As a student employee I've done some research on 802.11k and I understand that it's intended to help with devices roaming and also helping the client decide on the best (B)SSID to join. In practice for large-scale networks it would be beneficial, especially in areas where Wi-Fi signals "bleed" between floors due to a high volume of access points. The access point would inform the client of nearby BSSIDs that it may join and report the "best" one to request authentication with.

What I have not yet found is how well 802.11k actually performs. I cannot find any reports of problems when enabled in large-scale networks or issues with certain vendor products. So I'd like to ask, what are some, if any, known implications that 802.11k causes on a wireless network when enabled?

For example:

  • Does 802.11k cause connectivity problems with older devices that do not support it?

  • Does 802.11k cause problems with load-balancing, WMM, 802.11h? (We had to disable 802.11h due to Yosemite connection issues)

  • Does it rely on other neighbor-detecting protocols (CDP, LLDP)?

  • Do switches and routers need to be configured to aide 802.11k?

  • Does it throw clients into a loop by frequently pointing them to different APs to connect to?

In advance, thank you for any comments you make.


We have been running 802.11k (and 802.11v) on our campus network (~9200 AP's) for close to a year.

We are using a controller based Wi-Fi infrastructure (Aruba Networks). Our wired network infrastructure is Cisco.

We did have to disable the advertisement of 802.11k "Quiet IE"s to prevent some compatibility issues with older clients.

While we have CDP and LLDP enabled on our wired infrastructure, they are not necessary. Everything is handled by the wireless controller(s).

  • Thank you for your input, it does answer most of my questions. We've deployed 3,300 Xirrus APs (no controller) but are in the process of slowly migrating to Aruba (controller + NAC). I'm still curious to see what, if any issues, can surface when a central controller is not present, but I think this will suffice for now. Nov 22 '16 at 0:34

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