The virtual interface is used to support mobility management, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) relay, and embedded Layer 3 security such as guest web authentication and VPN termination. It also maintains the DNS gateway host name used by Layer 3 security and mobility managers to verify the source of certificates when Layer 3 web authorization is enabled.
Specifically, the virtual interface plays these two primary roles:
The virtual interface IP address is used only in communications between the controller and wireless clients. It never appears as the source or destination address of a packet that goes out a distribution system port and onto the switched network. For the system to operate correctly, the virtual interface IP address must be set (it cannot be 0.0.0.0), and no other device on the network can have the same address as the virtual interface. Therefore, the virtual interface must be configured with an unassigned and unused gateway IP address. The virtual interface IP address is not pingable and should not exist in any routing table in your network. In addition, the virtual interface cannot be mapped to a physical port.
All controllers within a mobility group must be configured with the same virtual interface IP address. Otherwise, inter-controller roaming may appear to work, but the handoff does not complete, and the client loses connectivity for a period of time.