A wireless LAN (or WLAN) controller is used in combination with the Lightweight Access Point Protocol (LWAPP) to manage light-weight access points in large quantities by the network administrator or network operations center. The wireless LAN controller is part of the Data Plane within the Cisco Wireless Model.
The main function of a traditional wireless LAN controller (WLC ) is to configure wireless access points (AP) that connect to it locally.
The WLC – LWAP setup is usually used in the company environment to span a single wireless network in large geographical area. This setup allows users to roam around the office premises, campus, or building and stay connected to the network.
In this setup, it doesn’t make any difference which LWAP a user uses to send and receive the frames as long as that LWAP is controlled by the same WLC. Since all forwarding decisions are taken by the WLC, an LWAP does not allow direct communication between the two devices, even if they both are connected with it.
- Access point connects multiple wireless devices together in a single wireless network.
- Access point supports both type of standards; Ethernet and Wi-Fi.
- Access point uses radio signals to provide the connectivity.
- Based on functionality an access point can be categorized in three types; standalone, multifunction and client.
- A standalone access point works in the wireless network exactly as the switch works in the wired network.
- To control the unauthorized access, Access point uses authorization.
- To extend the coverage area, multiple access points are used together under a Wireless LAN Controller.
- An access point which works under the WLC is known as the LWAP (Lightweight Access Point).
- In WLC-LWAPs setup, the WLC controls and manages all LWAPs.
- A LWAP works as the bridge between the WLC and the end device.