Configure Coverage Hole Detection

In this post we will learn about CHD @RRM

Coverage holes are areas where clients can’t receive a signal from the wireless network. If clients on an AP are detected at low received signal strength indicator levels, Cisco lightweight APs send a coverage hole alarm to the cisco WCS/NCS or PI.

The RRM coverage hole detection algorithm can detect areas of radio coverage in a wireless LAN that are below the level needed for robust radio performance. This feature can alert us to the need for an additional (or relocation) lightweight access point.

If clients on a lightweight access point are detected at threshold levels lower than those specified in the RRM configuration, the access point sends a “coverage hole” alert to the controller. The alert indicates the existence of an area where clients are continually experiencing poor signal coverage, without having a viable access point to which to roam.

The controller uses the quality of client signal levels reported by the APs to determine if the power level of that AP needs to be increased. Coverage hole detection is controller independent, so the RF group leader is not involved in those calculations. The controller knows how many clients are associated with a particular AP and what the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) values are for each client.

If a client SNR drops below the configured threshold value on the controller, the AP increases its power level to try to compensate for the client. The SNR threshold is based on the transmit power of the AP and the coverage profile settings on the controller.

The controller uses the following equation for detecting a coverage hole:

Client SNR Cutoff Value (ldB|) = [AP Transmit Power (dBm) – Constant (17 dBm) -Coverage Profile (dB)]

Depending on the number of clients that are at or below this value for longer than 60 seconds, coverage hole correction might be triggered, and the AP could increase its power level to try to remove the SNR violation.

If the AP is already at power level 1, it cannot increase the power any further, and clients at the edge of the cell coverage suffer a performance hit or disassociate altogether if the signal gets weak enough.

Aside from a real coverage hole, a client with a poor roaming logic might not roam to another AP as expected and be “sticky.” A sticky client can remain associated with an AP until the SNR is very low and triggers a false coverage hole detection.

The coverage hole algorithm also allows the network to heal itself if an AP fails. When a neighbor AP is lost, it increases the power of nearby APs as needed to compensate. Again, the increase in power for an AP is a gradual process, increasing the power one level at a time.

Configure Coverage Hole Detection

Login to WLC GUI, go to Wireless > 802.11a/n or 802.11b/g/n > RRM > Coverage


Enable Coverage Hole Detection check box to enable coverage hole detection, or unselect it to disable this feature.

Data/Voice RSSI text box, enter the minimum receive signal strength indication (RSSI) (It must be between -60 to -90 dBm and can be different for voice and data) value for data/voice packets received by the access point. The value that we enter is used to identify coverage holes within our network.

Min Failed Client Count per AP text box, the minimum number of clients on an access point with an RSSI value at or below the data or voice RSSI threshold. The range can be from 1 to 75, and default value is 3.

Coverage Exception Level per AP text box, the percentage of clients on an access point that are experiencing a low signal level but cannot roam to another access point. The range is 0 to 100%, and default value is 25%.

Note: Coverage hole detection is no longer a global setting and can be enabled or disabled on a per-WLAN basis: Coverage hole detection is enabled by default on the WLAN. One of the reasons we might want to disable this is because if we know a device is going to roam, it is advised that we enable the wireless on the device so that it can assist in finding coverage holes. Conversely, if several devices are stationary and have wireless as a backup, it would be advisable to disable this because we know the devices are not going to move and will not be able to provide intelligent information to help the coverage hole detection algorithm with its calculations.

Enable/Disable Coverage Hole Detection per WLAN basis: WLC software release 5.2 or later, we can disable coverage hole detection on a per-WLAN basis

Coverage hole detection is enabled by default on the WLAN.


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