Cisco WLC – Multicast


Multicast and the Wireless LAN Controller (WLC)


Lots of people seem to be confused by multicast, in general, and specifically how the WLC comes into the mix. This document is meant to be an overview of what needs to be done for the WLC to participate in multicast. It is by no means an indept configuration for a networks multicast configuration.

So to that end, here we go.

First, let’s start with the two modes the controllers operate with:

Multicast – Unicast

This is the easiest method to use. When the WLC receives a Multicast packet, it replays that packet to every AP that is connected. Now this does work, but can be very network intense, as every AP gets the stream. So if you have 100 AP, there are 100 streams, 300 AP 300 streams.

Multicast – Multicast

This is the better method to use. With this method, the AP will join to a multicast group, that you configure, preferably in the 239.x.x.x administratively scoped space. Now when the WLC gets a multicast packet, it replays it once to the group.

WLC side

Select Multicast – Multicast and configure your group, each WLC in your mobility group should use a unique address. For the WLC you are done.

Network side

you need to enable multicast routing, if it’s not enabled already, and you need to pim enable, the following VLANs. Management, AP-Manger, all the VLAN that the AP are in, as well as the VLAN(s) where the clients that will receive the stream will be.

In my lab, VLAN 20 is the management, VLAN 10 is for AP, and VLAN 30 is where my clients are. So under all of these SVI I need to issue the multicast commands.

You should be able to issue show ip mroute, show ip igmp groups, and all the other multicast commands to validate that the group for the AP is built properly.

On the WLC, there is also the ability to enable IGMP snooping. With this enabled, the WLC will hold it’s own snooping table for the IGMP messages that it receives, so that it knows who needs to get the stream.

Previous post

Wireless Health Concerns: Busted, Plausible, or Confirmed?

Next post

EAP-Timers and You

Steve Rodriguez

Steve Rodriguez

Over 10 years of telecom/datacom experience. I spent almost 5 years in Cisco TAC, with 3 of those years as a Lead for the Wireless Team. Extensive experience with all of the wireless solutions from IOS AP up to the CUWN Controllers. As well as experience working with ACS 3.3/4.x, and some 5.x, and IAS/NPS. I hold the follwoing certifications CCIE 23102 R&S CCNA CCNA - Wireless MCSE - 2000 MCSA - 2000

1 Comment

  1. July 2, 2012 at 9:25 am — Reply

    Very timely post. I’m working on helping a client get their AppleTV’s working with their iPads.

Leave a Reply to Ben Story Cancel reply