Configure AP Device Radio Settings

When you configure your WatchGuard AP device, you specify the radio settings, which includes the band, wireless mode, channel, and SSID settings.

To configure the radio settings:

  1. Select Network > Gateway Wireless Controller.
  2. Select the Access Points tab.
  3. Select an AP device and click Edit.
  4. Select the Radio Settings tab.
  5. Configure the radio settings as described in the subsequent sections.

The radios on each access point only broadcast if there is a configured SSID. A radio without a configured SSID does not broadcast.

Set the Band and Wireless Mode

WatchGuard AP devices support two wireless bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 5GHz band provides greater performance than the 2.4GHz band, but is not compatible with all wireless devices. When you specify the band and mode in the radio settings, make sure to select the correct options for the wireless cards in the wireless client devices that connect to the AP device.

The configuration options for each radio depend on the AP device model.

One Radio Devices

You can configure Radio 1 to use either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band.


Radio settings for an AP device with one radio in Fireware Web UI

Screen shot of the Radio 1 Settings for an AP100 device
Radio settings for an AP device with one radio in Policy Manager

Two Radio Devices

  • Radio 1 always uses the 2.4GHz band
  • Radio 2 always uses the 5GHz band

You configure the settings for each radio separately.

Screen shot of the Radio 1 and Radio 2 Settings for an AP200 device
Radio settings for an AP300 device with two radios in Fireware Web UI

Screen shot of the Radio 1 and Radio 2 Settings for an AP200 device
Radio settings for an AP300 device with two radios in Policy Manager

The wireless modes available for each radio depend on the wireless band the radio uses and the device model.

The 2.4GHz band supports five wireless modes:

802.11 G/N

This is the default mode in the 2.4GHz band. This enables the radio to connect only with devices that use 802.11g or 802.11n.

802.11 B/G/N Mixed

This mode enables the radio to connect with devices that use 802.11n, 802.11g, or 802.11b.

802.11 B/G Mixed

This mode enables the radio to connect with devices that use 802.11b or 802.11g.

802.11 G

This enables the radio to connect only with devices that use 802.11g.

802.11 N only

This enables the radio to connect only with devices that use 802.11n.

The 5GHz band supports these wireless modes:

802.11 A/N Mixed

This is the default mode in the 5GHz band. This mode enables the radio to connect with devices that use 802.11n or 802.11a.

802.11 A

This enables the radio to connect with devices that use 802.11a

802.11 N only

This enables the radio to connect with devices that use 802.11n.

802.11 N/AC

This enables the radio to connect with devices that use 802.11n or 802.11ac.

If you choose a wireless mode that supports mixed 802.11 standards, the overall performance of the radio can decrease. This reduction in performance is caused in part by the backward compatibility settings in mixed modes that enable devices with slower modes to connect to the AP device radio.

Configure the Preferred Channel

When you add an AP device to your deployment, the Preferred Channel is set to Auto, and each radio automatically selects an available quiet channel in the band you have chosen. The available channels are determined based on the geographic location of the AP device.

The channels used by AP devices are automatically selected and allocated for optimal wireless channel selection across your deployment. Channels are scanned and selected during the Wireless Scan Interval configured in the Gateway Wireless Controller Settings (default is every hour).

When you deploy multiple AP devices, we recommend you use Auto channel selection to choose the best channels for your wireless network environment.

You must restart the wireless interfaces for optimized auto channel selection for your deployment. A reboot of the device does not start automatic channel selection.

To restart wireless from the Gateway Wireless Controller Dashboard page or the Firebox System Manager Gateway Wireless Controller tab:

  1. From the Access Points list, select the AP device.
  2. From the Actions drop-down list, select Restart Wireless.
    A confirmation message appears.
  3. Click Yes.
    All wireless interfaces on the selected AP device immediately restart.

You can also schedule a wireless restart. For more information, see Configure Gateway Wireless Controller Settings.

Manual Channel Selection

You can also manually set the preferred channel for each radio. The available channels depend on the band, wireless mode, channel width, and the geographic location of the AP device.

To set a preferred channel for an AP device radio:

  1. Select a channel from the Preferred Channel drop-down list.
  2. Click View Available Channels to see a list of currently available channels for each radio.

The AP device attempts to use the preferred channel you select. If the preferred channel cannot be used, the AP device automatically selects a different available channel in the configured radio band.

To choose which available channel to use, the AP device considers these factors:

  • If a channel is not available in the region where the AP device operates.
  • If the channel and channel width options you select are not compatible.
  • If you select an indoor-only channel when outdoor-only channels are enabled.
  • If you select a DFS channel that becomes dynamically unavailable or if DFS channels are disabled.

If you select a DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) channel, your device takes longer to connect on the wireless network compared to non-DFS channels.

Configure Channel Width Settings

You can configure each radio to use a specific channel width. To set the channel width for each radio, configure the Channel HT (High Throughput) Mode.

For each radio, select a setting for the Channel HT Mode:

20MHz

This mode sets the radio to use a 20MHz channel width. This is the default setting.

20/40MHz

This mode is available only when the Preferred Channel is set to Auto. This mode enables the radio to use either a 20MHz or 40MHz channel width, based on the available channels.

40MHz

This mode sets the radio to use 40MHz channel width. This mode assumes that no other 802.11a/b/g access points use the same channel.

40MHz mode is not available on AP120, AP320, and AP322 devices at 2.4GHz.

80MHz (802.11ac only)

This mode sets the radio to use 80MHz channel width.

In Fireware v11.11.4 or lower, the Extension Channel setting controls whether the radio adds channel width above or below the selected channel. For each radio, select an option:

  • Upper Channel — Adds channel width above
  • Lower Channel — Adds channel width below

Set the Data Transfer Rate

For each radio, you can optionally limit the speed at which wireless clients can send data. By default, the data rate is set to Auto, which means that there is no limit.

To set the maximum data transfer rate, select a rate from the Rate drop-down list. The rate that the client receives (downloads) the data is slightly less than the value you specify.

The available rates you can select depend on the wireless mode the radio uses. Rates that begin with MCS correspond to the MCS (Modulation and Coding Scheme) index values defined in the IEEE 802.11n and 802.11ac standards.

Each MCS option has these rates:

  • 802.11n:
    • The first number is the maximum rate for 20 MHz Channel HT Mode
    • The second number is the maximum rate for 40 MHz Channel HT Mode
  • 802.11ac — The MCS index number is 0-9.

Set the Transmit Power Level

For each radio, you can optionally set the maximum transmit power to limit or expand the transmission distance of your wireless signals. You can set the transmit power from 3dBm to 20dBm, or set the value to Auto. The default (Auto) transmit power is 20dBm. The transmit power cannot exceed the regulatory limits set by your region.

To set the transmit power:

From the TX Power drop-down list, select a value.

Client Limit

You can limit the number of client devices that can connect at the same time to a specific radio on AP300 devices. The client limit is applied as a global limit for all configured SSIDs on a radio.

Client Limits are not supported on AP120, AP320, and AP322 devices.

To specify the maximum number of client devices that can connect at the same time:

From the Client Limit drop-down list, select an option.

The default is Unlimited. You can select a limit from 1 to 127.

Select the SSIDs

Each radio can support up to eight SSIDs. You can use the same SSID for more than one radio on one or more AP devices. You can add up to eight SSIDs to each radio.

If the SSID you want to add is not yet configured, you can add this AP device radio to the SSID when you add the SSID.

For more information, see Configure WatchGuard AP Device SSIDs.

See Also

Configure AP Device Settings

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