Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Shifting Views on RRM

So RRM is the hot topics these days.  We have notable CWNEs out in the media actively discouraging its use, with others (including myself) advocating its use when you understand how to use it.  It’s really hard to cut through the FUD and make a good decision as to what wireless operators should be doing.  I’m going to take a minute to relate RRM to another technology and hopefully let you make some informed decisions for yourself.


First off, Radio Resource Management or RRM is a algorithm around automatically setting the Channel and TX Power of an AP.  Each vendors have their own name for it and their own proprietary way of doing it, but the goal is to optimize the process of setting the channel and power levels of APs.  The idea is simple: we want to automate the manual an repetitive task of setting, and maintaining a static channel and power plan while still providing Wi-Fi that is good enough.  

It also gives the system the ability to adapt to changing RF.  We all aren’t CWNEs, and consequently it could be days, weeks, months before we can have a professional help us redo our channel plan.  That’s a huge operational cost to doing Wi-Fi long term.

There is another technology that this reminds me of.  When I was a kid, I heard an adult talk about manual transmissions in cars, and how they would never own an automatic transmission because there would be times where they would not be in the ideal gear.  Guess what?  They are right.  There are always times when an automatic transmission picks the non-ideal gear. The question is, is it still worth shifting manually every time, in order to account for times when an automatic is not ideal?

Can you do it better?  Absolutely.  But remember, not only do you have to learn how to drive stick (so to speak) but you also have to be behind the wheel all the time or you be back in the same boat or worse.

No while I could go on about how RRM has to be configure and it’s not magic, and my colleague Alan Blake summarized his thoughts on this pretty well.  I would encourage everyone to go read Alan’s blog on RRM he published today: http://www.gbrnetblog.com/2016/02/02/rrm-putting-it-into-perspective/