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Beginner

Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

We have 4 Cisco 4402 WLCs controlling about 100 AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 Access points. All of the controllers are running 7.0.235.3. We dont want to have replace all the APs (even though we should)so I was wondering which newer Cisco controllers will work with that AP model?

 

Anybody know this ?

 

Thanks

22 REPLIES 22
Hall of Fame Community Legend

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

You are NOT in a good spot. 

True, the controller and the AP are both End-of-Life.  Replacement is the only way.  

It would be irresponsible for me to recommend the 2504 even though the EoS announcement is imminent.  For an AP size of 100, the 3504 is the logical replacement for the 4402.  (WLC 2504 EoS/EoL announcement)

Next, because the 3504 will run only with 8.5.120.0 (and later), this firmware version doesn't support legacy 1242 AP.  (The 2504 can support firmware that will also support the 1242.)

Next, because the AP is not supported, you may have to upgrade the AP to the 2800 family.  

And finally, the current 1242 will happily operate at 15.4w PoE.  But not so for the 2800 as this model require PoE+ (30.0w).  

So there's a chance that you may also need to upgrade the switches to support PoE+.  

Like I said, your current situation is not a good one (budget wise).

Participant

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

^^ What he said.

 

Your estate is so old the only real way to progress is to rip it out and start again.  If budget is a concern, work with a decent Partner, they should be able to get you some (small!) trade in discounts for your old kit.  You could also look at using official refurb kit which will also save money.  For a modest estate like this you might also do well to compare the price / capabilities of both Cisco and Meraki.

 

Also, if you do rip it all out and start again, do a proper site survey.  Expectations about WiFi performance and the types / quantities of devices that use it, and the increased use of 5GHz, means that the design rules will have all changed since this was first put in.  Do not just put new APs where the old ones are and expect to get the best from it.

VIP Advocate

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

You could buy old (and used) 5508 WLC (which I do NOT recommend!) and run them for some more years. They are also soon EoL, but can still be ordered for some time:
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/wireless/5500-series-wireless-controllers/eos-eol-notice-c51-740221.html
Beginner

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

Thanks everyone for the replies. So I started talking to our Cisco partner. He recommended the 3504 for a controller. He also recommended AP-4800 as an access point replacement. Seeing as though I am using AIR-AP1242 Access points what would be a good replacement? Seems like he is trying to get me to buy something I might not need.

 

Opinions?

Hall of Fame Community Legend

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

What AP you'll need will depend on the requirement and the environment where it's going to be deployed.
Without knowing what you really require and the environment, 4800 is a bit excessive.
Participant

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

If all you want is ‘standard’ WiFi to do normal voice and data stuff, I’d go for a 2800. If you have mGig switches and want to push the boat out, 3800s. You’d only need 4800 if you were looking to do heavy duty location based type stuff. Also, the 4800 won’t even start shipping until June so you’d have a wait. If outright performance is less important than budget, you could also look at the 1800 range. These are slower (and cheaper!) than the 2800/3800, but will still be a LOT better than your existing APs.

 

As previously mentioned though, don’t just swap really old APs with really new ones. Do a proper survey, these days typically focusing heavily on 5GHz and considering contention ratios between APs and Users, and use the output from that Survey to inform how many APs you need and where.

 

Also be aware that the 2800/3800 APs need 802.3at PoE.

VIP Advocate

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

I agree, the new 4800 model is probably way overkill. It depends on your requirements actually. The AP4800 offers some new features, typically for large enterprises, which come at a cost. Here the info to the features: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/wireless/aironet-4800-access-points/index.html



It's main new feature is built-in hyperlocation. Something which doesn't run on it's own and is used for very specific use cases, like indoor wayfinding.



If you only need wireless access for clients with data and maybe voice, go for the 2800 model for best performance/price.


Beginner

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

100 AP is not a small setup, need more info for precise advice... can you please provide information about

* your enviroment (indoor/outdoor, education, industry, logistics, stadium, open office, offices with walls...)

* how many total users

* how is the density (number of users per AP, users per m²)

* positioning of AP (side wall, ceiling, hight of the AP)

* expected bandwith per user, required bandwith

* switch type (can they provide GBit/MulitiGig/PoE+)

* network topology to determine the type/number of required WLC

and of course, what's your budget.

 

Note to the suggested WLC, check out the compatibility matrix

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/wireless/compatibility/matrix/compatibility-matrix.html

 

The 1242 AP is supported up to 8.0 version. Which is before ac wave 2 generation (1800/2800/3800/4800 AP), so you need a hard cut to the new generation anyway once you introduce new AP at your site.

 

According to the compatibility matrix, the 3504 WLC requires 8.5 version, which will NOT support your 1242 AP.

 

One possibility to upgrade your site would be: Keep the existing WLC/AP running. Get new 3504/5520 WLC. Replace the old AP with current gen AP on the new WLC floor by floor.

 

VIP Advocate

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

Adding to this, if you configure (old style) mobility-groups, even roaming and RRM should work fine between your old and new generation.
Beginner

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

Ryo,

Some answers to your questions

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

100 AP is not a small setup, need more info for precise advice... can you please provide information about

* your enviroment (indoor/outdoor, education, industry, logistics, stadium, open office, offices with walls...)Environment is completely indoors. Fifty APs are spread out over five buildings which are linked with at least 1 gig single mode fiber (Most are 10 gig single mode). The majority of the APs are located in a large City Hall Built in the 30s so there is much concrete and brick to contend with. We got the original controller and APs secondhand from another City Department that was upgrading. I managed to get it to work with our HP POE+ switches. I have two ssids, one kiosk based that uses ACLs in the controller to keep outside users off my network and only using the internet connection. The other ssid is secure using WPA2/PSK that allows users into my network.   I can elaborate further if you want.

* how many total users

Kiosk - My dhcp server says 236 leases with a four hour lifetime

Secure - 91 leases with a 7 day lifetime

* how is the density (number of users per AP, users per m²)

Since I am sure the APs (although I have never proved this ) mostly cannot cover each other because of the physical environment and AP placement it is hard to tell. I am going to guest the lions share of users is in public areas of City Hall where the public pick up leases.

* positioning of AP (side wall, ceiling, hight of the AP)

This is a mix of ceiling mounts and data cabs and sidewalls. Some of the ceiling mounts are about 15 feet off the ground. I dont look forward to replacing those ones :)

* expected bandwith per user, required bandwith

Much as I can get :)

* switch type (can they provide GBit/MulitiGig/PoE+)

We use HP/Aruba POE+ switches exclusively

* network topology to determine the type/number of required WLC

One 4402 was covering almost 50 APs so I figure one 3504 should do the trick

and of course, what's your budget.

This I do not know. Never have.

Hall of Fame Community Legend

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

For wall mounted APs, we are currently using Oberon right-angle mounting brackets (HERE).  This is to ensure the APs are positioned correctly. 

The way the current deployment is described, 2800 will fit the bill.  You won't see any benefits using 3800 & 4800.  I don't see any benefits of using the 1800 either.  

If your switches are capable of providing up to 30w then you're fine to use 2800.  You won't need mGIG nor will you need to use the 2nd port.  

Beginner

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution


@ethutchinson wrote:

Environment is completely indoors. Fifty APs are spread out over five buildings which are linked with at least 1 gig single mode fiber (Most are 10 gig single mode). The majority of the APs are located in a large City Hall Built in the 30s so there is much concrete and brick to contend with. We got the original controller and APs secondhand from another City Department that was upgrading. I managed to get it to work with our HP POE+ switches.

[...]

Kiosk - My dhcp server says 236 leases with a four hour lifetime

Secure - 91 leases with a 7 day lifetime

OK, so you have no problem with the number of users and density, just with number of small rooms with tick wall blocking radio?

In this case I would go for 18xx series AP, 2800 only in some critical/representative areas. 3800 (2800 + expansion slot no use yet) and 4800 (+ extra radio for locating/security) are not necessary as long you don't use these features, WiFi performance is the same as 2800.

 

And feel free to run a radio analysis in your building, if not done so far, to determinate the actual required number of AP.

 

If you can get older hardware from other city department, check if you can get used 1700/2700/3700 series, they are not EoL yet and would fit your requirement too.

 

The 3504 WLC is fine, as long the technical limits like throughput fit your requirement

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/wireless/3504-wireless-controller/datasheet-c78-738484.html

 

Hall of Fame Master

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

The 3504 is the replacement for the 5508 and will work just fine. The 4800’s if the price is close to the 2800 or 3800 might be a good option but require 8.7. Sometimes they have discounts when there is new hardware.  Since your setup is old and the survey was probably done 10 years ago, you will have to add more access points and also look at your cabling.  Old construction is difficult and do require a dense deployment especially for 5Ghz. Listen to all the advice and write them down and go over them with your partner. A one to one swap is a bad idea and never works especially to provide a good stable wireless service. 

-Scott
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Beginner

Re: Looking to upgrade our Cisco Wireless solution

Thanks Scott and group for your assistance,

Now my thoughts turn to licensing. With the 4402 the licenses were built in to the chassis for up to 50 APs. If we go to the 3504 controller is the licensing done the same way? Or will I have to license in a separate/new way?

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