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Cisco 9800 WLC - Adding Wave 1 AP support

If you are using Cisco 9800, you know that Cisco stopped supporting Wave 1 (17xx/27xx/37xx) APs beyond 17.3.x codes. Here is a slide from a recent Ciscolieve 2023 presentation (BRKEWN-2338) that listed 9800 IOS-XE recommendations.

However, Cisco recently announced wave 1 AP support in IOS-XE 17.9.3 code. This will help customers who got wave1 APs to adopt 9800 migration faster and also move forward with their 9800 WLC firmware without stuck in 17.3.x code.

Here is the release note of 9800 in 17.9.3 which highlighted the support of Wave 1 APs. Features wise you still get 17.3.x parity with those Wave 1 APs even you with 17.9.3.

One reason for such a decision is the last day of software maintenance for 17.3.x code listed 31st March 2023. For a lot of customers who had Wave 1 APs stuck in 17.3.x code as they could not upgrade their AP fleet in time (budget constraints, supply chain issues during the pandemic, etc). Now last day of 17.3.x maintenance release approaches they have to go to different codes to get proper bug fixes, and security patches on the 9800 codes they run.

We have tested in our lab 3702 to get registered & clients can connect, In your case, you have to test it in your environment and upgrade your 9800 to 17.9.3 (if you are with 17.3.x and got wave-1 APs on your 9800). That will provide a code that gets maintenance fixes for your 9800 firmware at least for the next couple of years.

When you choose a firmware version to upgrade, always go with an extended maintenance release code train. Both 17.3.x & 17.6.x EoL has been announced. In that way planning to upgrade to 17.9.x is something you should consider. As of March 2023, we got its third maintenance release (17.9.3). Typically we would start using it in production environments when you got 3rd or 4th maintenance release of a major code train.

Here are some CLI commands (from WLC & AP end) that you can use to verify:

C9800-2#sh ap name AP1-3702 config general | in Ver|Model
Software Version                                :
Boot Version                                    :
Mini IOS Version                                :
AP Model                                        : AIR-CAP3702I-Z-K9
IOS Version                                     : 15.3(3)JPN2$

AP1-3702#sh capwap client rcb 
AdminState                  :  ADMIN_ENABLED 
Primary SwVer               : 
Backup  SwVer               : 
NumFilledSlots              :  2 
Name                        :  AP1-3702 
Location                    :  default location 
MwarName                    :  C9800-2 
MwarApMgrIp                 :
MwarHwVer                   : 
ApMode                      :  Local 
ApSubMode                   :  Not Configured 
OperationState              :  UP 
CAPWAP Path MTU             :  1421 
Link-Encryption (AP)        :  Disabled
Link-Encryption (MWAR)      :  Enabled
Prefer-mode                 :  IPv4
LinkAuditing                :  disabled
AP Rogue Detection Mode     :  Enabled
AP Tcp MSS Adjust           :  Enabled
AP Tcp MSS size             :  1250


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