Starting in the 18.104.22.168 release, the RF Group Leader can be configured in two ways as follows:
Auto Mode—In this mode, the members of an RF group elect an RF group leader to maintain a “master” power and channel scheme for the group. The RF grouping algorithm dynamically chooses the RF group leader and ensures that an RF group leader is always present. Group leader assignments can and do change (for instance, if the current RF group leader becomes inoperable or if RF group members experience major changes).
Static Mode—In this mode, the user selects a Cisco WLC as an RF group leader manually. In this mode, the leader and the members are manually configured and are therefore fixed. If the members are unable to join the RF group, the reason is indicated. The leader tries to establish a connection with a member every 1 minute if the member has not joined in the previous attempt.
The RF group leader analyzes real-time radio data collected by the system, calculates the power and channel assignments, and sends them to each of the Cisco WLCs in the RF group. The RRM algorithms ensure system-wide stability and restrain channel and power scheme changes to the appropriate local RF neighborhoods.
In Cisco WLC software releases prior to 6.0, the dynamic channel assignment (DCA) search algorithm attempts to find a good channel plan for the radios associated to Cisco WLCs in the RF group, but it does not adopt a new channel plan unless it is considerably better than the current plan. The channel metric of the worst radio in both plans determines which plan is adopted. Using the worst-performing radio as the single criterion for adopting a new channel plan can result in pinning or cascading problems.
Pinning occurs when the algorithm could find a better channel plan for some of the radios in an RF group but is prevented from pursuing such a channel plan change because the worst radio in the network does not have any better channel options. The worst radio in the RF group could potentially prevent other radios in the group from seeking better channel plans. The larger the network, the more likely pinning becomes.
Cascading occurs when one radio’s channel change results in successive channel changes to optimize the remaining radios in the RF neighborhood. Optimizing these radios could lead to their neighbors and their neighbors’ neighbors having a suboptimal channel plan and triggering their channel optimization. This effect could propagate across multiple floors or even multiple buildings, if all the access point radios belong to the same RF group. This change results in considerable client confusion and network instability.
The main cause of both pinning and cascading is the way in which the search for a new channel plan is performed and that any potential channel plan changes are controlled by the RF circumstances of a single radio. In Cisco WLC software release 6.0, the DCA algorithm has been redesigned to prevent both pinning and cascading. The following changes have been implemented:
Multiple local searches—The DCA search algorithm performs multiple local searches initiated by different radios within the same DCA run rather than performing a single global search driven by a single radio. This change addresses both pinning and cascading while maintaining the desired flexibility and adaptability of DCA and without jeopardizing stability.
Multiple channel plan change initiators (CPCIs)—Previously, the single worst radio was the sole initiator of a channel plan change. Now each radio within the RF group is evaluated and prioritized as a potential initiator. Intelligent randomization of the resulting list ensures that every radio is eventually evaluated, which eliminates the potential for pinning.
Limiting the propagation of channel plan changes (Localization)—For each CPCI radio, the DCA algorithm performs a local search for a better channel plan, but only the CPCI radio itself and its one-hop neighboring access points are actually allowed to change their current transmit channels. The impact of an access point triggering a channel plan change is felt only to within two RF hops from that access point, and the actual channel plan changes are confined to within a one-hop RF neighborhood. Because this limitation applies across all CPCI radios, cascading cannot occur.
Non-RSSI-based cumulative cost metric—A cumulative cost metric measures how well an entire region, neighborhood, or network performs with respect to a given channel plan. The individual cost metrics of all access points in that area are considered in order to provide an overall understanding of the channel plan’s quality. These metrics ensure that the improvement or deterioration of each single radio is factored into any channel plan change. The objective is to prevent channel plan changes in which a single radio improves but at the expense of multiple other radios experiencing a considerable performance decline.
The RRM algorithms run at a specified updated interval, which is 600 seconds by default. Between update intervals, the RF group leader sends keepalive messages to each of the RF group members and collects real-time RF data.
Several monitoring intervals are also available. See the Configuring RRM section for details.