Meraki 8x8 Radios and Canadian EIRP Regulations - UNII1 power levels too low

80211WiGuy
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Meraki 8x8 Radios and Canadian EIRP Regulations - UNII1 power levels too low

Hey Gang,

During my first deployment of 8x8 Radios in 2020 with the MR55, I noticed something concerning about the APs that had selected any channels in UNII-1 (36-48), they all had their Tx Power limited to 12dBm max.

 

After scratching my head for a while and doing some further digging I realized that this was the max tx power that could be used by TxBF on an 8x8 radio to match EIRP regulations in Canada.

 

https://semfionetworks.com/blog/industry-canada-new-5ghz-band-regulations/

 

It was a weird time, city was under isolating measures and very few people were in the office, but I was concerned.  This meant that while client directed frames would benefit from TxBF, management and control frames would go out at 12dBm without any TxBF.  I was concerned this would lead to client roaming and stability issues, opened a case to discuss with TAC but eventually had to settle for this just being the way that Meraki was interpreting the regulations and deal with the 12dBm limitation.  It was a bit of an "agree to disagree" scenario.

 

The site design was performed with 14dBm as the target power.  As predicted, we're seeing a lot of unstable client connections and roaming attempts in areas where UNII-1 channels have been assigned by AutoRF.  I suspect this is due to the client drivers relying on beacons for their roaming decision process but who knows what's in their secret sauce.

 

I'm wondering if there's anyway to drop the MR55 down to 4x4 operating mode when on UNII-1 channels so that the Tx Power can be raised to 14dBm at least.  So far someone had the bright idea that maybe dropping the PoE power down to 802.3af might trigger that but I wish there was a supported solution for this issue.  Losing a block of channels also poses capacity issues but it may be the only option we have on this.

 

Any professional insights and shared stories are welcome.  Has anyone else struggled with low power limitations on 8x8 radios yet?

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