What is a difference between local AP mode and FlexConnect AP mode?
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Local AP mode and FlexConnect AP mode are two different operational modes that can be configured on Cisco access points (APs) to control how they function in a wireless network. The main difference between these two modes lies in how they handle traffic forwarding and management.
Local AP mode, also known as local mode, is the default mode for Cisco APs. In this mode, the AP functions as a data-forwarding device and is fully managed by the wireless LAN controller (WLC). The AP establishes two Control And Provisioning of Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP) tunnels with the WLC: one for data traffic and one for management traffic. All wireless client traffic is bridged to the wired network through the CAPWAP tunnel to the WLC. The WLC is responsible for handling all wireless client authentication, roaming, and policy enforcement.
FlexConnect AP mode, also known as H-REAP (Hybrid Remote Edge Access Point) mode, is an alternative mode for Cisco APs that allows for some degree of local data forwarding and management. In this mode, the AP operates with reduced dependence on the WLC and can perform some local switching and management functions, even if it loses connectivity with the WLC. FlexConnect AP mode provides benefits for branch offices and other remote locations that require a certain level of autonomy for their wireless network operations.
When a Cisco AP is configured for FlexConnect AP mode, it can operate in one of two sub-modes: Centralized or Local. In Centralized mode, the AP forwards all client traffic to the WLC for processing and enforcement of policies. In Local mode, the AP can forward some traffic locally and only sends certain types of traffic (e.g., authentication, accounting) to the WLC for processing. In Local mode, the AP maintains a local data VLAN mapping table and performs local switching for traffic that matches a local VLAN. This feature reduces the dependency on the WLC for client data forwarding and allows for faster response times and better performance.
In summary, the key differences between Local AP mode and FlexConnect AP mode are: