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 select the RF tab. The dropdown menu next to Wireless troubleshooting can be used to select the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio, and the Channel Utilization graph will show utilization over a span of time. To view current channel utilization across all channels, set the time dropdown to with live data.
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 the OD2 or MR16, that are not in Air Marshal mode will only display information for the channel(s) they are operating on. The following image shows live data on an MR42 access point:
The access point is currently using channel 11 for its 2.4GHz radio, and channel 153 for its 5GHz radio. Note that while channel 11 is relatively quiet, channel 153 is somewhat noisier. The moderate channel usage is unlikely to cause issues for connected clients, but if devices connected to this access point on the 5GHz radio were experiencing connectivity issues, the channel planning may be worth investigating.