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Multi-Controller - same VSC issue

Occasional Advisor

Multi-Controller - same VSC issue

In my network I have 3 buildings, each with it's own MSM765zl controller and MSM422 access points.  What I am attempting to do, since the 3 controllers are NOT teamed is essentially create the same VSC on each controller and bind it to the access points each control.  What I am looking to accomplish is to have those users who roam between buildings only have 1 wireless network setup on their iPads.  So... I create 3 VSC's, one on each controller, same VSC name, same SSID, same security (WPA) same shared password.  We tested this with one or two iPads by first connecting in one building and then walking into another building, it appeared to work, the iPad joined right up to the VSC with same SSID as in building 1.  However when we finally deployed the 30 iPads to the users, we configured them in building 1, went to building 2 and they worked great, as expected, but when we went back to building 1 and attempted to join the wifi network, it then asked us for the password for the wireless network.  All the iPads had the wireless network configured through Apples configurator (not sure if that matters here).  My questions are these, 1. Is this a design/setup that could/should work.  To me it should, same SSID, same encryption type, same password.  Would anybody know why after going back to building 1 would we need to re-enter the password?


Thanks in advance for any help/assistance.

Fredrik Lönnman
Honored Contributor

Re: Multi-Controller - same VSC issue

I'd say that should work and probably is an Apple/iOS issue. If the key is really saved it should not ask for it again.

CCIE Service Provider
MASE Network Infrastructure [2011]

Valued Contributor

Re: Multi-Controller - same VSC issue

I have about 1,500 iPads deployed, and I have found nothing to suggest there is a problem with iOS that would cause that behavior. My first suspect would be a slight difference in the VSC or radio configurations or the use of non-standard characters or spaces in the SSID or WPA password. The commonality/non-changing aspect is the wireless configuration installed as a profile on your iPads. Since your controllers are not teamed, the configurations have likely been created manually on the different controllers, and that is a much more likely place for errors to have crept in.


Your users should not have to "attempt to join" the wireless network when moving from one building to the other, the devices should authenticate automatically and will reliably if the SSID configurations are identical and spaces and special characters are avoided in the SSIDs & passwords. 


And easy test-- remove your main SSID from the iPad wireless profile (or create a new one) with a very simple eight character SSID (12345678), a simple eight-character password (87654321), and set up a new VSC on your controllers with the same settings, do not hide the SSID, set the network WPA2-PSK only, block out all but channels 1, 6 & 11, and no other special settings. Sync the APs and try moving an iPad or two between the buildings. I suspect it will work without needing to manually connect. If that is the case, then it is either a difference in your controller configs or the use of spaces or certain characters causing the issue, and you can work backwards to pretty quickly determine what it is. 


If you determine that it's a setting you need causing the problem with the iPads, there is no harm in creating a dedicated iPad VSC. You can still set it to use the same egress VLAN as other VSCs.