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Wireless Reviews

Features

The WAP561 has a very broad feature set. The list below comes mainly from the data sheet.

Network

  • 1 management VLAN plus 16 VLANs for SSIDs, 802.1q based
  • SSID to VLAN mapping
  • 802.1x supplicant
  • Spanning tree support
  • Load balancing
  • IPv6 host, RADIUS, syslog, NTP suppot

Security

  • Management access control list (ACL) plus user MAC ACL
  • Kensington Lock slot (physical security)

QoS

  • WMM
  • TSPEC support
  • AP and Station (client) 802.11e Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA)
  • DiffServ support on client QoS

Management

  • Web browser, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) v3, Bonjour
  • "Single Point Setup": one AP can control up to 15 others
  • Automatic channel management of multiple APs in "Single Point Setup" mode
  • HTTPS management
  • Remote management
  • Local, syslog, email alert logging
  • Packet capture
  • Firmware update via web browser and config file import/export
  • HTTP redirect
  • IPv6 host support
  • Captive portal

Wireless

  • Auto-channel selection
  • Transmit power adjust
  • Multicast and Legacy Rate setting
  • MCS setting
  • Rogue AP detection
  • 64 client connected client limit (programmable) ; 30 active users per radio recommended
  • Wireless access schedules; Schedules assignable to radio and Virtual AP
  • Bandwidth utilization (% of AP bandwidth used before AP stops allowing associations)
  • WPA/WPA2, Home and Enterprise modes
  • 802.11i preauthentication for fast roaming
  • MAC address filtering
  • WPS (soft pushbutton)
  • SSID broadcast control
  • AP/WDS Bridge/WDS Repeater modes
  • Client bridge mode (no WDS required)

The web admin interface is essentially the same introduced in the WAP121 and WAP321. It still requires a wide (> 1024px) format screen, so isn't tablet and notebook friendly. You'll find yourself doing a lot of horizontal scrolling, especially in the status screens.

WAP561 Getting Started

WAP561 Getting Started

I covered most of the features in the WAP321 review, so I won't repeat that walkthrough here. There are a lot of features and nuances, so you should download the admin guide if you want a deep dive.

The big feature the 551 and 561 bring to the party is Single Point Setup. From the admin guide:

The WAP551 and WAP561 devices support Single Point Setup. Single Point Setup provides a centralized method to administer and control wireless services across multiple devices. You use Single Point Setup to create a single group, or cluster, of wireless devices. After the WAP devices are clustered, you can view, deploy, configure, and secure the wireless network as a single entity. After a wireless cluster is created, Single Point Setup also facilitates channel planning across your wireless services to reduce radio interference and maximize bandwidth on the wireless network.

The video below walks you through using Single Point Setup.

Actually, Single Point Setup looks like it has been rolled out to the WAP121 and WAP321 as well. At least that's what the online emulators that I discovered via this Cisco Blog post show.

The WAP emulators include some multi-AP emulated networks, too. These screens are static, but at least you can get the idea of what SPS does.

Single Point Setup APs

Single Point Setup APs

The 561's specs cite load balancing and fast roaming handoff. But there are no controls that I could see for these features in the SPS screens or anywhere else. The is a Bandwidth Utilization control in the Wireless settings. It controls how much of the AP's bandwidth can be used before it stops allowing new client associations. This is set to 70% by default and appears to apply to the AP as a whole, not each radio.

The gallery below has a few closer views of the 561's board and SPS screens grabbed from the emulator.

More Wireless

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