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dalicea
New Contributor III

Getting rid of 802.11b clients

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802.11B clients can slow things down for other devices on the wireless network. Has anyone decided to stop B clients from accessing wireless? I can see under the template that we can get rid of B under the Wireless Mode. Has anyone had any experience doing this? Its not like we see a bunch of 802.11b clients out there, but we do get some here and there. Any caveats to this?

We are using the vWLAN version 2.4.0-12

AP version 6.8.0-18

Thanks

-Dave

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evanh
Contributor III
Contributor III

Re: Getting rid of 802.11b clients

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Dave,

Great question!

It is absolutely true that 802.11b clients slow things down for other devices. When clients operate at a slower speed, the rest of clients have to wait for them to "talk" slower because of the shared-medium nature of wireless.

Disabling 802.11b will keep those slower speeds below a 11M transmit rate from being possible. This speeds things up for others on the network by having no associated clients using those slow speeds.

This does have two major caveats though:

1. If you have any clients that ONLY support 802.11b, they will not be able to do anything once connected. Most clients at least support 802.11g operation, but it is possible some in your network do not. Older wireless phones and printers are notorious for only supporting 802.11b. Changing this setting without a bit of research would cause any of these existing units to not function properly.

2. As clients move farther from an AP, their negotiated transmit rate lowers as their signal lowers. With 802.11b rates available, a client that supports it may still be able to connect to an AP at a large distance, albeit at a very slow rate like 1M. With your change, this would not be possible.

In many cases this is actually desired because this will encourage the client to roam to a new AP with a stronger signal (since roaming is done client-side and many clients hold on to even a weak signal to stay on the same AP). However this means if areas of your coverage are not fine-tuned, you could see client disconnects between APs.

If you make this change, be sure to monitor for client complaints that correspond with these ideas. AP coverage can always be adjusted to account for gaps. However if critical clients can only support 802.11b, the setting may not be able to be disabled.

Thanks,

Evan

ADTRAN Technical Support

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4 Replies
evanh
Contributor III
Contributor III

Re: Getting rid of 802.11b clients

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Dave,

Great question!

It is absolutely true that 802.11b clients slow things down for other devices. When clients operate at a slower speed, the rest of clients have to wait for them to "talk" slower because of the shared-medium nature of wireless.

Disabling 802.11b will keep those slower speeds below a 11M transmit rate from being possible. This speeds things up for others on the network by having no associated clients using those slow speeds.

This does have two major caveats though:

1. If you have any clients that ONLY support 802.11b, they will not be able to do anything once connected. Most clients at least support 802.11g operation, but it is possible some in your network do not. Older wireless phones and printers are notorious for only supporting 802.11b. Changing this setting without a bit of research would cause any of these existing units to not function properly.

2. As clients move farther from an AP, their negotiated transmit rate lowers as their signal lowers. With 802.11b rates available, a client that supports it may still be able to connect to an AP at a large distance, albeit at a very slow rate like 1M. With your change, this would not be possible.

In many cases this is actually desired because this will encourage the client to roam to a new AP with a stronger signal (since roaming is done client-side and many clients hold on to even a weak signal to stay on the same AP). However this means if areas of your coverage are not fine-tuned, you could see client disconnects between APs.

If you make this change, be sure to monitor for client complaints that correspond with these ideas. AP coverage can always be adjusted to account for gaps. However if critical clients can only support 802.11b, the setting may not be able to be disabled.

Thanks,

Evan

ADTRAN Technical Support

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dalicea
New Contributor III

Re: Getting rid of 802.11b clients

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Those were my thoughts exactly, I just wanted to see if it made sense. I definitely appreciate the response. I’ll have to try it out.

-Dave

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dalicea
New Contributor III

Re: Getting rid of 802.11b clients

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Actually, I did have one more question….in the vWLAN, is there a way to see how many B clients are connected? All I see is a client is connected with 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) but it doesn’t seem to be specific info.

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briangonyer
Contributor II
Contributor II

Re: Getting rid of 802.11b clients

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We turned off b support last year in favor of g/n, haven't see a device that wouldn't connect as of yet or complaints.