Posts Tagged ‘spectrum analysis’

All New Dashboard Radio Settings Page

Meraki’s AutoRF technology performs automatic cloud-based, system-wide network optimization to ensure peak network performance in any environment.  Each AP on a Meraki network continually monitors its environment for interference from other APs and feeds this information back to the Cloud Controller.  Last month we added Spectrum Analysis, mitigating interference from non-WiFi devices like microwave ovens and Bluetooth headsets.

AutoRF has always run quietly in the background.  But now, our new Radio Settings page gives you more visibility into what’s happening behind the scenes, and exposes new controls for advanced configuration.

The new Radio Power selector either allows the Cloud Controller to automatically dial back transmit power if it detects adjacent access points stepping on each others’ toes, or allows you to maintain full power for all APs.

The Channel Planning Report sheds light on how AutoRF is tuning your network, providing  visibility into the current channel and transmit power settings for each AP,  as well as the interference sources that were avoided.  If you click on the “Details” link next to each row in the table, you will find a detailed report for all of the APs in your network on a particular channel.

Regular users of the Cloud Controller will notice that some settings previously found under Network Wide Settings have moved to this page, where they fit naturally.

We hope that you find this Radio Settings page helps you better understand how the Cloud Controller is optimizing your network, and helps you to make more informed decisions about how to use the Cloud Controller’s RF controls.  Please let us know what you like, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see next!

New Dashboard Channel Utilization Tool

With so many different types of wireless devices out there today, you’re probably experiencing radio frequency (RF) interference in your wireless network whether you know it or not. RF interference is ubiquitous and there is no way to completely avoid it; the best you can do is identify sources of interference and take them into account when designing your network.  Meraki has introduced a new tool in Dashboard to determine whether interference is affecting your network adversely and to help you optimize your network for the local RF environment.

In the Meraki Dashboard, go to the access points list under the Monitor tab, and click on any active access point.  The channel utilization graph shows the percentage of time the access point has seen RF interference on its channel.  For example, if the access point is operating on channel 1 in the 2.4 GHz band, then the graph will show the amount of time channel 1 has seen interfering RF energy.

Util graph

The percentage of utilization on the channel proportionally affects the peak performance that access points will be able to achieve.  Percentages higher than 30% can cause considerable connectivity issues. Here are some suggestions for reducing or coping with high levels of interference:

1.  Perform an RF site survey before deploying your network.  You can use the Real-Time Spectrum Analysis tool found on the Client Survey Tool tab of with a battery-powered access point or a 3rd party spectrum analyzer to get an overview of the RF environment in your chosen place of deployment before installing your APs.
2.  Remove interfering devices from the area.  Common culprits are 2.4 GHz cordless phones, Bluetooth gadgets, microwaves and wireless video cameras.  A 3rd party packet sniffing tool can be very helpful to identify and locate interference sources.
3.  Ensure adequate wireless coverage to avoid weak spots; a weak signal from your access points is more easily degraded by local RF interference compared to a strong signal.
4.  Avoid using the same channel as neighboring wireless networks.
5.  Turn on channel spreading in Dashboard (go to the Configure tab and click on Network-wide settings) so access points can individually pick their own channel based on the RF interference they detect.
6.  If you are using Meraki 802.11n hardware, consider using the 5 GHz band to avoid the often congested 2.4 GHz band.

Using this new tool and following these simple tips will help you minimize RF interference effects in your Meraki network and optimize performance.

-Posted by Ahmed Akhtar