How to point AP to specific WLC when have multiple

Hello EE,

We have a few sites with APs and a corporate controller.  We have one other site with a controller as well given the number of APs at that location.

My question in putting APs in at other sites, how do you determine if they will come to the corporate controller or this secondary site?
operationsITAsked:
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dexITCommented:
They will need to join with one WLC (depending on what type of configuration you have setup), so when you place new APs, they will generally communicate with one or the other WLC. The WLC will need to provision the AP and issue a certificate and that AP will communicate strictly to that WLC.
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operationsITAuthor Commented:
Thank you, I understand that they need to be joined, but I had the scenario where I was looking in one controller and didn't see the APs trying to connect then checked the AP log and saw it was going to the other.  I am curious what determines that and how I would get it to go to the other?
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dexITCommented:
Are these WLCs configured with HA?
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bergquistcompanyCommented:
Only at the AP level on the HA tab
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Craig BeckCommented:
You usually determine which WLC an AP will join in one of 3 ways...

1] DHCP Option 43
2] DNS
3] Configure the Master Controller option on one WLC in the mobility group.

If you drop all the APs onto the same VLAN as the WLC's management interface you don't need to do [1] or [2] - the APs will send a L2 broadcast for a WLC if [1] and [2] fail so the WLC will respond.  Setting the Master Controller option on one WLC (if you have more than one in the same mobility group) will force APs to join that WLC if they haven't previously joined a WLC.

If you have a dedicated AP VLAN and separate the APs from the WLC via Layer3 you need to do [1] or [2].  The DHCP method is generally preferred as you can specify one or more WLC IP addresses and guarantee which one will be contacted first (as per the order you enter the IP addresses in the option).

So, if you go with a single VLAN for your WLC and APs you just tick the Master Controller box in the Controller -> Advanced section.  If you have separate VLANs for APs and the WLC, go with DHCP and configure option 43 to point the APs to the WLC you want them to join.

You don't necessarily need to issue certs to APs.  Most Cisco APs come with a MIC certificate (manufacturer installed) so the WLC will trust those certs.  If you start messing with recovery images, etc, you may need to add certs, or if you specifically want to authenticate APs at the switchport via 802.1x.  In your case though you'll not need any of that by the sound of it.
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operationsITAuthor Commented:
great Craigbeck I will check
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operationsITAuthor Commented:
Great thanks!
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