meraki

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

CTS 059: Become A Better Wi-Fi Engineer in 2017

Becoming a better Wi-Fi engineer with this list of resources. Even if you are just getting started in Wi-Fi, you should check out each resource.

Happy New Year! We made it to 2017! I am so glad we are done with 2016.

I spent a lot of time in 2016 studying for the CWNP exams working my way up to CWNE. But in 2017, I’d like to focus on becoming a better Wi-Fi engineer.

What does that mean? I’m talking about really learning how Wi-Fi works. Understanding the technical details of creating a good experience for the end users. In addition, we have to apply what we learn in the field. Whether that is improving your home Wi-Fi, installing Wi-Fi for a church, for your office, or doing high density Wi-Fi.

So in this episode, I want to outline a lot of resources that are available to help us become better Wi-Fi engineers.

Wi-Fi Resources

  • Wireshark
    • Start capturing frames
    • Airtool is a good application for macOS
    • Use this tool from Riverbed for Windows
  • Vendor-specific
    • CCNA Wireless
    • CCNP Wireless
    • Aruba has some good docs
    • Read Cisco configuration guides
  • Get out there and volunteer your services
    • Install Wi-Fi for someone in need, such as your local church
  • Get ahold of some Cisco APs and install the virtual controller trial
  • Do as much work as possible, try to work out the issues and if you need further clarification or guidance, reach out to the community.
  • Find ways to do true validation testing with end users and their devices.
  • Secure networks with 802.1X, I know easier said than done.