Controller Based WLANs

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APs, Controllers, VIA

What is the band steering feature and how does it help us? 

Jun 18, 2014 05:40 PM

Product and Software: This article applies to ArubaOS 3.x and later.


The ARM band steering feature encourages dual-band-capable clients to stay on the 5 GHz band on dual-band APs. This ability frees up resources on the 2.4 GHz band for single-band clients like VoIP phones. Band steering reduces co-channel interference and increases available bandwidth for dual-band clients because the 5 GHz band has more channels than the 2.4 GHz band. Dual-band, 802.11n-capable clients may see even greater bandwidth improvements because the band steering feature automatically selects between 40 MHz or 20 MHz channels in 802.11n networks. This feature is disabled by default, and it must be enabled in a virtual AP profile.



Band steering should work with and without local probe response enabled. The AP and STM have the logic to "hide" from 5 GHz-capable clients that are asking to connect on the 2.4 GHz band. However, if local probe responses are disabled, allowing persistent 2.4 GHz clients to associate on 2.4 GHz bands even after being identified as 5 GHz may not work. The logic to let in persistent clients after 8 auth/probe requests in 10 seconds is not in place on the controller.


Aruba recommends that you enable local probe responses to let clients with connectivity issues associate properly.



How Band Steering Works
• Controller maintains a list of 5 GHz-capable devices, which is shared with APs. 
• If a client connects to the 5 GHz band, it is added to the list of 5 GHz-capable devices.
• If a known 5 GHz-capable device transmits probe or auth request on the 2.4 GHz band, the device is dropped initially.
• To accommodate for persistent clients and coverage issues, if more than 8 such requests are received within 10 sec period, the client is allowed to connect to the 2.4 GHz band.
• Local-probe response does not need to be disabled. If it is disabled, the same rules still apply.
• Band steering is also supported for remote APs and non-tunnel mode APs, for example, split-tunnel.



Enabling or Disabling Band Steering Using the WebUI

Band steering is configured in a virtual AP profile.

1) Choose Configuration > All Profiles. The All Profile Management window is displayed.

2) Select Wireless LAN to expand the Wireless LAN section.

3) Select Virtual AP profile to expand the Virtual AP Profile section.

4) Select the name of the virtual AP profile for which you want to enable band steering. (To create a new virtual AP profile, enter a name for a new profile in the Profile Details window, then clickAdd. The new profile appears in the Profiles list. Select that profile to open the Profile Details pane.)

5) In the Profile Details pane, check the Band Steering box to enable this feature, or uncheck it to disable this feature.

6) Click Apply to save your changes.



Configuring Band Steering Using the CLI

You must be in config mode to configure band steering in a virtual AP profile. To enable band steering, issue this command:

wlan virtual-ap <profile> band-steering


Specify an existing virtual AP with the <name> parameter to modify an existing profile, or enter a new name to create an entirely new virtual AP profile.



To disable band steering, include the no parameter:

wlan virtual-ap <profile> no band-steering



Configuring Band Steering Using the WebUI

Browse to Configuration > Wireless > AP Configuration and Edit AP group. Within AP group, browse to Wireless LAN > Virtual AP and select the virtual AP that is to be configured for band steering. Check the band steering option and apply and save the configuration.




Show Commands


(SDM3) #show ap band-steering-clients




(wl2h-L) #show ap band-steering-clients

5GHz Capable Clients:1


(wl2h-L) #




(SDM3) #show ap band-steering-clients client-mac <client_mac_addr>




(wl2h-L) #show ap band-steering-clients client-mac 00:21:5c:01:f2:43

5GHz Capable Clients:1


(wl2h-L) #

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