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Updated:November 12, 2020
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The objective of this article to explain best practices when doing a setup of a Cisco Business Wireless Network.
Cisco Business Wireless Access Points (AP) and mesh extenders provide an easy-to-deploy solution designed to enable small and medium-sized organizations to communicate and collaborate like never before.
Wireless access points and mesh extenders from Cisco Business are simple, secure, and flexible; the three pillars of network excellence reinforcing the network by offering the best wireless experience without compromise.
Simple: The Cisco Business Wireless Application simplifies network activities, which frees up important development and productivity time. The integration improves network security for Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
Secure: Advanced security protocols offer a stable foundation for defense. The commercially accepted approach reduces the risk of network deployment, while robust customer service helps to ensure continuity of business.
Flexible: Innovative product portfolio gives small businesses and MSPs the flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. Affordable price templates fit your needs.
Mesh Wireless Terms
Access Point (AP): A device in a network that is used to allow users to connect to the network wirelessly. Specific labels may be added to this depending on its function: Primary, Remote, Root, Subordinate, etc.
Wireless Mesh Network: A type of topology where the wireless access points connect to each other to relay information. These networks work dynamically to adjust the needs and maintain connectivity for all users.
Primary AP: The Primary AP provides management and control of the wireless network and topology. It is the bridge to the rest of the external network, (usually the Internet) using an Internet Service Provider (ISP). The Primary AP directly links to the premise router which in turn routes traffic to the WAN ISP interface. The Primary AP is the orchestrator of all the APs providing wireless services within the mesh network. It manages information from the APs on the network, noting each client's connection quality and neighbor information to make the best decision on the best route for optimized wireless services out to the mobile client.
Primary: The current AP tasked with the management of the WLAN.
Preferred Primary: A setting in which a specific Primary-capable AP is listed as preferred. If the Primary AP fails, the Preferred Primary AP will take over. Once the Preferred AP is back up, it does not automatically switch back over. You do not have to designate a Preferred Primary.
Primary Capable or Secondary AP: An AP that has a physical wired connection back to the network. This AP needs to be connected to Ethernet and can become the Primary AP if the Primary AP fails.
Mesh Extender: A remote subordinate AP in the network that is not connected to the wired network.
Subordinate AP: A general term that can be applied to any mesh AP that is not configured as a Primary.
Parent AP: A parent AP is an AP that provides the best route back to the Primary AP.
Child AP: A child AP is a mesh extender that selects the parent AP as its best route back to the Primary AP.
Upstream AP: An upstream AP is a general term referring to the direction data flows through APs when going from the client to the server.
Downstream AP: A downstream AP carries data from the Internet down to the client.
Co-located APs: Mesh Extenders that are within the broadcast range of the backhaul channel.
Nodes: A general term that can be used to describe an AP. In general, nodes describe any device that makes a connection or interaction within a network, or can send, receive, and store information, communicate with the internet, and has an IP address. In a mesh network, optimized radio parameters across all nodes assure maximum wireless coverage while reducing radio interference among nodes to provide superior data speeds and throughput.
Backhaul: In a wireless mesh network, information in the Local Area Network (LAN) needs to get to a wired access point in order to reach the Internet. Backhaul is the process of getting that information back to the wired access point.
Mesh Connectivity: AP and Mesh Extender Placement
Recommendations for Spacing and Deployment
If possible, place Mesh Extenders in line-of-site of Primary-Capable APs.
If possible, place downstream Mesh Extenders in line-of-site of the parent (or upstream) Mesh Extender
Downstream Mesh Extenders require good/excellent backhaul SSID signal strength from upstream Primary-Capable APs.
Mesh Extender should have a minimum Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) value of 30.
Maintain minimum SNR value between neighbors Mesh Extender or Primary-Capable AP.
Backhaul SNR information available at Monitoring > Network Summary > Mesh Extender.
Avoid placing Mesh Extender too close with other Mesh Extenders or other Primary-Capable APs.
During operation, the Primary AP may designate an alternative upstream AP as the parent than the intended line-of-site layout in order to optimize the entire mesh network topology.
The following chart lists the expected coverage areas in an open space. If you deploy your network in an area that is not open, reduce these values by 20-30%.