A couple of days ago I bumped into an opportunity to setup Cisco Mobility Express for one of the clients. Cisco has enabled to accomplish a mobility solution which can hep you deploy wireless LAN networks and be able to manage WLAN with APs on the network acting as the controller. Here’s how Cisco describes it in layman’s terms –
“Mobility Express integrates wireless LAN (WLAN) controller functions into the Cisco Aironet 3800, 2800, 1850, 1830, 1815, 1560 and 1540 Series Access Points. As such, Mobility Express is the latest in a series of Cisco efforts to turn WLAN controllers into a software function that any network component can host. Cisco controller capabilities also can be housed in standalone appliances (Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers, or WLCs), Cisco switches, Cisco routers, a private cloud, and a public cloud.”
I started with first AP to be converted to mobility express. In my case I’ve used a Cisco 3800 indoor AP. You will either need a POE+ capable switch or a POE+ injector. In case you only have POE injector the configuration is still possible but radios will receive insufficient POE to power up and cannot test the solution. You can convert the AP to mobility express but radios won’t receive enough power to start up.
Also remember that – When trying to convert to Mobility Express Image the Access point must not join and existing WLC in your network
Download Mobility Express image from www.cisco.com. You will need a Cisco account and valid entitlement to download this image. Connect Console and Ethernet cables into their correct interface ports, Ethernet will also be used to power through the use of a Power injector. Plug Ethernet cable from network switch into data port of POE power injector unit and apply power to POE injector. Login to AP via console with username and password : Cisco
Check that the AP has been assigned a IP address from the DHCP server on your network. Identify that an IP address has been assigned to the AP. In my case I configured a DHCP on the switch and let the AP receive a newly assigned lease. Setup your TFTP server, (for this I will using Tftpd64) and browse to the folder that contains the Mobility Express image
In the Command line of the LAP enter the following to download and change the configuration to Mobility Express.
AP#ap-type mobility-express tftp://<TFTP Server IP>/<path to tar>/file
The transfer will now start and wait for it to complete. Once completed issue the command “reboot” on the AP to make sure that it starts extracting the file it has downloaded and apply the new mobility express software. Once the software is applied it will go through the CLI setup wizard.
enter “yes” to terminate the auto install
Enter your required configuration items in the config wizard.
Enter all the details with regards to the management interface IP, netmask, default gateway etc. Setup the SSID and provisioning. These settings can also be done at the later stage when you access the GUI. The AP will reboot with the settings.
I managed to add 3 APs in the network and complete the setup.