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Activity timeout for Aironet Access Point

We are developing a low power wireless sensor that connects to enterprise wifi network, which mostly uses Cisco Aironet APs. To save power, the device needs to sleep most of the time and only wake up occasionaly to send and receive data.

The issue here is Cisco AP usually disassociate the sensor after a certain period of inactivity. In that case we have to do a reassociation that consumes much power.

From IOS reference for AP, it looks like "dot11 activity-timeout" is setting this timeout period. I assume the default value for "unknown" device class (60s) determines the timeout value for our sensor.

So my questions are
1) Does this 1min timeout applies to all Aironet APs?
2) How can we generate the smallest activity to keep us from being timeout? Is a periodic PS/Poll message, say every 55s, is enough to keep our association?


Everyone's tags (3)
Cisco Employee

Re: Activity timeout for Aironet Access Point

Hi Jason,

1) yes. It's defined on the IOS version, independent of AP model.

2) A Null data frame with flag "sleep" on would be the most efficient way of doing it I believe. That might leave a lot of buffered traffic on the AP but then you can go with ps poll from times to times.



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New Member

Re: Activity timeout for Aironet Access Point

Thanks Nicolas. If we only need to send a Null data frame to AP, that would be very nice for our power saving purpose. Because we consume much less power for transmitting a small frame than doing a full ps poll.

However I heard of this is not enough for certain Cisco APs, which will send unsolicited NULL packet to every associated station periodically. Power Save mode stations have to ps poll these packets or will be disassociated. Do you know which Cisco models are doing this?



Cisco Employee

Re: Activity timeout for Aironet Access Point

I never heard of this. I doubt it's even documented if it's true ...


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