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Using the Channel Utilization Live Tool

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The Cisco Meraki Dashboard has the ability to list the real-time channel utilization detected by a particular access point. This is helpful to understand the performance and stability of the RF environment. The real-time channel utilization can be viewed in Dashboard on the details page of MR Access Points or wireless-capable security appliances (MX64W, Z1, etc).

To get to the AP details page, navigate to Wireless > Monitor > Access points, click on the AP name, and under Live tools click Channel utilization.

To get to the Security Appliance details page, navigate to Security appliance > Monitor > Appliance status, and under Live tools click Channel utilization. This option will not be available if the security appliance is not wireless-capable.

 

High channel utilization can cause the following symptoms:

  • Slow network performance
  • "Missing" SSIDs
  • Network timeouts or trouble connecting to network
  • Dropped network packets

 

To ensure proper functionality, position APs and channel arrangements in such a way that utilization is less than 50% on average. Please refer to our article on Channel Planning Best Practices for more information.

 

The behavior of this tool will depend on what type of access point is being viewed. Models with one or two radios, such as OD2 or MR16, that are not in Air Marshal mode will only display information for the channel(s) they are operating on. An MR16 is shown below. In This example, channel 149 has very low utilization and is likely to see better performance. However, channel 11 is very close to 50% utilization and client performance may be impacted as a result:

 

Models with a third dedicated WIPS (Air Marshal) radio, such as the MR18, MR26,  MR34, or any AP in Air Marshal mode, will display utilization information for all channels on the frequency band they have a radio for. An MR34 is shown below. In this example, all available channels in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands are shown. While all channels in the 5GHz band have low utilization, channels 1 and 6 are above 50% utilization and will likely see performance impact for clients.

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Last modified
18:17, 9 Feb 2016

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