The No Strings Attached Show has published a whitepaper on Cisco Flexible Radio Assignment (FRA). FRA is a feature of the Aironet 2800 and 3800 series access points. These APs have a flexible radio that can operate in 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, or monitor mode- this allows for both radios on the AP to be configured for Dual 11ac. It’s a fun whitepaper that takes an in-depth look at FRA-why it’s useful, how it’s a timesaver, and just what kind of benefits can it offer. The whitepaper also includes interesting customer references for both 3800i and 3800e deployments. Hopefully this whitepaper helps to demystify FRA and dual 5 GHz deployments- we want our customers to realize the potential of FRA and how you might use it in your environment!
We invited the hosts of the show to our Richfield Over The Air Test Facility, as we’ve done several times in the past (1, 2, 3), in order to put FRA through its paces. We first sat the hosts down with the RF engineer who is the mastermind behind the FRA feature on the 2800 and 3800, then we went through things to know when deploying FRA, and finally we did some good old empirical testing. This test is one I think is most interesting in the whitepaper. The title image is a teaser of what it looks like on a spectrum analyzer when all the Wi-Fi spectrum is fully loaded. We setup 25 APs, one for every 5 GHz channel. We then measured the spectral capacity of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (in megabits per second). In 5 GHz, we measured the capacity using 20, 40, and 80 MHz channels. We then turned on dual 5 GHz and ran those same tests using half the number of APs. The point of this testing was twofold; first we wanted to figure out just how much capacity we have in Wi-Fi, second we wanted to see if dual 5 GHz actually works (hint: it does).
Enough of my rambling, check out the whitepaper for yourself!