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Rising star

Catalyst 3650 IOS-XE Everest 16.5.1a - wireless functionality gone?

Saw that Everest 16.5.1a was released for Catalyst 3650/3850 series switches yesterday (30/05/2017).  Upgraded a 'lab' switch with IP Services license and on reboot all the wireless controller functionality has gone.  The global commands 'wireless', 'wlan' and 'ap' are not recognised.  Issuing the command 'show license right-to-use' also has the 'apcount' license missing (it had 50 previously on Denali 16.3.3).

Not a big deal on this switch as there is no wireless running directly on it, however it seems a big omission.  Does the code go through any testing or QA before its released......

EDIT:  Just noticed a line in the release notes:

Converged access is not supported beyond Cisco IOS XE Denali 16.3.x. The Converged Access Statement of Direction document provides more information about this and the migration path, going forward: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/catalyst-3850-series-switches/q-and-a-listing.html

There is nothing in the link about 'Converged Access Statement of Direction' so I guess thats yet to be uploaded to CCO?

I have a few customers that won't like this?  I thought Converged Access was a big thing?  Seems odd to depreciate it so quickly?

Andy

8 REPLIES 8
Beginner

The writing has been on the

The writing has been on the wall.  The current designs from Cisco show the use of a WLC and not Converged Access (CA).  You also have that in the AireOS controllers, the new mobility no longer supported acting as a MC for the CA MA's after what 8.2 or 8.3?.  Cisco had one IOS XE WLC; the 5760 and it was EOL'd and never saw 16.x code.  All new WLC's are the AireOS code and they have some pretty high-throughput units to cover 802.11ac Wave 2 AP's.

CA was a big thing but I don't think it has worked the way Cisco had planned and are now going back to the previous direction.  This latest release just makes it more clear that CA is not the path going forward.

I had opened a TAC case yesterday as the release notes were not up but the code was.  I heard rumors that wireless was being dropped; when I saw the release size I knew the rumors had to be true.  So it appears that 16.3.x is where CA deployments will need to stay.

Rising star

Wow.  I thought IOS was where

Wow.  I thought IOS was where wireless was going to go to be honest - whether it was converged or unified.  I was kind of half expecting some of the AireOS WLCs to get 'upgraded' to IOS like they did with the original autonomous access points (350's).  Hey ho, wrong again..

Just noticed the massive size difference in IOS XE images between 16.3.3 and 16.5.1a - 500MB vs 350MB...

HTTP authentication no longer seems to work in 16.5.1a - I guess its a bug as it worked previously.  Just messed around with the authentication settings for HTTP and whatever I configure doesn't work.

Andy

Beginner

Yeah, that is what I thought

Yeah, that is what I thought as well and what Cisco had envisioned.  The 5760 was released and touted as the first IOS XE WLC.  The 16.1.1 code was released for the 3650 and 3850 and the 5760 people were asking when they could expect to see it.  No word from Cisco until October of last year with the EOL announcement was issued.  Needless to say, 3.x is all that will ever run on it.  The 5760 was not that old either; the 5508 is far older and yet still supported.  Even the 2504 is still supported, for how long is unknown as there is now a 3504.  What does it run, well, they mention a 8.5 release so it is AireOS.

I have a 3850 at home and I'm glad I still have my 2504; time to blow the dust off of it.  Too bad that the 3504 doesn't have any SFP ports on it.  I might look into a 3504 though.

So welcome back AireOS.

The size different was probably very little to do with the GUI and CLI not having wireless but with the loss of the AP images from the code.  Of course the 3650 and 3850 product pages still mention the built-in wireless of them.  I wish Cisco would add new mobility to act as an MC back into AireOS.  I thought they removed it as they were trying to push people towards IOS XE WLC's.  It appears that was to get people not to use the built-in wireless.  IMO, the Cisco Wireless division needs to give some direction as to what their path is.  It seems every product generation is either a change of course or a reversal.  They went all in with ISO XE; get the 3650 and 3850 to handle the edge (MA) and then let a controller just be the MC core; the heavy lifting is moved from the core to the edge in the process.  Now they are going back to where they were before, you need a big WLC as that is where the heavy lifting is being performed and the switch at the edge is just for PoE.

Will Cisco be releasing new 3650 and 3850's without the wireless functions in them?  Surely removing the now unneeded hardware would provide a cheaper switch.

Highlighted
Beginner

Really wish they would

Really wish they would continue support on the 3850. With multigig interfaces having the WLC in the switch just makes sense for reasonably small deployments. I have a 3850 at home with 4 aps and it works great.I wouldnt want to roll out multigig aps and then have them all link up to a small wlc with 1 or 2 gig interfaces on it..

Beginner

I agree but Cisco apparently

I agree but Cisco apparently does not.  This is why they have the 3504; it has multigig interfaces on it or even a 10Gb interface on it.

CA is just not being supported on the Everest release.  You will still have it on the Denali at least up until they EOL 16.3.x.

Participant

Sure - there is still 16.3.x

Sure - there is still 16.3.x which seems to be overall, quite solid and I think will be around for some time yet.  But going forward the feature has been removed.

However the real takeaway from this change is that Cisco no longer see the Converged Access model as we know and as they have been marketing it, as the way forward for everyone.

I tried CA in a lab/nonprod environment and it was a disaster in terms of a brownfield deployment because I didn't have CA switches to connect to every single AP all at the same time.  It might be OK for a greenfield deployment but the transition from existing to new CA is a nightmare all for relatively little gain.  I had to keep my existing WLC anyway so I saved nothing, gained nothing, but added complexit, wasted time and it cost license fees.   FlexConnect works well for most people and CA just seemed and felt like a bad hack - although the concept sounded good.  Additionally CA code seemed to lag way behind that of the AireOS code in terms of features, AP support and the CA code seemed to be constantly in a state of catch-up.  I had to wait for switch firmware updates to pick up wireless features and new AP support, for example.  This meant the switching team were indirectly dictating what and when I could deploy a new generation AP.

In addition in a corporate environment as an engineer I then had a double blow of determining if an IOS-XE upgrade on my switch was also going to fix switch bugs but break my wireless environment.  This made switch firmware upgrades very high risk and the process for rolling back was messy because I would have had to roll back both.  (Yes there was talk about the capability of splitting out packages and being able to upgrade independently, but there hasn't been a single case where Cisco actually released separate packages to do this - so in my mind it was only ever marketing fluff).

In my view Cisco seem to have realised now that CA was a mistake and it won't take off.  Perhaps if they take a step back they may realise why and what the shortcomings were with it in terms of real world use cases.

What may work well is if they can integrate and decouple the wireless code from AireOS into the Cat3k, but as a VM.  Then we would get the best of both worlds and they would be onto what I think would be a winning idea.

Apparently there is something in the works going forward with regards to CA.  I am not privy to what it is, but whatever it is I hope they get it right this time.  The cat3k is a great platform with lots of capabilities but wireless to date has not been one of the more useful of them.

Beginner

From TAC:

From TAC:

The wireless feature has been fully removed in version 16.5.1a and is no longer supported.

Hall of Fame Community Legend

Converged access is not

Converged access is not supported beyond Cisco IOS XE Denali 16.3.x.

Contact your local Cisco AM/SE or PSS.  That's all I'm going to say.  *Cough*NDA*Cough*

If one is going to Cisco Live US 2017, pay close attention to the new models that will be announced. 

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