Does disabling all SSID's on an AP turn off the WiFi antennas completely?
We're having some really strange WiFi drop off / roaming issues on one of our sites (obviously, my site and none of the other 28 we have across Europe 😞 ) that appear completely random across different client manufactures, drivers versions, you name it. There's no pattern I can find to the disconnections so I'm going round and round in circles with it.
However, one stand out difference we have with this particular building is a lot of AP's. We spammed the building with no wireless survey and have 34 AP's over 3 floor, including a conference centre that sees meetings of up to 80-100 people (then of course 100 laptops, plus 100 iPhones, plus 100 personal phones,etc...).
I've made changes over the last 3-4 months to the RF Profiles to allow the AP's to adjust their settings as far as possible and we're seeing some of them powering down to 2dB which is suggesting there is more overlap between them than we probably should have.
So, this brings me to the point of the question, to try to assess if we do in fact have way too much overlap, I'm looking at disabling a few of the AP's to see what that does to the remaining AP settings and coverage and I'm trying to figure out if I simply disable the SSIDs from an AP, does that shut down the antenna completely.
If I switch the SSID to "deploy SSID by TAG", and drop the tag on a few of the AP's does that shut down the radios as well or do I need to power them down completely?
No, disabling the SSIDs (even all of them) does not actually shut down the radios. You can also disable the hidden meshing SSID as mentioned earlier, but there too it will not shut down the radios. Note that on the Radio Settings page, you can turn off the 2.4GHz radio completely. But the 5GHz radio minimum is 1dBm. So if 5GHz, sounds like you would need to shut down every-other AP by disabling PoE on the respective switch ports, would probably be easiest & fastest.
However, if you're finding that there's way too much overlap and the APs are all tuning themselves down to only 2dB, and you have a high density deployment, sounds like 500+ devices in the same room, then the best way to deal with that is directionality. That is, in a HD deployment the primary design priority is spectrum re-use, and the best way to achieve that is with directional antennas. Pretty standard for auditorium and lecture hall or exhibit floor type of deployments.
If that's not an option and you'll have to use the APs you have on hand, then you'll need to keep fine tuning to find the sweet spot. Be sure to try using 20MHz channels on 5GHz, go with 12 or 18Mbps minimum bit rates, and only after you've done all the standard fine tuning, you can then also play with RX-SOP, but only do that like 1 or 2dB at time, then re-test. Leave time between each tweak, and run Update Auto Channels, and give that time to run. There are built-in delays by design to prevent an unnecessary ripple effect of channel/power changes across the network, so run it overnight for example.
Also, if you're not using meshing, then disable it. If that option is not visible on the Network Wide > General page, call Support ans ask them to enable that option in your Dashboard.
I'll assume you opened a Meraki support ticket earlier, and they did a scrub of your current config with the model of AP and the firmware it's running, just to rule out any known issues? You might also try toggling the Client Balancing setting on/off, and possibly band steering on/off which has on occasion caused some strange disconnect issues, but there too, it's a function of AP model/chipset, firmware version, and client device make/model/drivers. Will take a bit of trial and error to really narrow that down, but Support can assist.