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Occasional Contributor II
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎04-29-2009

AP Load Balancing 11a and 11g on 65AP

Hi all I work in a school and we have a large amount of student laptops around 600 in total mainly running from AP65’s in some locations I can have up to 20 laptops connecting to one AP.

I already use AP Load Balancing set up for the AP65s. But is there a way to load balance between 11a and 11g client connections to the AP?

The 11g client connections seem to take preference on the laptops. E.g. A trolley of 20 identical laptops and 18 will connect on 11g and only 2 connected on 11a. This obviously starts to take its toll on the 11g connected laptops, slowing them down.

Any suggestions welcome.
Aruba Employee
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎04-11-2007

Band Steering

Yes we have something that will help you out. In 3.3.2.16 we started supporting band-steering which moves 11a clients to 11a even if they are defaulting to 11g because they are dumb clients. Here is the snip from the release notes and a config snip.

!
wlan virtual-ap "yoyo"
aaa-profile "yoyo-aaa_prof"
ssid-profile "yoyo-ssid_prof"
vlan 1
band-steering
!


ArubaOS 3.3.2.16 includes the following ARM 2.0 features:
Band Steering
Band steering actively guides faster 802.11a/n clients to the best available wireless channel. The result
is better noise immunity, fewer sources of interference, and more available channels. If a client
supports both 2.4GHz and higher speed 5GHz bands, this feature will automatically direct it to the 5GHz
band for best performance.
Occasional Contributor II
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎04-29-2009

Re: AP Load Balancing 11a and 11g on 65AP

Still only running 3.3.1.13 so it might be time for an upgrade on my controllers.

One thing though, wouldn’t this just force all of my laptop clients onto 11a and cause exactly the same problem of all the laptops on 11a, slowing them down again?

What I want is 10 laptops on 11a and 10 on 11g give or take a couple either way.
Aruba Employee
Posts: 509
Registered: ‎07-03-2008

Re: AP Load Balancing 11a and 11g on 65AP

Sounds like a feature request. Round-robin band-steering. Do you control these laptops, or do they belong to the students? If you own them, and I know this isn't real efficient, but perhaps you could set 10 of the laptops to only connect at 802.11g and 10 to only connect at 802.11a (or with band-steering, just leave 10 of them alone and they'll go to 11a on their own).

Another feature in 3.3.2.12 and higher is Spectrum Load Balancing, which is more efficient than the classic AP load balancing. That may help a bit as well.
Occasional Contributor II
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎04-29-2009

Re: AP Load Balancing 11a and 11g on 65AP

I do control these laptops as they belong to the school but my problem is that with 600 laptops on the school site in total. That would still mean by using band-steering that I would still have to set 300 laptops manually to be 11b only:eek:. That would take an enormous amount of time.

I’m shore that It wouldn’t take Aruba long to come up with a solution to the problem as they already have the band-steering and Spectrum Load Balancing, it must just be a combination of the two to produce so called (@Mike Gallagher)“Round-robin band-steering” for the AP65.

So my next question is how does an end user like me go about making and approaching Aruba with a feature request? Anybody done this before and had any joy?:)
Guru Elite
Posts: 21,492
Registered: ‎03-29-2007

Band Steering


I do control these laptops as they belong to the school but my problem is that with 600 laptops on the school site in total. That would still mean by using band-steering that I would still have to set 300 laptops manually to be 11b only:eek:. That would take an enormous amount of time.

I’m shore that It wouldn’t take Aruba long to come up with a solution to the problem as they already have the band-steering and Spectrum Load Balancing, it must just be a combination of the two to produce so called (@Mike Gallagher)“Round-robin band-steering” for the AP65.

So my next question is how does an end user like me go about making and approaching Aruba with a feature request? Anybody done this before and had any joy?:)




Nick,

You wouldn't have to change anything on the laptops. The laptops would just need to have wireless cards that are capable of doing 802.11a/b/g for it to work.

All you would have to do is upgrade to ArubaOS 3.3.2.x to make this happen.

802.11a has more non-overlapping channels than 802.11b/g, fewer devices and interference than 802.11b/g, so that is where you want your devices.


Colin Joseph
Aruba Customer Engineering

Looking for an Answer? Search the Community Knowledge Base Here: Community Knowledge Base

Aruba Employee
Posts: 509
Registered: ‎07-03-2008

Re: AP Load Balancing 11a and 11g on 65AP

Micro, if you have enough AP coverage, what I think Colin is saying is to just upgrade to 3.3.2.x (x>=12) and enable both SLB and Band Steering and AOS will move all your clients to .11a, and additionally spread them across available APs in range of your laptops.

My assumption (perhaps I should have asked before though) is that there was only one AP in range of those 20 laptops. So Colin, if that is the case, then only band-steering is going to be in effect and it will just push them all to .11a, leaving his .11g radio unused. So he essentially has a radio, and bandwidth, sitting idle. Is there anything else that can help him out with that?
Guru Elite
Posts: 21,492
Registered: ‎03-29-2007

It depends


Micro, if you have enough AP coverage, what I think Colin is saying is to just upgrade to 3.3.2.x (x>=12) and enable both SLB and Band Steering and AOS will move all your clients to .11a, and additionally spread them across available APs in range of your laptops.

My assumption (perhaps I should have asked before though) is that there was only one AP in range of those 20 laptops. So Colin, if that is the case, then only band-steering is going to be in effect and it will just push them all to .11a, leaving his .11g radio unused. So he essentially has a radio, and bandwidth, sitting idle. Is there anything else that can help him out with that?




Many users who would have the possibility of 20 or more clients in a space would add another AP. If that was your only access point and you had a choice of band steering or not, the 5ghz band would be the choice. The advice would be to monitor the radio statistics and the experience of the people in that area, and make the decision after that. With features like load-aware scanning to improve the user experience especially when the traffic gets to a certain threshhold, keeping the users on the 5ghz band might be the best bet.


Colin Joseph
Aruba Customer Engineering

Looking for an Answer? Search the Community Knowledge Base Here: Community Knowledge Base

Frequent Contributor II
Posts: 142
Registered: ‎08-08-2007

Re: AP Load Balancing 11a and 11g on 65AP

We've started moving all our schools onto A, early installs were onto g and new laptops of course now mostly come with abg. We've found the shorter range and more channels, means more dense AP deployement to help speed things up. You soon run out of channels and what with the bluetooth and alarm senors we've found often means you actually get just a couple of channels on g!

So for us, its A all the way or maybe soon "an".
Occasional Contributor II
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎04-29-2009

Re: AP Load Balancing 11a and 11g on 65AP

OK, first of all I don’t tend to have any problems with using the three non overlapping 802.11g channels because our school is in quite a remote location so there is not too much interference from external sources, other than the rest of the onsite Aruba access points.

I have carried out a test yesterday and one today with one of my 20 laptop trolleys. This was with the AP65 in a location on site that can’t hear any signals from other locations. (It shows as a diamond on the heat map) Any way the first test I timed 3 lessons at logon times to get a average logon. Then last night manually set 10 to 11g and 10 to 11a then carried out the same test today and the logon speed was around 5 minutes faster which is a lot of time to save at the start of a 50 minute lesson.:)

I really don’t think switching to only be 802.11a and spending extra on denser access point coverage is the right way to go about it in my environment when I have proved it can be done by manually configuring the laptops.

That brings me back to how do I approach the big thinkers at Aruba with “Round-robin band-steering” for the AP65 as a future OS feature request?
I’m shore there are others in a similar situation to me who would like to load balance users between 11.g and 11.a on the AP65 to utilize its full capabilities.

For now it looks like ill have to take Mike’s suggestion and use band-steering, just leave 300 of them alone and they'll go to 11a on their own and set the other 300 to 11g. What a nightmare!!!:eek:

Please help Aruba It must be possible to implement this at controller level for future users wishing to accomplish the same thing as myself.:)
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