Lightweight Access Point is a term for centrally managed wireless access points. Many wireless manufacturers are developing centrally managed wireless access points (Cisco FlexConnect. Aruba Remote Access Points, Meru along with others). However, there has not been a standard defined, so variances exist between these technologies. Cisco created RFC 5415, which defines the CAPWAP (Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points) protocol, however it has not yet been widely adopted, for example.
One consistency which this document is meant to focus on is the way in which client traffic is managed. These methods are:
- Central Managed Access Points
- Remote Managed Access Points
Central Managed Access Points
The concept of a central managed access point (which is called Local mode in Cisco technology and Campus Access Point in Aruba technology), is a wireless network design that consolidates all wireless traffic back to a central controller. In this scenario there are two channels to and from each access point, Control and Data. The Control Channel (referred to as the handshake channel) and the Data Channel which allows for normal network data transmittal.