Cisco Aironet 350 Series

Wireless Domain Services AP as an AAA Server Configuration Example

Document ID: 68098

Updated: Jan 18, 2007



This document provides a sample configuration for configuring an Access Point (AP) to:

  • Provide Wireless Domain Services (WDS).

  • Perform the role of an Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) server.

You can use this kind of setup when you do not have an external RADIUS server to authenticate infrastructure APs and client devices that participate in WDS.



Ensure that you meet these requirements before you attempt this configuration:

  • Basic knowledge of WDS

  • Knowledge of current Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) security methods

Components Used

The information in this document is based on these software and hardware versions:

  • Cisco Aironet 1200 series APs that run Cisco IOS® Software Release 12.3(7)JA1

The information in this document was created from the devices in a specific lab environment. All of the devices used in this document started with a cleared (default) configuration. If your network is live, make sure that you understand the potential impact of any command.


Refer to Cisco Technical Tips Conventions for more information on document conventions.

Background Information

WDS is a part of the Cisco Structured Wireless-Aware Network (SWAN). WDS is a collection of Cisco IOS Software features that enhance Wireless LAN (WLAN) client mobility and simplify WLAN deployment and management.

WDS is the base for many features such as Fast Secure Roaming, Layer 3 mobility, and radio management.

Refer to Configuring WDS, Fast Secure Roaming, Radio Management, and Wireless Intrusion Detection Services for more information on these features.

One of the main purposes of WDS is to cache the user credentials at the first authentication of the client by the authentication server. On subsequent tries, WDS authenticates the client on the basis of the cached information. In order to accomplish this:

  • One of the APs must be configured as a WDS AP.

  • Other APs must be configured as infrastructure APs that communicate to the WDS AP.

  • WDS AP must establish a relationship with the authentication server by authenticating to it with a WDS username and password.

This authentication server validates the credentials of the infrastructure APs and the clients when these devices authenticate for the first time. The authentication server can either be an external RADIUS server or the local RADIUS server on the WDS AP.

The WDS and the infrastructure APs communicate over a multicast protocol called the Wireless LAN Context Control Protocol (WLCCP). These multicast messages cannot be routed. Therefore, a WDS and associated infrastructure APs must be in the same IP subnetwork and on the same LAN segment.

This document explains how to use the local RADIUS server feature on the WDS AP to perform the validation of credentials.


Configure the WDS AP

In this section, you are presented with the information to configure the features described in this document.

In order to configure the AP to serve as a WDS AP with AAA server functionality, you must first enable the local RADIUS server feature on the AP.

Complete these steps:

  1. Log in to the AP through the GUI.

    The Summary Status Page appears.


  2. Select Security > Server Manager from the left side menu on the AP.

  3. Enter the IP address and the shared secret of the AP that acts as the RADIUS server under Corporate Servers.

    In this case enter the IP address of the WDS AP since the WDS AP is going to act as the RADIUS server. The example uses the IP address Since this is a local RADIUS server you must use 1812 and 1813 as the Authentication and Accounting ports as this example shows.

  4. Click Apply.


  5. Select the WDS APs IP address as Priority 1 under Default Server Priorities for EAP Authentication.

    Click Apply.

    This allows the local RADIUS server to be the first choice for authenticating infrastructure APs and clients.


  6. Select Security > Local Radius server from the left side menu .

    1. Click General Set-up in order to configure local RADIUS server parameters.

    2. Select LEAP under Local Radius Server Authentication Settings and click Apply.

    3. Enter the IP address of the WDS AP and a shared secret password under Network Access Servers. This example uses the shared secret password as test123.

    4. Click Apply.


  7. Enter the username and password of all infrastructure APs and clients that communicate with the WDS AP under Individual Users.

    Click Apply.

    This example includes the username and password of the infrastructure AP that you configure to register with the WDS AP. This example uses the username as infrastructureAP1 and the password as Cisco. The same username and password needs to be configured on the infrastructure access point.


After you configure the local RADIUS server feature on the AP, you need to enable WDS functionality on the AP.

Complete these steps:

  1. Select Wireless Services > WDS from the left side menu on the AP.

  2. Click General Set-up.


  3. Check Use this AP as Wireless Domain Services on the General Set-up page.

    Enter 254 in the Wireless Domain Services Priority field. Click Apply.

  4. Enable infrastructure authentication.

    1. Click Server Groups on the WDS page.

    2. Enter a name in the Server Group Name field to authenticate the infrastructure APs. This example uses the Server Group Name as Infrastructure.

    3. Select the IP address of the local RADIUS server from the Group Server Priorities drop-down list.

      The WDS AP uses this server to authenticate the infrastructure APs.

    4. Select Infrastructure Authentication under Use Group For.

    5. Click Apply.


The WDS AP now acts as an AAA server. Configure one of the infrastructure APs to register itself with the WDS AP.

Note: Use the Command Lookup Tool (registered customers only) to find more information on the commands used in this document.

Configure the Infrastructure AP

This section explains the configuration required on the infrastructure AP to register itself with the WDS AP. The clients associate to infrastructure APs. The infrastructure APs request the WDS AP to perform authentication for them.

Complete these steps to add an infrastructure AP that uses the services of the WDS:

  1. Select Wireless Services > AP from the left side menu.

  2. Select Enable under Participate in SWAN Infrastructure.

  3. Select Auto Discovery under WDS Discovery .


  4. Enter the WDS username and password in the appropriate fields.

    Click Apply.

    The username and password must exist on the local RADIUS server. You must define a WDS username and password on the authentication server for all devices that are to be members of the WDS.

The infrastructure AP appears in the AP Information area with State as REGISTERED once you configure the WDS AP and the infrastructure AP on the WDS AP, WDS Status tab. This is under the Wireless Services > WDS menu item.


Incorrect authentication settings either on the WDS AP or the infrastructure AP can cause the AP to not appear as ACTIVE and/or REGISTERED. Check the Authentication server statistics for any errors or failed authentication attempts. Select Security > Local Radius Server > Statistics for Authentication server statistics.

You can also use the command show wlccp wds ap from the CLI on the WDS AP to verify the configuration. On successful registration with the WDS AP, the output after a successful registration with the WDS AP looks like this example:

WDS#show wlccp wds ap
  000e.d7e4.a629      REGISTERED    97

Configure Client Authentication Method

Add a client authentication method to the WDS.

Complete these steps:

  1. Select Wireless Services > WDS > Server Groups on the WDS AP.

    1. Define a server group that authenticates clients (a client group).

      This should be different from the previously configured server group for infrastructure authentication. This example uses the Server Group Name as Clients.

    2. Set Priority 1 to the local RADIUS server.

    3. Select the type of authentication (LEAP, EAP, MAC, and so forth) to use for client authentication.

      This example uses LEAP authentication.

    4. Apply the settings to the relevant SSIDs.


  2. Complete these steps on the infrastructure AP:

    1. Select Security > Encryption Manager and click WEP Encryption and choose Mandatory from the drop-down menu. Under Encryption Keys, enter the 128-bit WEP encryption key. This example uses the encryption key as 1234567890abcdef1234567890.


    2. Select Security > SSID Manager and create a new SSID.

      This example uses the SSID as Cisco123. Next, choose the authentication method.

    3. Select Network EAP on the infrastructure AP.


Test that the clients authenticate successfully and associate with the infrastructure APs. The client passes on its credentials to the infrastructure AP when it comes up for the first time. The infrastructure AP then forwards the same to the WDS AP, which validates the credentials.

Note:  This document does not explain how to configure the client adapter. Refer to Cisco Aironet Wireless LAN Client Adapters for information on how to configure the client adapter.


Use this section to confirm that your configuration works properly.

  • show wlccp wds mn - Use this command from the CLI on the WDS AP to verify successful client authentication and association with the WDS AP.

WDS#show wlccp wds mn
  MAC-ADDR         IP-ADDR      Curr-AP          STATE
 0040.96a5.b5d4    000e.d7e4.a629  REGISTERED

The following debug commands are also helpful.

  • debug wlccp ap { mn | wds-discovery | state } - Use this command to turn on display of debug messages related to client devices (mn), the WDS discovery process, and access point authentication to the WDS access point (state).

  • debug wlccp packet - Use this command to turn on display of packets to and from the WDS access point.

  • debug radius local-server - Activates display of error messages related to failed client authentications to the local authenticator


There is currently no specific troubleshooting information available for this configuration.

Related Information

Updated: Jan 18, 2007
Document ID: 68098