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> Chapter 8 - Deploying Wireless Networks > Using Remote FortiAPs

Using Remote WLAN FortiAPs

Remote WLAN FortiAP models enable you to provide a pre-configured WiFi access point to a remote or traveling employee. Once plugged in at home or in a hotel room, the FortiAP automatically discovers the enterprise FortiGate WiFi controller over the Internet and broadcasts the same wireless SSID used in the corporate office. Communication between the WiFi controller and the FortiAP is secure, eliminating the need for a VPN.

Split tunneling

By default, all traffic from the remote FortiAP is sent to the FortiGate WiFi controller. If split tunneling is configured, only traffic destined for the corporate office networks is routed to the FortiGate unit. Other general Internet traffic is routed unencrypted through the local gateway. Split tunneling avoids loading the FortiGate unit with unnecessary traffic and allows access to local private networks at the FortiAP's location.

Note: Split tunneling in WiFi networks differs in implementation from split tunneling in VPN configurations.

By default, split tunneling options are not visible in the FortiGate GUI. You can make these options visible using the following CLI command:

config system global

set gui-fortiap-split-tunneling enable


Split tunneling is configured in the FortiAP Profile and enabled in the SSID.

Configuring the FortiGate for remote FortiAPs

This section assumes that you have already defined SSIDs and now want to make them available to remote FortiAPs.

  • Create FortiAP profiles for the Remote LAN FortiAP models
  • If split tunneling will be used
    • enable Split Tunneling in the SSID
    • configure the split tunnel networks in the FortiAP profile

Creating FortiAP profiles

If you were not already using Remote LAN FortiAP models, you will need to create FortiAP profiles for them. In the FortiAP profile, you specify the SSIDs that the FortiAP will broadcast. For more information, see Creating a FortiAP Profile.

Configuring split tunneling - FortiGate GUI

Go to WiFi Controller > WiFi Network > SSID and edit your SSID. In the WiFi Settings section, enable Split Tunneling.

Go to WiFi Controller > WiFi Network > FortiAP Profiles and edit the FortiAP Profile(s) that apply to the AP types used in the WiFi network. In Split Tunneling Subnets, enter a comma-separated list all of the destination IP address ranges that should not be routed through the the FortiGate WiFi controller. Packets for these destinations will instead be routed through the remote gateway local to the FortiAP.

The list of split tunneling subnets includes public Internet destinations and private subnets local to the FortiAP. Split tunneling public Internet destinations reduces traffic through the FortiGate unit. Split tunneling local private subnets allows these networks to be accessible to the client behind the FortiAP. Otherwise, private network IP destinations are assumed to be behind the FortiGate WiFi controller.

Configuring split tunneling - FortiGate CLI

In this example, split tunneling is configured on the example-ssid WiFi network. On FortiAP model 21D, traffic destined for the 192.168.x.x range will not be routed through the FortiGate WiFi controller. This private IP address range is typically used as a LAN by home routers.

config wireless-controller vap

edit example-ssid

set split-tunneling enable



config wireless-controller wtp-profile

edit FAP21D-default

set split-tunneling-acl-local-ap-subnet enable

config split-tunneling-acl

edit 1

set dest-ip



To enter multiple subnets, create a split-tunneling-acl entry for each one.

Configuring the FortiAP units

Prior to providing a Remote WLAN FortiAP unit to an employee, you need to preconfigure the AP to connect to your FortiGate WiFi controller.

To pre-configure a FortiAP
  1. Connect the FortiAP to the FortiGate unit.
  2. Go to WiFi Controller > Managed Devices > Managed FortiAPs and wait for the FortiAP to be listed. Click Refresh periodically to see the latest information. Note the Connected Via IP address.
  3. Go to System > Dashboard > Status. In the CLI Console, log into the FortiAP CLI.
    For example, if the IP address is, enter:
  4. exec telnet

    Enter admin at the login prompt. By default, no password is set.

  5. Enter the following commands to set the FortiGate WiFi controller IP address. This should be the FortiGate Internet-facing IP address, in this example
  6. cfg -a AC_IPADDR_1=

    cfg -c

  7. Enter exit to log out of the FortiAP CLI.

Preauthorizing FortiAP units

By preauthorizing FortiAP units, you facilitate their automatic authorization on the network. Also, you can assign each unit a unique name, such as the employee's name, for easier tracking.

  1. Go to WiFi Controller > Managed Devices > Managed FortiAPs and create a new entry.
  2. Enter the Serial Number of the FortiAP unit and give it a Name. Select the appropriate FortiAP Profile.
  3. Click OK.

Repeat this process for each FortiAP.