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Vinay Sharma
Rising star
Rising star





In this Document we will see how to add controllers to the Prime Infrastructure.


You can add controllers one at a time or in batches. To add controllers, follow these steps:


Step 1 Login Into Prime Infrastructure.




Choose Configure > Controllers.





Step 2 From the Select a command drop-down list, choose Add Controllers, and click Go. The Add Controller page appears.





Step 3 Choose one of the following:

If you want to add one controller or use commas to separate multiple controllers, leave the Add Format Type drop-down list at Device Info.


Using CSV Format




If you want to add multiple controllers by importing a CSV file, choose File from the Add Format Type drop-down list. The CSV file allows you to generate your own import file and add the devices you want.



  • When a controller is removed from the system, the associated access points are not removed automatically and therefore remain in the system. These disassociated access points must be removed manually.
  • If you are adding a controller into Prime Infrastructure across a GRE link using IPsec or a lower MTU link with multiple fragments, you might need to adjust the Maximum VarBinds per Get PDU and Maximum VarBinds per Set PDU. If it is set too high, the controller might fail to be added into Prime Infrastructure. To adjust the Maximum VarBinds per Get PDU or Maximum VarBinds per Set PDU, do the following: Stop Prime Infrastructure, choose Administration > Settings > SNMP Settings, and edit the Maximum VarBinds per Get PDU and Maximum VarBinds per Set PDU values to 50 or lower.
  • If you reduce the Maximum VarBinds per Get PDU or Maximum VarBinds per Set PDU value, applying the configurations to the device might fail.


Step 4 If you chose Device Info, enter the IP address of the controller you want to add. If you want to add multiple controllers, use a comma between the string of IP addresses.




If a partial byte boundary is used and the IP address appears to be broadcast (without regard to the partial byte boundary), there is a limitation on adding the controllers into Prime Infrastructure. For example, cannot be added but can.

If you chose File, click Browse to find the location of the CSV file you want to import.

The first row of the CSV file is used to describe the columns included. The first row of the CSV file is used to describe the columns included. The IP Address column is mandatory. The following example shows a sample CSV file.



The CSV files can contain the following fields:


















You can also use Zip file format:




Step 5 Select the Verify Telnet/SSH Credentials check box if you want this controller to verify Telnet/SSH credentials. You might want to leave this unselected (or disabled) because of the substantial time it takes for discovery of the devices.

Note Enter SNMP parameters for the write access, if available. If you enter read-only access parameters, the controller is added but Prime Infrastructure is unable to modify the configuration and Prime Infrastructure can not be registered as a trap receiver on that Controller.
Step 6 Use the Version drop-down list to choose v1, v2, or v3.






Step 7 In the Retries text box, enter the number of times that attempts are made to discover the controller.

Step 8 Provide the client session timeout value in seconds. This determines the maximum amount of time allowed for a client before it is forced to reauthenticate.

Step 9 In the Community field, enter either public or private (for v1 and v2 only).


Note If you go back and later change the community mode, you must perform a refresh config for that controller.

Step 10 Choose None, HMAC-SHA, or HMAC-MD5 (for v3 only) for the authorization type.


Step 11 Enter the authorization password (for v3 only).

Step 12 Enter None, CBC-DES, or CFB-AES-128 (for v3 only) for the privacy type.

Step 13 Enter the privacy password (for v3 only).



Step 14 Enter the Telnet credentials information for the controller. If you chose the File option and added multiple controllers, the information applies to all specified controllers. If you added controllers from a CSV file, the username and password information is obtained from the CSV file.



Note The Telnet/SSH username must have sufficient privileges to execute commands in CLI templates.
The default username and password is admin.

Step 15 Enter the retries and timeout values. The default retries number is 3, and the default retry timeout is 1 minute.

Step 16 Click OK.


If you fail to add a device to Prime Infrastructure, and if the error message `Sparse table not supported' occurs, verify that Prime Infrastructure and WLC versions are compatible and retry. For information on compatible versions, see the following URL:


When a controller is added to Prime Infrastructure, Prime Infrastructure acts as a TRAP receiver and the following traps are enabled on the controller: 802.11 Disassociation, 802.11 Deauthentication, and 802.11 Authenticated.


To update the credentials of multiple controllers in a bulk, choose Bulk Update Controllers from the Select a command drop-down list.




The Bulk Update Controllers page appears. You can choose a CSV file. The CSV file contains a list of controllers to be updated, one controller per line. Each line is a comma separated list of controller attributes.



The first line describes the attributes included. The IP address attribute is mandatory. For details, see the Cisco Prime Prime Infrastructure Configuration Guide.


Note After adding a controller, it is placed temporarily in the Monitor > Unknown Devices page while Prime Infrastructure attempts to communicate with the controller that you have added.




Once communication with the controller has been successful, the controller moves from the Monitor > Unknown Devices page to the Monitor > Controllers page.







If Prime Infrastructure is unable to successfully communicate with a controller, it remains in the Monitor > Unknown Devices and an error condition an error message is displayed. To access the Unknown Devices page, choose Configure > Unknown Devices.




For More information, please check the Video





Cisco Prime Infrastructure Configuration Guide - Adding Controllers

Ping Zhou

Thank you for sharing this good stuff. May I know what tool you use to create the CSV for bulk import? Thanks!

Vinay Sharma
Rising star
Rising star

Hello Ping,

Normally Excel is used to create CSV file. I will check if I can find any other tool as well..


Vinay Sharma

mohammad saeed

Hi Vinay,


Many thanks for this explanation it's super! but do you have any Idea about v2.2 because I have it and I don't find controller under configure menu I am just confused how to add WLC to Cisco prime v2.2 and I have NCS license for 100 device.


Many thanks


Mohammad Saeed

Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Hi Mohammad,

There are two themes in the GUI. You must be at the default - Life cycle theme. WLC can be added by navigating under Inventory --> Network Devices --> you should see an option called 'add device'.

You can also change the theme to Classic by hovering the mouse beside your username on the top right corner. In Classic theme, you would see the options as described in this document.



Nice article, you can also use the API in Prime if you want to automate the process...



Hi Vinay.


Just to confirm, the controller IP address that needs to be configured in Prime is the WLC management interface and not the service-port ip address,right?

mohammad saeed

Hi Allan,


yes it's the management IP and it will works fine, I tried it and very interesting service specially when you make a heat map for your building!




Mohammad Saeed


thanks Mohammad.

Reason for asking is that I encountered a problem when the Prime is in the same subnet with the WLC Service Port. Prime talks to the WLC mgmt IP address, but WLC return traffic to Prime uses Service-Port IP since it is on the same subnet. /32 Static route workaround is not being accepted.


mohammad saeed

Hi Allan,


I don't know why you are connect Service port with the same subnet of PI, actually the  WLC SR is for management just if you loose your management port of WLC it means for emergency and I don't connect it with my network.


it's better to make PI interface with different network address and subnet.




Mohammad Saeed


Great Way to explain the process Vinay.


Thank you, really usefull.

Community Member

Hi Vinay,

Normally after we add WLC to Cisco Prime, will the AP that register with WLC automatically add to cisco prime as well ?

I have trouble when add WLC to cisco prime (successfully added), only 2 AP (from 25 AP) join controller show up in cisco prime. Is there anyway to check or correct this ?



mohammad saeed

Hi liveblong2u,

after you synchronize WLC with Cisco PI should see all APs registered in WLC! please check the APs if registered correctly with WLC, and check CDP option in WLC for each AP. 

Because I have WLC with 175 APs and I saw them all in Cisco PI


Mohammad Saeed



while this is an excellent guide for Prime 2.x, it is useless for Prime 3.x

Do you have similar guide for Prime 3.x, the process is completely different and there isn't a simple and direct link initiating the process like there was in Prime 2.x

I've done it before, but it happens so seldom I can't remember where Cisco buried the links to get to it.


- John

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