After the release of the new Catalyst 9800 Controller, I have been wanting to really get my hands on one to have for my home lab. My biggest hurdle is that I am in a Windows only environment and don’t have VMWare at my disposal.
I built a pretty beefy gaming PC last year that I use a lot for work, and I have been tinkering with getting the C9800-CL VM running in my environment for a while now. It wasn’t until this morning that I FINALLY got it working.
The components that I used to finally get this working are;
- Installed the Oracle VirtualBox Freeware
- C9800-CL .ISO File
- Windows 10 PC with an Ethernet Interface
Step 1: Downloading the WLC Image
For my setup, you will need to obtain the .ISO image of the new C9800 WLC.
This will require that you have a valid CCO account with the appropriate permissions for access to the files.
Step 2: Create the VM inside of VirtualBox
The VM will need 8GB of Virtual Hard Disk (VDI) space that is Dynamically Allocated, 1 CPU deducated, and 4096 MB of RAM.
Once you have provisioned the VM, you need to select the Optical Drive settings, and select your C9800-CL .ISO image file
The next part is the MOST important and after many variations – I have settled on the below network settings as it enables the VM to function properly
Under the VM settings, ensure that your Adapter 1 is the adapter you use to connect to your network with (mine is Eth 0). You will need to ensure that it is set to your bridged adapter, and the advanced type MUST be virtio-net
Step 3: Launch the VM
Start the VM and it will launch the .ISO file. Aside from the very start when it says “press any key” – you won’t need to touch the keyboard. This is a great time to go grab a cup of coffee.
Step 4: Initial Configuration
Setting up the WLC via CLI is much easier than via the GUI, and it also allows you to get around some of the odd traps that the Day-0 provisioning GUI will force on you. François Vergès wrote an awesome blog around how he preformed this. I have shamelessly copied his last section into this section of the blog.
Start by terminating the auto install so that it drops you down into the WLC CLI
From here you will need to configure the following;
- Configure the Enable Password
- Create an Admin Account
- Configure the Network Interface g1
- Configure the default route
- Configure the Country Code (this is required to avoid the Day – 0 Provisioning)
- Configure which interface will be used for management (g1 for our case)
- Generate the Certificate that will be used to establish DTLS connections with the APs
Use the below commands in order to configure these items
- The IP addresses used here are specific to my setup. Ensure you use relevant IPs to your network.
- The passwords have not been disclosed, please replace “secret_password” and “user password” by the passwords you want to use
- Configure these items in the order outlined in this blog
- The last command doesn’t configure anything, it’s just used to validate that the trustpoint has been generated properly
- Since we are disabling the 802.11a and 802.11b radios to configure the country code, you will have to re-enable them later if you want your APs to be operational
From this point, you should be able to ping your WLC VM, as well as browse to it and login to the GUI with the credentials that you selected. Good luck and Happy New Year to everyone!
- Cisco Catalyst C9800-CL Wireless Controller Virtual Deployment Guide: www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/wireless/controller/technotes/8-8/b_c9800_wireless_controller_virtual_dg.html
- Catalyst 9800 CL Install Guide: www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/wireless/controller/9800/9800-cloud/installation/b-c9800-cl-install-guide.pdf
- Release Notes for Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controller, Cisco IOS XE Gibraltar 16.11.x: www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/wireless/controller/9800/16-11/release-notes/rn-16-11-9800.html
- C9800-CL for my Homelab by Tim Saas: http://wifi-blog.com/2019/01/31/c9800-cl-for-my-homlab/
- Setup Cisco Catalyst 9800 Controller On Your Laptop by François Vergès: https://www.semfionetworks.com/blog/setup-cisco-catalyst-9800-controller-on-your-laptop