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Author Topic: Caveats of the unknown  (Read 2063 times)

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Offline lgo51

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Caveats of the unknown
« on: July 18, 2017, 02:10:44 PM »
Hi all,

I am tasked with an inherited network fragment... facility was part of campus network, now sold, to be severed from campus NOC, but without control gear (see below).

Network is/was (cut-over due soon) controlled by a two RFS7000 cluster, which remains with the campus network but I have a copy of the config file... which looks to be on Wings v5.8 [Configuration of RFS7000 version 5.8.4.0-034R].

Network is comprised of multiple APs -- 7131, 650 and 7161; and three Adtran 1638P-AC switches.

To get this to continue operation, as presently configured, a replacement RFS7000 controller is obviously needed.  Okay, that's easy enough, but there's the question of AP licenses... which is the crux of the dilemma.

A quick search on the Internet reveals costs for a 64-AP license pack between ~$500 (da'Bay) and up to 10-20x that (resellers?)... What should one budget for?

Another search did not reveal how the license packs are installed, but there was a Brocade article that cites transaction keys and other proof-of-purchase docs.  Which leaves a question about what's really required to install a license pack [key?] ... e.g. if one elects to purchase from da'Bay, what should be verified prior to closing the deal?

And, management wants to know if the RFS controller is *really* needed in as much as the APs already have adopted their f/w and configs.  [NB: mgn't considers this antiquated gear and just wants a bridge solution until a replacement network can be lit-up.]

Hopefully, I can get smarter here and help mgn't make wise decisions.

Cheers, and thanks in advance.









Offline jcoehoorn

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Re: Caveats of the unknown
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 10:07:53 PM »
A controller is probably needed, but as it's a smaller network you can probably get by with a less-expensive option like an RFS 4000 or VX 9000. The former you can get from eBay (I've done this when one of my originals failed, but make sure you get the right region model). I would not recommend eBay for the licensing, but I'd expect to spend closer to 3-4x the eBay price going through an authorized reseller, rather than 10-20x.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 10:11:49 PM by jcoehoorn »

Offline lgo51

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Re: Caveats of the unknown
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 01:22:27 PM »
A controller is probably needed, ... I would not recommend eBay for the licensing, but I'd expect to spend closer to 3-4x the eBay price going through an authorized reseller, rather than 10-20x.
Thanks for the reply!  When you say that a controller is probably needed, is that because the 'thin' APs will have no source for their config upon wake-up, or do they retain the last-received settings until something new is available from a controller?  If I understand the doc read to date, when a 'thin' AP wakes, it asks for a config from any willing responder, which could be a controller or maybe a 'full' AP (7131?)... but what happens after a network wide power outage?

Also, can you tell me what the controller s/w 'wants' when installing a license pack?  Encrypted key string, a la Microsoft?  Multiple items?  Since I can not find a clear set of instructions with searches, it seems reasonable to ask those who've done this previously... or is this whole thing some kind of guarded secret?

Cheers

Offline jcoehoorn

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Re: Caveats of the unknown
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 02:36:27 PM »
The access points might technically work without a controller, if they are set to bridge rather than tunnel the traffic. But my experience is the quality is very poor. You need the controller to coordinate power levels, channel adjustments, roaming hand-offs, and the like. Our controller was down for a couple weeks last year. During that time, Wifi still worked, but complaints and connectivity issues were way up. The "SMART-RF" feature does make a significant difference, and it only works with a controller present.

For the licensing... this is something I only rarely have to look at, but if I recall correctly I had to put in a fairly long set of characters for the license key, and this key had some kind of serial number validation, where the key was only valid for my specific controller. In other words, the only way to get a license that will actually work is to talk to a reseller or support tech that can issue a key for the serial number matching your controller.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 02:39:28 PM by jcoehoorn »

Offline lgo51

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Re: Caveats of the unknown
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 03:43:15 PM »
Once again, thanks!

You have confirmed what was suspected about a 'headless' situation, not surprising and totally understandable.  And, likewise for the licensing... we kind of assumed the key was tied to the controllers MAC address or internally branded S/N - which is why the hesitancy to look on the used market.  With the cloudiness lifted, we can now plot the path forward.  Thanks for your time and shared experience.

Cheers

Offline McNulty

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Re: Caveats of the unknown
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 07:53:29 PM »
VX9000 comes with 64 AP licenses for FREE