Cisco CleanAir battles Wi-Fi smog

By , Network World |  Mobile & Wireless, Cisco, wifi

CleanAir detected all of the above interferers, and all were properly localized via our simple geometric diagram. The system correctly identified each, and placed them on the diagram with reasonable accuracy. Some variability in location is to be expected given the vagaries of radio propagation, but we expect that network operations staff, guided by CleanAir's analysis, will have little problem finding identified interferers.

Each interferer was also properly classified, with the exception of the AirHORN. Cisco has not yet developed a classification model for this device, but the company reports that it is working on this. To be fair, the AirHORN is detected by Cisco's IPS feature.

Remediation in CleanAir is in the form of what Cisco calls event driven radio resource management (EDRRM), which, when enabled in WCS, automatically reassigns channels in response to detected interference. The algorithm for this appears quite sophisticated, as it prevents thrashing (rapid or continuous channel changes), and, indeed, channel changes occur only infrequently and may not occur at all in situations where such might be expected.

We found that the 2.4 GHz. video camera, which causes moderate to severe interference in this band for all channels except 1 and 11 (it is centered at channel 6), did motivate a change from channel 6 to channel 11. On the other hand, the 5.8 GHz. video camera did not cause interference sufficient to force a change of any of the 5 GHz. channel assignments.

There is little doubt that spectral analysis will become a fixture in the majority of enterprise-class WLAN installations over the next few years, as competitive products are introduced and refresh cycles proceed. The threat of disruptive interference - unintentional and otherwise - never goes away, and tools like Cisco's CleanAir clearly have the capabilities required to deal with the challenge.

We found that the product works as advertised, is easy to use with only minimal training and experience, and its rich feature set and very reasonable uptick in pricing of $300 over a non-CleanAir AP (the 1140) should generate significant interest from customers and competitors as well.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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