Reducing Redundant Alerts

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2010-04-27 Print this article Print


Because the new APs are complemented by the new 7.0 version of Cisco Unified Wireless Network software, CleanAir functionality is integrated into all Wireless LAN Controllers, the Wireless Control System and the 3300 series Mobility Services Engine. With the feature enabled across the network, interference detections can be correlated across multiple access points, potentially reducing redundant alerts from the same source of interference, while at the same time enhancing the accuracy of interferer placement on the heat map. 

Also, Cisco CleanAir allows the network to automatically reconfigure a WiFi cell to avoid interference having too great of an impact on network performance. If the WLC determines air quality is below standard for a particular AP, the cell will automatically transition to a less crowded channel. 

Cisco's Spectrum Expert Connect leverages the Spectrum Expert software component for use with CleanAir. With Spectrum Expert Connect, administrators can send the raw spectrum data from any CleanAir-enabled AP on the network to a laptop running Spectrum Expert. In this manner, RF experts can troubleshoot RF problems remotely, not needing to visit the problematic site. 

With its ties to the MSE and WLC, CleanAir also provides location impact analysis that allows the RF administrator to see on a heat map where an interference source is and what its aggregate impact may be to the network. Administrators can also do historical playback of the interferer, to get a sense of the interferers' effect and placement over time. 

While Cisco recommends the 500 series as the access point of choice for new 802.11n deployments due to CleanAir enhancements, customers that have already deployed 802.11n can utilize a limited number of 3500 series APs (Cisco recommends one 3500 AP for every five APs) as an overlay network. However, customers going this route will not have access to the self-healing capabilities inherent in an end-to-end CleanAir network.

The 3500 series includes three models, with prices ranging from $1,095 to $1,495. At the low end, the 3501i is a single-band (2.4 GHz) access point with internal antenna. The $1,295 3502e offers dual-band 802.11n support and antenna connectors, while the $1,495 3502e supports dual-band 802.11n with external antenna connectors. 

Cisco also announced an addition to the existing Aironet 1200 series of 802.11n access points that does not include CleanAir Technology. The new Aironet 1260 supports dual-band 802.11n with external connectors, and supports 802.3af Power over Ethernet. The 1260 is designed to easily retrofit to fit in the mounting brackets for previously installed Aironet 1130 or 1240 access points.

All new access point models should start shipping in May and include Cisco's new limited lifetime warranty.


Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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