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3Com 3CRWE825075A Conversion Manual

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Type: Conversion Guide
Category: Wireless Access Point
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Conversion Guide

Converting to Managed Access Point Operation

3CRWE725075
3CRWE825075A
3CRWE875075A

1

When shipped from the factory, 3Com 7250, 8250 and 8750 Access Points are configured for 
autonomous operation (also known as standalone or FAT operation). However, these access points can 
also be configured as Managed Access Points (MAPs) for use with the 3Com Wireless Switches. This 
document describes how these access points can be configured as MAPs.

Topics covered in this document include:

„

Requirements

„

Autonomous Operation Versus MAP Operation

„

Understanding the MAP Conversion Process

„

Performing the MAP Conversion Process

„

Viewing LEDs in MAP Operation

„

Using the Reset Button in MAP Operation

„

Reverting a MAP to Autonomous Operation

Requirements

Converting a 3Com autonomous access point to a MAP requires the following:

„

Mobility System Software version 3.2 or greater

„

3WXM version 3.2 or greater

„

MAP Conversion Software

The above software files are available for download from the 3Com eSupport website at: 
www.3com.com/support.

Autonomous Operation Versus MAP Operation

When the access point is operating in MAP mode, some functionality is transferred from the access point 
to the Wireless Switch. This provides for better mobility within the wireless coverage area and allows the 
coverage area to be monitored in order to detect rogue access points. 

Some of the functional differences between an autonomous access point and a MAP are:

„

The MAP configuration is done through 3WXM (or the Wireless Switch). The MAP does 
not store any configuration. This makes it easier to reconfigure the wireless network. 
Any configuration that the access point had prior to the conversion to MAP mode is lost.

 


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2

„

The MAP can be configured only through the Wireless Switch, and the console port on 
the MAP is not used; therefore, the MAP does not support SNMP or the 3Com Wireless 
Infrastructure Device Manager.

„

Traffic between the MAP and the Wireless Switch is encapsulated using a proprietary 
protocol. The MAC addresses of wireless clients appear to a network analyzer to be on 
the Wireless Switch ports, not on the MAP ports. 

„

The filtering of traffic is performed by the Wireless Switch. The filtering applied can be 
selected based upon various factors including the user's name, the SSID being accessed, 
and the location of the MAP.

„

When wireless clients are assigned to different VLANs, the MAPs do not need to be 
connected to those VLANs. The Wireless Switches are connected to those VLANs 
instead. It is not necessary for all of the Wireless Switches to be connected to every 
VLAN that the wireless clients may require; the Wireless Switches can tunnel wireless 
client traffic to another Wireless Switch that is connected to the required VLAN.

„

The MAPs still require access to DHCP and DNS services. The MAP uses these to locate a 
Wireless Switch. However, only the Wireless Switches require access to the RADIUS 
servers. 

Understanding the MAP Conversion Process

When operating in autonomous mode, the access point runs code stored inside the device. When 
operating in MAP mode, the access point downloads its runtime code from the Wireless Switch. This 
ensures that all of the MAPs are running compatible code.

The conversion process replaces the code stored in the access point with a new code image — one that 
finds and downloads the runtime code from the Wireless Switch.

About Converting an Existing Network

If you intend to convert access points that are already in use in a network, consider the following:

„

The Wireless Switches should be installed and configured prior to converting the access points. 
If you intend to use the 3Com Wireless Switch Manager (3WXM) to control your MAPs 
(recommended), you should also configure 3WXM prior to converting the access points.

„

You may want to configure 3WXM such that users will access the converted wireless 
network in the same way that they access the current wireless network. For example, if 
you currently support WPA with a pre-shared key (PSK), you may want to configure 
3WXM so that the MAPs also support WPA with the same PSK. The advantage of doing 
this is that you don't have to convert every client PC at the same time as you are 
converting the wireless network; the access methodology can be changed at a later date.

„

You may want to convert a single access point before rolling out the conversion to all of 
the access points. This allows you to verify the configuration of 3WXM and the MAPs 
without impacting too many (if any) users.

„

Unless you are changing the wiring so that the converted access points are connected 
directly to a PoE port on a WX1200 Wireless Switch, you need to configure the access 
points as Distributed Access Points (DAPs) on 3WXM. For resilience, the same access 
point may be configured on more than one Wireless Switch; the MAP automatically 
connects to an available Wireless Switch.

NOTE: The console port on the access point is not used when running in MAP mode. 3Com 
recommends that you remove any console cables from the access point after the conversion 
to MAP operation.

 


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3

How the MAP Locates a Wireless Switch

After an access point is converted to a MAP, it goes through a process to locate a Wireless Switch. This 
section describes the complete boot and configuration process used by Distributed MAPs in MSS Version 
3.2 to locate a Wireless Switch.

„

DHCP Exchange and IP Configuration 

Before the MAP can locate a Wireless Switch, it must first obtain an IP address. It does 
this through the DHCP protocol.

The MAP sends a DHCP Discover message to the subnet broadcast address. If a DHCP 
server is present on the subnet, or through a router configured to relay DHCP, the server 
replies with a unicast DHCP Offer message. The Offer message must contain the 
following parameters:

„

IP address for the MAP

„

Domain name of the network

„

IP address of the network's DNS server

„

IP address of the subnet's default gateway

Optionally, the Offer message can also contain a list of Wireless Switch IP addresses or 
hostnames, in DHCP option 43. The MAP sends a DHCP Request to one of the DHCP 
servers that sent an Offer message, and receives an Ack message from the server. The 
MAP then configures its network connection with the information contained in the Ack 
message from that server.

„

Find WX Broadcast

This is the first method the MAP uses to try to contact a Wireless Switch. 

The MAP sends a Find WX message to UDP port 5000 on the subnet broadcast address. 
Wireless switches in the same IP subnet as the MAP can receive the message. Each 
switch that receives the broadcast Find WX message replies immediately or after a short 
delay:

„

If the MAP is configured as a Distributed MAP on a Wireless Switch and the 
connection bias is high, the switch immediately sends a Find WX Reply message.

„

If the MAP is configured as a Distributed MAP on a Wireless Switch but the 
connection bias is low, the switch waits one second and then sends a Find WX Reply 
message. The delay allows switches with high bias for the MAP to respond first.

„

If a Wireless Switch that receives the Find WX message does not have the Distributed 
MAP in its configuration but another WX switch in the same Mobility Domain does, 
the switch waits two seconds and then sends a Find WX Reply message with the 
IP address of the best switch to use. The determination of best switch is based on the 
bias settings for the MAP on each switch and on the capacity of each switch to add 
new active MAP connections.

After a Wireless Switch replies to the broadcast Find WX Request, the MAP sends a 
unicast Find WX Request to the Wireless Switch's system IP address suggested in the 
Find WX Reply message, to request a software image and configuration. After the MAP 
receives the image and configuration, the boot and configuration process is complete.

However, if no WX switches reply, the MAP resends the Find WX broadcast up to 11 
more times. If no Wireless Switches reply after all 12 attempts, the MAP attempts to find 
a WX based on DHCP option 43 values received in the DHCP Ack.

„

DHCP Option 43

This is the second method the MAP uses to try to contact a Wireless Switch.

This method applies only if the DHCP Ack contained WX IP addresses or hostnames in 
option 43. If the Ack did not have this information, the MAP moves directly onto the 
third method.

 


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4

If the MAP does not find a Wireless Switch using the Find WX broadcast method, and 
the DHCP Ack message contained a list of Wireless Switch IP addresses or hostnames in 
DHCP option 43, the MAP contacts the Wireless Switches:

„

If the DHCP Ack message contained a list of IP addresses, in DHCP option 43, the 
MAP sends a unicast Find WX message to each address.

„

If the DHCP Ack message contained a list of hostnames in DHCP option 43, the MAP 
sends DNS Requests to the DNS server for the IP addresses of the switches and then 
sends a unicast Find WX message to each address.

Each Wireless Switch that receives a unicast Find WX message from the MAP determines 
the best Wireless Switch for the MAP to use based on the bias settings for the MAP on 
each switch. If more than one switch has high bias for the MAP or all switches have the 
same bias, the switch suggests the switch that has the highest capacity to add new 
active MAP connections. The Wireless Switch sends a unicast Find WX Reply message to 
the MAP containing the system IP address of the best Wireless Switch to use.

The MAP sends a unicast message to the Wireless Switch suggested by the Find WX 
Reply message, to request a software image and configuration.

If no Wireless Switches reply, the MAP resends the Find WX messages up to 11 more 
times. If no Wireless Switches reply after all 12 attempts, the MAP tries to find a 
Wireless Switch using the third and final method.

„

DNS Request for 3COMWX.mynetwork.com

This is the third method the MAP uses to try to find a Wireless Switch.

If the MAP is unable to locate a Wireless Switch on the subnet it is connected to, and is 
unable to find a WX based on DHCP option 43, the MAP sends a DNS request for 
3COMWX.mynetwork.com, where the domain name 'mynetwork.com' is learned 
through DHCP. This method requires a DNS address record on the DNS server that maps 
a Wireless Switch IP address to 3COMWX.mynetwork.com.

The DNS server replies with the system IP address of a Wireless Switch.

The MAP sends a unicast Find WX message to the Wireless Switch whose IP address was 
returned by the DNS server. The Wireless Switch determines the best Wireless Switch for 
the MAP to use based on the bias settings for the MAP on each switch. If more than one 
switch has high bias for the MAP or all switches have the same bias, the switch suggests 
the switch that has the highest capacity to add new active MAP connections. The 
Wireless Switch sends a unicast Find WX Reply message to the MAP containing the 
system IP address of the best Wireless Switch to use.

The MAP sends a unicast message to the Wireless Switch suggested by the Find WX 
Reply message, to request a software image and configuration.

If no Wireless Switches reply, the MAP retries this method up to 11 more times. If no 
Wireless Switches reply after all 12 attempts, the MAP begins the process again with the 
DHCP Exchange.

A MAP that is directly connected to a PoE port on a WX1200 switch follows the same basic procedure. 
The switch replies to the DHCP Discover and Find WX Broadcast messages sent by the MAP, thus 
providing its configuration. The IP address used for communication with a directly connected MAP is 
private to the link and is not visible anywhere else on the network.

 


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5

Performing the MAP Conversion Process

Before you can convert the access points, you need the 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager 
and the MAP Conversion Software installed on a PC. This software is available on the CD that is provided 
with the Wireless Switch; it may also be downloaded from the 3Com web site at www.3com.com. 

Conversion in a Stand-Alone Network

This section assumes that you are converting an access point that has its factory default settings. A 
configured device may be reset to factory defaults by pressing and holding the Reset button for 15 seconds.

1

Connect the access point and the PC via a switch or hub. No other devices should be 
present on this network. Provide power to the access point. In the absence of a DHCP 
server, it takes the access point up to one minute before it becomes manageable.

2

Launch the 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager, select the network adapter (if 
required), and refresh the display.

3

Select the device to be converted in the Wireless Network Tree.

4

After the correct device has been selected, click Configure. Accept the suggested 
IP address configuration for the access point. Leave the password field blank and click 
Next. This launches the web management interface for the device.

5

Enter the username and password when prompted. The default username is admin and 
the password field should be left blank. You also need to set the country code before 
you can access the home page.

6

Click Advanced Setup, select the Administration page, and then go to the 
Firmware Upgrade section.

7

Since the MAP Conversion Software is already loaded on the PC, it can be uploaded to 
the access point using the Local option. Click the Browse button and locate the MAP 
Conversion Software file. Click Start Upgrade to start the conversion process. The 
upload takes place through the HTTP protocol from the local machine.

8

When the upload is complete, click Reboot. The Power LED on the access point will flash 
yellow. The web management interface can be dismissed and the process repeated for 
other access points that also need to be converted.

NOTE: Any configuration that the access point has prior to conversion to MAP mode is lost 
during the conversion process.

NOTE: 3Com does not recommend using the 3ND Agent Upgrade facility when converting 
access points to MAP operation. 3ND is unable to verify the conversion and will assume that 
the conversion failed.

NOTE: If an AP8250 has been upgraded to an AP8750 by adding a second radio, the MAP 
must be configured as an AP8750 on 3WXM and the Wireless Switch.

 


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6

Conversion in a Running Network

Before converting an access point in a running network, you must: 

„

Install the Wireless Switch in the network.

„

Ensure that the DHCP and DNS servers have been configured to support wireless 
switching as specified in the Wireless Switch Getting Started Guide. When the 
access point has been converted, it searches for the Wireless Switch.

1

Make a note of the MAC address and device serial number of the device to be 
converted. Ignore any digits before the slash (/) in the serial number. For example, for 
the serial number 0100/ M8XE4QB123456, make a note of 'M8XE4QB123456'.

2

Add the MAP to the Wireless Switch, preferably using 3WXM. If the device is being 
configured as a Distributed MAP (DAP), the serial number must be specified. 

3

If you know the current IP address of the MAP, you can start up your web browser and 
enter the IP address of the access point in the address bar. Otherwise follow steps 4 to 6 
to find the device and launch the web management interface.

4

Launch the 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager, select the network adapter (if 
required) and refresh the display. The PC needs to be connected to the same 
subnetwork as the access points to be converted.

5

Select the device to be converted in the Wireless Network Tree. Click Properties and 
check that the MAC address corresponds with that of the device to be converted.

6

Once the correct device has been selected, click Configure. If a password has been set 
on the device, enter it when prompted and click Next. This launches the web 
management interface for the device.

7

Enter the username and password when prompted. If the device has not been used 
before, the default username is admin and the password field should be left blank. You 
may also need to set the country code before you can access the home page.

8

Click Advanced Setup, select the Administration page, and then go to the 
Firmware Upgrade section.

9

Since the MAP Conversion Software is already loaded on the PC, it can be uploaded to 
the access point using the Local option. Click the Browse button and locate the MAP 
Conversion Software file. Click Start Upgrade to start the conversion process. The 
upload takes place through the HTTP protocol from the local machine.

10

When the upload is complete, click Reboot. The web management interface can be 
dismissed. The 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager display should be 
refreshed. If the conversion is successful, the access point is no longer be visible in the 
displayed Wireless Network Tree. The MAP should now be under the control of the 
Wireless Switch.

 


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7

Viewing LEDs in MAP Operation

The LEDs on an access point in MAP mode operate as follows:

Using the Reset Button in MAP Operation

The Reset button on an access point in MAP mode has two functions: 

„

Momentarily pressing the button during normal operation causes the access point to reset.

„

Continually pressing the Reset button while the access point is booting begins the 
process that converts the access point back to autonomous operation.

LED

Description

Radio

„

Unlit:

„

The radio is not installed.

„

The radio is disabled.

„

No clients are associated with the radio and there is no traffic activity. 

„

Lights red: A client is associated with the radio.

„

Flashes slowly: Traffic is being sent or received. 

„

Flashes red rapidly: The radio is unable to transmit. Use the 3Com 
Wireless Switch Manager to locate and rectify the problem.

Power

„

Flashes yellow: The MAP has not been able to locate a Wireless 
Switch. 

„

Flashes green: The MAP has located the Wireless Switch but has not 
been configured by the Wireless Switch for operational use. 

„

Flashes green: The MAP is in normal operation. 

„

Flashes yellow: A hardware fault has been detected

Ethernet

The operation of this LED is the same in both MAP and Autonomous 
configurations. 

„

Flashes yellow: A 10Mbps link is established.

„

Lights green: A 100Mbps link is established.

„

Flashes: Indicates activity on the network. 

„

Flashes rapidly: Indicates more activity on the network.

NOTE: The operation of the radio and power LEDs can be used to determine which mode 
has been configured on the access point. For example: If the access point is powered on but 
is not connected (directly or through a network) to a 3Com Wireless Switch, the Power LED 
will flash yellow when in MAP mode and will be lit green when in autonomous mode.

NOTE: The Reset button is located behind a small hole on the rear panel of the AP7250, and 
between the Power and Ethernet LEDs on the AP8250 and AP8750.

 


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8

Reverting a MAP to Autonomous Operation

The access point has two code images: a default image and a runtime image. The default image is used 
if the main runtime image gets corrupted. This default image provides limited functionality but allows 
the 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager to access it and provide a new runtime image.

The reversion process works by deleting the MAP runtime image. The access point then boots the 
default image. The 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager is then used to reload the 
autonomous access point image.

Reversion in a Stand-Alone Network

1

Connect the access point and the PC via a switch or hub. No other devices should be 
present on this network. Provide power to the access point. In the absence of a Wireless 
Switch, the Power LED flashes yellow.

2

Press the Reset button on the access point, release it for two seconds, and then press it 
in again and keep it pressed for 30 seconds. The Reset button is located behind a small 
hole on the rear panel of the AP7250, and between the Power and Ethernet LEDs on 
the AP8250 and AP8750. 

3

The Power LED should light green. If it does not, repeat step 2. It sometimes can be 
difficult to keep the Reset button depressed on the AP8250 and AP8750.

4

Launch the 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager, select the network adapter (if 
required) and refresh the display.

5

Select the device to be reverted in the Wireless Network Tree.

6

After the correct device has been selected, click Configure. Accept the suggested 
IP address configuration for the access point. Leave the password field blank and click 
Next. This launches the web management interface for the device.

7

Enter the username and password when prompted. The default username is admin and 
the password field should be left blank. You also need to set the country code before 
you can access the home page.

8

Click Advanced Setup, select the Administration page, and then go to the 
Firmware Upgrade section.

9

Since the access point software is already loaded on the PC, it can be uploaded to the 
access point using the Local option. Click the Browse button and locate the access point 
software file. Click Start Upgrade to start the conversion process. The upload takes place 
through the HTTP protocol from the local machine.

10

When the conversion is complete, click Reboot.
The access point can be configured for use as an autonomous access point as explained 
in the access point user guides.

NOTE: Before you can revert the access points, you need the 3Com Wireless Infrastructure 
Device Manager and the latest version of the access point software installed on a PC. This 
software may be downloaded from the 3Com web site at www.3com.com.

 


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9

Reversion in a Running Network

1

Remove the access point from the Wireless Switch configuration (preferably by using 
3WXM). In the absence of a Wireless Switch, the Power LED starts to flash yellow.

2

Press the Reset button on the access point, release it for two seconds, and then press it 
in again and keep it pressed for 30 seconds. The Reset button is located behind a small 
hole on the rear panel of the AP7250 and between the Power and Ethernet LEDs on the 
AP8250 and AP8750. 

3

The Power LED should light green. If it does not, repeat step 2. It sometimes can be 
difficult to keep the Reset button depressed on the AP8250 and AP8750.

4

Launch the 3Com Wireless Infrastructure Device Manager, select the network adapter (if 
required) and refresh the display. The PC needs to be connected to the same 
subnetwork as the access points that is being reverted.

5

Select the device to be reverted in the Wireless Network Tree.

6

After the correct device has been selected, click Configure. Accept the suggested 
IP address configuration for the access point. Leave the password field blank and click 
Next. This launches the web browser for the device.

7

Enter the username and password when prompted. The default username is admin and 
the password field should be left blank. You also need to set the country code before 
you can access the home page.

8

Click Advanced Setup, select the Administration page, and then go to the 
Firmware Upgrade section.

9

Since the access point software is already loaded on the PC, it can be uploaded to the 
access point using the Local option. Click the Browse button and locate the access point 
software file. Click Start Upgrade to start the conversion process. The upload takes place 
through the HTTP protocol from the local machine.

10

When the conversion is complete, click Reboot

The access point can now be configured for use as an autonomous access point as 
explained in the access point user guides.

CAUTION: Access to the reset button on the access point is required. The access point may be 
mounted on a wall or in location with limited accessibility. Proper health and safety precautions 
must be observed when accessing the access point..

NOTE: During this procedure unsecured access may be granted to the network.

!

 


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Copyright © 2005 3Com Corporation.  All rights reserved.  3Com, and the 3Com Logo are registered 

trademarks of 3Com Corporation. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the 

respective companies with which they are associated.
730-9502-0073

     

Published April 2005