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Cisco Virtual Wireless Controller (vWLC) - Release 7.3

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vWLC Introduction

 

 

Untill 7.3 releases, all Wireless LAN controllers (WLC) ran on a dedicated hardware. For example we have 5500 Series, 2100 Series, 2000 series, WiSM on CAT6500 etc. The virtual wireless LAN controller (vWLC) is software that can run on hardware that is compliant with an industry standard virtualization infrastructure. Virtual wireless LAN controllers provide flexibility for users to select the hardware based on their requirement i.e. VMWare,ESx and ESXi 4.x & 5.x version. The Virtual Controllers are NOT expected to replace shipping hardware controllers.

 

Multiple advantage of using vWLC

 

1. Flexibility for the customer to select hardware based on their Requirement - So now the end user is not locked into single piece of hardware. We need to use VMware with specific requirements. Also make sure that we get the Hardware support checked from VMware site to run the Virtual controller without any issues. If the virtual controller is installed on a not supported platform, it may not work properly.

 

2. Reduces Cost, Space requirements and other overhead since multiple boxes can be replaced with a single hardware platform running multiple instances of controllers - This will save clients cost and they can run multiple controllers on this virtual machine. This can also save cost in data center.

 

3. Independent and mutually exclusive instances allows administrators to use multiple virtual controllers managing different campuses (or even managing multiple customer sites) using the same physical hardware -- The users can run multiple instances on single box. Another advantage is we can run redundancy between two vWLC on the same box.

 

Enable features provided by the virtualization software which includes High Availability (HA), ease of migration and fail over protection.

 

 

VM components relevant for vWLC - vSphere and vCenter Server

 

1. vSphere – vSphere is a virtualization infrastructure package from VMware., which includes ESX/ESXi hypervisor, vMotion, DRS, HA, Fault Tolerance and vSphere Distributed Switch. vSphere is like a stand alone client. This gives us the ability to create and connect to the virtual machine and make changes to the virtual machine.

 

2. vCenter Server – The VMware vCenter Server, formerly VMware VirtualCenter, provides a scalable and extensible platform that forms the foundation for virtualization management. vCenter server provides scalable way for the management of the platform. Another concept for vCenter is vMotion.

 

virtual-wlan-dg-01.gif

 

 

How it Works?

 

ESX / ESXi Hypervisor is a software component used in virtualization which allows multiple guest operating systems to run on a host computer all at the same time.

 

Hypervisors partition physical servers into multiple virtual machines. The hypervisor is going to control the physical disk access to the CPU which allows us to run virtualization. It also allows us to create multiple virtual machines on one machine but we cannot use hypervisor via console.

 

VMware ESX / ESXi hosts can't be managed directly from the console, and all the management of the base platform will be done via vSphere client or vCenter Server in order to access the console. This is required in case we need to adjust memory or disk size etc.

 

Virtual machines

 

Virtual Machines are the fundamental building blocks in a virtualized infrastructure. What virtual machine essentially does is, it creates software container and each software container will represent how we are going to create CPU. Every software container contain its own virtual (i.e., software-based) CPU, RAM hard disk and network NIC.

 

A virtual machine is a tightly isolated software container that can run its own operating systems and applications as if it were a physical computer. Which means on top of this virtual machine, the controller software will be running, in the similar way it does on the physical machine.

 

In Virtual machine, the vWLC software talks to hypervisor instead of the CPU. Now the hypervisor will check which CPU or disk needs to engaged for the request sent from controller software. A virtual machine behaves exactly like a physical computer and contain its own virtual (i.e., software-based) CPU, RAM hard disk and network interface card (NIC).

 

so the hypervisor is the interface between the physical box and virtual controller software.

 

Video Blog on Virtual Wireless Controller (vWLC)

pic.bmp

 

 

Virtual Controller Support

 

  • Platform: AIR-CTVM-K9
  • Hardware: Cisco UCS, UCS Express, HP and IBM servers. We need to make user we are running supported platform and verified from VMware site.
  • VMware OS: ESX/ESXi 4.x/5.x
  • FlexConnect Mode: Central and Local Switching. Only FlexConnect Central and Local Switching APs are supported, Local Mode AP will only join the controller but will not associate the clients. So once AP joins the controller we can change the mode from Local mode to Flexconnect mode.
  • Licensing: Node locked licenses to UDI (eval 60 days)
  • Max # of APs: 200
  • Max # of Clients: 3000
  • Maximum number of sites up to 200
  • Throughput performance up to 500 Mbps per virtual controller
  • Management with Cisco Prime Infrastructure 1.2 and above

 

Features Not Supported on vWLC

 

  • Data DTLS
  • Cisco 600 Series OfficeExtend Access Points
  • Wireless rate limiting (bandwidth contract)
  • Internal DHCP server
  • Access points in local mode
  • Mobility/guest anchor
  • Multicast-unicast mode
  • IPv6
  • PMIPv6
  • WGB
  • VideoStream
  • Controller High Availability
  • Outdoor mesh access points (Outdoor AP with FlexConnect mode will work)

 

 

Single Virtual Controller Resource Requirement

 

  • CPU: 1 virtual CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Disk Space: 8 GB
  • Network Interfaces: 2 or more virtual Network Interface cards (vNICs)

 

Virtual Networking

 

  • Network Interfaces: 2 or more virtual Network Interface cards (vNICs). VMware networking consists of virtual network interface cards (vNICs) of various types, the physical NICs on the hosts, and virtual switches to interconnect them.
  • Each virtual machine has one or more vNICs. These vNICs are connected to a virtual switch to provide network connectivity to the virtual machine.
  • The guest OS on the VM sees the vNICs as physical NICs. VMware can emulate several popular NIC types, so the guest OS can use standard device drivers for these vNICs.
  • The physical NICs on an VMware host are called virtual machine NICs (VMNICs), and are used as uplinks to the physical network infrastructure.
  • Virtual and physical NICs are all tied together by virtual switches.

 

Suggested Hardware Recommendations for Hosting Cisco Virtual Controllers

 

  • UCS R210-2121605W Rack Mount Server (2 RU):
  • 2 * Intel Xeon CPU X5670 @ 2.93 GHz
  • 16 G memory

 

  • IBM x3550 M3 Server:
  • 2 * Intel Xeon 5600 series processors with 4 cores each and each core capable of doing hyper threading which gives you 16 CPUs in total @3.6 GHz
  • 12G memory

 

  • ISR G2 Services Ready Engine (SRE) using UCS Express (Stretch goal):
  • SRE 700: Single Core Intel Core Duo 1.86 GHz with 4 GB memory
  • SRE 900: Dual Core Intel Core Duo 1.86 GHz with 4 GB memory (upgradable to 8 GB)

 

 

Rogue AP/Client Support

 

 

Controller Platform

Number of Rogue APs

Number of Rogue Clients

Cisco Virtual Wireless LAN Controller

800

1500

 

 

Controller Platform

Number of RFIDs Supported

Cisco Virtual Wireless LAN Controller

3000

 

 

Access Points Requirement

 

  • All 802.11n access points with required software version 7.3 are supported
  • Access points will be operating in FlexConnect mode only.
  • AP auto convert to FlexConnect is supported on controller.
  • New access points ordered will ship with 7.3 software from manufacturing unit.
  • Existing access Points must be upgraded to 7.3 software, before joining a virtual controller.*

 

vWLC Ports

 

The Virtual Controller will support a Console Port virtually which can be used to configure the device initially and manage the controller. Access to the virtual console port is obtained using these methods:

 

Accessible through vCenter / vSphere client using the vWLC VM’s console tab. Telnet to the port provided by the VMware (done during initial setup).

 

The Service Port is controlled by the Service-Port Interface and is reserved for out-of-band management of the controller, system recovery and maintenance in the event of a network failure.

 

Port 1 is used to connect to neighbor switch and will be used for communication with APs connected in the network. Unlike physical controllers, virtual controller supports only a single port. VM will maintain the mapping between physical ports and virtual ports. Any link aggregations are handled at physical ports using NIC teaming.

 

Reference

 

 

More Information

 

Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Configuration Guide, Release 7.3

Release Notes for Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers and Lightweight Access Points for Release 7.3.101.0

Virtual Wireless LAN Controller Deployment Guide

Wireless LAN Controller

Cisco 5500 Series Wireless Controllers Release and General Information

Cisco 8500 Series Wireless Controller Introduction

Comments
Enthusiast

I'm seeing conflicting information on hardware support.  Will Cisco support the vWLC in ESXi with a Dell server as host?

Rising star

Hello Paul,

Suggested Hardware Recommendations for Hosting Cisco Virtual Controllers

  • UCS R210-2121605W Rack Mount Server (2 RU):
    • 2 * Intel Xeon CPU X5670 @ 2.93 GHz
    • 16 G memory
  • IBM x3550 M3 Server:
    • 2 * Intel Xeon 5600 series processors with 4 cores each and each core capable of doing hyper threading which gives you 16 CPUs in total @3.6 GHz
    • 12G memory
  • ISR G2 Services Ready Engine (SRE) using UCS Express (Stretch goal):
    • SRE 700: Single Core Intel Core Duo 1.86 GHz with 4 GB memory
    • SRE 900: Dual Core Intel Core Duo 1.86 GHz with 4 GB memory (upgradable to 8 GB)

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps12723/products_tech_note09186a0080bd2d04.shtml#hardware

Cisco Employee

Link above is broken.  Here is the Virtual Wireless LAN Deployment Guide:

http://www.cisco.com/image/gif/paws/113677/virtual-wlan-dg-00.pdf

Beginner

Guys, do you know what exactly is this HA? Does this mean we can have two VMs with two virtual controllers, in redundant fashion, same mobility group and all?

"Enable features provided by the virtualization software which includes  High Availability (HA), ease of migration and fail over protection"

Beginner

I believe they are refering to leveraging the HA features of the virtual enviroment itself. Since it's a virtual appliance, you can use technologies such as vmotion.

Beginner

not supported:

Access points in local mode

Doesn't this mean all ap's that arn't sniffing, hreap, or monitoring are 'not supported'?

Beginner

Does anyone know whether 1242 APs are supported? The AP requirement section states '802.11n' APs.. 1242 does not meet this requirement (A/G only)?

Access Points Requirement

  • All 802.11n access points with required software version 7.3 are supported
  • Access points will be operating in FlexConnect mode only.
  • AP auto convert to FlexConnect is supported on controller.
  • New access points ordered will ship with 7.3 software from manufacturing unit.
  • Existing access Points must be upgraded to 7.3 software, before joining a virtual controller.*
Beginner

Looking to find out if this controller is supported on the B200 blades or the C200 UCS server. The above references have a focus on the R Series UCS and are fairly open with the IBM and HP spec based server will this run on a B200 or the C200 series if the the resources are available? Also is there a requirement for Physical NICs or can I just used the VNICS (Quantity 2) as described in the deployment guide and info above?

Beginner

Not sure if the 1242's are officially supported but they do work, as do the 1130's.

sdekooter wrote:

                       

Does anyone know whether 1242 APs are supported? The AP requirement section states '802.11n' APs.. 1242 does not meet this requirement (A/G only)?

Access Points Requirement

  • All 802.11n access points with required software version 7.3 are supported
  • Access points will be operating in FlexConnect mode only.
  • AP auto convert to FlexConnect is supported on controller.
  • New access points ordered will ship with 7.3 software from manufacturing unit.
  • Existing access Points must be upgraded to 7.3 software, before joining a virtual controller.*

                   
Enthusiast

Yes, AP 1242 is supported on virtual WLC. you can use "c1240-k9w7-tar.124-10b.JDA3" version.

Beginner

I'm confused by the network interface requirements.  Is Cisco asking that each VM host in the cluster have 2 dedicated physical ports for this VM?  Can you elaborate on this?

Hi, the image c1240-k9w7-tar.124-10b.JDA3 is an autonomous Image, and not work's with controller.

Also the last recovery LWAPP image downloadable from cisco site, is c1240-rcvk9w8-tar.124-10b.JDA.tar, that not work with Virtual Controller 7.3.

On the controller i can see error on join requesto from AP:

handshake with peer 192.168.102.50

*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:56:03.329: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer 192.168.102.50

*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:54:48.340: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer 192.168.102.50

*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:53:33.351: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer 192.168.102.50

*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:52:18.364: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLShandshake with peer 192.168.102.50
*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:56:03.329: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer 192.168.102.50
*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:54:48.340: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer 192.168.102.50
*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:53:33.351: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer 192.168.102.50
*spamApTask3: Apr 18 11:52:18.364: #DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:681 Failed to complete DTLS

Beginner

bertaale,

The 124-10b is not the latest image for the 1240. You need to click the drop down for  "all releases" select 12.4  and look for 124-25e.

I have tested the 124-25e image and it works fine

hello,

has anyone seen this message on the vwlc?

*DHCP Socket Task: May 06 13:34:44.514: #DHCP-3-DHCP_PKT_LOOPED: dhcp_proxy.c:3443 Received a DHCP packet sent by the controller itself possible network loop!

Community Member

Hi,

Is it possible to install vwlc on flexpod environment once they dont support VTP for Virtual Machines? If so, how can we do that?

Thanks in advance for your attention.

Regards

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