Cisco recently announced a solution capable of bringing controller functionality to access points, bringing new options to your small to medium deployments. The solution, Cisco Mobility Express, allows you to convert an 1830/1850 access point into a Mobility Express AP. In this mode you are able to control up to 25 FlexConnect APs and 500 clients in as little as ten minutes. But, why would Cisco put a controller in an AP?
Let’s face it, wireless is a dynamic space. We see use cases and requirements ranging from straight-forward to something resembling that of a Willy Wonka contraption. Cisco now has a fleet of options from Controllers for traditional CAPWAP networks, to IOS-XE for networks with Unified Access in mind, Meraki for customers who prefer cloud management, and now Mobility Express for customers with small to medium deployments who can benefit from nerd-knobs expected in an enterprise deployment. I personally hope the diversity offered does not lead to more diversity in features leading to confusion or aggravation amongst users; only time will tell.
You may have asked yourself, “How can I set up a Wireless LAN Controller in less than ten minutes?” Well, that is a good question and has a bit of a complicated answer. Yes it is possible to configure the 1830/1850 to be a Mobility Express AP and have a network up and running in that short of time, but you will still need to make tweaks – as with any wireless deployment.