Mist – Dual 5 GHz Radio

Mist is continuing to impress. I really get excited when I log into my Mist Dashboard and there is an announcement for new features. I knew that AP43’s and AP63’s are able to do dual 5 GHz, however, that was not available in the dashboard until recently.

A recent LinkedIn post from Sudheer Matta – VP Products, Juniper-Mist AI Driven Enterprise Portfolio – Wired, Wireless, WAN at Juniper Networks, announced some great new features. Very first feature listed there was “Dual 5 GHz Radio Support”.

Mist New Feature Announcement

Dual 5 GHz concept is nothing new. Before the dual 5 GHz feature was introduced, I would be turning off multiple 2.4 GHz radios to reduce interference in 2.4 GHz band. But in my mind this always resulted in wasted radios. Dual 5 GHz Radio’s solve that issue by having two 5 GHz radios in the access point, resulting in fully utilizing both radios. (NOTE: This needs to be carefully implemented and usually 80 MHz channel separation is recommended between the two channels.)

I decided to give this feature a try in my home lab and see how they behave. It can be enabled by an individual access point, but overriding “Use site settings” to Auto

Enabling dual 5 GHz – Mist AP43

Or it can be configured/enabled based on the site “RF Template”. In addition, I also set the “Band Enabled” setting under the 2.4 GHz Settings:

2.4 GHz – Band Enabled
Dual Band Radio Settings – Mist AP43

After enabling this option, I received a message to optimize the 2.4 GHz band as shown.

Since I do not have enough clients and traffic currently I was not expecting the access points to switch over to dual 5 GHz and/or turn off any 2.4 GHz radios. So I just used the manual option for testing purposes.

Dual 5 GHz – Mist AP43

Considering other 5 GHz networks in the area and me using 40 MHz channels, I think it did a pretty good job on switching over. Overtime this will most likely optimize. Screen shot below shows no 2.4 GHz channel assignment and no 2.4 GHz Tx Power.

Similarly, under 2.4 GHz RRM, Radio’s are enabled but no channel information available.

Under 5 GHz RRM, now the second radio can be seen, shown as Dual band (5 GHz).

Should anyone wish you watch this screen recording from Wi-Fi Explorer Pro showing the shifting of channels as I enabled Dual 5 GHz, check out the video below. It is approximately 3 min and 32 sec.

Mist AP43 – Dual 5 GHz Channels

I am hoping during the week when there is more traffic on my network I can see some Auto RRM settings in action. Looking forward to enable and test this out in production slowly with some testing. Dual 5 GHz can really provide good performance and value when deployed correctly. Reduces wasted radios and can improve overall user experience. Most likely in an average environment with 100’s of access points I would most certainly lower the channel width to 20 MHz so that clients can connect to both radios. I recommend reading this article by Devin Akin for some additional technical details on Dual 5 GHz. “Dual-5GHz Radio APs”.

Vidur Bara from Mist Systems has also put together a video on his YouTube Channel going over these features. De-Mistifying Mist Wireless.

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