Cisco lightweight access points use the IETF standard Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points Protocol (CAPWAP) to communicate with the controller and other lightweight access points on the network.
CAPWAP, which is based on LWAPP, is a standard, interoperable protocol that enables a controller to manage a collection of wireless access points. CAPWAP is implemented in controller for these reasons:
To provide an upgrade path from Cisco products that use LWAPP to next-generation Cisco products that use CAPWAP
To manage RFID readers and similar devices
To enable controllers to interoperate with third-party access points in the future
LWAPP-enabled access points can discover and join a CAPWAP controller, and conversion to a CAPWAP controller is seamless. For example, the controller discovery process and the firmware downloading process when using CAPWAP are the same as when using LWAPP. The one exception is for Layer 2 deployments, which are not supported by CAPWAP.
You can deploy CAPWAP controllers and LWAPP controllers on the same network. The CAPWAP-enabled software allows access points to join either a controller running CAPWAP or LWAPP. The only exceptions are that the Cisco Aironet 1040, 1140, 1260, 3500, and 3600 Series Access Points, which support only CAPWAP and join only controllers that run CAPWAP. For example, an 1130 series access point can join a controller running either CAPWAP or LWAPP where an1140 series access point can join only a controller that runs CAPWAP.
The following are some guidelines that you must follow for access point communication protocols:
If your firewall is currently configured to allow traffic only from access points using LWAPP, you must change the rules of the firewall to allow traffic from access points using CAPWAP.
Ensure that the CAPWAP UDP ports 5246 and 5247 (similar to the LWAPP UDP ports 12222 and 12223) are enabled and are not blocked by an intermediate device that could prevent an access point from joining the controller.
If access control lists (ACLs) are in the control path between the controller and its access points, you need to open new protocol ports to prevent access points from being stranded.
This section contains the following subsections: