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Tony Rosolek

Connect Remote Building with FlexConnect APs (Bridge/Mesh/WGB)

Hello world!

We are looking for a scalable and easy to manage solution, to connect a neighboring building (Building B) to the core network (Building A). There are no wires between these buildings and the connection must be wireless only. 

In Building B we need WiFi, which must be FlexConnect, because the WLC is far away and majority of SSIDs are locally bridged. 

And we need at least 3 LAN ports, for a phone and 1-2 computers which reside in different VLANs.

Building A has already an outdoor AP/antenna installed which is facing Building B. 
Building B has very high wall attenuation, therefore the WLAN signal from Building A is not received inside Building B. Therefore we definitely need and AP or antenna mounted outside the Building B. 


We would like to use same VLANs in both buildings, for APs, switches, phones, wired and wireless clients.

It would be good to manage all the configuration and software via a central Controller or Cisco Prime. 

What kind of solution would you recommend? Standalone Bridges, WGBs, Mesh, Mobility Express Bridges or is there something else?

We tested a solution based on Mesh, with the AP at building A acting as RAP and an AP at building B acting as MAP. To the MAP we connected a switch, which connects a regular FlexConnect AP, providing indoor coverage. Also Phones and computers can connect to this switch. The switch also provides PoE to the APs. 

Problem with this solution is that it needs a lot of hardware: 3 access points, external antennas, a PoE-Switch, to just connect 3-4 clients and a phone.

Also Mesh is not (yet) supported with new 91xx APs. And the native VLAN used by the APs cannot be used on the switch, because it is not bridged by the MAP, therefore we need additional VLANs, IP addresses, Gateway and DHCP scope.

As alternative I thought about solutions with a Tri-Radio or Flexible Radio AP, it could use the DART-Connector with external antenna to provide outdoor connectivity to Building A, and provide indoor 5 GHz coverage with the other radio. That could save one AP, but would limit indoor coverage to 5 GHz only. 
Unfortunately there seems to be no Cisco AP with multiple Switchports (like 702W and 9105AXW) AND external antenna connectors. Or is there something like this?

I would be happy if someone could provide an alternative solution or confirm that the MESH solution is the way to go. 

Thanks in advance!




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Hi Tony,

What about 9124AXE, E has 2 5GHz radios, this supports full mesh features (including mesh+flex). As per our SE this need minimum 17.6.X code, I did not test this yet as we are still waiting for these AP's to replace the 1572's. (more than 90 days now). Also this AP has one POE af capable port, so you can connect a 9105w may be or connect to a Catalyst micro switch (4 port switch).

Otherwise your solution mentioned above will be the perfect fit, I also had scenarios in the past where we used point to point bridge from another vendor to save cost.

Arshad Safrulla
Tony Rosolek

Hello Arshad, 

thank you for your helpful and fast reply!

Due to old APs (2702) we need to stick with version 17.3.x for while and cannot update to 17.6.x, therefore Mesh based on Catalyst 9100 APs is not an option (today). 

Best Regards

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