Devin Akin

CTS 107: What’s The Purpose of Cisco CleanAir

Are you fully utilizing CleanAir to it’s maximum capability? We dive into the intricacies of Cisco CleanAir.

This episode is sponsored by Metageek

Sponsored by Metageek

Cisco CleanAir

Download your free CleanAir Reference Sheet PDF

The earliest Cisco WLC version where Cisco CleanAir was released dates back to the 7.0 days. Sometime around the year 2010. Cisco CleanAir is always on within an AP, granted if it is Enabled in the WLC. There is a Spectrum Analysis Engine (SaGE) chip built into the AP. This is important to know because it doesn’t prevent the AP from serving clients. SaGE works alongside the Wi-Fi chip. There is no affect to client throughput or traffic.

To enhance Cisco RRM’s features, CleanAir plays a critical role in allowing RRM to change channels if persistent interference is detected. CleanAir will field the appropriate algorithms to help the WLC make changes to improve an environment.

Cisco CleanAir produces two important elements:

  • Interference Device Report
  • Air Quality Index

The Interference Device Report (IDR) provides information on detected interference. It will provide a class type, what band the interference was detected on and on what channel(s), the severity of the interference, it’s duty cycle, and the interference signature.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) provides a quality score, from 0 – 100%, with 100% being good. The index will display total channel power, total channel duty cycle, the power of the interferer and total interference duty cycle.

A benefit of using Cisco CleanAir is having the ability to troubleshoot the shared spectrum remotely and without any additional hardware. A CleanAir supported access point can be utilized for this purpose. Some things to keep in mind when using your CleanAir access point for troubleshooting interference:

There are three modes:

  • Local – The AP will continue to serve clients on its operating channel. But any spectrum monitoring is performed on that channel only.
  • Monitor – The AP doesn’t server any clients but provides full time scanning.
  • Spectrum Expert Connect – This is a dedicated spectrum sensor and doesn’t serve any clients.

In times when the best response is to use technical support hands to troubleshoot the issue, having a method of automatically mitigating an interference issue can be highly beneficial. It can cut time to resolution down and react faster than a support team that is reactionary.

What we’d like to see from CleanAir is the ability to tell an administrator whether any action needs to be performed. While interference and air quality is determined on any given channel, does it even matter? Are any users impacted negatively? A smarter system would be able to detect interference and provide exactly which users are having issues directly related to this interferer and what kind of impact that is. And a step further would be to automatically adjust the system to fix the problem.

We’ve included some images of Cisco CleanAir in action from within Spectrum Expert and Metageek Chanalyzer.

Links and Resources and News

Giveaway

We are giving away CTS apparel of your choice. Either a CTS shirt or sweater! To enter, do the following:

  1. Enter the form below
  2. Follow @cleartosend on twitter
  3. Leave us a review on iTunes
  4. Let us know what was your most recent interference encounter in the comments below
  5. And don’t forget to tell everyone that you’ve entered #cts107 giveaway

Sorry, but the giveaway entry has expired.

CTS 100: Retrospective – Episode 100!

A look back at the podcast all the way to the beginning! Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

This episode is sponsored by Metageek

Sponsored by Metageek

We Made It To Episode 100!

100th episode giveaway

I never thought I’d make it to episode 100 of this podcast. The first episode was published in August of 2015. The reason for starting the podcast was to learn more about Wi-Fi. To get into the community and help others who were getting started.

At the time I was an IT Manager with a strong interest in Wi-Fi. I didn’t have many friends of colleagues specializing in Wi-Fi which led to this podcast being born.

At first it was difficult to produce an episode each week. It actually is still difficult but it comes natural now. Especially with François joining as a co-host.

François and I have known each other through Twitter. I’m not sure how we even connected but a fun fact is that we didn’t meet in person until October of 2017. We met in Toronto, Canada where our families had dinner together. With the addition of François the quality of the podcast has increased. So I thank him for all this efforts!

We both record at home and for me it is in my garage. We do it when we have spare time and often have enough time just to hit the publish button for the week 😉

CTS has had only one sponsor so far, Metageek, who help fund the podcast expenses. We greatly appreciate them as they are a product we use regularly.

What We’ve Learned with Podcasting

It’s difficult to release one episode per week! With the both of us working full time it’s easy to get busy. After a full days’ work we spend time with our families so we often have to juggle time to record. On top of that, there is a three hour difference between us. I am in California and François is near Toronto, Canada.

When it comes to recording we have to be very efficient. There is hardly any editing that goes into the recordings unless we really need to edit. We’re not audio professionals but we do our best to get the best audio quality recorded.

What equipment & software do we use?

Memorable Episodes

Our first Round Table was interesting to record. Getting a group of Wi-Fi professionals together can lead to all sorts of conversations. It’s also a challenge to keep those conversations on topic for a podcast.

Devin Akin’s recording on channel widths was highly informative and educational. I’d say we all learned a thing or too on using wider channels and also being aware of OBSS.

Learning how Ubiquiti used Andrew’s Capacity Planner to equip the FedEx Forum with their UniFi APs was inspiring. We enjoy hearing how others have solved an issue, encountered challenges, and deployed Wi-Fi.

Mist is another memorable episode because it’s what is new in our industry. They’ve included some eye opening metrics to our Wi-Fi systems which should help us all lower the amount of time to solve Wi-Fi issues.

What are the top 5 episodes?

What’s Next?

We want to increase the production quality of the podcast. We continue to work on the audio quality but we also want to improve the podcast overall. We will put more focus on the show notes so they can be just as valuable as the audio episodes. François will begin recording in French! Of course we will continue to bring in interviews as there are so many people to hear from. Even those who may not be active on social media.

Another improvement we will be focusing on is our newsletter. If you haven’t already, sign up for notification of published episodes, get industry news through This Week in Wireless, and more. There will be more relevant content communicated by François and I through the newsletter.

Let us know what you think! Please fill out our listener survey: http://cleartosend.net/survey

Giveaway

We want to thank all our listeners for supporting Clear To Send! Thank you for downloading and listening to our episodes and for giving us a review!

We have two great giveaways for you:

  • CWNP Study Guides
  • Ventev Venvolt

CWNP Study Guides

Thinking about getting your CWNE? CTS will be giving away the textbook version for each CWNP certification exam. All you have to do is fill out the form below.

Ventev Venvolt

The battery pack from Ventev.

One lucky person will be the owner of a brand new Venvolt! This is being released mid-December 2017. This is the battery every Wi-Fi professional needs to have. It will give you power all day long in a small package. This is an 802.3at PoE+ site survey battery pack. Perfect for all your site survey needs. To be the lucky winner of this Venvolt, please fill out the form below!

Giveaway Terms

The giveaway is open to all residents of the United States. Unfortunately, I cannot do international due to laws, regulations, and taxes in countries outside of the United States. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate. The winner will be chosen randomly on December 17th, 2017. By submitting the form you agree to the giveaway terms and will also be subscribed to the CTS newsletter.

CTS 084: Channel Widths with Devin Akin

Devin Akin joins us on the show to talk about using wider channels on wireless networks. What are the pros and cons, what should we know when configuring wider channel widths and how does it affect the clients?

Image of channel widths

Channel Widths

Devin Akin joins CTS to drop some knowledge on channel widths. Devin is the founder if Divergent Dynamics, a Wi-Fi consulting company. But before that he got his foundation in the military, where he started learning RF. After the military, Devin founded CWNP which has now grown to be the vendor neutral certification in the technology industry. He soon pursued other roles in different companies to further add to his experience as a wireless expert.

In this episode, Devin talks to us about using wider channel widths in our Wi-Fi network. This episode is going to be very educational. We asked the question of how we got to using up to 160 MHz channel widths. So we get a bit of history into older wireless technologies, beginning with 802.11 prime.

As the market chases the highest data rates possible, Devin begins educating us on how channel bonding is used. The discussion will make you want to test this out for yourself on your wireless networks. Frames such as management and control will use the primary 20 MHz channel widths. Channel bonding was introduced in 802.11n which gave us 40 MHz channel widths and higher data rates. But with this we increase the noise floor and require higher SNR.

And we cannot forget about CCI and ACI which Devin definitely goes into. In our discussion we ask Devin how he approaches channel bonding in his design. What factors play into whether he’ll increase channel widths beyond 20 MHz.

And probably one of the most educational moments of the episode is learning about OBSS and the affect it has on wireless networks.

Listen in on this episode for much more and get ready to take notes.

Links and Resources