What is the recommended amount of SSIDs to use on the 3605/3610 APs?

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C5210 controller
APs are 3605/3610

We currently use 3 SSIDs on our APs ( all broadcast on 2.4 and 5), but I think it is causing a lot of wireless issues like drop connections and devices not connecting to an AP right away, or devices timing out and getting a 169 address. Since we have 3 SSIDs, does that mean there are actually 6 BSSIDs per AP? The APs are dual band. So there is 6 BSSIDs floating around per AP. And if there is 23 AP in one building, that's 138 BSSIDs out there. Is it better to have just one SSID? on both radios
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Posted 2 years ago

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Craig Guilmette, Employee

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Hello Laura
The lower amount the better. We suggest 3 or less. 
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Craig Guilmette, Employee

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Each ssid on each radio transmits an ssid with its own BSSID so yes 3 ssids on 2 radios is 6 virtual AP signals being seen in the air. 
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Ronald Dvorak, Embassador

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Here some data from a presentation...

With 6 SSIDs on this 3APs in one area and a min basic rate of 1Mb (2.4GHz band) you get a channel util of ~26%.
That would mean that 1/4 of the bandwidth is uses for managment frames (beacon frames).

Less SSIDs and a higher min. basic rate could reduce that a lot so you've more airtime/bandwidth for real user data.

You'd have up to 8 SSIDs per radio = 16 SSIDs per AP which isn't a problem for the AP but result in more managment frames = less airtime/bandwidth for user data.

As Craig mentioned 3 is a recommendation...
#1 = SSID with 802.1X authentication for company clients
#2 = SSID with WPA-PSK for company clients that don't support 802.1X
#3 = SSID for guests

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Hartmut Sachse

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Hello Laura,

3 SSIDs is a common recommandation. The management frame/airtime overhead also depends on the wireless basic rates. You could really speed up your wifi by disabling lower data rates, but you should be carefully testing your clients and you wifi design must support the lowest data rate for example 12 Mbps at the edge of the wireless cell.

A more detailed article about SSID overhead can be found here:


Best Regards
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Sai Prasad Rao Rapolu

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Do you have any client connectivity issues with like clients disconnecting, few clients not connecting, few clients showing 169.254.x.x on reports.   

Please update