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Updated:May 15, 2006
Q. What is the CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE)?
A. CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) manages Cisco Aironet
® access points operating autonomously and Cisco wireless bridges. CiscoWorks WLSE can centrally manage hundreds to thousands of Cisco Aironet access points for medium-sized to large enterprises and wireless vertical markets. CiscoWorks WLSE helps to simplify and automate the deployment and security of WLANs, to ensure their smooth operation and dependability. CiscoWorks WLSE also provides WLAN Intrusion Detection System (IDS) capabilities for detecting WLAN intrusions such as rogue access points, ad-hoc networks, and excess management frames on the air that typically signal a WLAN attack.
Q. What are Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously?
A. Cisco Aironet access points that are not centrally managed by LWAPP (Lightweight Access Point Protocol) enabled wireless LAN controllers are referred to as "autonomous" access points.
Q. What are the benefits of CiscoWorks WLSE for managing Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously?
A. CiscoWorks WLSE simplifies network operations and management. With CiscoWorks WLSE, several, hundreds, or thousands of central or remotely located Cisco access points operating autonomously can be managed from a single management console. This solution offers configuration flexibility that allows network managers to design networks to meet their specific needs, whether implementing a highly integrated network design or a simple overlay network.
Q. What role does CiscoWorks WLSE perform?
A. CiscoWorks WLSE provides comprehensive management for Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously. CiscoWorks WLSE, working with Cisco Aironet access points and a Wireless Domain Services (WDS) device, provides visibility into the RF network, including coverage displays, continual "Air/RF" monitoring, network security with intrusion detection and suppression, simplified deployment, self-healing capabilities, and network optimization. CiscoWorks WLSE also assists network managers by automating and simplifying mass configuration deployment, fault and policy monitoring and alerting, tracking wireless clients, and reporting.
MIGRATING CISCOWORKS WLSE TO CISCO WCS
Q. Can a CiscoWorks WLSE be converted to operate as a Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) to support Cisco Aironet lightweight access points?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE Models 1130-19 and 1133 can be converted to operate as a
Cisco WCS to support Cisco Aironet lightweight access points. By converting an existing CiscoWorks WLSE 1130-19 or 1133 to operate as a Cisco WCS, customers can scale their network to manage hundreds of Cisco wireless LAN controllers, which in turn can manage thousands of Cisco Aironet lightweight access points as part of the
Cisco Unified Wireless Network. Learn more by reading the
CiscoWorks WLSE Migration to Cisco WCS Product Bulletin.
Q. What is the benefit of migrating a CiscoWorks WLSE to Cisco WCS?
A. By migrating from CiscoWorks WLSE to Cisco WCS, customers can experience the benefits of the
Cisco Unified Wireless Network. These benefits include easy-to-use WLAN management, increased network scalability and reliability, improved troubleshooting for enhanced productivity and built-in self-configuring, self-optimizing, and self-healing network capabilities. The Cisco Unified Wireless Network also cost-effectively delivers WLAN mobility services such as voice over WLAN (VoWLAN), secure guest access, powerful location-based services and innovative Cisco Unified IDS/Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) capabilities.
Q. How many Cisco Aironet access points can CiscoWorks WLSE manage?
A. CiscoWorks WLSE can manage up to 2500 Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously for network management and up to 1800 access points when RF management is turned on.
Q. Can CiscoWorks WLSE be used to manage deployments of more than 2500 Cisco Aironet access points?
A. Yes. Multiple CiscoWorks WLSEs can be deployed to manage networks with more than 2500 Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously.
Q. Which Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously are supported by CiscoWorks WLSE?
A. CiscoWorks WLSE supports Cisco Aironet 1240 AG, 1230 AG, 1200, 1130 AG, 1100, and 350 series access points. It also supports the Cisco Aironet 1300 Series outdoor access point bridge.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE support Cisco Aironet lightweight access points or Cisco Aironet autonomous access points that have been converted to run LWAPP?
A. No. Cisco Aironet lightweight access points and Cisco autonomous access points that have been converted to run LWAPP are not supported by Cisco Works WLSE. These devices are supported by the
Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS).
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE 2.13 support Cisco Aironet 1200 and Aironet 350 series access points running VxWorks software?
A. No. CiscoWorks WLSE 2.12 and above do not support VxWorks-based access points. Customers that want to continue to manage VxWorks access points must use CiscoWorks WLSE 2.11 or earlier releases.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE support Cisco Aironet wireless bridges?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE provides network management support, including configuration, monitoring, and reporting for the
Cisco Aironet 1400 Series wireless bridge and Cisco Aironet 1300 Series o
utdoor access point/bridge in wireless bridge mode.
CiscoWorks WLSE provides support for the Cisco Aironet 1300 Series when it is configured in access-point mode.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE support IEEE 802.11a, b, and g networks?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE supports IEEE 802.11a, b, and g networks.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE support the Cisco Wireless IP Phone 7920?
A. The Cisco Wireless IP Phone 7920 is supported by CiscoWorks WLSE as a wireless client. CiscoWorks WLSE provides
client-association reports and client-tracking support for the Cisco Wireless IP Phone 7920. The client-tracking feature can be
used for troubleshooting and finding associated access points.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE support the Cisco Catalyst
® 6500 Series Wireless LAN Services Module (WLSM)?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE interoperates with Cisco WDS on the module. Cisco WDS can run on both Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously and the
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series WLSM. WDS aggregates radio management information received from the access points and client devices and sends this information to the CiscoWorks WLSE where it is used to manage, monitor, and control the RF environment. CiscoWorks WLSE also generates reports for monitoring WLSM clients/mobility groups.
RF MANAGEMENT AND WIRELESS DOMAIN SERVICES
Q. What is WDS?
A. WDS is a collection of Cisco IOS Software features that enhance WLAN client mobility, help to ensure WLAN security, and simplify WLAN deployment and management. WDS can be located on selected Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously or the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switch with a Wireless LAN Services Module (WLSM). Cisco WDS sends RF measurements to CiscoWorks WLSE for wireless IDS and RF management.
Q. What platforms can operate as a WDS device?
A. A WDS device can be a Cisco Aironet 1242 AG, 1230 AG, Aironet 1200, Aironet 1130 AG, or Aironet 1100 series access point operating autonomously, or a Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series WLSM.
Q. Is WDS required for RF management when a CiscoWorks WLSE is used?
A. Yes. A WDS device is required for RF management when a CiscoWorks WLSE is used.
Q. How many WDS devices are required for RF management?
A. For deployments that use access-point-based WDS, at least one WDS access point per subnet is required for RF management of that subnet. For deployments that use the switch-based WDS on the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series WLSM, up to 300 access points per device across subnets can be supported by a single Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series WLSM.
Q. How is Cisco WDS related to CiscoWorks WLSE?
A. RF measurements taken by access points (and optionally Cisco or
Cisco compatible client devices) within a given subnet are aggregated by the WDS device and forwarded to CiscoWorks WLSE for analysis. Based on the measurements received from WDS device, CiscoWorks WLSE can detect rogue access points, interference from other devices, provide assisted site surveys, and support WLAN
self-healing for optimal channel and power-level setting.
Q. Are third-party switches supported for rogue access-point switch-port tracing and shutdown?
A. No. CiscoWorks WLSE uses the Cisco Discovery Protocol and standard Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) MIBs
to trace rogue access points to specific switch ports, and thus supports Cisco switches exclusively.
Q. Can a rogue access point configured on a different channel than the access point that is scanning the RF environment
A. Yes. Cisco Aironet access points can monitor both the serving channel and nonserving channels, so a rogue access point configured on a different channel than the access point scanning the RF environment can be detected.
Q. Is there service disruption to associated clients when an access point performs air/RF scanning?
A. No. There is no service disruption to associated clients when an access point performs air/RF scanning.
Q. Can an IEEE 802.11a rogue access point be detected by an IEEE 802.11b/g radio?
A. No. An IEEE 802.11a radio is required to detect an IEEE 802.11 rogue access point. Dual-mode IEEE 802.11a/b/g Cisco Aironet 1230 AG, Aironet 1200, or Aironet 1130 AG series access points can be deployed to detect IEEE 802.11a/b/g rogue access points.
WIRELESS LAN INTRUSION DETECTION AND PROTECTION
Q. Does the CiscoWorks WLSE support a WLAN IDS?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE supports a WLAN IDS. WLAN IDS helps to secure WLANs from malicious and unauthorized access. It detects and suppresses rogue access points, detects unassociated clients, detects unauthorized networks, and mitigates network attacks. The system is deployable as either an integrated or dedicated solution through Cisco Aironet access points.
Q. What is the Integrated WLAN IDS?
A. Integrated WLAN IDS uses a Cisco Aironet access point operating autonomously deployed with its radio (802.11a, b, or g) placed in multifunction mode to service client devices and provide WLAN intrusion monitoring. In this configuration, an access point functions as both an active 802.11 infrastructure device and as an 802.11 scanning device. Basic WLAN IDS capabilities such as rogue access-point detection and unauthorized client network detection are supported.
Q. What is the Dedicated WLAN IDS for autonomous access points?
A. Dedicated WLAN IDS uses a Cisco Aironet access point operating autonomously with its radio (802.11a, b, or g) placed in scanning-only mode to support only WLAN intrusion monitoring. In this configuration, an access point functions as an 802.11 scanning-only device providing continuous, 24-hour monitoring of the RF environment. The access point's full bandwidth is dedicated to intrusion detection
Q. How do I deploy Cisco Aironet access points operating in scanning-only mode?
A. Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously that are operating in scanning-only mode are deployed as dedicated access points to detect intrusions. Because scanner-mode access points are not supporting client devices, only a small number of access points, with higher gain antennas, need to be deployed for complete dedicated WLAN IDS. Scanner-mode access points can also be deployed as an overlay to an existing integrated WLAN deployment for advanced WLAN IDS support.
Q. How does CiscoWorks WLSE contain rogue access points that have been detected through air/RF monitoring?
A. CiscoWorks WLSE traces the switch port of the detected rogue access point. It provides an effective means of tracing rogue access points by monitoring and using the clients associated to rogue access points. When a switch port is traced, CiscoWorks WLSE can shut down the switch port, disabling the rogue from accessing the network.
Q. What is Management Frame Protection in WLSE?
A. CiscoWorks WLSE also provides Management Frame Protection (MFP), by which management frames between access points are authenticated, eliminating several potential types of WLAN attacks that can arise due to spoofing of authorized devices. CiscoWorks WLSE enables MFP in the network and provides visibility into network events associated with MFP detection/protection
DEPLOYMENT, MANAGEMENT AND TROUBLESHOOTING
Q. How does CiscoWorks WLSE provide automatic configuration for factory default access point deployment?
A. Automatic configuration facilitates automatic downloading of configurations to newly deployed access points operating autonomously and bridges based on customer-defined templates. This simplifies and speeds up the deployment of new access points. CiscoWorks WLSE provides a deployment wizard that allows administrators to define their configuration policies for access points up front based on the location. With CiscoWorks WLSE 2.12 and above, device specific settings such as hostname, channel and power can also be automatically applied when new access point gets plugged in. The wizard also simplifies and automates the setup for access point-based WDS. CiscoWorks WLSE can automatically designate a primary and backup access point-based WDS per subnet and automatically generate configurations and credentials.
Q. How does access point automatic configuration work?
A. The network administrator can use the CiscoWorks WLSE deployment wizard and specify the access-point configuration policies and setup based on the location (subnet). When the new access point boots, it receives the CiscoWorks WLSE information from the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server and downloads the default configuration. Specific configuration templates based on device type, subnet, and software version can be applied automatically on authorized access points. With CiscoWorks WLSE 2.12 and above, device specific settings such as hostname, channel and power can also be automatically applied when a new access point operating autonomously is plugged in.
Q. Can shared keys and other security parameters be configured using the auto-configuration feature?
A. Yes. Shared keys and other security parameters can be configured using the specific configuration templates based on device type, subnet, and so on.
Q. Can CiscoWorks WLSE be used to archive access point and bridge configurations?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE can save up to four configurations for each device. Device configuration can be archived on demand, or scheduled to run periodically. Users can view, search, and compare configurations.
Q. Is a client walkabout required for the CiscoWorks WLSE assisted site survey?
A. No. Client walkabouts are optional for the CiscoWorks WLSE assisted site survey. CiscoWorks WLSE can provide optimal channel and power-level settings based on only the access point air/RF monitoring phase of the assisted site survey. However, performing client walkabouts during the assisted site survey is recommended because it increases the coverage for RF management and it makes the surveys more effective. A Cisco client adapter or a Cisco Compatible client adapter can be used to perform a client walkabout.
Q. How does CiscoWorks WLSE support self-healing?
A. If CiscoWorks WLSE detects that an access point has failed, it compensates by automatically adjusting the power and cell coverage of nearby access points. Self-healing runs on the CiscoWorks WLSE and uses SNMP to adjust neighboring access points in response to the loss or recovery of a radio. WLAN self-healing minimizes the outage impact to wireless client devices and maximizes the availability of wireless applications.
Q. When CiscoWorks WLSE adjusts the power of access points to cover for a lost access point during WLAN self-healing, is there service disruption to existing client devices?
A. No. There is no service disruption to client devices associated to access points that have increased their power during WLAN
Q. Can CiscoWorks WLSE be used to track a wireless client device?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE can be used to discover the associated access point of a specific client device. Client lookup by MAC address, user name, and client name are supported. User name lookup is supported for IEEE 802.1X-standard Cisco LEAP and Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) running on Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS). Because WDS notifies CiscoWorks WLSE when a client roams, this information is available in near real time as opposed to polling-based model.
Q. What Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) monitoring capabilities are provided for Cisco Secure ACS?
A. CiscoWorks WLSE monitors the authentication response time from the EAP server running on Cisco Secure ACS by performing synthetic authentication transactions using Cisco LEAP, PEAP, or EAP-Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunneling (EAP-FAST). Administrators can set up response-time fault thresholds, and receive notifications when response time exceeds specified thresholds. Generic RADIUS server monitoring is also supported.
Q. How does CiscoWorks WLSE gather fault and performance data?
A. The CiscoWorks WLSE queries standard SNMP MIBs from Cisco devices whenever possible. Administrators can specify polling intervals and define thresholds for monitored data. When thresholds are exceeded, CiscoWorks WLSE can generate northbound alarms and traps through SNMP traps, syslog messages, and e-mail notifications. This allows wireless fault information from deployed CiscoWorks WLSEs to be consolidated using a higher-level network management system, such as HP OpenView or the Cisco Information Center.
Q. Can there be multiple syslog or trap receivers that receive messages from the CiscoWorks WLSE?
A. Yes. Multiple syslog or trap receivers can be defined.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE receive SNMP traps from the WLAN infrastructure?
A. No. The CiscoWorks WLSE monitors the WLAN infrastructure using SNMP polling and in turn generates SNMP trap messages to be forwarded to other network management applications when user-defined thresholds are exceeded.
Q. How much historical data can CiscoWorks WLSE store?
A. The CiscoWorks WLSE can save up to a few weeks of historical data. Administrators can specify both aggregation and truncation frequencies for the monitored data.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE support Multiple Basic Service Set Identifiers (MBSSID) on Cisco Aironet access points?
A. Yes, CiscoWorks WLSE can be used to configure and monitor MBSSIDs. Security policies for multiple basic Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) can be defined and monitored.
Q. Can a device-level access-point interface be launched from the CiscoWorks WLSE?
A. Yes. A device-level Web interface can be launched and independently used to configure an access point or a bridge from the CiscoWorks WLSE.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE provide a visual representation of Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE provides GUI visualization of Cisco Aironet access points operating autonomously and coverage displays with its Location Manager feature. Administrators can import a floor plan (.jpeg or .gif formats) and place the access points in approximate locations. A rogue access point's location is shown on the floor plan GUI.
Q. Where should CiscoWorks WLSE reside in the network?
A. In general, CiscoWorks WLSE should be placed in the central network operations center. It is typically connected to a
Cisco Catalyst switch.
Q. Can the CiscoWorks WLSE hardware be upgraded?
A. No. The CiscoWorks WLSE hardware devices CiscoWorks 1130, CiscoWorks 1130-19, and CiscoWorks 1133 have a fixed configuration. No hardware components of the CiscoWorks 1130-19 or 1133 can be upgraded or replaced in the field. As application needs change, new hardware configurations will be introduced into the product family to support changing requirements. This approach enhances the reliability and supportability of the CiscoWorks WLSE.
Q. Does the CiscoWorks WLSE support data backup and restore capabilities?
A. Yes. The CiscoWorks WLSE configuration data can be backed up to another device and later restored. Data backup can also be scheduled to run periodically, to minimize the data loss in the event of a CiscoWorks WLSE failure.
Q. Does CiscoWorks WLSE support redundancy?
A. Yes. The CiscoWorks WLSE supports warm-standby redundancy. A backup server can be configured to take over the wireless management in the case of a primary CiscoWorks WLSE failure. Data on primary and backup servers can be synchronized periodically (the minimum is 15 minutes). Multiple CiscoWorks WLSEs can be assigned and referenced by a virtual IP address to make this transparent to the user. Both primary and backup CiscoWorks WLSEs have to reside on the same subnet.
Q. Can CiscoWorks WLSE software run on a customer-provided workstation or server?
A. No. CiscoWorks WLSE software is available only preinstalled on the specialized CiscoWorks WLSE hardware.
Q. What is the CiscoWorks WLSE 1133 appliance and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance?
A. RoHS is a European Union regulation banning the use of six substances-lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), and polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs)-in all electronic equipment shipped into the EU after July 1, 2006. The RoHS Directive has granted an exemption for lead used in solder for network infrastructure equipment until the industry finds dependable lead-free alternatives. CiscoWorks WLSE 1133 is RoHS compliant.
Q. Is CiscoWorks WLSE 1133 RoHS compliant?
A. Yes. CiscoWorks WLSE 1133 is RoHS compliant. CiscoWorks WLSE 1130 and 1130-19 are not RoHS compliant.
Q. How does CiscoWorks WLSE integrate with other network management systems?
A. When network faults are detected or user-defined performance thresholds are exceeded, CiscoWorks WLSE generates notifications through SNMP trap and syslog messages that can be forwarded to other network management systems. CiscoWorks WLSE also provides an Extensible Markup Language (XML) API for exporting device lists, faults, reports, and other settings for third-party integration and customization.
Q. What is the integration between the CiscoWorks WLSE and CiscoWorks LAN Management Solution (LMS)?
A. CiscoWorks LMS provides broad, generalized network operations management for a wide range of Cisco devices. It integrates with CiscoWorks WLSE in the following ways:
• CiscoWorks WLSE can be launched from CiscoWorks LMS and vice versa.
• A list of IP addresses and credentials from the inventory can be imported and exported between CiscoWorks LMS and CiscoWorks WLSE. Device import can be automated.
Q. Is CiscoWorks LMS required for CiscoWorks WLSE to work?
A. No. CiscoWorks LMS is not required for CiscoWorks WLSE to function.
Q. Is CiscoWorks WLSE required for CiscoWorks LMS to manage Cisco wireless devices?
A. No. CiscoWorks LMS can perform standard maintenance operations on Cisco Aironet access points just as it does for any other
Cisco device. However, the operations in CiscoWorks LMS are generalized, and not specific to the unique factors involved in managing Cisco wireless-aware infrastructure. For complete management of wireless technology, CiscoWorks WLSE is required.
Q. What is the integration between the CiscoWorks WLSE and Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS)?
A. Cisco Secure ACS provides role based authentication for users logging into CiscoWorks WLSE. Cisco Secure ACS groups can be created with user role mapping. Cisco Secure ACS provides some default roles like Sys-Admin. Operator etc. User roles other than the default ones available in Cisco Secure ACS need to be created in CiscoWorks WLSE. The result of this integration is:
1. Centralized user account management with user to role mapping
2. No user accounts need to be created in CiscoWorks WLSE
3. No user roles need to be created in CiscoWorks WLSE (For default Cisco Secure ACS roles)
Q. Are hardware and software service support programs available? How are they ordered?
A. Yes. A Software Application Support (SAS) service contract can be purchased that provides Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) support, Cisco.com Software Center access, and minor updates. You can also purchase a Cisco SMARTnet
® hardware service contract that provides hardware support for the CiscoWorks 1130, 1130-19 and 1133. Contact your service representative for available options.
Q. How do I gain access to CiscoWorks WLSE software updates?
A. Software patches and updates are posted to the Cisco.com Software Center. Customers with existing SAS contracts can also obtain the latest release of CiscoWorks WLSE 2.13 software by using the Product Upgrade Tool at