Best Setup For Dual Band WAPs?

I have three Pepwave AP one AC Minis deployed. Is it better or preferred to have both radios enabled on each device with one SSID and then enable band steering? Or is it better to give each radio a separate SSID (i.e. Home 2.4 GHz and Home 5.0 GHz) and then not use band steering? I originally set them up using the latter scheme so I would know which radio was being used. If you just have one SSID with both radios enabled, is there any way to know which radio your phone has connected to?

Hi. We’d recommend setting the SSID for everything (all APs and both bands) to be the exact same. Enable both 2.4 and 5GHz unless you have a compelling reason not to do so. Let’s not ask the clients to re-authenticate every time they move to a new AP.

Not sure what you have controlling the APs but if you have a Balance (for example), you can see the utilization at AP -> Controller Status -> Wireless Client. The “Type” column will tell you the protocol in use.

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I don’t have a Peplink router. I use pfSense as my router. I just login to the webpage of each AP when I need to make changes.

I do have one question. My wireless video doorbell only uses 2.4 GHz. To add the doorbell to my home network I was instructed that I had to use a cell phone connected to the 2.4 GHz band. I used my phone to scan the doorbell and then connected it. With separate SSIDs for the two bands, it was easy to just manually connect to the 2.4 GHz radio for this procedure. If both radios are using the same SSID is there even a way to force a device, such as my phone, to temporarily connect to the 2.4 GHz radio? Or would I just turn the 5.0 GHz radio off until the doorbell was added and then turn it back
on? Thanks again.

Uuugh. OK. I must tell you: Our experience with Pepwave APs is limited to their use with Peplink/Pepwave routers – it’s a “natural fit,” a “designed-in” solution. We’ve heard good things about PFSense but have no experience. ("Just sayin’…) So, I must defer to others vis-a-vis your specific questions.

If no one else answers I’ll give you my “educated guess” as to how you should proceed.

Hi.

Yes, turn off the 5 GHz, connect the doorbell via the 2.4 GHz, then turn on the 5 GHz again.

Thanks everyone!

I’d 100% recommend as best practice to not serve 5 Ghz and 2.4 Ghz on the same SSID whenever possible. Without going into too much detail here, a single 2.4 Ghz radio on medium power will cover far more Wi-Fi coverage than 5 Ghz but at a cost of more interference and lower speed. 5 Ghz doesn’t cover as wide with the same power, so you will need more APs (generally) than an existing 2.4 Ghz deployment to have decent coverage (and that comes with less interference and high speeds).

I bet if you just enable 1 AP to broadcast a 2.4 Ghz SSID and all of your APs to broadcast the 5 Ghz frequency, you’ll have better wireless performance overall.

Glad that approach has worked for you. Our experience is quite different. In general, our approach:

  1. Although there are certainly exceptions, use the same SSIDs on both 2.4 and 5GHz.
  2. Carefully position the APs. Carefully.
  3. Choose the AP most appropriate for the application. (No, an AP One Mini is not a good solution for everywhere.) Is an external antenna required? Gain? Beam-width?)
  4. Adjust the power as needed. The defaults are often not optimum and sometimes one must do this on an “AP-by-AP” basis.
  5. Deal with the “channel issue” as well as channel width (No, 40MHz is not needed for IOT/M2M devices and one can “pay a price” for using wide cahnnels.)
  6. Make a conscious decision as to whether 2.4 or 5GHz will be preferred.
  7. Pay attention to system performance. Lots of attention.