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Cisco Meraki

Band Steering

Overview

Note: We moved Minimum bitrate configuration and Band selection from Wireless > Configure > Access Control to Wireless > Configure > Radio Settings > RF profiles for easier configuration and management.

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Band steering detects clients capable of 5GHz operation and steers them to that frequency, leaving the more crowded 2.4GHz band available for legacy clients, which helps improve the end-user experience.

How Band Steering works

Wireless devices use two kinds of scanning techniques: passive and active. A wireless client quickly sweeps each channel in a passive scan, listening for beacon frames sent by APs advertising their wireless networks. In an active scan, the wireless client sends probe requests on each channel to solicit a probe response from APs advertising their wireless network. The end-user then sees the list of available wireless network connections. Learn more about the 802.11 association process here.

When band steering is enabled on an SSID, APs will stop advertising that SSID in 2.4GHz beacons. Since 2.4GHz-only clients that rely on a passive scan will not “see” that SSID in beacons, they might not be able to join this SSID unless they do an active scan or have been pre-configured with the SSID name and security settings (for example, a pre-shared key).

If the AP hears a probe request in 2.4GHz while band steering is enabled, it only responds if it has not heard anything on the 5GHz band from that same client in the last 60 seconds.  AP promiscuously listens for all probe requests, association requests, and re-association requests sent by all clients. If the AP has seen any of the above frames within the 60 seconds of receiving a probe response in 2.4GHz, the AP will only send a probe response advertising the wireless network in response to a 5GHz probe once it gets one. This behavior steers the client to the 5GHz band (see Figure 1 below). 

Note: Band steering functions utterly irrespective of the strength of the signal between an AP and a client. An AP will try to steer a client towards 5GHz band even if the signal in 2.4GHz is much stronger.

Figure 1. Band Steering illustrated. 

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Band Steering Configuration

  1. Navigate to Wireless > Configure > Radio Settings > RF profiles

  2. If you would like to configure band steering for all SSIDs on APs assigned to a profile, choose All SSIDs in Band selection

  3. Ensure that both Enable operation on 2.4 GHz band and Enable operation on 5 GHz band are selected.

  4. Select Enable band steering. Note: If either 2.4GHz or 5GHz operation is not selected, Enable band steering will be grayed out.

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  1. If you would like to configure band steering on specific SSIDs on APs assigned to a profile, select Per SSID in Band selection

  2. Select 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and Band steering. Note: If either 2.4GHz or 5GHz band is not selected, Band steering will be grayed out.

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  1. Save changes on the bottom of the page

Note: If you would like to configure dual band operation without band steering select only 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz checkboxes next to the desired SSID.

 
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