The CT5760 WLC is an industry-leading platform designed for 802.11ac performance with maximum services, scalability, and high resiliency for mission-critical wireless networks. Through enhanced software programmable ASIC, it delivers a wide range of features highlighted in Table 2-1.
Table 2-1 Cisco 5760 WLC Features
Supports up to 1000 APs and 12,000 wireless clients for business- critical wireless services.
Unparalleled scalable wireless solution, which comprises multiple controllers, can support up to 72,000 APs and 864,000 wireless clients.
Optimized for 802.11ac standard.
Six 10G Cisco SFP+ (Small Form-Factor Pluggable) uplinks.
Hardware assisted processing to provide up to 60 Gbps throughput with services such as a downloadable access control list (ACL), granular quality of service (QoS) queues, fairness algorithm, NetFlow v9 processing, and so on.
Converged Access deployment mode provides hierarchical network design that constraints failure to smaller domains. Thereby it provides higher resiliency. Wireless clients recover quickly from switch failures within the Catalyst 3850 and the 5760 Controller stack automatically through stateful switchover (AP SSO).
CT5760 in centralized deployment mode (also known as local mode) supports 1+1, N+1 resiliency, and AP SSO.
Multiple link aggregation (LAG) support to protect against link failures, while optimal network connectivity is maintained.
Cisco IOS® Software-based Controller
Proven and security-hardened Cisco IOS® operating system.
Well-known Cisco IOS® software CLI allows customers to leverage current management tools for operations.
Cisco's rich NetFlow eco-system enables customers to report on, monitor, analyze traffic on, and troubleshoot the wireless network.
Cisco ClientLink 2.0 technology improves downlink performance to all mobile devices including one, two, and three-spatial-stream devices on 802.11n and improves battery life on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.
Cisco CleanAir™ technology provides proactive, high-speed spectrum intelligence to combat performance problems due to wireless interference.
Radio Frequency (RF) Management
Provides both real-time and historical information about RF interference that impacts network performance across controllers via system-wide Cisco CleanAir™ technology integration.
Comprehensive End-to-End Security
Offers CAPWAP compliant Datagram Transport layer Security (DTLS) encryption to ensure encryption between access points and controllers or between controllers.
High Performance Video
Optimized video delivery via single stream for both wired and wireless clients.
Supports Cisco VideoStream technology to optimize the delivery of business-critical multicast video applications across the WLAN.
Supports Unified Communications for improved collaboration through messages, presence, and conferences.
Supports all Cisco Unified Communications Wireless IP Phones for cost-effective, real-time voice services.
Consistent configuration CLI for both wired and wireless QoS through Modular QoS CLI.
Granular QoS policies per access point (AP), service set identifier (SSID), radio, and client.
Fair bandwidth allocation across wireless clients on an AP.
Leverages Cisco's proven Cisco IOS® software and ASIC technology to provide line-rate performance.
Simplifies and centralizes security policies through downloadable ACLs.
ACLs are processed in hardware to provide line-rate performance.
Flexible Netflow v9
Network-wide visibility with Flexible Netflow for wireless clients.
Organizations may choose to turn off AP radios to reduce power consumption during off peak hours.
Integrated WLC avoids the deployment of an additional device in the network.
Secure, reliable wireless connectivity and consistent end-user experience.
Increased network availability through proactive blocking of known threats.
Supports IPv6 addressing on interfaces with appropriate show commands for monitoring and troubleshooting.
IPv6 ACLs are processed in hardware to provide line-rate performance.
This table shows the Cisco high-scale controllers comparison at a glance:
Table 2-2 Cisco Controllers Comparison
+ SP Wi-Fi
Central site controller for large number of distributed, controller-less branches
Enterprise Campus and full-service branch
Local mode, FlexConnect Mesh
Local mode, FlexConnect Mesh
Local mode, FlexConnect Mesh
Centralized (local mode) or Converged Access mode
Right to Use
Right to Use
Right to Use
Internal connections the Catalyst
AC/DC dual redundant
AC dual redundant
Maximum Number of FlexConnect Groups
Maximum Number of APs per FlexConnect Group
Maximum Number of Rogue APs Management
Maximum Number of Rogue Clients Management
Maximum Number of RFID
Maximum APs per RRM Group
Maximum Interface Groups
Maximum Interfaces per Interface Group
Maximum VLANs Supported
Maximum WLANs Supported
Supported Fast Secure Roaming (FSR)
New Operating System using Cisco IOS® Software CLI Commands
The CT5760 controllers use the same Cisco IOS® software CLI command used on the Cisco switches and routers. New wireless CLI commands have been added to the existing Cisco IOS® CLI. For a complete list of the wireless Cisco IOS® software CLI commands, refer to the Cisco 5700 Series Wireless LAN Controllers Command References document.
Licenses are based on the Right-To-Use license model (per AP license price for the Catalyst 3850 and CT5760). AP licenses are enabled on the mobility controller. The mobility controller can be a Catalyst 3850 switch (or switches), CT5760, 5500, or WiSM2. There is not a separate license for mobility agent functionality (for example, CAPWAP termination on the switch). The same AP licenses can be used as before when the 5500/WiSM2 is used as mobility controller. AP licenses are transferable between Catalyst 3850 and CT5760, Catalyst 3850 and Catalyst 3850, and CT5760 and CT5760.
It is recommended to upgrade to software release 3.3.3 and later. Latest software codes are available on Cisco.com. It is best practice to go through the release notes before upgrading to that software code. Please follow the steps in the Cisco IOS XE software upgrade document.
Note AP1532 is an outdoor AP supported in Local Mode only. IOS controllers do not support MESH mode. Also, 2700 and 1532 APs are supported in Releases 3.6 and later.
Cisco Prime 2.1 and Later
Appliance and Virtual Instance
Mobility Services Engine (MSE)
MSE 7.6 and later on 3300 and Virtual Instance
Identity Service Engine (ISE)
ISE 1.2 and later on 3315, 3355, 3395 and Virtual Instance
Unified Access Deployment Modes
With the introduction of the CT5760 and Catalyst 3850, there are two deployment modes within the Cisco Unified Access Architecture - Centralized and Converged Access.
The centralized mode (also known as local mode on legacy controllers) is the same deployment model currently used today in the Cisco Unified Wireless Network (CUWN) solution set for wireless as well as wired connectivity. The current CUWN provides centralized tunneling of user traffic to the controller (data plane and control plane) and system-wide coordination for channel and power assignment, rogue detection, security attacks, interference, roaming, and so on.
Figure 2-1 Centralized Mode
Converged Access Mode
Converged mode is an evolution of the current wireless deployments and offers an additional deployment mode for mobility. With the converged access model, there are a few design differences to note:
The Catalyst 3850 can act as a mobility agent for terminating CAPWAP tunnels for locally connected APs.
The Catalyst 3850 can act as a Mobility Controller (MC) for other mobility agent switches in small deployments.
MC handles roaming across a switch peer group (SPG) (L2 / L3).
Mobility agents within an SPG are fully meshed (auto-created at SPG formation).
Figure 2-2 Converged Access Deployment Mode
Converged Access Components
A few components are highlighted in order to understand the Converged Access model. These components are shown in Figure 2-3.
1. Physical Entities:
Mobility Agent – Terminates CAPWAP tunnel from AP and handles the local client database.
Mobility Controller – Manages mobility within and across sub-domains, RRM, CleanAir and roaming.
Mobility Oracle – Superset of mobility controller, allows for scalable mobility management within a domain.
2. Logical Entities:
Mobility Groups – The grouping of mobility controllers to enable fast and secure roaming.
Switch Peer Group – Localizes traffic for roams within its distribution block.
Figure 2-3 Converged Access - Deployment Overview
This deployment guide focuses on the configuration of the new CT5760 feature set with the Cisco IOS® software. For detailed information on the new Catalyst 3850 wired/wireless switch and its deployment scenarios, refer to the Catalyst 3850 Deployment/Configuration Guides page.
Deployment Basics: Ports, Interfaces, WLAN
This section covers information about the CT5760 ports, interfaces, and WLANs.
Information about Ports
A port is a physical entity that is used for connections on the controller platform. Controllers have two types of ports: distribution system ports and a service port. The ports available on the CT5760 controller are shown in Figure 2-4
Figure 2-4 CT5760 Controller - Front and Rear View
Management Port (Service Port) (RJ-45)
The Cisco 5760 Series Controllers have a 10/100/1000 copper Ethernet Management port (GE 0/0). The management port is reserved for out-of-band management of the controller, system recovery, and maintenance in the event of a network failure.
Console Ports (RJ-45) and Mini USB Type B port
The CT5760 WLC has two console ports: the RJ45 and Mini USB Type B port.
Note You can use only one console port (either RJ-45 or mini USB). When you connect to one console port, the other is disabled.
USB Ports 0 (Type A):
The USB console port on the Cisco 5760 Series Controllers connects directly to the USB connector of a PC using a USB Type A-to-5-pin mini Type B cable.
SFP Distribution System Ports 1-6:
The Cisco 5760 Controllers have six 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) distribution system ports, through which the controller can manage multiple APs. Cisco 5760 controllers support a maximum of 1000 APs and have no restrictions on the number of APs per port. However, Cisco recommends using link aggregation (LAG) or EtherChannel to balance the load automatically. LAG is covered in another section in this document. The part numbers for the supported SFPs on the 10 GE ports are listed in Table 2-3.
Table 2-3 Part Numbers for Supported SFPs on the 10GE
SFP+/SFP (only Cisco SFPs supported)
Information about Interfaces
An interface is a logical entity on the controller. The next-generation controllers contain multiple interfaces, but these interfaces should be configured:
1. Wireless management interface (can be configured at setup time; mandatory)
The wireless management interface is used for AP to controller discovery, mobility and Radio Resource Management (RRM). This interface is also used for in-band management: Telnet/SSH CLI, SNMP, and Web GUI.
2. VLANs, which are considered dynamic interfaces, where WLAN traffic is mapped to them.
Information about WLANs
A WLAN associates a service set identifier (SSID) to a VLAN interface. It is configured with security, quality of service (QoS), radio policies, and other wireless network parameters. Up to 512 AP WLANs can be configured per controller.
WLANs are directly mapped to VLANs, which are mapped to physical interfaces.
Note Cisco recommends that you assign one set of VLANs for WLANs and a different set of VLANs for management interfaces to ensure that controllers properly route VLAN traffic.
AP Join Controller Discovery Process
In a CAPWAP environment, a lightweight AP discovers a controller by using CAPWAP discovery mechanisms and then sends the controller a CAPWAP join request. The controller sends the AP a CAPWAP join response, allowing the AP to join the controller. When the AP joins the controller, the controller manages its configuration, firmware, control transactions, and data transactions.
APs must be discovered by a controller before they can become an active part of the network. The lightweight APs support the following controller discovery process:
Layer 3 CAPWAP discovery: This feature can be enabled on different subnets from the AP and uses IP addresses and UDP packets rather the MAC addresses used by Layer 2 discovery.
Locally stored controller IP address discovery: If the AP was previously associated to a controller, the IP addresses of the primary, secondary, and tertiary controllers are stored in the AP’s nonvolatile memory. This process of storing controller IP addresses on an AP for later deployment is known as priming the AP.
DHCP server discovery: This feature uses DHCP option 43 to provide controller IP addresses to the APs. Cisco switches support a DHCP server option that is typically used for this capability. For more information about DHCP option 43, refer to the Configuring DHCP Option 43 for Lightweight Access Points document.
DNS discovery: The AP can discover controllers through your DNS. In order for the AP to do so, you must configure your DNS to return controller IP addresses in response to CISCO- CAPWAP-CONTROLLER.localdomain, where localdomain is the AP domain name. When an AP receives an IP address and DNS information from a DHCP server, it contacts the DNS to resolve CISCO-CAPWAP-CONTROLLER.localdomain or CISCO-CAPWAP- CONTROLLER.localdomain. When the DNS sends a list of controller IP addresses, the AP sends discovery requests to the controllers.
Link Aggregation/Load Balancing/Port Redundancy
The Cisco 5760 WLC has no restrictions on the number of APs per port, but Cisco recommends using LAG or EtherChannel on each 10GE port to automatically balance the load.
LAG functionality is achieved for a CT5760 controller through configuration of EtherChannels in the Cisco IOS® software. Through EtherChannels, the controller dynamically manages port redundancy and load balances APs transparently to the user.
Information about Link Aggregation
Link Aggregation (LAG) or Etherchannel can be configured on the 5760 Controller. It bundles all of the controller's distribution system ports into a single port channel. The Cisco 5760 Controller supports Cisco Port Aggregation Protocol (PAgP) and industry-standard IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). When LAG is enabled, the system dynamically manages port redundancy and load balances APs transparently to the user.
LAG simplifies controller configuration because you no longer need to configure primary and secondary ports for each interface. If any of the controller ports fail, traffic is automatically migrated to one of the other ports. As long as at least one controller port is functioning, the system continues to operate, APs remain connected to the network, and wireless clients continue to send and receive data.
Multiple LAG groups can be configured to support configurations requiring connectivity to multiple switches for redundancy.
Figure 2-5 Multiple LAGs
Configure the Controller and Neighbor Devices to Support LAG
Port-Channel configuration example on the 5760 controller: