Passive clients are wireless devices, such as scales and printers that are configured with a static IP address. These clients do not transmit any IP information such as IP address, subnet mask, and gateway information when they associate with an access point. As a result, when passive clients are used, the controller never knows the IP address unless they use the DHCP.
Wireless LAN controllers currently act as a proxy for ARP requests. Upon receiving an ARP request, the controller responds with an ARP response instead of passing the request directly to the client. This scenario has two advantages:
The upstream device that sends out the ARP request to the client will not know where the client is located.
Power for battery-operated devices such as mobile phones and printers is preserved because they do not have to respond to every ARP requests.
Since the wireless controller does not have any IP related information about passive clients, it cannot respond to any ARP requests. The current behavior does not allow the transfer of ARP requests to passive clients. Any application that tries to access a passive client will fail.
The passive client feature enables the ARP requests and responses to be exchanged between wired and wireless clients. This feature when enabled, allows the controller to pass ARP requests from wired to wireless clients until the desired wireless client gets to the RUN state.