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Fast Roaming – 802.11r – Cisco Wireless LAN Controller

Just last week I updated my Cisco 2504 to the latest software version, 7.6.100.0.

One of the updates that stuck out to me was under the security configuration of a wireless LAN, Fast Transition.

What is Fast Transition

Fast Transition is Cisco’s lingo for IEEE 802.11r. 802.11r is an amendment to IEEE 802.11 and was ratified in 2008. The standard defines fast roaming between APs.

How Does it Work

The concept of fast roaming is that the device creates a handshake with another AP even before the client roams to the new AP. This allows the client to roam to another AP without re-authenticating.

Caveats and Restrictions

A wireless client not compatible with 802.11r will not be able to join a WLAN with Fast Transition (802.11r) enabled. You will have to create another WLAN with a different SSID that has Fast Transition disabled.

Fast Transition will only work with open and WPA2.

Fast Transition is not supported with:

  • APs in standalone mode
  • EAP LEAP method
  • Legacy clients without an 802.11r enabled driver

Configuring 802.11r on a Cisco Wireless LAN Controller

First off, Fast Transition will not be shown on your controller unless you have at least version 7.2.110.0 on you WLC.

Click on WLANs

Cisco WLC WLANs

Edit an existing WLAN or create a new one

Modifying a WLAN

Click on the Security tab

Click on the Layer 2 sub tab of Security

Under Fast Transition section enable Fast Transition

Fast Transition - 802.11r

Under the Authentication Key Management section, deselect PSK and select FT PSK.

Fast Transition PSK

Click Apply and Save Configuration


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