I just got a pair of Cisco APs and a WLC in order to play around for my CCNA Wireless certification. I'm having troubles connecting all 3 devices together. I believe I need a switch to connect them. In the WLC there are 2 ports which aren't Ethernet though (see picture):

Cisco Devices


  • Is it possible to connect the APs directly to the WLC?

  • If I need a switch, through which interface should I connect it?

2 Answers 2


You can connect each AP to the controller directly, because you only have two APs and you happen to have two distribution ports on the controller. If you wanted to connect more than two APs to your WLC4402 you would need a switch.

The ports that "are not ethernet" actually are ethernet, but you can't plug any cable directly into them. They're called SFP ports, and you must insert a transceiver into the port before it's usable. In your case you probably want to purchase a couple GLC-T copper transceivers so you can use CAT5/6 with a regular RJ-45 connector, although fiber transceivers are also supported by the controller. You could also buy only one SFP transciever and use it to connect the controller to an old switch if you happen to have one. From there you can connect <= 48 APs.

Have you read the quick start guide for the WLC? It has a lot of good info!


The WLC should connect to a switch via ethernet. Normally it is configured using a trunk so that you can have multiple VLANs: one for the WLC management address, and one or more for the various SSIDs the LWAPs will use.

The LWAPs will connect to switches closest to where they need to be, and they will get their addresses, and the address of the WLC, from DHCP (option 43 will give the LWAPs the IP address of the WLC).

enter image description here

  • Hi Ron, thanks for the clarification and the topology map.
    – gmoraleda
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 15:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.