of 2 AP modes: Roof-Top AP (often called Root-AP) (RAP) or Mesh AP (MAP). The RAP will be the only access point that has a wired connection to the LAN. The MAP’s will be connected to other MAP’s or to the RAP using a wireless backhaul. In this example the 5 Ghz radio will be used for the backhaul. The backhaul is always encrypted using AES. The 2.4 Ghz range is used for leveraging wireless to end-users.
Second, Configure your WLC like the way you normally would, connect all access points to the LAN, create a WLAN and verify the AP’s are joined to the controller by logging in to the controller with a browser and navigate to the Wireless tab. You should see your access points here.
Now, let’s take a look at the steps needed for configuration of the wireless mesh network:
1. Configure AP Authentication:
If you skip this step and setup your access points as a bridge, they will not come back online again. Configuring AP Authentication can be done by adding the mac address of the AP’s to the controller’s database. This can be done in 2 ways: