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9800 and 5508 RF Group

Level 1
Level 1

Hi All,


I am currently planning a migration from a Cisco 5508 WLC with 2800/3800 series APs to a 9800 with 9100 series APs. We are looking to install the new 9100 APs in parallel to the existing and then migrate a given area by disabling the 2800/3800 radios on the 5508 and then enabling the 9100 radios on the 9800.


We have been advised that as there will be a period of coexistence between the two controllers, and to avoid APs in neighboring areas to conflict with channels/power, that we should put the two controllers in an RF group.


I believe that this is possible as long as the 5508 is running version 8.5 or later. My plan will be to place the 9800 as the RF group leader and add the 5508 as a group member. Is there any issues with this? Will adding the 5508 as a group member cause any loss of service?

7 Replies 7



 - Ref :

 Note that the 5508 needs at minimum. Should work for the rest, (you may review this document further)

-- Each morning when I wake up and look into the mirror I always say ' Why am I so brilliant ? '
    When the mirror will then always repond to me with ' The only thing that exceeds your brilliance is your beauty! '

The link that you provided refers to mobility which I not what I was looking for. I'm specifically looking at RF grouping between 9800 and 5508

What are you looking for? What Marce posted is the requirements for mobility which you also need. RF group is required no matter so that aps at the one site knows of all AP’s.
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Hi Scott,


I have rechecked our requirements and your right, mobility will also be required to support seamless roaming between old and new APs during the migration.


Taking mobility into account, will RF groups be automatically established when configuring mobility between the 9800 and 5508 or is this a separate configuration? Also will there be any disruption to the 5508 and its APs/clients during the establishment of mobility/RF groups?

You can use the same RF group name on both 5508 and 9800 but the RF master feature that's take care of setting power and channel plan is supported on 8.8 code and later and 5508 can't go beyond 8.5
The latest 5508 IRCM code is you can download it from here:

A few other notes:
1) Make sure all current APs have primary WLC set to AireOS. (Very important to avoid moving the APs to 9800 at some point without prior plan and schedule)
2) Create CAPWAP Mobility Group for seamless mobility during migration.
3) Match the AP Group name on AireOS and the 9800 RF tag and Policy tag.

4) Statically assign policy tag, site tag and RF tag for all APs ETH MAC Addresses on 9800 (this is to make sure when APs move to the 9800 they will start working and not joining the default tags which leads to not broadcasting the WLANs) this can be done by loading the CSV file from Configuration > Tags & Profiles > Tags > AP The CSV file should have the following columns: AP MAC Address, Policy Tag Name, Site Tag Name, RF Tag Name (you can leave the RF Tag name empty and the default one will be assigned to the APs).

5) AP migration should happen in chunks (floor or roaming domain)

6) Recommended 9800 code is 17.3.3 (as of today)


First, create a pilot/poc in test-area with 5 APs, Test all new WLANs, Roaming with intended clients on new wireless infra -This should uncover/eliminate most of the issues in production at a later time. And start with one location(IT) for production, get feedback and go from there.


Are both old and new infra going to be live side by side at the same time - I would think not as it would create a lot of issues.

//Have clear and instant roll-back plan, if there's an unprecedented failure. Ex: Have a way to instantly enable/disable APs at a certain location.


If there's a need to run both old and new wireless then you may need to run a small pilot/poc for that piece - what's supported as claimed by Cisco and what may or may not work in the environment per your expectations/requirements are two different things and we need to confirm the working.


by the way is it a hospital/healthcare environment. 

Level 1
Level 1

Watch out when RF Group configured between 5508 and 9800-L, the 5508 becomes RF Group Leader and will not assign channels to 9120s that has joined the 9800 for both Radios. You either have to manually assign channel for those or better avoid RF Group between the AireOS and 9800 WLC and just move APs in chunks as @Grendizer advised.

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