WLC – H-REAP or Central switch SSID’s

One of the things that took the longest to figure out and was the biggest source of confusion when I was talking to different vendors about setting up the WLC was how to setup the SSID’s to match things the way I was currently using wireless with the autonomous AP’s that I was using. To a vendor, I was told that I would be looking at a local controller for each office or at a minimum a controller at the nearest regional office with sufficient bandwidth. I knew there had to be a better way.

The first thing is that the terms could be a little better. H-REAP is an acronym for Hybrid Remote Edge Access Point. A mouth full which could be more easily described as a locally switched SSID. This means that the traffic is routed locally with the router and switch(es) that are at each location before having to go out over your WAN connection. This means that if the WAN connection is down, that the AP’s stand a good chance of remaining active. DHCP for the locally switched SSID’s can also be handled locally as well.

Centrally switched SSID’s means that the traffic for that SSID has to come all the way from the AP to the Controller that is servicing the AP that is servicing the Centrally switched SSID. This is an ideal situation for handling guest wireless traffic by not allowing this non-company traffic to even see the local network. If you can do a little extra work when the traffic makes it back to the controller, you can direct the traffic out over a separate firewall and keep it totally away from your corporate network.

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