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Cisco Aironet Series 1600/2600/3600 Access
Point Deployment Guide, Release 7.5
Last Updated: July 5th, 2013
Release: Cisco Aironet Series 1600/2600/3600 Access Point Deployment Guide, Release 7.5
Cisco Systems, Inc.
www.cisco.com
Abstract
Abstract
This document covers the Cisco 2600 and 3600 Series Access Points theory of operation and installation
as part of a Cisco wireless LAN (WLAN) solution. Subjects related include:
•
Choosing the right Access Point
•
Differences between AP 3600 and AP 3500
•
Differences between AP 3600 and AP 2600
•
Introduction of AP 1600 – AP feature comparison
•
Hardware details, mounting options, bracket choices and installation considerations
•
Antenna options, radiation patterns external antenna deployments
•
Understanding spatial streams, MCS rates, and what they mean
•
ClientLink 2.0 – what this means for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
•
Primer 802.11ac and Wave-1 802.11ac module for the AP 3600
•
Site Survey considerations
•
Look at poor installations, Q&A and useful URLs
Audience
This document is intended for trained and experienced technical personnel familiar with the existing
Cisco Wireless Networking Group (WNG) product line and features.
Table of Contents
•
Choosing the Right Access Point
– Models
– Differences between the AP 3600 and AP 3500 Access Points
– AP 3600 Feature Module Support
•
Differences between the AP 3600 and AP 2600
•
Introducing Cisco Aironet 1600 Series Access Point
– Cisco Clean Air Express
•
Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
– Channel Rail Adapters - Cisco Part Number AIR-CHNL-ADAPTER
– Mounting an AP Directly into the Tile Using Optional AIR-AP-BRACKET-3
– Wall-mounting the AP
– Changing the Color of an AP
•
Unique Installations
– Clean Rooms (Healthcare)
– Above Ceiling Tiles
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Choosing the Right Access Point
– Stadium/Harsh Environments
– Areas with High Vibration
– Warehouse and Factory
•
Ethernet Cable Recommendation
•
Antenna Cable Recommendation
•
Access Point Spacing Recommendations
– Installations in IDF Closets (Telecommunications or other Electrical Equipment)
– Installations at Very High Altitudes
– Installations Using a Common or Distributed Antenna System (DAS)
– Installations Inside and Around Elevators
•
External Antenna Options and Patterns
– For use with AP 1600/2600 and 3600e Access Points
– AP 3600i, AP 2600i, and AP 1600i
•
Understanding External Antenna Deployments
•
802.11n Primer - Understanding Spatial Streams
– Clients That Support Three Spatial Streams
– Understanding Beamforming – ClientLink 1.0 and 2.0
•
Site Survey Considerations
•
General Considerations Regarding Access Points
– AP 3600 Radio Module Cisco Part Number (AIR-RM3000AC-x-K9=)
– Radio Module Operational Overview
– Client Band Steering
– 802.11ac Client Recommendations
– Radio Interfaces and Understanding Client Associations
– Troubleshooting the module (basics)
•
802.11ac Primer – How is it different from 802.11n?
•
Understanding 802.11ac and the option module
•
A Quick Look at a few "Non-Optimal" Installations
•
Misc. Questions and Answers
•
URL Links and Other Resources
Choosing the Right Access Point
Models
The Cisco 3600 Series Access Point (AP 3600) targets customers requiring support for mission-critical
applications. The AP 3600 embodies ClientLink 2.0, an innovative antenna technology comprising four
transmit radios and four receive radios called 4X4 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) and three
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Choosing the Right Access Point
spatial stream (3SS) beamforming, together referenced as 4x4:3. ClientLink 2.0 permits speeds up to 450
Mbps via additional Modulation and Coding Scheme (MCS) data rates 16-23, while still maintaining
IEEE 802.3af (15.4 Watt) Power over Ethernet (PoE) compliance. More on spatial streams can be found
in section 802.11n Primer - Understanding Spatial Streams.
Figure 1
Access Point Portfolio Placement
Access Points are available in two models see Figure 2:
•
Internal antennas version labeled “i” that has captured antennas (part of the housing and not
removable). The “i” series is designed for indoor Enterprise installations where office aesthetics are
a primary concern.
•
External antennas version labeled “e” that is more rugged and designed for industrial use in
locations such as hospitals, factories, and warehouses, anywhere a need exists for external antennas
and/or extended operating temperatures. The “e” version also supports mounting inside NEMA
enclosures for use in the most demanding environments.
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Figure 2
AP 3600 Models and Eco-packs
Figure 3
AP 2600 Models and Eco-packs
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Choosing the Right Access Point
Figure 4
AP 1600 Models and Eco-packs
Differences between the AP 3600 and AP 3500 Access Points
The internal antenna version of AP 3600 and AP 3500 is almost identical in physical appearance with
the exception of the LED which is slightly larger and more oval on the AP 3600. The AP 3500 has a
square LED (allows for visual identification).
Figure 5
AP 3600 vs AP 3500 LED Appearance
From a side view, the AP 3600 is slightly thicker when compared to the AP 3500. The thicker size allows
for additional radio support and printed circuit board area, as well as modularity for future capabilities.
While the AP 3600 has a little more depth, this AP is completely backward compatible with the mounting
brackets for the existing Cisco Aironet 1040, 1140, 1260 and 3500 Series Access Points.
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Figure 6
Side View of AP 3600 (2.11 inches) and AP 3500 (1.84 inches) in height
The AP 3600e (external antenna version) differs in appearance from the AP 3500e, having fewer antenna
connector ports primarily due to the dual-band antenna system that is used.
The AP 3500e has separate antennas for each band, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and does not support 3SS
technology since it has only two transceivers (transmitter/receiver) and one extra receiver per band
enabling operation up to two spatial streams.
The AP 3600e has combined all the antenna ports (dual-band) so that each antenna port can transmit
simultaneously on each band; had the antenna ports not been combined, this would have required 8
antennas. The AP 3600 has four transceivers (transmitter/receiver) radio ports per band for a total of
eight transceiver, four in each band. This additional radio per band permits beamforming to 3SS clients
using ClientLink 2.0 to improve the overall performance of all 802.11n clients with 1, 2 and 3 spatial
streams.
Note
Beamforming to a 3SS client requires n+1 RF design. To accomplish this, the AP 3600 has an additional
radio per band, which improves client performance by using Cisco ClientLink 2.0.
Unlike AP 3500, the newer AP 3600 design supports an additional feature module. The bottom of the
AP 3600 unit looks different as it has openings to support the feature module. The openings, while fully
sealed, permit the module to have access to the topside of the AP to allow the module antennas (if present
in the module being used) to fully function. The unit includes a positive snap “spring loaded BB” so the
installer can feel a positive lock when the AP is fully engaged in the bracket (Figure 7).
Figure 7
Bottom of AP 3600 Unit
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Differences between the AP 3600 and AP 2600
AP 3600 Feature Module Support
The WSSI (Wireless Security and Spread Spectrum Intelligence) module adds new functionality to the
AP to future-proof customers' investment. This module provides a dedicated monitor radio to scan the
full spectrum (not just the channel on which the AP is operating). It will offload complete monitoring
and security services to the monitor module including CleanAir, WIDS/WIPS, Context-aware Location,
Rogue Detection, and Radio Resource Management (RRM). This module allows for full spectrum
analysis on all channels on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
Having the add-on feature module avoids having to deploy a separate, dedicated overlay network for full
spectrum monitoring and eliminates the need for an extra cable pull and additional infrastructure costs
(Figure 8).
The second available module will provide 802.11ac (wave-1) functionality to the AP 3600. This radio
module will operate at 5GHz and allow the AP 3600 to fully support 802.11a/n along with 802.11ac
clients. (Wave-1) functionality will support a 1.3 Gbps PHY / ~1 Gbps MAC (throughput) using 3 spatial
streams, 80 MHz, 256 QAM. Supporting Explicit Beamforming support per the 802.11ac standard.
Use of the module may require the local power supply, Cisco power injector, .3at PoE+ or the use of
Cisco Enhanced PoE, as the module may increase power draw greater than 15.4W.
Note
Cisco Enhanced PoE was created by Cisco and is the forerunner to 802.3at PoE+.
Figure 8
Feature Module Slides into Bottom of AP 3600
Differences between the AP 3600 and AP 2600
The AP 3600 has a modular design that offers future protection with the .11ac module, security module
and perhaps other modules in the future. AP 3600 is a 4X4:3SS supporting an extra transmitter chain for
additional downlink performance for all bands and clients.
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Differences between the AP 3600 and AP 2600
The AP 2600 is very similar to the AP 3600 but is a 3X4:3SS so with the AP 2600 - Client Link does
not beamform to 3-ss clients, however; it does beamform at legacy and 1 & 2 Spatial Stream rates.
The AP 3600 has slightly higher performance and beamforms to legacy 1, 2, 3 spatial stream rates and
.11ac rates when using the optional .11ac module.
Unlike the AP 3600, the AP 2600 Access Point does not support optional modules but it does have a little
higher antenna gain in the 2.4 GHz band. A lot of effort has been put in to make sure the coverage area
is uniform between different models of Access Points so that if you surveyed for a 3600 Series AP, the
AP 2600 can also be substituted without performing another survey.
Figure 9
AP 2600 is same size as AP 3600 but does not support radio modules
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Introducing Cisco Aironet 1600 Series Access Point
Figure 10
Backside of the AP 2600 - mounting hardware and antennas are the same as AP 3600
Introducing Cisco Aironet 1600 Series Access Point
Designed as an entry level Access Point, key feature items include:
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Introducing Cisco Aironet 1600 Series Access Point
•
ClientLink 2.0 – a key addition when moving up from the AP’s 1040/1140 and 1260 series.
– Support for 802.11n clients up to 1-SS
– Supports 802.11a/b/g clients
– ClientLink 2.0 for 1600 can support (beam-form) up to 32 clients per radio interface
•
3x3:2 architecture for improved performance vs. 2x2:2 AP 1040
– Comparable for better throughput performance vs. AP 1140 & 1260
•
External antenna model for entry-level / mid-market
•
Can support up to 128 clients per radio for a total of 256 clients
•
LED color change different from previous Access Points (see Getting Started Guide: Cisco Aironet
1600 Series Access Points)
•
Support for Clean Air Express – Basic Spectrum Analysis coming via software upgrade
Cisco Clean Air Express
Cisco CleanAir Express technology is enabled on the advanced silicon design of the Cisco’s Second
Generation entry-level Access Point, the Cisco Aironet® 1600. With Clean Air Express the Aironet 1600
Access Point has the ability to effectively detect RF interference, identify the source, locate it on a map,
and then make automatic adjustments to optimize wireless coverage. With Clean Air Express
technology, organizations have a basic spectrum analysis capability to support their wireless networks
while simplifying ongoing operations.
Figure 11
Comparison of CleanAir features
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Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
Figure 12
Comparison 3600, 2600 and 1600 series Access Points.
Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
AP 1600, 2600 and 3600 have the same physical dimensions and mounting options with slightly different
cosmetic differences example (3 antennas on 1600) but share similar dimensions as shown in Figure 13.
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Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
Figure 13
Mechanical Drawing of the AP 2600 and the AP 3600
There are many different installation options available depending upon the requirements of the customer.
Brackets are available from Cisco as well as third-party companies. During the ordering process, the
customer may choose one of two brackets (but not both). Each bracket is a zero-dollar ($0) option at the
time of configuration. If the customer does not choose a bracket, the selection default is
AIR-AP-BRACKET-1 which is the most popular for ceiling installations. The other choice is a universal
bracket that carries part number AIR-AP-BRACKET-2 (Figure 14).
Figure 14
Note
Access Point Bracket Choices
While using AP 3600 module, we recommend AIR-AP-Bracket-2.
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Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
If the AP will be mounted directly to a ceiling on the gridwork, then AIR-AP-BRACKET-1 mounts flush
and has the lowest profile. However, if the AP will be mounted to an electrical box or other wiring
fixture, or inside a NEMA enclosure or perhaps wall mounted, then AIR-AP-BRACKET-2 is a better
choice. The extra space in the bracket allows for wiring, and the extra holes line up with many popular
electrical boxes. When mounting the bracket to the ceiling gridwork, some ceiling tiles are recessed.
For this reason, two different styles of ceiling clips, recessed and flush rails, are available (Figure 15).
Figure 15
Note
Recessed and Flushed Ceiling Grid Clips
Different clips are available for attaching to ceiling grid work
Channel Rail Adapters - Cisco Part Number AIR-CHNL-ADAPTER
When mounting APs to ceiling channel rails such as the ones shown in Figure 16, an optional channel
adapter is used: AIR-CHNL-ADAPTER. It comes in a two-pack and attaches to the ceiling grid clip
above. Refer to Figure 17 and Figure 18.
Figure 16
Example of Channel Rails
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Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
Figure 17
AIR-CHNL-ADAPTER (left) Slides onto the Rails
Figure 18
AIR-CHNL-ADAPTER Mounted to Rail Clip (left) and Finished Installation (right)
Mounting an AP Directly into the Tile Using Optional AIR-AP-BRACKET-3
Many hospitals and other carpeted Enterprise environments prefer a more streamlined look and wish to
install the AP directly into the tile. This can be done using the optional Cisco AIR-AP-BRACKET-3
(Figure 19).
When using this bracket, the “beauty ring” is used as the template to cut the tile which can be cut using
a carpet knife or electric tool such as a rotary cutting tool, e.g., Dremel™ or Rotozip™. Cisco does not
offer custom cut tiles as there are simply too many different styles and the tiles are easy to cut.
The AP is fully supported above the tile with a metal rail that extends the length of the tile. This supports
the AP should the tile become wet or otherwise fail. A mechanical set screw pulls the AP tight to the
ceiling and locks it into the bracket. Additionally, physical security of the AP can be maintained by the
use of a Kensington style lock, but once installed it is difficult to remove the AP without removing the
tile as the AP will not slide out from the front side of the tile.
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Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
Figure 19
Note
Optional AIR-AP-BRACKET-3 used to install the AP directly into the tile
This bracket will fit the AP 1040, 1140, 1260, 1600, 2600, 3500 and 3600 Series Access Points.
Wall-mounting the AP
When wall mounting is desired, the installer should understand that walls can be a physical obstacle to
the wireless signal; therefore, maintaining 360 degree coverage may be compromised by the wall. If the
wall is an outside wall and/or the goal is to send the signal in a 180-degree pattern instead, a directional
antenna often referred to as a “patch” antenna may be a better choice assuming the AP 3600e is used.
Avoid wall-mounting APs with internal antennas such as the AP 3600i unless you use the optional
Oberon right-angle mount (Figure 20). The internal antenna model was designed to mount to a ceiling
to provide 360-degree coverage. If wall-mounted in a non-ceiling orientation the signal may penetrate
the floor above and below causing unintended coverage that could result in additional, needless roaming
access when a mobility client, e.g., user with Wi-Fi phone, walks by on an adjacent floor.
Instead, use the AP 3600e (with dipoles or patch antennas), or use an optional wall mount that puts the
AP 3600i or AP 3500e into a ceiling type orientation when mounted to a wall.
Note
APs with internal antennas such as the AP 3600i that are wall-mounted should use the Oberon mounting
bracket unless roaming is not an issue, e.g., hotspot, kiosk, or small venue scenario.
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Access Point Physical Hardware and Mounting Options
Figure 20
Wall-mounting APs antennas should be vertical (up/down) or use the Oberon
right-angle mounting structure - ideal for AP 3600i. Oberon P/N 1029-00)
Changing the Color of an AP
If there is a desire to change the color of an AP, rather than painting the AP which would void the
warranty, consider using colored vinyl tape or using a colored plastic cover from Oberon (Figure 21).
Figure 21
Third-party option for changing AP color, adding custom Logo, or hiding the LED
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Unique Installations
Clean Rooms (Healthcare)
Many hospitals and factories have requirements to wipe down or gently spray the environment with a
chemical (often diluted material that has cleaning / disinfectant properties). The Cisco AP 3600 is
designed with a purpose guild Wi-Fi chipset with Enterprise and industrial class components
(Figure 22). This enables the AP enclosure to have a Plenum rating and is vent-less, so the unit is ideal
for these types of applications.
Figure 22
Note
Inside of the AP 3600 - (no vents or fans, everything is industrial quality)
AP 2600 is also made of a similar construction and design for clean room deployments.
If the clean room environment requires metal ceilings or areas where tile is not practical, a metal
enclosure from Oberon can be used (Figure 23).
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Figure 23
Oberon Metal Enclosure protects and secures the AP in Clean Room Areas
Above Ceiling Tiles
The AP 2600 and 3600 are rated for installation in the Plenum area (UL-2043). Many customers prefer
to locate the AP so that nothing can be visible on the ceiling. In some cases this is preferred for aesthetic
reasons, so customers may install the AP above a drop ceiling. This also may be preferred in high theft
areas such as classrooms or in areas where policy dictates that nothing can be visible on the ceiling.
When this is a hard requirement, optional T-Bar hangar accessories from third-party companies such
Erico and Cooper can be used (Figure 24). The Erico Caddy 512a or the Cooper B-Line BA50a or similar
T-Bar Grid T-Bar hangars can be used.
For more information see:
www.erico.com
www.cooperindustries.com
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Figure 24
Note
Example of how to hang an AP above the ceiling tiles
Installing APs above the ceiling tiles should only be done when mounting below the ceiling is not an
option. The tiles must not be conductive; such installations can certainly degrade advanced RF features
such as voice and location, so verify coverage and performance. Always try to mount the AP as close to
the inside middle of the tile as possible, and avoid areas with obstructions (Figure 25).
Figure 25
Installing AP above ceiling tiles: Pick an area clear of obstructions, avoid ceiling clutter
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Stadium/Harsh Environments
Customers wishing to install the AP in harsh environments where it may be exposed to weather, such as
sporting areas, stadiums, open garden areas or warehouse freezers, may wish to use a NEMA type
enclosure.
Figure 26
Example of NEMA 16x14x8 Enclosure with pressure vent on bottom
Third-party sources for NEMA type enclosures include:
www.oberonwireless.com
http://www.terra-wave.com/
When using a NEMA type enclosure, try to have the cables exit out of the bottom of the enclosure so
that rain and moisture do not run down the cable into the enclosure. Also, the color of the enclosure may
affect the heat rating; for example, a black enclosure gets much hotter in the sun than a white one. You
may also want to use a pressure vent to prevent moisture accumulation. See Figure 27.
Areas with High Vibration
If the Access Point is installed using a “side arm” type mount or other mounting locations where there
is a likelihood of high vibration, it is recommended that a padlock or metal pin be used to prevent the
AP from vibrating loose from the bracket.
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Figure 27
A metal pin or padlock will not deteriorate over time so it is better than a plastic tie
Warehouse and Factory
Warehouse installations are often difficult because of the very high ceilings and the clutter of the
material being warehoused. When performing a coverage check (site survey) always check the coverage
at “full stock” levels as the material being warehoused can change the RF coverage creating loss of
uniform coverage. Also, try to position the APs as close to the users perhaps lowering the antennas when
possible or practical to do so. If the AP is 30 feet in the air, that is 30 feet farther the signal has to go,
“best case”. When configuring coverage for aisles, try to use directional (Patch) antennas on the wall
and shoot down the aisles; or use low-gain Omni-directional antennas on the ceiling (such as dipoles) or
units with integrated antennas as high gain omnidirectional antennas tend to have more nulls. See
Figure 49.
Another option is to mount the AP lower using pipe and electrical box mounting techniques. Refer to the
example shown in Figure 28.
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Figure 28
Note
AP Placement in Warehouse Environment
External dipole “e” series or internal antenna “I” series version could be used
When mounting an AP at the end of a pipe or electrical conduit box, use the universal bracket Cisco
AIR-AP-BRACKET-2, as it will mate to the holes of most electrical boxes (Figure 29). Conduit and
adapters can be purchased at most electrical or home repair centers.
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Figure 29
Mounting an AP onto an Electrical Conduit Box (ceiling T-Bar or conduit)
Ethernet Cable Recommendation
While the AP 1600/2600 and 3600 will work fine with CAT-5e for new cable installations, it is
recommended that customers use CAT6a as this is the cabling required by the 10GE standard.
Antenna Cable Recommendation
Whenever practical/possible, please keep antenna cable runs as short as possible. Cisco offers low loss
(LL) and ultralow loss (ULL) cables, which have the same characteristics as Times Microwave LMR-400
and LMR-600.
Cisco cables carry the part number AIR-CAB (Aironet Cable) and then a length. For example, a 20 Ft
length of LL cable with RP-TNC connector is Cisco AIR-CAB-020LL-R. These heavy black cables are
not Plenum rated and are primarily for outdoor use or manufacturing areas.
Figure 30
When drilling holes for cable allow for size of connector (typically 5/8 inch) drill bit.
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Access Point Spacing Recommendations
If you have a Wi-Fi device such as an AP and you are going to use another AP in the vicinity on a
different channel, it is recommended that you space each AP apart by approximately 6 Ft (2 meters).
Avoid clustering the APs or the antennas from different APs together, as this could cause degradation in
performance. This recommended distance is based on the assumption that both devices operate in the
unlicensed band and do not transmit RF energy more than 23 dB - that is, 200 mW. If higher power is
used, space farther apart.
Should you have other devices that transmit, especially if they operate in the same frequency ranges, for
example, frequency hopping legacy APs or other devices that operate close in frequency to those of the
AP (think below or above the 2.4 and 5 GHz band), you should consider moving or separating the devices
as far apart as can reasonably be done. After you have done this, check for interference by testing both
devices at the same time under heavy utilization (load) and then characterize each system independently
to see how much, if any, degradation exists.
Warning
In order to comply with FCC, EU, and EFTA RF exposure limits, antennas should be located at a
minimum of 7.9 inches (20 cm) or more from the body of all persons. See the installation guide under
declaration of conformity for more on this
(http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/wireless/access_point/3600/quick/guide/ap3600getstart.html).
Installations in IDF Closets (Telecommunications or other Electrical
Equipment)
When installing APs near other electrical or telecommunications equipment, keep all wiring and metal
away from the antennas and avoid placing the antennas near electrical lines. Do not route wiring
electrical or Ethernet in the near field (6-15 inches) from the antenna. Try to refrain from installing the
AP in the electrical closet, as the best place for the AP is as close to the users as possible/practical. If
you remote antenna cables from such a closet, you may be required to use Plenum rated cable (see local
fire/safety regulations for more on this).
Below are a few URLs for understanding interference:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps9391/ps9393/ps9394/prod_white_paper0900ae
cd807395a9_ns736_Networking_Solutions_White_Paper.html
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps5678/ps10981/white_paper_c11-609300.html
Installations at Very High Altitudes
While not defined in the specification sheet for the AP 2600 and AP 3600, these Access Points passed
functional checks after a Non-Operational altitude test of 25C @ 15,000 Ft was performed. Additionally,
they fully passed a functional test during an operational altitude test of 40C @ 9,843 Ft.
All units in the test group were connected to at least one WLAN client and monitored for continual
operation passing traffic, and performing constant ping testing throughout the operational altitude test.
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External Antenna Options and Patterns
Installations Using a Common or Distributed Antenna System (DAS)
Due to the dual-band nature of the antenna system on the AP 2600 and AP 3600, along with key features
such as ClientLink 2.0 beamforming, it is not recommended for deployments on Distributed Antenna
Systems commonly referred to as DAS.
Customers wishing to integrate a Wi-Fi over DAS solution should understand that Cisco does not certify,
endorse or provide RF support for Wi-Fi deployments over ANY Distributed Antenna System.
The DAS vendor and/or systems integrator is solely responsible for the support of the DAS products and
for providing adequate RF coverage and supporting any RF-related issues. This support includes, but is
not exclusive to location accuracy, RF coverage, roaming issues related to RF, multipath issues, and
scalability.
Additionally, the DAS vendor and/or systems integrator is responsible for understanding that the
deployed DAS system meets the requirements of all of the customer's Wi-Fi devices and applications
over the DAS system; this statement includes, but is not exclusive to, all Voice over WLAN (VoWLAN)
and medical devices.
While Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) and Cisco field teams do not provide support for RF
issues that arise in a Cisco WLAN used over a DAS, they will provide support for non-RF related issues
in Cisco products per the customer's support agreement with Cisco Systems.
For more on this see the following URL:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps5678/ps6973/positioning_statement_c07-5654
70_ps10092_Products_Data_Sheet.html
Installations Inside and Around Elevators
Elevator coverage can sometimes be accomplished by placing APs in the near field of the elevator,
typically on each floor near the elevator door. Since elevators often have metal doors and the shafts are
often concrete or contain other materials that degrade Wi-Fi coverage, it is important to check the
coverage inside the elevator. While such coverage can be challenging it is often do-able, especially if the
elevator is only a few floors.
High rise elevators are more challenging since roaming issues are problematic as the client is cycling
through a large number of APs rather quickly. Some companies that do in-elevator advertising have put
a patch antenna on the floor inside the shaft and a patch antenna on the bottom of the elevator car, while
other companies have used leaky coaxial cable running on the side of the shaft.
When installing any Wi-Fi equipment inside the elevator cars or shafts, local regulations need to be
followed as many times such installations are prohibited either for safety reasons or because the building
owner or local fire department may prohibit same. Also, it is dangerous and only elevator repair persons
or contractors experienced with this kind of work should be in those areas.
External Antenna Options and Patterns
For use with AP 1600/2600 and 3600e Access Points
The following antennas are available for use with the AP 1600e*/2600e and 3600e
AIR-ANT2524DB-R – Dual-band (Black) dipole
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(4 required) – 2/4 dBi Dipole
External Antenna Options and Patterns
AIR-ANT2524DW-R – Dual-band (White) dipole
AIR-ANT2524DG-R – Dual-band (Grey) dipole
(4 required) – 2/4 dBi Dipole
(4 required) – 2/4 dBi Dipole
AIR-ANT2524V4C-R – Dual-band Omni-directional (1 required) – 2/4 dBi Ceiling mount Omni use
AIR-ANT2544V4M-R– Dual-band Omni-directional (1 required) – 4/4 dBi Wall mount Omni use
AIR-ANT2566P4W-R– Dual band directional
Note
(1 required) – 6 dBi Patch wall mount use
These are all dual-band, dual-resonant antennas. Do not use single-band antennas on this product unless
you choose to disable the other radio band within the AP. Also, in the case of the AP 1600 only three
dipole antennas are required (not four) if using the ceiling, wall or patch mount simply leave the 4th
antenna lead unused.
For additional information on Cisco antennas, see the Cisco Antenna Reference Guide at this URL:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps7183/ps469/
product_data_sheet09186a008008883b.html
The antenna reference guide will have details for all Cisco antennas; you can also find individual
datasheets at this URL: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/wireless/ps469/index.html
The two most popular external antennas for the AP 3600e are the AIR-ANT2524Dx-R dual-band dipole
antenna (Figure 31 and Figure 32) and the AIR-ANT2566P4W-R dual-band patch antenna (Figure 33
and Figure 34).
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External Antenna Options and Patterns
Figure 31
Specifications for the AIR-ANT2524Dx-R Dual-band Dipole Antenna
Figure 32
Radiation Pattern for the AIR-ANT2524Dx-R Dual-band Dipole Antenna
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External Antenna Options and Patterns
Figure 33
Specifications for the AIR-ANT2566P4W-R Dual-band Patch Antenna
Figure 34
Radiation Pattern for the AIR-ANT2566P4W-R Dual-band Patch Antenna
Assuming the antenna is mounted on a wall, the Azimuth (in RED) is the signal going forward from the
antenna, the elevation in Blue is “up/down” pattern.
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External Antenna Options and Patterns
Figure 35
Specifications for the AIR-ANT2524V4C-R Dual-band Omni Antenna
Figure 36
Radiation Pattern for the AIR-ANT2524V4C-R Dual-band Omni Antenna
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External Antenna Options and Patterns
Note
Figure 37
Specifications for the AIR-ANT2544V4M-R Dual-band Omni Antenna
Figure 38
Radiation Patterns for the AIR-ANT2544V4M-R Dual-band Omni Antenna
For larger patterns, see the individual specification sheet for this antenna.
AP 3600i, AP 2600i, and AP 1600i
Antenna patterns for the AP 3600i integrated antenna model are shown in Figure 39 and Figure 40.
Antenna patterns for the AP 2600i integrated antenna model are shown in Figure 41 and Figure 42.
Antenna patterns for the AP 1600i integrated antenna model are shown in Figure 43c and Figure 44.
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External Antenna Options and Patterns
Figure 39
Radiation Patterns for the AP 3600i @ 2.4 GHz
Figure 40
Radiation Patterns for the AP 3600i @ 5 GHz
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Figure 41
Radiation Patterns for the AP 2600i @ 2.4 GHz
Figure 42
Radiation Patterns for the AP 2600i @ 5 GHz
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Understanding External Antenna Deployments
Figure 43
Radiation Patterns for the AP 1600i @ 2.4 GHz
Figure 44
Radiation Patterns for the AP 1600i @ 5 GHz
Understanding External Antenna Deployments
All Cisco antenna connectors are labeled “A” “B” “C” and so on… “A” has a higher priority than “B”
or “C/D” so if the Access Point supports say 3 or 4 antennas and you only have 2 antennas, you would
use them on ports “A” and “B” (short term until you could install the additional antennas).
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While it is not recommended that you use less antennas – the product (in a pinch) would support
802.11a/b/g clients or single spatial stream N clients using only one or two antennas however there is a
significant performance hit and you would lose Client Link functionality – Should you do this, you
would also want to configure the Access Point in software to not use the other antennas.
Note
The AP 1600 has three antenna ports (not configurable as it is an entry level AP). The AP 2600/3600
has four configurable antenna ports - one extra transceiver (receiver/transmitter per band).
When using a MIMO (dual-radiating element antennas) such as:
AIR-ANT2524V4C-R – Dual-band Omni-directional – 2/4 dBi Ceiling mount Omni use
AIR-ANT2544V4M-R– Dual-band Omni-directional – 4/4 dBi Wall mount Omni use
AIR-ANT2566P4W-R– Dual band directional
– 6 dBi Patch wall mount use
It is not critical which antenna lead goes onto which antenna port on the Access Point so long as all the
antenna ports on the AP are connected to the antennas. In the case of the Patch antenna
AIR-ANT2566P4W-R, since the elements are spaced physically apart (side by side) in the plastic
housing, there is a slight improvement if you use the outer two elements on the Patch on ports “A” and
“B” but again it is only a small improvement and not critical and that is why we do not label them.
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Figure 45
6 dBi patch antenna – while not critical, ideally port “A” and “B” would be on the ends.
Figure 46
AP 1600 Note port “A” is spaced furthest from “B” and “C” for best diversity
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Remember the best antenna placement is the one where the antenna is physically closest to the actual
users. If you are mounting multiple single package dual band antennas externally such as dipoles,
spacing is not critical but try to space as far apart as practical (with “A” and “B” the furthest apart).
Figure 47
Antenna Placement
Note
Avoid spacing antennas further than 10 Ft (antennas should be in same RF coverage area)
Note
Avoid using single band (single radiating element antennas) like those used with earlier 3500 series
Access Point products as they are not fully compatible with the newer 1600/2600 and 3600 Series Access
Points. Antennas for the 1260 and 3500 series are single radiating element antennas made for each
individual band. The 3600, 2600 and 1600 use dual band - dual radiating element antennas and are
branded with an orange marking see Figure 45 and Figure 46.
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Figure 48
In areas where high amounts of metal is present, a site survey is required
When using 802.11n rates in areas with high metal such as distribution areas or airport hangars,
sometimes lower gain antennas (on the ceiling) can perform better as lower gain antennas tend to radiate
the signal in all directions increasing the chance that multi-path will enhance the signal. Of course if you
have a clear shot, a patch antenna at the end of an aisle at roughly the same height or just above the
(WLAN client) is preferred.
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802.11n Primer - Understanding Spatial Streams
Figure 49
Example of a high gain antenna AIR-ANT2480V-N with cover removed
A high gain antenna may have a null or dead spot directly underneath it as the antenna element is often
much longer with less metal surface area available to conduct the radio wave if you are located directly
underneath it, however; the further away you are from the antenna the more surface is available and so
the better it performs.
802.11n Primer - Understanding Spatial Streams
For a video on understanding the fundamentals of Spatial Streams see the following URL:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns767/index.html
MIMO, which refers to a radio system that has multiple separate receive and transmit paths, is at the
heart of 802.11n. MIMO systems are described using the number of transmitters and receivers in the
system. For example, "two by one" or 2x1 refers to a system with two transmitters and one receiver
(Figure 50).
Spatial streams, the act of transmitting information out of more than one antenna port concurrently,
requires that the AP have at least two or more transmitters and support elements of 802.11n, e.g., support
of multiple spatial streams.
In the 802.11a/b/g days data rates were actual Mbps rates like 2, 11, 54 Mbps etc., and was done with
one transmitter. In the case of the AP 3500 series it has two transmitters per band so it supports 802.11n
data rates up to 300 Mbps using two spatial streams.
With 802.11n the different rates are called Modulation and Coding Scheme (MCS) index value, and the
value also defines how many streams are used. The AP 3500 supported up to 300 Mbps (MCS rate 15
configured with a bonded channel and short guard interval (GI). Refer to Figure 51. The MCS values
correspond to actual data rates.
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Figure 50
Note
AP 3500i/e is a 2x3:2 system (supports up to 2 transmit chains)
2x3:2 means two transmitters, three receivers supporting two spatial streams.
Figure 51
Modulation and Coding Scheme: 2SS Bonded Channel Supports up to 300 Mbps
Unlike the AP 3500, the newer AP 3600 supports 3SS with twice as many transmitters (4 per band)
enabling faster data rates of up to 450 Mbps. Note that there is an extra radio for redundancy and
enhanced performance (upstream and downstream) and the AP 3600 can also beamform to 3SS clients
as well. The AP 2600 is similar but the extra or redundant radio is for upstream as it is a receive only
so it is unable to beamform to 3-ss clients but can beamform at the other non-3ss rates.
Using a dual-band design the AP 3600 has a total of 8 transceivers (transmitter/receivers) using only 4
antennas (Figure 52). Four radios are used in each band, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
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Figure 52
AP 3600: 4 Transmitters and 4 Receivers per Radio Band
The AP 2600 while similar to the AP 3600 is slightly different as it is a 3x4:3 meaning, the AP 2600 also
has 4 antennas to help on the receive (upstream signal) but it only uses three transmitters on the
downstream side.
The yellow sections of the MCS chart in Figure 53 depict the faster data rates supported by the AP 3600.
The AP 3600 supports 802.11a/b/g rates as well as 802.11n rates of MCS values 0-23.
Figure 53
AP 2600/3600 supports up to 450 Mbps (MCS rates 0-23) AP 1600 (MCS rates 0-15)
These additional MCS rates permit more choices for the client supporting 3SS when making rate-shifting
decisions as the rate-shifting algorithm maintains the best overall throughput connection.
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Clients That Support Three Spatial Streams
Clients with 3SS support are starting to become commonplace. As the new 802.11ac specification starts
to get traction, many newer client adapters will have the newer chipsets and support 3SS as a subset to
802.11ac. Additionally, unlike many of our competitors the Cisco AP 1600/2600 and 3600 fully supports
all the DFS channels for more usable channels in the 5 GHz range. More clients, especially 802.11ac
clients, will start to emerge supporting these newer channels in 802.11n modes as well.
Currently the most popular 3SS client is the Apple 2011 MacBook Pro, as it is based upon the Broadcom
BCM4331 chipset and a small USB adapter by Trendnet, “TEW 684UB”, based on the Ralink chipset.
Additionally, the Intel 5300 and 6300 has supported 3SS for a long time. Perhaps because of the different
hardware platforms this card is installed in, testers have observed good throughput on many notebooks
(+320 Mbps) and reduced throughput on other notebooks such as 240 Mbps. If you experience low
throughput using the Intel card, one suggestion might be to try a MacBook Pro or Trendnet adapter, and
if they perform well try another notebook with the Intel card or perhaps open a case with Intel or the
laptop manufacturer for a possible remedy. During the AP 3600 beta trials we observed differences in
performance with different notebooks using the Intel 6300 card.
Note
Sometimes it can be difficult to reliably maintain a 3SS link as it is easy for the client to rate-shift out
of the 3SS mode. The client plays an important role in the ability to maintain a 3SS link, so it can vary
with the quality of the client being used and the test environment.
The AP 3600 with its extra radio per band can use the extra redundant radio to beamform (thanks to
ClientLink 2.0) and uses this to maintain the advantage of 3SS links. Cisco ClientLink 2.0 can also
improve the overall performance of 802.11n clients using 1, 2 and 3 spatial streams and legacy .11a/g
clients.
Understanding Beamforming – ClientLink 1.0 and 2.0
ClientLink 1.0 was first introduced with the AP 1250 and AP 1140 series Access Points; it is a method
of creating a stronger signal on the downlink side for 802.11a/g clients by hearing the clients on the
uplink and then adjusting the transmitter timing so the signal appears much stronger at the client end.
This feature used to be user configurable; however, starting with 7.2 code stream it is now on by default
and is not user configurable as there is no benefit to disabling it.
The AP 3600 fully supports ClientLink 1.0 for 802.11a/g clients but has a greater advantage as it also
supports all 802.11n clients including 1, 2 and 3 spatial stream clients. This capability is called
ClientLink 2.0. There is a distinct advantage with ClientLink 2.0 over the 802.11n enhanced
beamforming specification, as ClientLink 2.0 works with ALL clients today and does not require any
client sounding or support (Figure 54).
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Figure 54
ClientLink 2.0
With beamforming technology, changing the timing of two transmitters creates a stronger signal for the
receiver, e.g, a client device. This is referred to as constructive interference. Sometimes, however, the
opposite happens and the signals cancel each other out. This is called destructive interference. Refer to
Figure 55.
Figure 55
Beamforming (constructive and destructive interference)
Figure 56 provides a visual comparison of ClientLink 1.0, using 1 spatial stream, and ClientLink 2.0,
using 3 spatial streams. Unlike the AP 3500, the AP 3600 provides multiple spatial streams using four
transceivers for even greater performance. AP 3600 can beamform to all 802.11a/g and 802.11n 1, 2 and
3 spatial stream clients. The signal is x3 as each stream is beamformed.
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Site Survey Considerations
Figure 56
Note
Example of ClientLink (directing the signal to a client, in this case 1 spatial stream)
In order to beamform to clients using 3 spatial streams, since 3 transmitters are used in the transmissions
the AP needs at least one additional radio to beamform. The AP 3600 has 4 radios pre band and can
beamform to clients using 3 spatial streams.
To summarize, ClientLink 2.0 takes the received signals heard from the client on the uplink, calculates
how the multipath signal looked from those streams, and then on the reciprocal side (transmit downlink)
figures out the optimal way using all four radios to best form the signal (transmit beamforming) to enable
the client to best decode (receive the signal on the downlink) with the least amount of retries.
ClientLink 2.0 with AP 3600 enables beamforming to all 802.11n clients, including 3SS clients, and can
do so for up to 128 clients at a time. Note AP 1600 supports less clients (32) and does not support 3-ss.
ClientLink 1.0 support a maximum of 15 clients at a time. ClientLink 2.0 significantly improves
throughput and coverage up to 60% on the downlink side for a much better 802.11n client connectivity
and enhancing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) experience.
For more information on Cisco ClientLink 2.0 refer to the following URL:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps5678/ps11983/at_a_glance_c45-691984.pdf
Site Survey Considerations
While ClientLink dynamically beamforms and helps to maintain a robust signal which results in fewer
retries, it was not designed to change the cell range. ClientLink creates a better connection experience,
not larger cell size.
For this reason, when conducting a survey it is important to keep in mind that the AP 3600 cell sizes
are generally the same or very similar to other Cisco Access Points. Figure 57 depicts typical ranges in
the 1-54 Mbps range. While it is always recommended to survey with the equipment you intend to
deploy, a previous survey done with say an AP 3500 – would not be invalid for an AP 3600 deployment.
Figure 58 and Figure 59 provide examples of the modulation types and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).
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Note
Figure 57
AP 3600 Site Survey Ranges (typical cell sizes have not changed; AP 3500 and AP 3600
cell sizes are the same
Figure 58
Site Survey Sensitivity and SNR
The SNR for 3SS is 28 dB, per IEEE, but Cisco RF engineers recommend 30-32 dB for best performance.
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General Considerations Regarding Access Points
Figure 59
Site Survey Sensitivity and SNR
General Considerations Regarding Access Points
Following are some guidelines to remember regarding all access points.
1.
Always try to mount the AP as close to the users as possible for best performance. Be aware of the
environment; for example, hospitals have metal doors, coverage can change when the doors close,
old buildings can have metal grid work in the plaster or asbestos. Avoid mounting the AP or antennas
near metal objects, as doing so can change the coverage area.
2.
When using the 2.4 GHz frequency, the same 1, 6 & 11 channel scheme is used as is the 5 GHz
channel scheme (Figure 60). Avoid putting all of the APs on the same channel, and reuse channels
as you can. See our other deployment guides for more on this topic.
Figure 60
3.
Tip
Example of Channel Usage in 2.4 and 5 GHz (Two Channels used if 40 MHz)
Try to determine which clients are going to be used and check the coverage using those clients. For
example, a PDA or Wi-Fi phone might not have the same range as a notebook or tablet.
Verify coverage using the worst performing clients that you intend to deploy.
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802.11ac Primer – How is it different from 802.11n?
Note
4.
If you require 3 spatial stream coverage for the fastest throughput, and/or you are looking for the
best BYOD experience, the Cisco Aironet 3600 and 2600 Series Access Points with ClientLink 2.0
will perform better than the AP 3500. The AP 3600 can beamform to 802.11n clients, so it is
important to understand the data requirements if you are mixing Cisco Aironet 1260, 3500 and 3600
Series Access Points in the same areas.
5.
While site surveys are generally recommended, if the design is done at half power and Cisco RRM
is in place, sometimes a limited site survey (coverage check) is adequate for smaller venues. If this
is a very challenging environment such as train connectivity, Gas & Oil verticals, large hospitals,
etc., Cisco has an Advanced Services team that can be contracted to help you get up to speed or
perform your installation. See your Cisco account team for more information.
6.
Cisco AP 3600 was introduced in the 7.1.91 or higher code stream and is supported by the following:
Cisco 2500, 7500, 5508 and WiSM2 Series Controllers and WCS 7.0.220 or higher and NCS 1.1 or
higher. The AP 1600 and 2600 was introduced in the 7.4 release.
7.
The rule of thumb coverage plan is: 1 AP per 5,000 square feet for data and 1 per 3,000 square feet
for voice and location services.
8.
Some clients (especially older ones) do not support the UNII-2 extended client channels 100-140,
so if you have lots of older clients you may want to disable them in the DCA channel list.
More and more clients support these channels all the time, as will the newer 802.11ac clients.
802.11ac Primer – How is it different from 802.11n?
802.11ac is backwards compatible with 802.11n but is coming in “Waves” which are different features
and functionality. New features and functionality often require new hardware, or as in the case of the AP
3600 the ability to introduce new hardware within the base unit. An Access Point that is not modular
typically requires a complete hardware replacement. The AP 3600 utilizes a dual core processor with
one core supporting new hardware via the feature module option. The first release of 802.11ac (Wave-1)
brings the following features over 802.11n
802.11ac Wave-1 features include:
•
Faster PHY rate 1.3 Gbps over the typical 450 Mbps of 802.11n
•
Introduction of faster modulation 256 QAM over the 64 QAM of 802.11n – This creates many new
data rates similar to 802.11n but in many cases faster rates with single stream and multiple stream
devices
•
Ability to bond 80 MHz channels versus 40 MHz bonding of 802.11n – This can greatly enhance
the throughput of devices that only support 1 spatial stream by extending the usable bandwidth of
the device (often portable battery operated devices lacking multiple radios) spatial streams.
•
Explicit Compressed Beam Forming – This is similar to what was proposed in 802.11n and is a
method whereas the client can take advantage of sounding mechanisms to essentially tell the Access
Point how to better beam form the signal back to the client. This functionality only works with
802.11ac clients and is supported with the Cisco Wave-1 module but this does not negate the value
of Cisco Client Link which is still used by the primary 802.11n radios as Client Link benefits all
802.11a,g, and n clients.
•
With regard to Cisco products, the 802.11ac module is a 5 GHz only as 802.11ac does not scale well
in 2.4 GHz due to the limited channels and bandwidth limitations (it is not practical to bond channels
in 2.4 GHz) in an enterprise deployment and non-standard “turbo modes” don’t scale.
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802.11ac Wave-2 features include: (Note this paper concentrates on Wave-1) as Wave-2 is still in flux.
•
Everything supported in Wave-1
•
Multi-user MIMO <Multiple Input Multiple Output> client enhancement
•
Bonding up to 160 MHz
•
Faster Ethernet uplinks exceeding GbE
Figure 61
1 Spatial Stream MCS rates for 801.11n (left) and 1 Spatial Stream MCS rates for
802.11ac
Figure 62
Channel bonding allows more usable bandwidth (similar to a multi-lane highway)
So the net take-away is that 802.11ac permits faster speeds – allowing clients to take advantage of the
additional bandwidth and complex modulation for over-all performance enhancement while maintaining
backward compatibility with 802.11n and 802.11a/g systems already in place.
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Figure 63
Faster speeds with newer MCS rates and bonding – up to 433 Mbps on 1 stream.
Even faster speeds occur when you can use multiple spatial streams, many newer smart phones may
likely support only 1 spatial stream, but higher end tablets and notebooks will typically support 2 or more
spatial streams. Let’s look at speeds when using 2 and 3 spatial streams.
Figure 64
Typical Wave-1 data rates @ 2 and 3 spatial streams
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Understanding 802.11ac and the option module
Understanding 802.11ac and the option module
AP 3600 Radio Module Cisco Part Number (AIR-RM3000AC-x-K9=)
Independent radio module providing 802.11ac support (Wave-1) support within the AP 3600
Features include:
•
Complements existing 5 GHz 802.11n radio by providing an independent 802.11ac overlay
•
Permits faster throughput for 802.11ac clients by permitting channel bonding up to 80 MHz
•
Enhanced denser modulation 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) up from .11n’s 64 QAM
•
3x3 antenna design
•
Support for 1, 2, and 3 spatial streams
•
SU-MIMO --- Single User Multiple Input Multiple Output
•
Explicit Beam Forming
•
1.3 Gbps PHY (Approximately 1 Gbps MAC)
Module details and specifications can be found at the following URL:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/modules/ps12859/ps13128/data_sheet_c78-727794.html
Radio Module Operational Overview
With the module installed, the AP 3600 operates three active radios 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz integrated radios
(slots 0 and 1) as well as the 802.11ac 5 GHz module which shows up as (slot 2). This additional radio
module takes the overall power draw of the Access Point to 18 Watts. If the power being supplied is
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limited (for example 15.4W 802.3af power) the Access Point will come up with the radio module
disabled until a suitable source of power is available such as enhanced PoE, 802.3at PoE+, Power
Injector for or the Local Power Supply AIR-PWR-B is used.
Figure 65
Switches that support the AP 3600
Should the installer/administrator determine a need to power the module from a 15.4 Watt power source
(perhaps it is a high density installation where there is plenty of 2.4 coverage) or the AP is being used
to augment areas with 802.11ac where 2.4 coverage is already present – if so, the internal 2.4 GHz radio
can be disabled allowing the AP 3600 with 802.11ac module to come up with full power and full
functionality. We feel this is a significantly better approach allowing installers to perform full
functionality site surveys @ 15.4W (802.11af) rather than compromising RF power and shutting down
Spatial Streams and other ports.
Figure 66
Module powering options for low power 802.3af (15.4 Watts)
Because the module antennas are internal, the module radiates much like an AP 3600i would as there are
no RF connectors on the module, so the antennas “appear” as they would on the internal models.
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Figure 67
Top covers removed from AP and module to show how antennas are mounted
Figure 68
Coverage is optimized for ceiling placement and radiates omni-directionally
If the AP is not mounted on the ceiling but rather on a wall, this may acceptable for smaller deployments
such as hotspots, kiosks, transportation or smaller coverage areas but in an enterprise deployment it
could cause excessive roams as the signal (think of the diagram above turned on its side) signal can
radiate on the floor above and below rather than downward in a uniform 360 pattern. See Figure 20.
If the module is installed in an AP 3600e (with external antennas) the 802.11ac module will still behave
as described in Figure 68 and if the dipole antennas are used, the AP will continue to provide an
omni-directional coverage pattern. If a patch or other directional or high gain antenna is used, it can
create a condition where you have two different coverage patterns. Since both the 5 GHz module radio
and the internal 5 GHz 802.11n radio both work together as one “blended” radio it is best to keep cells
uniform by using dipoles or by verifying coverage is acceptable for your intended application.
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Figure 69
Module antennas are internal to the Access Point and radiate omni-directionally
Because the 5 GHz module operates in the same frequency band as the internal 5 GHz 802.11n radio,
both radios have been purposefully designed to work in tandem (think of it as a blended radio) where
both radios work as one radio maintaining proper isolation and performance. Unlike the competition,
this allows the 802.11ac client to be serviced by the module while legacy a/g and 802.11n clients are
serviced by the integrated radios taking full advantage of Client Link 2.0 to beam form without having
to try and bounce clients around based on signal strength.
Given the AP has a dual core processor with one core managing the module, similar to the “master/slave”
approach that was used with IDE hard drives, the module always takes its direction from the “master”
radio, in this case the integrated 802.11n radio. So when performing power and frequency selection for
example selecting 80 MHz (802.11ac) channel bonding, the integrate radio and not the module radio sets
the “anchor” point where the frequency starts with the module performing the overlay extending the 80
MHz over the existing channel selected by the integrated “master” radio (802.11n radio). Both the
integrated radio and the module also share the same SSIDs.
This virtual radio approach requires both radios to be enabled so you cannot disable the integrated 5 GHz
radio and just run the .11ac radio module.
Currently in the US, there are 22 (20 MHz) channels, 9 (40 MHz) channels, and 4 (80 MHz) channels.
802.11ac (Wave-2) supports 160 MHz channels but there is only 1 channel available today, this is likely
going to get better as the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory bodies realize the
need for more unlicensed spectrum and are actively working to free up more spectrum.
Let’s take a look at the frequencies available and how the channel bonding would work.
Figure 70
Current channel allocation plan US Theater.
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Understanding 802.11ac and the option module
Figure 71
Current channel allocation plan ETSI Theater.
What’s in the future as far as spectrum allocation?
•
In the US there are currently 22/10/5/1 channels with bandwidth 20/40/80/160MHz channels
•
With opening up of 5.35-5.47GHz & 5.85-5.925GHz, the number of channels increases to 34/16/8/3
•
If the industry manages to take back the TDWR channels, the number of increases to 37/18/9/4
So as time progresses we should see additional channels becoming available.
Client Band Steering
In order to optimize client performance, 802.11ac clients are able to take advantage of ECBF – Explicit
Compressed Beam-Forming a IEEE 802.11ac standardized method of Beam-forming (similar in some
ways to Cisco’s Client Link) but slightly different as the .11ac client needs to send “sounding
information” to the AP and then the AP uses that sounding information (from the client) to best send the
signal back to the client using (beam-forming).
Note
ECBF only works with 802.11ac clients, Cisco Client Link continues to be used with non-802.11ac
clients to improve the overall performance of 802.11n and legacy clients resulting in an improved
performance with all clients rather than just 802.11ac clients. This helps maintain solid connections to
the AP without having to bounce clients off of the AP using other methods such as signal strength
causing needless roaming with the client is not actually engaged in passing traffic.
Note if is it a significant advantage to allow the module to service the 802.11ac clients while the
integrated radio services the non-802.11ac clients. Should the 802.11ac client require something the
module radio does not support (for example, Cisco Client Extensions “CCX elements” the 802.11ac
module will push the client to the integrated radio to service that request.
802.11ac Client Recommendations
At the time of this writing, 802.11ac clients are just now starting to get integrated into smart phones.
Devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S4, ZTE’s Grand Memo and the HTC One phone are early to market
802.11ac devices. It is expected that integrated notebooks and tablets (those devices often supporting 2
and 3 spatial streams) will start to emerge later in the calendar year.
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Right now USB adapters and “Workgroup Bridge” like media adapters are available – Here is a partial
list, keep in mind new products are being released all the time.
USB clients available today
ASUS Model USB-AC53
D-Link Model DWA-182
Belkin Model F9L1106
Netgear A6200
Buffalo Model WI-U2-866D
Edimax Model EW-7822UAC
Linksys AE6000
PCI - Desktop clients
ASUS Model PCE-AC66
WGB - Like
TRENDnet Model TEW-800MB
Buffalo Model WLI-TX4-1300H
Linksys Model WUMC710
Linksys Model AC1300*
Note
The Linksys Model AC1300 is a 3 spatial stream WGB like device with good performance.
Some early observations
USB clients can appear to be a bit slow (performance) depending on drivers, USB port version, etc. We
have also seen some clients that have trouble maintaining an 80 MHz bandwidth in the DFS (Dynamic
Frequency Selection) bands. Also, we have observed one USB client that did not work well from a client
band steering perspective (meaning we try to send the 802.11ac client to the 802.11ac module) but the
client keeps attempting to associate to the integrated 802.11n radio. These are all early client issues and
we are actively working with the manufacturers to resolve these early issues and will likely happen with
firmware or driver updates.
Radio Interfaces and Understanding Client Associations
As previously mentioned; the Access Point with module has three radio interfaces “slots 0-2” and shares
the same RF power characteristics and SSID’s. This permits the both radios to function as a “virtual” or
blended radio therefore (RRM controls both the integrated radio and the module radio).
Given there is no “greenfield” 802.11ac mode, RRM, Rogue AP detection and SI (Spectrum
Intelligence) all continue to function normally.
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Figure 72
Understanding RF radio interfaces
Since 802.11ac is fairly new, having a dedicated module handling the VHT (Very High Throughput)
requests makes it easy to see which clients are connected at 802.11ac rates and which 802.11ac clients
are actually connecting at 802.11n rates. This is accomplished by observing the SLOT ID.
Figure 73
Understanding client associations
Troubleshooting the module (basics)
Common issues arise because:
•
Module isn’t screwed down tightly
•
Not enough PoE power (requires 802.3at) 18W
•
Not configured correctly
•
Not understanding the radios operate “together” so you need to configure the radio in slot 1 (5 GHz
internal) first
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•
Not understanding SSID’s for both 5 GHz need to be the same and all .11ac clients are sent to the
.11ac module
Figure 74
Both thumbscrews need to be tight or power is not applied
Things to look for if the module is not found
•
Console will report “module radio found and ok”
•
Also console CDP message for Power “Power ok – HIGH POWER inline power source”
•
Perhaps remove module – verify AP ok then reinstall
•
Module should show up as “slot-2”
•
If you suspect PoE (try AIR-PWRB or AIR-PWR-INJ4)
•
Module not designed to work with AIR-PWR-INJ5
Some caveats regarding clients connecting to the module
•
802.11ac clients need same type of security as 802.11n to connect
– WPA/WPA2 with AES or Open
– CCKM is not supported on this release
•
The module radio supports 50 clients in hardware
•
8 keys for multicast traffic one per SSID – 8 keys for 8 SSIDs max on 11ac radio
•
42 keys for the client unicast traffic
•
If more than 42 clients are associated, clients will be connected, but throughput for some clients will
degrade since encryption/decryption is done in software
Features not supported in the module
MFP – Management Frame Protection
CCX – Cisco Compatible Extensions (Integrated 5 GHz radio handles these requests)
IAPP (used to connect WGBs and their clients) -> no WGB support. Note: You can connect a WGB in
WGBu (universal) mode, because it essentially behaves like a standard client, but no WGBC support.
Also not supported are SE-Connect, Mesh, Monitor and Autonomous modes
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A Quick Look at a few "Non-Optimal" Installations
A Quick Look at a few "Non-Optimal" Installations
The pictures below present examples of installations that are not recommended. It is very difficult to
provide good Wi-Fi service with a poor installation. Always try to avoid metal and clutter.
Figure 75
Example of an AP installation near metal and clutter (try to avoid metal and clutter)
Figure 76
Patch antenna against a metal fence
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A Quick Look at a few "Non-Optimal" Installations
Figure 77
Example of an AP Installation near metal and clutter (again try to avoid metal and
clutter)
Figure 78
Example of a poor installation - Access Point needs to be level and not swing or move
about
Use common sense when mounting devices, AP should be level and secured so that it does not sway or
move - Keep the Access Point away from metal objects and try to locate it as close to the users as possible
or practical to do understanding aesthetics etc.
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A Quick Look at a few "Non-Optimal" Installations
Figure 79
Example of a poor installation – Access Point is too high & buried in conductive foil
Remember the best place for an Access Point is as close to the users as possible – Avoid metal or
conductive objects in the near field (they cause the radio waves to become directional and increases nulls
(dead spots). If you must mount the AP in a high ceiling, look at directional antennas to direct (angle
down) the signal to the intended target area and always mount dipoles in the correct orientation.
Figure 80
When using dipole antennas observe the correct orientation (vertical polarity)
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Misc. Questions and Answers
Tip
When mounting antennas outside, always mount with the WIRES DOWN and never obstruct or put
weather proofing material over the drain holes.
Figure 81
Always mount antennas outdoors with leads DOWN (indoors does not matter)
Figure 82
If antenna connectors are exposed to weather – Coax-Seal should be used but if
present, do not cover antenna drain holes.
Misc. Questions and Answers
Q. Which AP is best for manufacturing and warehouse areas?
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A. Generally speaking the AP 2600e or 3600e would be my first choice as these external antenna
models have the highest operating temperature range -20 to 55C. The AP 1600 can also be used but
has a slightly lower operating temperature -20 to 50C. If temperature is not a concern then the
internal antenna “I” series 1600, 2600 and 3600 may be used.
Q. What if I am in a country where the regulatory agency may not approve the AP to be used outdoors
because of UNII-1 band restrictions or I wish to use higher gain antennas?
A. Consider deploying the Cisco Mesh products (1550 series) or look for Access Points ending in “P”
for professional install, such as the 3502P series or our outdoor bridging products.
Q. Which AP is best for high density deployments?
A. Both the 2600 and 3600 have virtually identical AP density for coverage based design.
Capacity-based designed (smaller-cells) will yield a slightly higher average cell capacity with the
3600 using 3-spatial stream devices and of course an even higher density when using the optional
802.11ac module.
Q. Cisco has a newer Power Injector (AIR-PWR-INJ5) how is this different from the
(AIR-PWR-INJ4)?
A. The newer AIR-PWR-INJ5 is a low cost injector for use with the AP 1600 and AP 2600 Series
Products. It is an 802.3af (15.4W injector) the AIR-PWR-INJ4 is a more power injector designed to
work with the AP 3600 when optional modules are used. The AIR-PWR-INJ5 can be used with the
AP 3600 but not if the optional module is used.
Q. Can industrial wireless motion or smoke detectors cause WLAN interference?
A. Yes, some products like United Technologies DD475 and Optex MX-50 operate in the 2.4 GHz band
as do other wireless “chimes”, cameras and other industrial equipment from other manufacturers.
Q. How much power in Watts does the AP 3600 draw when an option module is used?
A. 18 Watts – AP 3600 draws slightly more than 802.3af (15.4W) with the module installed. Powering
options include 802.3at PoE+, local Power Supply AIR-PWR-B or injector AIR-PWR-INJ4. If
performing Surveys or 2.4 GHz support is not needed, that radio may be disabled allowing the
module to have full power and functionality using 802.3af (15.4 Watts)
Q. What is the Ethernet requirement for 802.11ac (Wave-1)?
A. A single GbE cable is fine for Wave-1. While it is true 802.11ac (Wave-2) will exceed GbE speeds,
there is no need or requirement for cabling greater then GbE for 802.11ac Wave-1. Installers wishing
to future proof new installations should consider pulling CAT-6a cables <at least 1> and either
another CAT6a or a CAT5e cable (this allows you to fall back to 2 GbE ports) for some iterations of
Wave-2 and/or support 10GbE should this emerge as the method. 10GbE has some challenges such
as PoE standardization – Again for the foreseeable future a single GbE is all that is needed.
Q. Is it true that 802.11ac is coming in “waves” and that new hardware is required for each “wave”?
A. The first iteration of 802.11ac (Wave-1) is available today, and both Wave-1 and Wave-2 requires
new hardware to take advantage of the new features in each “wave” or iteration. Fortunately, with a
modular AP approach like the AP 3600, upgrading to Wave-1 today is easy. Also unlike the
competition, both the AP 3600 and newer Cisco Access Points in the future with modular support
will make upgrading to Wave-2 a painless process without having to perform a complete rip and
replace.
Q. With the 802.11ac Module installed in the AP3600, will all 3 radios be active?
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URL Links and Other Resources
A. Yes. All 3 radios will be active
The 2.4 GHz radio continues to support legacy b/g clients as well as n clients. The two 5 GHz radios
(integrated + module) will work in tandem so they are not competing with each other but working
in concert to support the same channels. For instance:
•
The 802.11ac module adopts an 80 MHz wide channel on 100-104-108-112
•
The 802.11a/n integrated radio operates on Channels 100-104 and a 40 MHz wide channel for
802.11n clients, and 802.11a clients communicate with the integrated radio via Channel 100 and
a 20 MHz wide channel
The AP3600 with the new 802.11ac module installed, will provide concurrent support for both the
2.4 and 5 GHz bands and support for 802.11 a, b, g, n and new 802.11ac clients.
Note
On the 5 GHz side, it is possible to have a 20 MHz wide 11ac channel and a 40 MHz wide 11n channel,
the only requirement is that the primary channel should be the same for both slots and is determined by
the primary channel setting on the integrated 11n radio.
Q. Can both 5 GHz radios (integrated and 802.11ac module) be on different channels?
A. No. The two 5 GHz radios will work together on the same channels, which allows the 5 GHz radios
to not compete with each other and allows us to maximize the number of clients supported per radio.
The primary (integrated .11n radio) will take the lead with the module radio “extending” or bonding
from the primary channel set on the integrated radio.
Q. Any other thoughts when installing wireless Access Points?
A. When doing wireless installations, keep the following guidelines in mind:
•
It is all about placing the AP as reasonably close to the actual users as possible,
•
Making sure you have coverage, (to a known requirement) and compensating for nulls or dead
spots regardless of what product you choose to deploy - This is called a site survey.
•
Installations should be done based on lessons learned from the site survey – the better the survey
the less likely connectivity problems will occur.
•
Cisco has an advanced services team that can perform WLAN surveys or help with the wireless
design if a partner is not available or able to do same.
•
When possible, use Cisco brand antennas listed in this paper (with the orange band)
•
Use common sense - don’t mount antennas against metal objects. Similar to a light bulb,
antennas work best when there are no obstructions in the path.
•
AP 1600, 2600 and 3600 are not weatherproof and has an IP rating of 40.
URL Links and Other Resources
AP 3600 datasheet
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11983/index.html
AP and controller datasheets
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/wireless/index.html
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URL Links and Other Resources
Cisco antenna reference guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps7183/ps469/
product_data_sheet09186a008008883b.html
Why buy Cisco brand antennas
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps5678/ps10981/white_paper_c11-671769.pdf
Understanding antenna patterns and their meanings
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps7183/ps469/
prod_white_paper0900aecd806a1a3e.html
Cisco Guest Access Deployment Guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/wireless/technology/guest_access/technical/reference/4.1/
GAccess_41.html
Cisco Schools WLAN Deployment Guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/solutions/Verticals/Education/SRA_Schools/
schoolSRA_wlan_sba.pdf
The Apple Bonjour / Apple TV Deployment Guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/wireless/ps4570/
products_tech_note09186a0080bb1d7c.shtml
Optimizing Enterprise Video Over Wireless LAN
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps6302/ps8322/ps10315/ps10325/
white_paper_c11-577721.html
Cisco 7925 IP Phone deployment guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/cuipph/7925g/7_0/english/deployment/guide/
7925dply.pdf
Cisco Mobility Services Engine – WLAN location deployment guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9742/products_tech_note09186a00809d1529.shtml
WLAN Design Guide for High Density Client Environments in Higher Education
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps5678/ps10981/design_guide_c07-693245.pdf
Mobility Design Guides
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns820/networking_solutions_program_home.html
Software support and downloads
http://www.cisco.com/tac
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