Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Mobility

Why the 802.11k and Neighbor Report are Important?

A lot of air time (pun intended) has been provided for the PHYsical layer amendments to the 802.11 standard. These would include 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.11ad, and others. These amendments tend to get a lot of publicity because they have increased the speed/throughput of 802.11 over the years (from 1-2 Mbps in 1997 for the original 802.11 spec to “gigabit” in 2013 with the 11ac and 11ad amendments).

But what about those amendments that simply aren’t as “sexy” and provide only MAC layer enhancements? Aren’t these important too?

The answer is YES and in this short series of blogs, we’ll spend some time looking at the lesser known but undeservedly underappreciated amendments to 802.11, especially 802.11k, 802.11r, and 802.11v and the features/benefits they provide.

This first blog will explain the basics of 802.11k “WLAN Radio Measurements” and will specifically zoom in on the Neighbor Request/Report.

Wireless LAN Radio Measurements (802.11k)

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) Radio Measurements can enable any device, AP or client, with the capability to better understand the environment in which it is operating. A variety of requests can be generated for which the device receiving a request can respond with a report.

As one example, an AP could ask a client “how well are you hearing me?” using a Link Measurement request. The client would respond with a Link Measurement report (conversely, a client could ask an AP “how well are you hearing me?”).

Since the ability to measure and collect information is provided, a device submitting a request can make a better informed decision as to its “next steps” in adapting to/compensating for the dynamics of the WLAN environment.

Information obtained from a measurement and/or report can be made available to upper layers of the measuring and/or requesting device where it may be used for a range of applications. Such applications may be engaged in attempting to preserve the QoE (Quality of Experience) for the end user.

As one example, in order to preserve the QoE for applications such as VoIP and video streaming, WLAN Radio Measurements may be used by client device to collect information from the AP prior to that client device disassociating from one AP and reassociating to a new AP. This can dramatically speed up reconnecting from one AP to another AP in the same WLAN.

802.11k describes the following measurements: Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Internet of Things: Why GHz Matters

IoE image

Enterprise IT continues to play a critical role in the Internet of Things (IoT). A large part of IT’s role is understanding and anticipating what new device types will hit the network, when and how to optimally connect them. Beyond the obvious applications and services, an often-overlooked factor is the actual design of the thing. What spectrum does it use? And how will it impact your network?

Today Wi-Fi devices, including things such as sensors, connect using one of two spectrum bands – 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Conventional wisdom has been to advertise a common SSID for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity. But, with the rapid rise of more connected things, this has likely outlived its usefulness. Let me explain why this is my point of view. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Value of Location

330 imageLocation, location, location. We so often hear the axiom that location is what drives the value of real estate. But location is also key to extracting context from on-site data for analytics and business outcomes. And, the value generated is directly related to the quality of the underlying location data.

So how can you get the best indoor location accuracy? You’re invited to find out. At 10:00 am PST on April 2, 2015, Cisco will host a webinar showcasing our new Hyperlocation Solution. This solution combines an access point module, an antenna, and four Cisco technologies to deliver indoor location accuracy to as close as one meter. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Connected Bus Stop

One of the well-received demonstrations that Cisco showed at MWC 2015 was: Cisco Internet of Everything: Solutions for SP Business Opportunity, aka the “Connected Bus Stop”. This demo prompted a lot of good discussion about what role Service Providers can play in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE). We summarized 4 areas for Service Providers to add value:

  • Deliver Intelligent Connectivity over lower-cost, dynamically scalable virtualized networks
  • Offer complete solutions and managed services in focused vertical segments
  • Monetize new sources of analytics from aggregated and contextualized IoT data
  • Provide provisioning, end-to-end device management, and added-value aligned to the business process productivity gains that customers seek from IoT.

Cisco’s approach to IoT encompasses an understanding of key business care-abouts and pain points, derived from our longstanding position as Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Observations from Mobile World Congress 2015

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. A record 93,000 plus people are estimated to have attended this year’s premier technology festival. Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2014. However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile? As such, the show offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of technology and the major social and business shifts that we can expect in the next few years.


The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,