Band selection

Getting noticed

Band selection

What is the difference between Dual band operation (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and Dual band operation with Band Steering. Which will be better as per meraki standards.

Meraki Employee
Meraki Employee

Most WiFi users will find that the 2.4 GHz band is much busier than 5 GHz.    If this is the case, it will be better all around, for those clients which can use either 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz to use the former, instead of the latter.  Dual band leaves the decision up to the client, as to what it prefers.   Sometimes clients left entirely to their own devices make 'selfish' choices to join 2.4 GHz, perhaps because it has slightly higher signal strength (the frequency generally allows it to penetrate better).   The problem is they often take no account of the fact that that band might be overloaded.   Hence band steering encourages dual-band clients to go for 5 GHz more often, so would generally be preferred.


Note this, from that doc:   "If certain wireless clients are unable to detect the wireless network they may be using passive scanning. In these cases configure the network to use Dual band operation, not Dual band operation with Band Steering."


Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

Using regular dual band means the AP will broadcast beacons on both bands and will respond with probe responses to probe requests coming from their respective band.  So the client can choose which band it will join the AP.


Dual band with bandsteering adds a little intelligence to the AP.  The AP will detect if a client has sent a probe request on the 5 GHz band.  If the client would after that send a probe request on the 2.4 GHz band the AP will not answer it causing the Wi-Fi client to think the SSID is only available on the 5 GHz band and join it.


If your environment has all modern laptops and modern smartphones you'll be likely to have success using the bandsteering function.  However when running AP's for IoT devices you could have a certain device that will have trouble finding the SSID and thus failing connection.


So my 2 cents: depending on your environment you may try to use the bandsteering but if you see some devices that are important failing because of it, move back to regular dual band.  You also have the ability to change this option per RF profile and thus per AP.  So if you have an office area and a warehouse/production area you could keep the bandsteering only in the office area.

Get notified when there are additional replies to this discussion.
Welcome to the Meraki Community!
To start contributing, simply sign in with your Cisco account. If you don't yet have a Cisco account, you can sign up.