Symbol LA-41x1 Cards

Unanswered Question
Sep 28th, 2009

We recently scrapped our old Symbol APs in favor of 1142s with WiSMs. Unfortunately some of our older laptops with the Symbol Spectrum 24 LA-41x1 cards are having a very hard time getting a good connection with the Cisco gear in place. We've got the latest available symbol driver(circa 2004) and that does not seem to help. My best guess from the symptoms and the logs on the controllers is that the symbol card is not selecting the strongest AP signal, but rather the first it sees.

Anyone have tips for making things work better?

I have this problem too.
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jeff.kish Mon, 09/28/2009 - 11:47

Symbol devices tend not to use CCX (aironet extensions), which causes problems when using Cisco APs. (I've even heard that they do this on purpose in hopes of people yanking Cisco APs for Symbol ones).

Try disabling CCX on the WLAN. Go to the WLAN tab, select your WLAN, and click the Advanced tab. Uncheck the Aironet IE box.

Let me know if that works.


Benjamin Story Mon, 09/28/2009 - 12:04

Although I admit vendors do like to play games, don't the Aironet Extensions only affect hosts that support them? At least I thought that if the host didn't know about them they just ignored it.

jeff.kish Mon, 09/28/2009 - 12:40

I think that's how it works in theory, but not always in practice. Sometimes using the extensions causes problems for the clients that don't support them. I have personally seen this specifically with Symbol devices more than once.

Cisco will recommend that you disable the extensions if you regularly use clients that don't support them.

Benjamin Story Mon, 09/28/2009 - 12:41

I setup a separate SSID for diagnostics without CCX and there was no change. When I setup the SSID with no encryption, the signal was Excellent. When I added WPA-PSK with TKIP (but not AES and not WPA2-PSK like on production) it was also excellent.

jeff.kish Mon, 09/28/2009 - 14:00

When the devices are on the production SSID, they show low signal? The encryption shouldn't affect signal strength, so if so then this is a strange issue.

Benjamin Story Tue, 09/29/2009 - 04:06

Low to very low and at that point you can forget about roaming without dropping.

jeff.kish Tue, 09/29/2009 - 05:04

At this point I would open a TAC case with Cisco. There shouldn't be a drop in coverage due to encryption - I'll admit that I've never seen that before. Sorry, I'm really not sure what else to try.

You might also open a ticket with Symbol at the same time, maybe it's a driver issue with them or something.

One last thing - does the drop in coverage happen to laptops too? If so then it should be a Cisco issue, if not it should be a Symbol issue.


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