There are many options to backup your config from a Cisco Wireless LAN Controller.
This post will cover the Cisco 5508 but the process is much the same for 5520 and 8510
#1 – Backup config directly from controller GUI
This is the easiest and most direct method where you download the config directly from the controller to your tftp server.
On the GUI of your wireless controller navigate to Commands > Upload File
You will now be looking at this screen
Change the IP address to the IP address of your TFTP server and change the File Name to your required backup filename.
Click the download button at the top right
Your WLC backup will be downloaded to your TFTP server
#2 – Backup config directly from controller CLI
SSH to your controller, log the output and issue the following commands.
(Cisco-Wireless-5508) >config paging disable
This command will disable paging and enable the entire config to be captured without hitting enter
Now enter the command show run-config
(Cisco-Wireless-5508) >show run-config
Press Enter to continue...
This will display the entire config and log it to where you specified earlier.
#3 – Backup Cisco WLC using Prime Infrastructure
To automate the process of taking wlc backups you can utilise Cisco Prime Infrastructure, Prime will initiate the process above but on a scheduled basis. The backup config can either be stored on the internal ftp server in Prime or to an external TFTP or FTP server.
By default scheduled wireless controller backup is disabled. To enable this process go to
Scroll down to Other Background Tasks and find Controller Configuration Backup
You will see this is disabled and set to run on a schedule of every day at 22:00
To enable this click on the task and tick the enable box
You will also see I have FTP server selected.
This leads onto the next step which is to enable the FTP functionality in Prime
Prime can backup the controller to it’s internal FTP server or an external server. For this post we are only going to cover the internal server.
By default the FTP Server is disabled and needs to be enabled from
Administration > System Settings > Server Settings
Once here you can see that FTP server is disabled
Select the Enable Radio button and then click Save
This change will require a restart of Prime Infrastructure
To do this SSH to Prime and issue the command ncs stop
ciscoprime/admin# ncs stop
Stopping Prime Infrastructure...
This may take a few minutes...
Prime Infrastructure successfully shutdown.
Once it has shutdown issue the command ncs start
ciscoprime/admin# ncs start
Starting Prime Infrastructure...
This may take a while (10 minutes or more) ... Prime Infrastructure started successfully.
This whole process should take no longer than 10 minutes (depending on your environment)
The final step is to set an ftp user password
You do this on the CLI with the command ncs password ftpuser admin password <yourpasswordhere>
Then make sure these details are entered into controller configuration backup task window earlier.
This backup should run every night at 22:00 to test the task tick the box next to the backup task in
Then top right of the screen select Select a Command > Execute Now – then click Go
If you go into the task again you can view the status – it should say Success
You can now view this backup directly in the Prime CLI using the command dir disk:/ftp
Directory of disk:/ftp 18186 Mar 24 2016 12:12:49 10_0_0_150_160324_1212.cfg
Usage for disk: filesystem 1220194304 bytes total used 71686205440 bytes free 76870459392 bytes available ciscoprime/admin#
This file can now viewed and downloaded using a standard ftp client – for this post I am using Filezilla
The final option I am going to show here is backing up a cisco wireless lan controller using Kiwi Cattools
#4 – Backup Cisco WLC config using Kiwi Cattools
To backup a cisco wireless lan controller configuration using Kiwi Cattools it depends on what version you are running.
For this post I am running version 3.7
Step1: Define the Cisco Wireless Controller as a new device using the values below
The key step for this is in the Passwords Tab – you need to define username/password under AAA
Next step is to define an activity if not already being used you need to use Device.Backup.TFTP
In this Activity add your device and on the Options tab change File to write to TFTP Server to config
Run this task and you should generate a backup file in your specified folder.
This post has shown the different ways I use to backup a cisco wireless lan controller configuration file.
Some are manual and some are automated.
Let me know if you know of any other methods.