The purpose of this article is to introduce the OmniAccess Stellar Wireless LAN (WLAN) Fine Tuning Guidelines which helps to adjust the Stellar configurable parameters to help deliver the best Quality of Experience (QoE). The Stellar WLAN fine tuning guidelines document reference in this article does not replace any existing user guides or solution guides, these fine-tuning guidelines should be used in conjunction with those reference guides.
We understand that there are many wi-fi parameters that can be adjusted or simply left as defaults so they can operate according to the standard’s thresholds, but time-sensitive applications or devices that don’t support the most recent ratified standards can inherently bring issues to the newer 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) and 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) compliant devices when mixed with legacy Wi-Fi 4 environments. The purpose of this document is to address specific parameters that are recommended to be fine-tuned based on the application and the device requirements to help to resolve issues, such as, unsuccessful connectivity attempts; to time-to-connect; to roaming; to capacity availability; band steering & airtime fairness that often contribute to the QoE of the user’s negative connectivity experience. For instance, the fine-tuning of the association, roaming, minimum client data rates, and minimum MGMT rate controls parameter thresholds can help to contribute for a positive user’s QoE. Those recommended parameter settings are described in the document and in the appendices.
A significant enabler to support the best QoE is to deploy the OmniVista Cirrus (OVC) 10.x to collect and learn through its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Cloud Analytics Engine. For example, the airtime fairness functionality enables optimization, including DRM (Dynamic Radio Manager) which provides a channel list settings per radio that defines a perimeter for automatic channel assignment. Auto radio resource allocation which allows individual access points to monitor for RF changes and in conjunction with calibration information to make appropriate channel assignment changes. As shown in Figure 8, it illustrates the OVC’s RF channel distribution and utilization widget which lists the 5GHz band channels and their utilization.
If the QoE scores are low, then the administrator can use this information combined with the channel utilization metrics to check and adjust to accomplish the fair distribution of the wireless communications among all channels. As illustrated in Figure 1, all the clients are well distributed, utilizing 9.1% of each of the 5GHz channels except for channel 40 which is being utilized by more clients than the other channels.
Competitor’s recommendations point to two main Wi-Fi design guidelines to offer coverage with less access points deployed versus capacity with more APs deployed to handle the larger client connectivity for throughput capabilities instead of simply connectivity for coverage purposes. The channel optimization and utilization discussed previously works well in this capacity design to have a higher density of APs to provide the optimal performance with balanced channel utilization.
In the case with Wi-Fi 6, it inherits the advanced MIMO features of Wi-Fi 5 and offers some new features which are optimal for capacity-based network deployments. These include the following key features:
- Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) which more efficiently shares channels to increase network efficiency and lower latency for both uplink and downlink traffic in high demand environments
- Multi-user multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) which allows more downlink data to be transferred at once and enables an access point to handle a larger number of concurrent clients
- 1024-QAM which enables throughput increases by encoding more data in the same amount of spectrum
- Target wake time (TWT) which enables scheduled sleep and wake times for better network efficiency and longer device battery life
- Transmit beam forming which improves signal power resulting in significantly higher rates at a given range.
Reference the OmniAccess Stellar WLAN fine tuning guidelines, especially the appendices sections when deploying Stellar Access Points to obtain guidance for supporting time-sensitive applications to deliver the best QoE via the appropriate parameter settings or in some cases, leaving them as defaults.
Felipe Soriano is an experienced Network Solutions Architect at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Felipe holds a BASc degree in Applied Management from Grand Canyon University, and an MBA in International Business and Project Management from Louisiana State University Shreveport. His current focus is leading a team of Sales Engineers covering the USA Eastern and Canadian regions.