You can use auto-anchor mobility (also called guest tunneling) to improve load balancing and security for roaming clients on your wireless LANs. Under normal roaming conditions, client devices join a wireless LAN and are anchored to the first controller that they contact. If a client roams to a different subnet, the controller to which the client roamed sets up a foreign session for the client with the anchor controller. However, when you use the auto-anchor mobility feature, you can specify a controller or set of controllers as the anchor points for clients on a wireless LAN.
In auto-anchor mobility mode, a subset of a mobility group is specified as the anchor controllers for a WLAN. You can use this feature to restrict a WLAN to a single subnet, regardless of a client’s entry point into the network. Clients can then access a guest WLAN throughout an enterprise but still be restricted to a specific subnet. Auto-anchor mobility can also provide geographic load balancing because the WLANs can represent a particular section of a building (such as a lobby, a restaurant, and so on), effectively creating a set of home controllers for a WLAN. Instead of being anchored to the first controller that they happen to contact, mobile clients can be anchored to controllers that control access points in a particular vicinity.
When a client first associates to a controller of a mobility group that has been preconfigured as a mobility anchor for a WLAN, the client associates to the controller locally, and a local session is created for the client. Clients can be anchored only to preconfigured anchor controllers of the WLAN. For a given WLAN, you should configure the same set of anchor controllers on all controllers in the mobility group.
When a client first associates to a controller of a mobility group that has not been configured as a mobility anchor for a WLAN, the client associates to the controller locally, a local session is created for the client, and the client is announced to the other controllers in the mobility list. If the announcement is not answered, the controller contacts one of the anchor controllers configured for the WLAN and creates a foreign session for the client on the local switch. Packets from the client are encapsulated through a mobility tunnel using EtherIP and sent to the anchor controller, where they are decapsulated and delivered to the wired network. Packets to the client are received by the anchor controller and forwarded to the foreign controller through a mobility tunnel using EtherIP. The foreign controller decapsulates the packets and forwards them to the client.
If multiple controllers are added as mobility anchors for a particular WLAN on a foreign controller, the foreign controller internally sorts the controller by their IP address. The controller with the lowest IP address is the first anchor. For example, a typical ordered list would be 172.16.7.25, 172.16.7.28, 192.168.5.15. If the first client associates to the foreign controller's anchored WLAN, the client database entry is sent to the first anchor controller in the list, the second client is sent to the second controller in the list, and so on, until the end of the anchor list is reached. The process is repeated starting with the first anchor controller. If any of the anchor controller is detected to be down, all the clients anchored to the controller are deauthenticated, and the clients then go through the authentication/anchoring process again in a round-robin manner with the remaining controller in the anchor list. This functionality is also extended to regular mobility clients through mobility failover. This feature enables mobility group members to detect failed members and reroute clients.