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My organization is soon going to be deploying approximately 600 new Cisco 2602i access points in a CAPWAP deployment with several 5508 controllers.

This is an infrastructure refresh; currently we have a mix of older Cisco AP's using CAPWAP with several sets of WiSM controllers. Our current procedure for deploying new/replacement AP's is, to my understanding, the standard priming procedure as listed in this Cisco Support Forum document.

  • Connect new access point to the network at our desks
  • AP gets a DHCP address
  • DHCP Option 43 points AP to a controller
  • Log into NCS Prime and find the new AP
  • Change AP name and Primary/Secondary controller
  • Box AP back up and take to site for deployment

I know there are other options for initially getting the AP to talk to a controller, such as Over-the-Air-Provisioning or placing the AP into a Layer 2 VLAN with a controller. But these seem focused on just getting the AP connected to ANY controller, not priming it for a specific Primary/Secondary controller.

I would like to setup some sort of staging/prep area for pre-configuring the new access points, conducting inventory, tagging with asset tags, sorting AP by final deployment area, and so on.

In setting up this staging area, is there a better way to prime these AP's quickly and easily? Or are we already doing this in the most efficient manner?

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    Do you know a scripting language? – Mike Pennington Jul 31 '13 at 1:19
  • @MikePennington Yeah, but I'm no guru. Perl mostly with some ancient knowledge in Expect/TCL. – Brett Lykins Jul 31 '13 at 1:23
  • It has a console port... I would assume you could configure one for deployment without it ever connecting to the network. (copy and edit the config from one that's been setup) – Ricky Beam Jul 31 '13 at 5:23
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    @RickyBeam I believe you can't set any settings on a Lightweight AP via the Console port. See this Cisco Doc. It states "After you convert an access point to lightweight mode, the console port provides read-only access to the unit. " It could be wrong, or I could be mis-remembering. It has been a long time since I've tried to Console into one of the Lightweight AP's. I'll fire an AP up and test later today. – Brett Lykins Jul 31 '13 at 12:29
  • That is correct, you're unable to configure it through the console port in lightweight mode. You can enable some hidden commands but it isn't supported. – some_guy_long_gone Jul 31 '13 at 13:06
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I would like to setup some sort of staging/prep area for pre-configuring the new access points, conducting inventory, tagging with asset tags, sorting AP by final deployment area, and so on.

In setting up this staging area, is there a better way to prime these AP's quickly and easily? Or are we already doing this in the most efficient manner?

NOTE: I am assuming you're already familiar with loading MIBs on a Windows / Linux machine, and using snmpwalk / snmpset... if not, please let me know

I recently discovered how well you can manage Cisco's LWAPs through the AIRESPACE-WIRELESS-MIB, in fact I have mostly forsaken our WCS in favor of managing our LWAPs with the MIB (we have a couple hundred LWAPs spread across multiple WLCs at our facility).

Since you know Perl, you could write a loop to poll your WLCs for the new LWAPs; then the script reacts accordingly when it sees a new LWAP mac-address on a WLC.

Using SNMP to manage LWAPs has been helpful, since I can automatically react to changes in LWAP to WLC mappings, as well as when an AP drops offline or gets large error / user counts. I usually poll them all every 15 minutes and record who is on them, as well as recording what LWAPs are on each controller. The WLC is powerful, but I like building custom-reaction scripts and reports.

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    Mike, I can't believe I didn't think of using SNMP for this... I guess that's tunnel vision for you. :) I've previously used SNMP and Perl to pull reporting directly from the controllers, (via SNMP::info::Airespace), but for some reason I never thought about using SNMP for this. – Brett Lykins Jul 31 '13 at 14:48
  • I quit using perl several years ago, so I didn't know about the Airespace module, that's a useful pointer – Mike Pennington Jul 31 '13 at 15:03

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