Migrate Cisco standalone AP’s to a controller based solution

Earlier this week I had to migrate a lot of standalone AP to a brand new WLC. Like all the real IT guys and gals I hate it to do manual tasks more than 2 times in a row. So this is what I did to make this hell of a job suck a little less…

This customer had all standalone access-points in the management tool called “Kiwi CatTools” to pull a back-up of the running-configuration every night… nice 😀

0. Run a task to gather the base MAC address of all the access-points, you gonna need those later to figure out which access-point is which when all connect to the controller.
1. Upload the .tar file with to the TFTP directory in the “CatTools” directory in program files.
2. Create a new task to push the following lines of configuration to all the access-points:
copy tftp://x.x.x.x/load.tar flash:/
This step is gonna take a while depending of how many AP’s and the bandwidth between the AP’s and the controller. Also, in my case it was almost a DDOS attack on the server because of the many incoming connections. However the CatTools tftp deamon didn’t look really bothered.. 🙂
3. Install the software on the AP’s with a new task:
archive download-sw flash:/load.tar
This step is gonna take a while, at least 5 minutes.
4. Here comes the tricky part. If you want the access-points to join the controller based on a DHCP option, you have to make sure that all the static IPv4 information is flushed. This information is not removed with a simple “write erase” so watch out! I created a new task:
reload in 1
y
conf t
interface bvi xx
ip address dhcp

5. After the reload kicks in the access-point will use option 43 or one of the other options for discover the WLC and tries to join it.

Notes
– Make sure that you have the option “answer yes to questions” enabled in all of the tasks in CatTools.
– Repeat step 1 to 3 for all the different types access-points you have in your environment
– Pick the new access-points software carefully and close to the release on the WLC.

I love automation… 😀

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