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Can you connect non-cisco AP's to a Cisco WLC Controller

Present wireless topology:

One Cisco WLC4404 controller with fifty 1131 access points.

I have a client that is under budget constraints.  They are trying to expand their wireless coverage by using third party wireless bridges.  Is this even possible?


No, you are not able to use other none Cisco APs with a Cisco WLC. What is the nature of the project ...

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There are a number of "foreign AP" subcommands found in CLI but there are no official documentations as of yet.  For obvious reasons, Cisco will officially "not"support non-Cisco LAP to their WLC.


Many years ago, there was a company called Airespace that manufactured a wireless LAN controller. Years later, Cisco bought that company and assimilated the controller.  When Airespace first launched the controller, one of the feature-sets was to be able to add a "foreign AP" (third party).  This was primarily geared to the wireless LAN switch, which was a 12 or 24 port device that ran the controller code, but the APs would be plugged into the front switchports.  The "foreign AP" would be plugged into the switch/controller and would be added to WLAN 17, which was reserved for third-party APs.

Basically, it was a method to pipe all third-party APs to one VLAN interface via WLAN 17.

Additionally, you could perform some monitoring and channel configuration of Orinoco APs and Cisco 350 Aironet APs.

I believe the capability has been mostly deprecated, though the commands still exist in the controller code.


This may change very soon however as CAPWAP will allow for an open standard for AP management protocols. Don't be surprised to see this in 7.0 code for 5500 series controllers. I have no confirmation that is is coming but I do have strong suspicions.

Jeff, I added 5 points to you for bringing back some history from my past. I miss the good ole days of Airespace and the 4012 and 4024s. The world was a much simpler place.


The Airespace stuff was a cool first glimpse of the WLC paradigm!  It's been interesting to see the direction that Cisco has taken it.  I don't know about the promise of third-party AP support under CAPWAP...LWAPP was offered to the IEEE for an open standard option, but never took off...we will see what happens though!

Thanks for the points!


What do you mean "expand coverage with wireless bridges"?

Wireless bridges can be used to connect remote networks, not expand coverage for clients.

So you may not be able to add them to the controller, but you can use them without problems in combination with Cisco APs to provide Client Access.

You don't really need to control the bridges with the WLC in order for them to work.

Perhaps you can tell us more about your design so that we can assist you.

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