Layer 3 roaming use case

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Layer 3 roaming use case

Hi Community,


A customer that configured itself its own wireless infrastructure asks me about roaming issues on one of his location.


Here is the layout :


30 APs in the same VLAN (same subnet), 3 APs on different VLAN

They have an SSID tagged on a specific VLAN


They use Layer 3 roaming on this SSID for client IP assignment.


I think it's useless and could be the cause of roaming issues. Are you agree ?


Many thanks, 


Kind of a big deal

L3 Roaming is generally used when roaming between different VLANs. Has the client tried switching to Bridge Mode?

Darren O'Connor |

I'm not an employee of Cisco/Meraki. My posts are based on Meraki best practice and what has worked for me in the field.

Hi @UCcert 


Be sure I will strongly suggest to switch to Bridge Mode.

Glad to see you're agree with me but it was just to confirm I was right or not.


Many thanks,


Kind of a big deal

I'd avoid Layer 3 roaming if you can, but it has its place. Doing a quick, neat and tidy Layer 2 roam is much better and generally produces less issues. That said however, what issues are they seeing?

Meraki Employee

I guess I'd ask the question  Why are the other 3 APs on a different VLAN?   It's unlikely to be because of scaling concerns, I'd have thought.   With so few APs, it's unlikely to be because you have thousands of clients, all on the same broadcast domain...

If those three APs are geographically separate, they'd have to have overlapping WiFi cells between the two locations, to take advantage of any roaming anyway.

I like the Meraki 'keep it simple' approach, extended to config here:   only L3 roam if you have to.   Assign all clients in one SSID into the same VLAN, on a site (any given Network) if you can.


Sorry for hijacking the thread - but would you rather have a single /23 or /22 network instead of utilizing L3 roaming in a building with ~60 APs (6 different floors)? Any reason for that?




Kind of a big deal

Depends... (I hate answers like that). I’ll elaborate. Can users transition seamlessly between floors, maintaining their wireless connection? In my experience generally they can’t, they have to either use a stairwell or a lift where there is no wireless connectivity, and so the device will disassociate and have to re-associate anyway, so no need for roaming. Occasionally you may get an office where it is possible for clients to move between floors, and then I may just have a single subnet for those floors, but that’s the exception rather than the rule - generally I find it’s one subnet per floor, no need for roaming between them. If they can move between floors without disconnecting, they do, and they have an application that requires seemless roaming (e.g. VoIP), then at six floors I’d probably consider Layer 3 roaming rather than a large subnet. But, again, that depends on how many devices I’d expect on the subnet.


From a subnet sizing point of view remember you may have a subnet for corporate devices, one for BYOD, one for guests, so I’d say a /23 is the largest you should ever need - beyond this the broadcast domain gets too big in my opinion.

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