Wireless Channel Width Question - 20 vs 40 vs 80Mhz

Posted on 2016-09-20
Last Modified: 2016-09-20
Greetings, everyone.  We have a Meraki deployment with 10 APs and about 80 users in a 25,000 sf space.

Our APs are MR32 - 802.11ac   They are set up to connect clients capable of 5Ghz to that band, then move them to 2.4Ghz if they have older wireless NICs.  Most clients can work at 5Ghz with 802.11n   We have very few 802.11ac clients yet.

I understand that in "high-density" areas, lower channel width is desirable.  But I'm not sure what constitutes "high-density".  Is 80 clients in 25,000 sf considered "high-density" ?  I had the APs set at 80Mhz for the 5Ghz band, but lowered it to 40Mhz.  Is that recommended or is 20Mhz recommended ?  If I understand correctly, I'm sacrificing wireless speed by using lower channel width, right  ?  We're running out of physical ports and there is a lot of mobility around our office (people working all over the place), so wireless speed (at least to access our on-prem file server) is important.

Suggestions ? Does my config sound about right ?

Thanks much.
Question by:lapavoni
LVL 27

Accepted Solution

masnrock earned 500 total points
ID: 41807536
Based on the numbers you've presented, you're nowhere near high density. Plus you're covering a very large area, so you're more than good.

Think of it this way: Assuming that each AP is covering an equal area, that's 1 AP per 2500 sq ft. If the wireless devices are spread out evenly, there is one per 312.5 sq ft. No need to think about high density scenarios unless you're planning to be a high density environment over time.

You should be able to use a lot of the defaults in terms of channel width. Signals in surrounding areas might dictate how you handle the channels that users can connect to.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41807658
Very helpful information. Thank you.
LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 41807877
You can easily accommodate 80 clients in a 25000sqft area using 80MHz channel-widths.  As Mansrock said, it's nowhere near high-density.

In high-density areas you are correct; 80MHz channel-widths is undesirable as it contributes to co-channel interference.  You generally want to put a large number of APs in high-density environments while being able to use channels without your APs interfering with each-other.  In your case your APs will be able to handle the number of clients easily if they're installed in the right place without needing to reduce the channel-width.

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