Cisco has published initial release (22.214.171.124) of AireOS 8.1 code. In this post we will look at what it brings & points you need to consider before jump into this code. Here is the release notes of 126.96.36.199 code.
Main purpose of this code release is to support two new controller platforms (CT5520 & CT8540). These two platform has largely increased scalability compare to its predecessor CT5508 & CT8510 platforms. (eg 500AP,7K clients ,8Gbps throughput in 5508 where as 1500AP, 20K clients, 20Gbps in 5520)
This does not mean 5508 & 8510 goes EoL, but if you are purchasing AireOS controllers, these two new platform are the one you should buying now on.
The other important fact about this new software version is Cisco has stop supporting 3 different indoor AP models namely 1130,1240,1250 series. Also this new codes stops supporting 1520 series outdoor AP models. You may already knew that if you seen the below post few months back
This will be the most critical factor when deciding move on to this new code, if you already having a deployed wireless network. If you have those AP models, then start replacing them prior to move on to 8.1
If you are not in that situation, then you have to keep a WLC with older software version (7.4,7.6 or 8.0) to support those AP models in future (until you replace them)
Also 1040,1140,1260 Series AP will able to register 8.1 code WLC, but those AP model will not support any new features added in 8.1. Here is the list of AP model supported in this new code. Refer this compatibility matrix document for more details
Lightweight APs: 1040, 1140, 1260, 1600, 1700, 2600, 2700, 3500e, 3500i, 3500p, 3600e, 3600i, 3600p, 3702e, 3702i, 3702p, 600 OEAP, 700, 700W, AP801, and AP802
Outdoor Mesh APs: 1532E, 1532I, 1552E, 1552H, 1552I, 1552C, 1552EU, 1552CU, 1552S, and 1570
Another important point to note if you have deployed 5508 as Mobility Controller in Converged Access deployment (3850/3650 as MA, 5508/WiSM2 as MC). In 8.1 code this MC functionality is not supported in AireOS WLC. So if you have dedicated MC with AireOS, you have to plan to migrate that to IOS-XE MC (such as 5760)
Still “new mobility” feature is supported in AireOS & you can configure mobility between AireOS & IOS-XE MC (5760). So roaming will work between these two systems. Below extract from Release Note.
“Seamless roaming with Inter-Release Controller Mobility (IRCM) between Cisco 8510 WLC, Cisco 8540 WLC, and Cisco 5520 WLC with Cisco 5760 WLC—Enables seamless mobility and wireless services across high scale WLCs running Cisco AireOS and Cisco IOS using new mobility for features such as Layer 2 and Layer 3 roaming and guest access or termination.”
Here is the some of key features introduced in 8.1
Enhanced HD experience:
– Dynamic Bandwidth Selection (DBS)—Automatic and intelligent configuration of 5-GHz channel bandwidth (20, 40, 80 MHz) for good channel width. This can be achieved by the learning of both client mix and the presence of neighboring APs and wireless networks.
– Flexible Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS)—Automatic adjustment of channel selection and channel width for 5 GHz spectral regions requiring radar detection and avoidance.
– Enhanced Interference Mitigation—Event-driven RRM (ED-RRM) is additionally triggered by Wi-Fi interference (faster channel change than the typical dynamic channel assignment cycle in RRM).
– Optimized Roaming Extensions —802.11v Basic Service Set (BSS) Transition Management (the infrastructure provides explicit advice to clients for reassociation and roaming).
Cisco WLAN Express and Best Practices on Wireless Controllers —Simplifies the initial (day 0) setup for Cisco WLCs with over-the-air setup and best practices defaults that enable RF parameter optimization and network profiles
AVC for FlexConnect Local Switch AP-This release extends the AVC functionality from Cisco WLC to the AP. The AVC on FlexConnect AP provides application visibility and control for locally switched client traffic. The AVC on FlexConnect uses Protocol Pack 8.0 and NBAR engine version 16
Guest Anchor Priority —Assigns a fixed priority to each anchor WLC or HA pair. The highest priority Cisco WLC is designated as the primary anchor. This feature also allows load distribution in round-robin fashion if the priorities are of the same assigned value.
Multi-country domain support on WLC for bridge AP—Enables multiple country codes to be configured on a single Cisco WLC with bridge mode APs connected.
Like any other code, it has listed large number of open/resolved bugs in this code. You have to deploy & see how stable this new code is.
Cisco Wireless Release 8.1 Bulletin
Cisco WLAN Configuration Guide – Release 8.1
Cisco 5520 WLC Deployment Guide
Cisco 8540 WLC Deployment Guide
Did they pull the release? Can’t find anything on 8.1 and the link above is not working…
May be, all those were there in 2 days back 🙂
Cisco Released 188.8.131.52 & published release notes.
i have a working enviroment (2504X2 on as sku) with EAP-TLS and external radius.
all ap’s are connected mode. should i upgrade? now im on 7.6.
If everything works & you do not require any 8.0 features, then I would not upgrade.
Give more time to get stable 8.0 maintenance release & then go for it.
Vasco Costa said:
After all the things that I’ve passed with the 8.0 I believe the question should be “Is AIREOS 8.1 indeed ready for service”? 🙂
Yes Vasco 🙂
You have to test this yourself how good each of those code in your environment with configured features.
Jeffrey Wang said:
Wireless engineers beware – 5GHz band issues on WLC code 8.0 with CAP-2702 ***
If you’re deploying the new CAP-2702 you might want to avoid code 8.0 and go directly to 8.1.102 (as of today).
My Infrastructure: WLC8510 and WLC5508 on code 8.0.110 + CAP-2702I
Issues: 5GHz is in the beacon but the devices won’t be able to associate.
After exhausted all possible testing scenarios, I opened a case with Cisco TAC and we came to the conclusion that it should be a bug of code 8.0.110.
I tried downgraded to the AssureWave code 7.6.130, but the 5GHz devices can associate ONLY when the AP’s are in the default-group.
2 days later Cisco published code 8.1.101 and it resolved the issue. However it had some compatibility issues with ISE, so it got pulled back after 2 days and now you won’t see it.
Code 8.1.102 seemed OK so far, and we’ll see.
Thanks Jeff, do you have any reference bug ID for this issue, that may be useful to others including myself 🙂
Jeffrey Wang said:
Hi Rasika, I could only find similar issue bug ID# CSCuo20409, CSCuq88333.
Ok. Thanks a lot
Waqas Akhtar said:
Nice summary of the new features. Thanks for sharing
Possible Guest Mobility Anchor bug!
Upgraded an 8.0.110 to 8.1.102 at a remote 5508 that has all 3502i APs. We anchor Guest back to our HQ’s 5508 running 8.0.110. Guest wlan “broke” — clients were not even getting IPs from Anchor. Took DHCP and mobility debug’s on both. 8.1 has new “Priority” option (1-3) in the WLAN Mobility Anchor config setting. The Default is 3 — which is what it was set at via the upgrade. Deleted the Anchor on the remote (8.1.102) 5508 and simply recreated it with Priority 1. Guests now working. TAC collected info to recreate in their lab…they did not have an answer why it did not work with the default value
184.108.40.206 Sev 2 Bug – CSCuu86265 (Flex AP Local switching WLAN specific losing VLAN Mapping Configuration)
I had a TAC case open on an issue — while engineer was researching logs this bug was opened and he said it was the reason.
Workaround: Add APs to a flexconnect group or Configure VLAN mapping AP Specific
Since I have 5508 and more than 25 APs I made VLAN Mapping AP Specific and so far seems to have fixed it. I seem to recall a similar issue on earlier versions of code…
TAC duplicated issue and assigned BugID CSCuu97761. Only occurs when Anchor is 8.0 or older. Making the Priority 1 or 2 is the workaround.
Thanks for the info. Pls keep us posted.
Mohammad Setan said:
Thanks for sharing the information.
What I can see from the deployment guide is that the only benefit for 8540 over 8510 is the throughput:
check table 2 on the above link, you will see that the it is similar to 8510, but having 40G instead of 20G is so much better.
The question here is that for the wave 2, As far as I know the N base T will be used in order to have higher throughput from the access point, but does the new codes will be good for the 3700 AP model or not ?
I can see that there are still some bugs that will reset the radios for the 3700 AP, and the 8.1 is still not resolving these bugs.
Regarding wave2 AP with mGig, I do not think 3700 will support it, There may be newer AP that will support mGig.
Leo Laohoo said:
My reason for buying the 8540 (instead of 8510) is the “age” of the 8510. 8510 came out January 2014.
I am suspecting this model will have a “life” of about 5 years before EoS announcement.
Next reason is the amount of AP support, 8510 can support 6K APs. The 8540 can, initially, support 6K AP. I am suspecting both the 5520 and the 8540 amount of AP support will grow with future software upgrade.
I personally believe the 8540 can support >10K APs with 8.2 software and 5520 may have enough grunt to support about 2.5K to 3K AP (or more).
Another thing to pay attention to is the so-called “Three years parts coverage” of the 5520 & 8540 (which I’ve seen before with the 5508 & 8510).
Thanks Leo for the valuable input
Florin B. said:
We have a stable 7.6 environment for some time now. We bought three 1700 APs and have to go on 8.x train. Can you recommend one stable version from 8.x train please?
I do not think there is a stable 8.0.x public release yet.
Most of us running on engineering release based on TAC recommendation
Florin B. said:
Thanks for the update, very useful info!
I have a mix of 2702 and 1141 flex connect APs at multiple branch sites… I’m stuck with this design for the moment. Looks like flex connect AVC will work on the 2702s but not the 1141s. Think I’m asking for trouble going to 8.1?
I read the release note and i didn’t saw that WLC 5508 stopped to support MC functionality..
Can you share your source ?
Refer (page 46) this latest Ciscolive presentation on converged access
Click to access BRKCRS-2888.pdf
***MC functionality on AireOS WLC will be deprecated starting from AireOS 8.1 (New Mobility will continue to work) ***
I’m also a little bit confused about the undocumented deprecation of MC functionality in AireOS 8.1, there’s no mention in the release notes of 8.1, and to increase the confusion if you read the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Configuration Guide, Release 8.1 First Published: April 30, 2015(the latest to public eyes) you will find on page 1131:
… New mobility enables the controller to be compatible with converged access controllers with Wireless Control Module (WCM) such as the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches and the Cisco 5760 Series Wireless LAN Controllers. New mobility provides the ability to run Mobility Controller (MC) functionality on a 5508 or WiSM2 in the Converged Access mode with a Catalyst 3850 mobility agent (MA) …
…The Cisco 2500 Series Wireless LAN Controllers, Cisco 5500 Series Wireless LAN Controller, Cisco WiSM2, or the Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controller functions as a Mobility Controller with the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switch. The Mobility Controller is a part of a hierarchical architecture that consists of a Mobility Agent
and Mobility Oracle….
We have a lot of 5508 and I believe this model has a huge install base, is not good for us to see a deprecation of functionality on this controllers, also Cisco has not set a EOS or EOL for this controllers.
Can you confirm this information?
Thanks in advance
“Cisco 5508 WLC cannot function as mobility controller (MC). However, Cisco 5508 WLC can function as guest anchor in a New Mobility environment.”
This is from the 8.1MR3 release notes that stated this.
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Do I have to buy a smartnet contract for both WLC’s and AP’s or just a smartnet with WLC should be good enough , was reading some blog and it mentioned I need a smartnet for AP’s as well without which I wont be able to upgrade the OS
If you buy WLC with X number of AP license and you add smartnet, you have to get it for WLC + AP licenses.
Typically WLC smartnet cover hw replacement and AP license smartnet cover the software.
but if I have a smartnet for WLC shouldnt that also include the software for the WLC, we are not concerened about hardware replacement for AP’s as we plan on buying some spare’s, also say if we buy a 250 AP license can we just add 1 AP Adder so we dont have to pay for 250 AP’s which probably will never be used.
i am puzzled with the following, for the 5520,as per the data sheet it can support up to 20k users. but what about the switch that is connected to the wlc providing the SVIs for the users?do we also need to consider 20k mac addresses for the switch as well?
Real bottleneck is which device (switch or WLC) have lower value.
Actually switch hold the L3/L2 information about wireless users. So it is critical. Switches like 6500 could hold 64K MAC entries, but I have seen ~15K entries with SNMP, CPU goes very high. So I would carefully monitor.
any article on the new 8.2.100 code ? similar to this will be of great help. Thank you
Probably this will fulfill your needs
So as per your presentation link above you have mentioned that MC would be removed from the 5508/2504/wism 2, but in place of it would 5760 continue the feature or are there any other controllers which would support this feature as well.
Is there any switch and controller compatibility we need to keep in mind.
It is recommended to use one of 3850/3650 stack as MC for given building.
Note the 5760 is now EoL/E0S announced
So i need to know if i cannot use that MC feature on these controllers then is it supported on 5520 or 8540 ?