Meraki MR access points feature enterprise-class QoS, which is important to support real-time applications. Most enterprise networks already enforce QoS by utilizing standards like differentiated services on the switching network. Differentiated services (DiffServ) standardizes the Ethernet frame marking protocol in which Ethernet switches make queuing decisions on a per frame basis.
Wireless networks use a standard called Wireless Multi Media (WMM) for QoS which shares some concepts with DiffServ. WMM provides four different traffic classes: Voice, video, best effort, and background. Devices that support WMM and request a higher level of service, such as Wi-Fi handsets, will receive higher priority on the Meraki wireless network.
Wireless queuing is implemented using airtime backoff timers called EDCA - Cisco Meraki Access Points use the latest 802.11-2016 EDCA standard as detailed below.
WMM Power Save allows devices to “sleep” differently when they receive critical vs. non-critical packets. Devices that support WMM Power Save should experience extended battery life when using a Meraki network.
All 802.11ac-capable Meraki APs support WMM Power Save, but some legacy APs do not support the feature. Please refer to the AP's datasheet for supported features.
Fast Lane is an implementation of all of the QoS features detailed in this article, as well as alignment. Cisco + Apple have developed Fast Lane for iOS devices to improve the real-time application experience on enterprise networks. Meraki MR Access Points, in combination with a wireless profile installed on the iOS device, will enable the Fast Lane technologies. The fastest way to install a wireless profile on an iOS device is via Meraki EMM.
Meraki MR Access Points feature a layer 3/7 traffic shaping feature which can identify traffic based on layer 3 or layer 7 signatures and enforce QoS. This feature is very useful for applications that do not apply the proper DSCP value. Rules can be configured in Dashboard on the Configure > Firewall and Traffic shaping page in order to overwrite or enforce custom DSCP and WMM QoS.
Please refer to our documentation regarding Traffic Shaping and Bandwidth shaping for more details.
Wireless APs are tasked with mapping Ethernet DiffServ values to WMM access categories. The standards bodies of IETF (designed DiffServe) and IEEE (designed WMM) did not align to a common QoS mapping for applications and queuing. Cisco is instrumental in determining correct QoS behaviors, markings, and practices, for the entire industry in RFC-4594, RFC-2474, and Guidelines for DiffServ to IEEE 802.11 Mapping. Meraki MR access points honor the mapping defined in Guidelines for DiffServ to IEEE 802.11 Mapping.
Below is a highlight of some of the most relevant traffic and their respective markings:
RFC 4594-Based Model
|802.3 DSCP||802.11 AC|| |
IEEE 802.11 Model
Voice + DSCP-Admit
|EF + 44||UP 6||Voice AC|
|CS5||UP 5||Video AC|
|AF4||UP 4||Video AC|
|Realtime Interactive||CS4||UP 5||Video AC|
|Multimedia Streaming||AF3||UP 4||Video AC|
|Signaling||CS3||UP 4||Video AC|
|Transactional Data||AF2||UP 3||Best Effort AC|
|OAM||CS2||UP 0||Best Effort AC|
|Bulk Data||AF1||UP 2||Background AC|
|Scavenger||CS1||UP 1||Background AC|
|Best Effort||DF||UP 0||Best Effort AC|
Meraki Access Points honor all upstream QoS sent by the client. Clients have defaults for WMM AC and the DiffServ value for different traffic classes. Please refer to vendor documentation for more details on QoS specifics for traffic sent by the client. The DiffServ field within Ethernet traffic sent from the client will be maintained when the AP forwards it onto the Ethernet network.
Fast Lane gives controls to administrators on what QoS they opt to employ. Refer to the Fast Lane section of this article for more details.
Access points have a queue for each WMM access category on a per-client basis. When transmitting a frame, the Meraki APs use the following EDCA Transmit opportunity values:
These values are also included in beacons which advertise these values to associated clients. The EDCA transmit opportunity defines backoff timers for each traffic class which prioritizes traffic based on airtime.