Chapter 8 – Deploying Wireless Networks

Chapter 8 – Deploying Wireless Networks

This FortiOS Handbook chapter contains the following sections:

Introduction to wireless networking explains the basic concepts of wireless networking and how to plan your wireless network.

Configuring a WiFi LAN explains how to set up a basic wireless network, prior to deploying access point hardware. Access point deployment explains how to deploy access point hardware and add it to your wireless network configuration.

Wireless Mesh explains how to configure a Wi-Fi network where access points are connected to the Wi-Fi controller wirelessly instead of by Ethernet.

Combining WiFi and wired networks with a software switch shows how to use the FortiAP Wi-Fi-Ethernet bridge feature.

Protecting the WiFi Network explains the Wireless Intrusion Detection System (WIDS).

Wireless network monitoring explains how to monitor your wireless clients and how to monitor other wireless access points, potentially rogues, in your coverage area.

Configuring wireless network clients explains how to configure typical wireless clients to work with a WPA- Enterprise protected network.

Wireless network examples provides two examples. The first is a simple Wi-Fi network using automatic configuration. The second is a more complex example of a business with two Wi-Fi networks, one for employees and another for guests or customers.

Using a FortiWiFi unit as a client explains how to use a FortiWiFi unit as a wireless client to connect to other Wi-Fi networks. This connection can take the place of an Ethernet connection where wired access to a network or to the Internet is not available.

Support for location-based services explains how Fortinet supports location-based services that collect information about devices near FortiGate-managed access points, even if the devices don’t associate with the network.

Reference provides information about Wi-Fi radio channels.


What’s new in FortiOS 5.4


Automatic all-SSID selection in FortiAP Profile (219347)

The SSID field in FortiAP Profiles now includes the option Automatically assign Tunnel-mode SSIDs. This eliminates the need to re-edit the profile when new SSIDs are created. You can still select SSIDs individually using the Select SSIDs option.

Automatic assignment of SSIDs is not available for FortiAPs in Local Bridge mode. The option is hidden on both the Managed FortiAP settings and the FortiAP Profile assigned to that AP.


Improved override of FortiAP settings (219347 264010 264897)

The configuration settings of a FortiAP in WiFi Controller > Managed FortiAPs can override selected settings in the FortiAP Profile:

  • Band and/or Channel
  • Transmitter Power
  • SSIDs
  • LAN Port mode


Note that a Band override also overrides Channel selections.

In the CLI, you can also override FortiAP LED state, WAN port mode, IP Fragmentation prevention method, spectrum analysis, and split tunneling settings.


Spectrum Analysis removed from FortiAP Profile GUI

Spectrum Analysis is no longer available in FortiAP Profiles in the GUI. It can be enabled in the CLI if needed.


Disable low data rates in 802.11a, g, n ac (297821)

To reduce air-time usage on your WiFi network, you can disable the use of low data rates which cause communications to consume more air time.

The 802.11 a, b, and g protocols are specified by data rate. 802.11a can support 6,9,12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 54 Mb/s. 802.11b/g can support 1, 2, 5.5, 6, 9,12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mb/s. Basic rates are specified with the suffix “basic”, “12-basic” for example. The capabilities of expected client devices need to be considered when deciding the lowest Basic rate.

The 802.11n and ac protocols are specified by MSC (Modulation and Coding Scheme) Index and the number of spatial streams.

  • 802.11n with 1 or 2 spatial streams can support mcs0/1, mcs1/1, mcs2/1, mcs3/1, mcs4/1, mcs5/1, mcs6/1, mcs7/1,mcs8/2,mcs9/2, mcs10/2, mcs11/2, mcs12/2, mcs13/2, mcs14/2, mcs15/2.
  • 802.11n with 3 or 4 spatial streams can support mcs16/3, mcs17/3, mcs18/3, mcs19/3, mcs20/3, mcs21/3, mcs22/3, mcs23/3, mcs24/4, mcs25/4, mcs26/4, mcs27/4, mcs28/4, mcs29/4, mcs30/4, mcs31/4.
  • 802.11ac with 1 or 2 spatial streams can support mcs0/1, mcs1/1, mcs2/1, mcs3/1, mcs4/1, mcs5/1, mcs6/1, mcs7/1, mcs8/1, mcs9/1, mcs0/2, mcs1/2, mcs2/2, mcs3/2, mcs4/2, mcs5/2, mcs6/2, mcs7/2, mcs8/2, mcs9/2.
  • 802.11ac with 3 or 4 spatial streams can support mcs0/3, mcs1/3, mcs2/3, mcs3/3, mcs4/3, mcs5/3, mcs6/3, mcs7/3, mcs8/3, mcs9/3, mcs0/4, mcs1/4, mcs2/4, mcs3/4, mcs4/4, mcs5/4, mcs6/4, mcs7/4, mcs8/4, mcs9/4

Here are some examples of setting basic and supported rates.


config wireless-controller vap edit <vap_name>

set rates-11a 12-basic 18 24 36 48 54 set rates-11bg 12-basic 18 24 36 48 54

set rates-11n-ss34 mcs16/3 mcs18/3 mcs20/3 mcs21/3 mcs22/3 mcs23/3 mcs24/4 mcs25/4 set rates-11ac-ss34 mcs0/3 mcs1/3 mcs2/3 mcs9/4 mcs9/3


Having trouble configuring your Fortinet hardware or have some questions you need answered? Check Out The Fortinet Guru Youtube Channel! Want someone else to deal with it for you? Get some consulting from Fortinet GURU!

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About Mike

Michael Pruett, CISSP has a wide range of cyber-security and network engineering expertise. The plethora of vendors that resell hardware but have zero engineering knowledge resulting in the wrong hardware or configuration being deployed is a major pet peeve of Michael's. This site was started in an effort to spread information while providing the option of quality consulting services at a much lower price than Fortinet Professional Services. Owns PacketLlama.Com (Fortinet Hardware Sales) and Office Of The CISO, LLC (Cybersecurity consulting firm).

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