At Cisco Live London, Cisco unveiled Wired & Wireless convergence, along with its associated products, the Wireless LAN Controller 5760 and the Catalyst Switch 3850 with built-in Wireless Controller. While on the expo floor explaining the newly introduced ‘converged access’ to our customers, I had some interesting conversations that I thought might be cool to share with you. There may be some paraphrasing here, but if my conversation became a screenplay, it would have looked like this:
The Cisco Live! London expo show floor is throbbing with excitement, customers browse the many demos that are around the World of Solutions arena.
NAT, Wireless Controller 5760 Product Manager, stands at a demo booth with the new controller.
CUSTOMER 1 ambles over.
I heard about the converged access and it sounds very interesting. Why should I consider 5760 controller?
Do you have bandwidth hungry applications such as video / multimedia applications used by your wireless users?
Oh, yeah, all the time!
Ok, great. Are you planning to upgrade your wireless network to gigabit wireless (802.11 ac standard) in the future?
I am sure we will at some point as bandwidth is always a constraint–especially in our wireless network.
Customer 2 walks up, but stays silent, listening intently to the conversation.
Well, this is one of the ways 5760 wireless controller can help. 5760 wireless controller is capable of providing 60 Gbps line-rate throughput with advanced services enabled, regardless of packet sizes, or encryption enabled or not. This is because, this controller is using three dedicated Cisco’s ASIC called “Unified Access Data Plane” (UADP) to process the traffic running through the system.
Customer 2 steps forward and chimes in.
WOW!! Line-rate 60 Gbps throughput is “unheard of” in the wireless world so far!! Cisco is starting to leverage its core silicon processing strength that has been available in switches and routers for wireless. Looks like I can upgrade my wireless network to 802.11ac sooner than I thought. I have 5508s currently deployed in my network. What else 5760 offers compared to 5508 controller?
I am glad you asked me that question. Compared to 5508 controller, the 5760 not only offers 650% more throughput but also 71% more clients (12,000 clients support), and supports 100% more AP’s (1000 APs).
You mentioned that “services are processed in hardware”. Can you give me some examples?
Sure. For example, the QoS is fully done in hardware. It has 4 hardware queues to get the packets out extremely quickly like in other Cisco switches. It can be configured using the familiar Modular QOS CLI (MQC). To get complete network visibility, you can configure NetFlow-v9 which is processed in hardware as well. Similarly, the ACLs, DTLS encryption etc are also processed by ASICs. So, very few packets, if at all any, would hit the actual CPU of the system.
Excellent! This is truly a next gen controller!!
CUSTOMER 3 turns around and interrupts.
I really like the “hierarchical design” of converged access and its benefits such as the failure domain is constraint to a very small domain there by increases overall resiliency of my wireless network. However, I recently purchased a 5508 controller. What do I do with it?
No worries!! We’ve got you covered. The “converged access” mode of deployment is supported on the 5508, as well as the WiSM2 controllers. So, if you like the “converged access” mode of deployment, it’s as simple as a softwareupgrade and configuration change to start reaping the benefits of converged access mode.
What about management?
Thanks for bringing up the management topic. We offer flexible management solution for WLC 5760. It can be managed in three different ways (1) Since 5760 is IOS based controller you may leverage your existing scripting tools that you use to manage Cisco routers and switches to manage this wireless controller as well (2) Using Cisco’s Prime Infrastructure (CPI) (3) Using 5760’s Web GUI.
Looks like I can use TCL scripts that I am using for routers and switches can be leveraged for wireless controller too. Awesome! What about Embedded Event Manager (EEM)?
Yes, absolutely you can use EEM as well.
Where can I get more info regarding this fabulous wireless controller?
You can find all the info about 5760 at www.cisco.com/go/5760
Thank you to the customers who showed us so much enthusiasm at CiscoLive! London. We look forward to talking more with you in the future and welcome your feedback on our community. We’ll take questions in our discussion forum.
For more on the 5760, here’s some of our collateral:
- Wireless Lan Controllers At-a-Glance
- Cisco 5700 Series Wireless Controller Data Sheet
- Wireless Access Point Right-to-Use Licensing on Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controllers and Cisco Catalyst 3850 Switches