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IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

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  • 1.  IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Sep 30, 2021 02:45 PM
    We have 61 IAP-225 VC cluster. Running 8.6.0.11

    500ish Microsoft Surface devices.
    15ish Apple devices (Macbook and iMac, Intel and M1).

    The Surface devices are stable. But the Macs are dropping like crazy. We tested some new iMac M1s in our tech office with an AP in the room and the iMac connects and disconnects regularly throughout usage. You can see the wifi icon in the corner go from connected to disconnected every 2-10 minutes.

    Several Macbook users complaining about constant drops. Looking for suggestions on settings to look at or troubleshooting steps to try.

    We do not have Airwave, but we are in the process of getting Central, but it's not set up yet.

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    Ben Nolen
    Whitfield School
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  • 2.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 01, 2021 03:52 AM
    Hi.

    Has anything changed recently, i.e. firmware updates, etc?

    When the MacBooks first connect, are they joining 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz? Is band steering enabled? What sort of signal strength at the MacBooks receiving from the APs?

    From the CLI I'd try running show ap debug mgmt-frames | in <insert an affected mac address>. It might tell you if the AP is telling it roams to another AP, or if the MacBooks just stop responding, etc.

    I'd also try running show tech-support and searching through for an affected mac address. If using Putty, I'd suggested enabling session logging and then searching the output from notepad.

    Lastly, you could try doing a 802.11 packet capture from the MacBooks (try using AirTool).

    Good luck!


  • 3.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 01, 2021 04:51 AM
    What is the transmit power on those access points?  Is it 21 or more on the 5ghz band?  Power too high can possibly make clients "bounce around"  I would cap the maximum transmit power at 18, if possible.

    Are you running 80mhz wide channels in a dense environment?  Try 40 or 20 mhz wide channels.

    Do you have any broadcast filtering on your SSIDs?  Try enabling broadcast filtering on all of them to improve performance.

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    Any opinions expressed here are solely my own and not necessarily that of Hewlett Packard Enterprise or Aruba Networks.
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  • 4.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 01, 2021 11:28 AM
    When you are on a macbook, hold down the Option key and then click on the airport icon which is in the task bar on top. Click on "Open Wireless Diagnostics..." and run those, and also "Enable Wi-Fi Logging" is helpful.

    There is a huge amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth with some M1 users, and not others. Everything points to some sort of manufacturing/hardware difference, where these devices typically work flawlessly on most networks and disconnect constantly on a few networks, with some enterprise networks being problems, while a few people have problems with their home wireless.

    I have two freshmen with identical M1 MBAs where one has the problem and one does not. I don't have access to an affected machine in order to troubleshoot, so if you do then you have a huge advantage!

    If you figure out anything, please update us.

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    Cathy Fasano
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  • 5.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 01, 2021 01:27 PM
    Cathyf,

    Are the Macbook M1s the only devices you are having problems with?  I would send a constant ping from the wired network to a Macbook M1 with issues and compare it to the constant ping to another device not having issues in the same area and compare.

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    Any opinions expressed here are solely my own and not necessarily that of Hewlett Packard Enterprise or Aruba Networks.
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  • 6.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 01, 2021 02:24 PM
    I'll try to reply to all the posts here.

    On both SSIDs, the Min power was set at 6 for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. As of today we have changed it to 12 for 2.4GHz and 9 for 5GHz.

    In ARM:
    Band Steering is set to Force 5GHz. Though I've seen it said that Band Steering being set is no long recommended or preferred, so would appreciate guidance there.

    Airtime Fairness is set to Fair Access.

    Still in ARM, Tx power min is default at 3 and Max for Max.

    But in Radio, we have 2.4 set to 3 and 3 (Min and Max) and for 5 we have 12 and 18 (Min and Max).  Even with 2.4 set to 3 and 3, we're still seeing all APs at 7db in the dashboard. Is 7 the lowest they actually go?

    We are running 40MHz channels on 5GHz (Wide channels bands set to 5GHz).

    Broadcast filtering is set to ARP on all SSIDs.


    Now all of this said, we took the opportunity to clean up and match all of our settings. So all SSIDs are set to same Min and Max rates and Broadcast filtering. It's possible that this tweaking has already made an improvement as our test Mac is currently not dropping. I'll continue to follow up on this thread.

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    Tech Support
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  • 7.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces
    Best Answer

    Posted Oct 01, 2021 02:58 PM
    I'll try to reply to all the posts here.

    On both SSIDs, the Min power was set at 6 for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. As of today we have changed it to 12 for 2.4GHz and 9 for 5GHz.

    In ARM:
    Band Steering is set to Force 5GHz. Though I've seen it said that Band Steering being set is no long recommended or preferred, so would appreciate guidance there.  "Force" is fine until you end up with coverage issues when clients are on the 5ghz band.  If you have no coverage issues, with it on, it should be okay to leave.

    Airtime Fairness is set to Fair Access.   Set this to default access.  Fair access punishes faster clients when they are in the presence of slower clients.  It also can skew speedtests.

    Still in ARM, Tx power min is default at 3 and Max for Max.  You should set max for 18.  I believe that the radio configuration below will override this anyways.  Check to make sure that the TX power on the 5ghz radio for your  APs is not over 18 with your current settings.

    But in Radio, we have 2.4 set to 3 and 3 (Min and Max) and for 5 we have 12 and 18 (Min and Max).  Even with 2.4 set to 3 and 3, we're still seeing all APs at 7db in the dashboard. Is 7 the lowest they actually go?  Some APs with their internal antennas do not have an EIRP under 7, so you will end up with 7 even though you set it for less.  Your other settings seem  fine.

    We are running 40MHz channels on 5GHz (Wide channels bands set to 5GHz).  If you still have problems, consider setting Wide Channels to None (20mhz channels).  You only have 4 channels available in 5ghz when using 40mhz wide channels.  That means if you have 5 APs running 40mhz wide channels, it will be on a repeat channel and possibly cause degradation.

    Broadcast filtering is set to ARP on all SSIDs.  Excellent move and essential for performance.


    Now all of this said, we took the opportunity to clean up and match all of our settings. So all SSIDs are set to same Min and Max rates and Broadcast filtering. It's possible that this tweaking has already made an improvement as our test Mac is currently not dropping. I'll continue to follow up on this thread.
    Matching settings is essential for consistent performance.  Let us know how you do.


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    Any opinions expressed here are solely my own and not necessarily that of Hewlett Packard Enterprise or Aruba Networks.
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  • 8.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 02, 2021 12:58 PM
    Thank you cjoseph. This is great info. I have applied the Fair Access setting you recommended, rebooted and will watch our results on Monday!

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    Tech Support
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  • 9.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 02, 2021 07:27 PM
    Hi my take on some of these settings are slightly different, so I'll address them below in a similar manner to cjoseph:

    Before changing any settings I'd look at the CLI and see if you can see any reason for the clients dropping. You should at least work out if it's the clients are choosing to drop off or are the APs are dropping them off.


    On both SSIDs, the Min power was set at 6 for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. As of today we have changed it to 12 for 2.4GHz and 9 for 5GHz.
    When I design a network, I generally start with a max of 12 for 5 GHz and 9 for 2.4 GHz. Most WiFi networks have to much power, as opposed to too little.


    In ARM:
    Band Steering is set to Force 5GHz. Though I've seen it said that Band Steering being set is no long recommended or preferred, so would appreciate guidance there.
    I would look at the output from the commands that I gave you earlier, it might indicate if the APs are trying to steer the clients to 5 GHz.
    The other thing you could try is setting up a test 5 GHz only SSID, and see if the clients still drop.

    Airtime Fairness is set to Fair Access.
    I don't really have any thoughts on this but I would increase the minimum base rate to 24. It'll help stop slow clients connecting.


    Still in ARM, Tx power min is default at 3 and Max for Max.
    But in Radio, we have 2.4 set to 3 and 3 (Min and Max) and for 5 we have 12 and 18 (Min and Max).  Even with 2.4 set to 3 and 3, we're still seeing all APs at 7db in the dashboard. Is 7 the lowest they actually go?
    Like I said before, I'd use 12 for 5 GHz and 9 for 2.4 GHz as the max. Personally, I think 18 is too high. A lot of clients don't transmit that high, so they'll hear the APs have trouble communicating back to the APs. Also, depending on how dense you're environment is, you'll create co-channel interference.
    You'll need to test the environment after lowering power to ensure you don't introduce coverage issues.

    We are running 40MHz channels on 5GHz (Wide channels bands set to 5GHz).
    If you have a high density environment 40 MHz might be too wide, but if it isn't then 40 MHz is probably fine. Try running something like the free version of inSSIDer and see if you can see multiple APs on the same channels.

    Broadcast filtering is set to ARP on all SSIDs.
    This is good.

    Do you have Client Match enabled?



  • 10.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 04, 2021 01:22 PM
    Thank you hammer for the awesome reply!

    The iMacs (lab) today appear to be stable from the most recent changes, we'll continue to monitor. The Macbook users are individual users and are hardwired until the issue is resolved, using the iMacs as a test.

    I ran the show ap debug mgmt-frames | in <insert an affected mac address> command you mentioned on a few of the iMac MAC addresses and didn't get a result. Is that expected if there is no issue?

    I ran show tech-support and saved to a file, searched a few iMac MAC addresses and none came up. Is that a good sign?

    Client Match is disabled.

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    Tech Support
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  • 11.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 04, 2021 04:58 PM
    No, you should see something in the CLI as the clients connect and disconnect.

    Something I probably should have mentioned before, you need to run those commands from the AP that the clients are connected to when they drop off.


  • 12.  RE: IAP-225 Cluster, Apple computers dropping but not Microsoft Surfaces

    Posted Oct 04, 2021 10:41 PM
    Thanks. I did run it from the AP with the dropping clients.

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    Tech Support
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