Wireless Access

Occasional Contributor II

Layer 2 Mobility or Layer 3?

I've been reading over the VRD but just wanted to ask the community what they think - 


Our building is really three buildings connected together into one big building.    It's segmented into a vlan per building. 


Admin Vlan

Elementary Vlan

Junior High Vlan

High School Vlan


Our current AP's ( apple airports ),  are on the vlan for the part of the building they are in.   With the apple airports,  there are times when teachers sitting in their rooms might connect to three different vlans throughout the day.    At each change, it takes their network down until it realizes whats going on and renews its IP.   


We also run into issues where a user carries a laptop from one part of the building to another.


One of the big things i'm excited about for our move to Aruba is being able to forward that traffic across vlans. 


While reading the VRD it sounds like layer 2 doesn't switch across vlans,  is that correct?    It sounded like layer 3 was the way to go,  but the documentation all seems to reference going between controllers - not vlans on a single controller.    We only have one controller. 


Our controller will be connected directly to our MDF core switch,    and each of the aruba AP's will be on the vlan for the part of the building they are in. 


Anyone have any suggestions?   Should I try layer 2 or go layer 3?


Our building is 99.9% mac,   0-4 year old macbooks.



Aruba Employee

Re: Layer 2 Mobility or Layer 3?

Since you are new to Aruba, I highly recommend you go through the free Level 0 training videos. They can be found here:



To answer you question, the VLAN is whatever you want it to be. It doesn't matter what VLAN the AP is on. Users get a VLAN at the controller, not at the AP. You can determine the VLAN based on the SSID or the user role (recommended).


Do you use Microsoft AD? If so, I would look into setting up Microsoft RADIUS, and use AD groups to determine which VLAN a user gets on. This would be done in conjunction with a WPA2-AES SSID. Then an Admin would get an Admin VLAN no matter where they are.


I hope this answers your question.


Zach Jennings
Occasional Contributor II

Re: Layer 2 Mobility or Layer 3?

What Vlan they are on doesn't matter as much to me as them not dropping connection when roaming to a different vlan.  



Aruba Employee

Re: Layer 2 Mobility or Layer 3?

Why would they be roaming to a different VLAN? The VLAN is determined at the controller, not where the AP is. A user can connect and obtain whatever VLAN you want. They can then keep that VLAN as long as they are connected, no matter where they roam to.


There are many different options. Go through those videos. They cover the basics on how a thin AP environment works.


Zach Jennings
Occasional Contributor II

Re: Layer 2 Mobility or Layer 3?

Ok thanks.  I watched them all.  


I was having a hard time fully grasping how thin AP's work I guess.   Got it now though. 


Can't wait till our controller comes in so I can start playing!    Should hopefully be on the Fed Ex truck tomorrow... hopefully....

New Contributor

Re: Layer 2 Mobility or Layer 3?


Thanks for the training video link, wanted to know if the training videos are free? I could only play:

Do I have to request/buy those training videos? Can you please share direct links to training videos?


Thanks a lot!



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