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3850 as Wireless LAN Contoller


Is it possible to have a 3850 running as an MC act as a WLC for an entire campus? I have multiple 3850 stacks throughout our campus with 3700 APs connected to them. Each stack runs as a Mobility Controller. I would like to centralize the wireless management if possible by having one MC be the WLC and have the other 3850s act as mobility agents. 

4 Replies 4

Rasika Nayanajith
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if you use 3850 MC/MA, it is a distributed deployment. All CAPWAP tunnels from APs terminate on local MA switches.

Refer this presentation for an quick update on this technology & how you should design.

Advanced Enterprise Campus Design - Converged Access (2016 Las Vegas)

Is it possible to have a 3850 running as an MC act as a WLC for an entire campus?

There are limitations on scalability and it is not recommend to have a 3850 stack be MC for a entire campus. You need to have MC per few buildings or per building(if it is large building with large device count)

I have deployed it in my campus, only limited to 3 nearby buildings (60 AP, 8x3850MA stacks, and 5760 as MC)



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Thanks for the reply. I was leaning towards a similar setup as yours with having a 5760 act as the MC and just convert all of the 3850s to MAs. Seems to make the most sense. 


If I went with a WLC like a 5760 or a 5520, can the WLC hang off of one of my core switches? Or does the WLC have to terminate into all of the 3850s? I was thinking I could just convert the 3850s into MAs and the MAs would detect the WLC on the network. Let me know if this is a viable option.

I would suggest if you go with a 5520 and use it as centralized controllers. No converged access. This is the most simple & solid design that you can have as of today.

If you want to go ahead with converged access design, then do not buy a 5760 or 5520 as MC. The current recommended design  guide is use a 3850 stack as MC for a given building (or multiple buildings)

Note that 100 AP limits per MC when scaling. The given presentation talks about all these limitations



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