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Migrate WLC 4400 to 5500


Hi everybody:

l need change a wlc 4400 to 5500, but l don´t know what  l need back up, and how can I do to join the H Reap APs in the new 5500 WLC because all H Reap APs that l have, are not in the same city , and I understand if l want join AP in the new WLC l need to connect in the same network segment, is it rigth ??

In advance, thanks for your help.


8 Replies 8

Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

AP registration process essentially remains same irrespective of whether AP is in Local mode or H-REAP mode.

As long as all H-REAP APs have L3 access to WLC5500 (meaning they can ping the WLC 5500 management ip address), you can configure either a DNS entry for CISCO-CAPWAP-CONTROLLER.yourdomainname OR DHCP option 43 to inform the AP of WLC5500's management ip.

Refer to AP registration and DHCP option 43 docs listed below:

Nicolas Darchis
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

For the configuration :

-on command line take a "show run-config commands" and save the output

-on the web page, take a config backup by saving the config to tftp.

You'll then be able to restore the config if the 5508 runs the same version or alternatively you will still have the list of commands


I've just carried this out.

Download your configs file from the 4400 to a file make sure IOS is the same on both (with or

without encryption). Preferred without encryption.

If you attempt to upload the config to the 5508 you will see one of the following errors


The error via GUI = “Error while downloading the configuration file. Hint: Please specify the

encryption key if the file was encrypted” (Even when it isn’t)

The error via CLI (Cant remember exactly) was something about the Virtual Interface not being set.

(Good old CLI)!

As I always say GUI's for girls real men use CLI :-)

Add the following command in the config file prior to downloading to the new WLC:

config interface address virtual

Upload the same configs file to a 5508.

The new WLC accepted the config imported via CLI

All works fine.

But you will have an extra AP Manager interface in your 5500 configs that can be deleted if needed but will

not create any harm if left on the controller.”

Took us a while to figure that out

I was just migrating 2x 4402-25 to 2x 5508-50.

I booted the 5508's. Did the initial config with same IP´s, VLANs and all that was needed to finish the setup wizard.

Then TFTP upload from the existing 4402's to my PC TFTP server.

Crossover connected my PC to the 5508's service port. And copied the

config file via TFTP. The WLC automatically restored the config and rebooted automatically.

All config seems to be there. The AP Manager was just ignored. I was surprised how easy

this was. I was running code 7.0.116 on all WLC´s.

I am not ashamed that I used the GUI for the TFTP config upload


How long was your down time? I am going to do the same migration. I was thinking to tftp the config to 5508 from 4404 (running same code) but keep the interfaces shutdown on 5508. Then shutdown the interfaces on 4404 and bring up the 5508. The AP should automatically join the new WLC 5508.



I would think in you prep everything ahead of time and you make sure the 4400's and the 5508's are on the same code, then use the pre image download to your AP's (hopefully is not that old) your downtime should be 30 at most.

Sent from Cisco Technical Support iPhone App

*** Please rate helpful posts ***


plz follow the steps -

1. bring up both 5500  wlcs. plz make sure, there is no network issue. Both wlc shld be reachable from APs and old wlc.

2. 4400  and 5500 shld have same image otherwise  ap will again download the image once the join 5500.

3.  configure primary controller on the APs as 5500  (anyone u want). I would suggest you to  configure it on first few APs. if you do not see any issue then go for  the rest.

and also before moving all the APs, plz try to associate a client to  new  wlc and check that there is no  issue in accessing any services.

and also make sure that you have identical  configuration (wlan, vlan etc) on new wlc.

AP  will move to new WLCs and hope there  should not be any interruption of services.



please follw the link below:-

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