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Cisco Catalyst 9800-CL Setup

Rowell’s post:

François’s post:

Cisco introduced the new Catalyst 9800 Wireless LAN Controller:

One of the main new features was the fact that they released a cloud version (escentially a VM) that you could install pretty much anywhere you want:

  • On a private Cloud
  • On a public Cloud (AWS)
  • Locally on a computer or server

They call it the C9800-CL.


  • No need to maintain a physical controller. Gives you access to the advanced features without having to install hardware.
  • Could be used for lab and quick testing.
  • Easier to scale. Start small and scale up as required.
  • Take advantage of the advantage of a public cloud infra.

We went through the setup process two different ways and wanted to share our experience:

  • Installing on a local mv on your laptop (vmware fusion)
  • Installing on a small local esxi server

Hardware Required

  • To install it on vmware fusion, you don’t need anything apart from your laptop
  • To install it on a local esxi server, we used
    • Intel NUC with an Intel Core i7 processor (Important)
    • 32GB or RAM
    • 500GB of internal SSD
    • 8GB USB SanDisk Cruzer Fit for ESXi

VMWare Setup

C9800 Initial Setup and Configurations

  • The zero day config might not be the best way to go if you want to learn how to configure the controller later on. It could be the easy way to go for a quick deployment.
  • Was easier to set it up via CLI the first time and then HTTPS into it
    • Configure the IP address, route, country code, user, management interface and generate a certificate to establish DTLS connections with the APs
  • Then you can open up a browser and connect to the C9800-CL via HTTPS

Connect an AP

  • In order to have an AP connected to the controller, you will need some sort of DHCP server

Note: VMotion is not yet supported.

Wireless Network Engineer and Owner at SemFio Networks. CWNE #180. Living in London ON Canada, born and raised in Dijon, France.

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