DesignFundamentals

Multiple Country Codes with the Cisco WLC

we’ve been seeing a lot of questions lately about Multiple country codes on the controller in support forums.  To that end George asked me to write up this article.

So from the beginning, if you only have one regulatory domain that you need to support, your life is easy.  Simply choose the correct reg domain during the startup script.  Done!
Now, what happens when you are a company that has offices in multiple countries, and let’s say you have the US and Japan.
In Japan, they can use up to 14 channels in the 2.4GHz space, but in the US you can only use up to channel 11.  So if you want to only run one WLC and have your AP in HREAP or even Local Mode.  Can you do it?
The answer is YES YOU CAN!  But there is a limitation.  A big one, what channels will you be able to use?
The answer is only 1 – 11, everywhere.  But Steve wait, we are supposed to have up to channel 14 in Japan, why can’t we use them?  Well, to keep from getting itself in trouble, when you run multiple regulatory domains, the WLC limits the AP’s to common channel and power.  See the image below.
So this example is a bit extreme, let’s go with one that is a bit more common, and a bit more complicated.  yes that one was simple, very different reg doms.  What happens in Europe where they are similar, and the AP are all -E?
So first things, you need to access your WLC, and go to Wireless Tab.  disable both the 802.11a and 802.11b/g networks.  Once you’ve done that you can then scroll down and go to the Country link.
Once you are there, you get to choose your Country Codes.  In my example I will pick United Kingdom(GB), France(FR) and Belgium(BE).
As soon as you pick the second Country Code you will see the below warning.

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*So as I had mentioned, with multiple Country Codes you are limited to the common channels and power.
So now I’ve picked my three Country Codes:

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So we can see the three Country Codes that I chose, as well as the Regulatory Domain that the AP can have and still Join.
*Prior to 7.0(I’m working with 7.0.220.0) the order of the Country Code was the order you selected them, now it appears they get alphabetized*
So any AP that is a -E will join, but which Country Code will the AP choose?  the answer is, “The first one that matches the Reg Dom of the AP”
In this example, all AP would join with a default country code of BE.
So, how do you fix this?  you don’t want an AP in France working with Belgiums Regulatory Domain, same for the UK.
Once the AP has joined, you to into the AP config, and pull up the Advanced Tab and select the Country where the AP is physically located:

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The above is an example only as I don’t have a -E AP so it Couldn’t join, but it’s the drop down that is important
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Steve Rodriguez

Steve Rodriguez

Over 10 years of telecom/datacom experience. I spent almost 5 years in Cisco TAC, with 3 of those years as a Lead for the Wireless Team. Extensive experience with all of the wireless solutions from IOS AP up to the CUWN Controllers. As well as experience working with ACS 3.3/4.x, and some 5.x, and IAS/NPS. I hold the follwoing certifications CCIE 23102 R&S CCNA CCNA - Wireless MCSE - 2000 MCSA - 2000

4 Comments

  1. Tim O'Hara
    February 2, 2012 at 11:24 am — Reply

    You can actually figure out your common channels and power levels using some cli commands (example follows):

    Sometimes it better to just deploy a local controller in a location in an especially restrictive country, as it can really limit your WLAN in other locations.

    (Cisco Controller) >show country configured

    Configured Country……………………….. Multiple Countries:US,CA,CL,BR,MX
    Configured Country Codes
    US – United States……………………….. 802.11a Indoor,Outdoor / 802.11b / 802.11g
    CA – Canada……………………………… 802.11a Indoor,Outdoor / 802.11b / 802.11g
    CL – Chile………………………………. 802.11a Indoor,Outdoor / 802.11b / 802.11g
    BR – Brazil……………………………… 802.11a Indoor,Outdoor / 802.11b / 802.11g
    MX – Mexico……………………………… 802.11a Indoor,Outdoor / 802.11b / 802.11g

    (Cisco Controller) >show country channels

    Configured Country……………………….. Multiple Countries:US,CA,CL,BR,MX
    KEY: * = Channel is legal in this country and may be configured manually.
    A = Channel is the Auto-RF default in this country.
    . = Channel is not legal in this country.
    C = Channel has been configured for use by Auto-RF.
    x = Channel is available to be configured for use by Auto-RF.
    (-,-) = (indoor, outdoor) regulatory doamin allowed by this country.
    —————–:+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
    802.11bg :
    Channels : 1 1 1 1 1
    : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
    —————–:+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
    US (-A ,-AB ): A * * * * A * * * * A . . .
    CA (-A ,-ABN ): A * * * * A * * * * A . . .
    CL (-AE ,-AR ): A * * * * A * * * * A * * *
    BR (-A ,-AR ): A * * * * A * * * * A . . .
    MX (-A ,-NA ): A * * * * A * * * * A . . .
    Auto-RF : C x x x x C x x x x C x x x
    —————–:+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
    802.11a : 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

    –More– or (q)uit
    Channels : 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 6 6 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6
    : 4 6 8 0 2 4 6 8 2 6 0 4 0 4 8 2 6 0 4 8 2 6 0 9 3 7 1 5
    —————–:+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
    US (-A ,-AB ): . A . A . A . A A A A A * * * * * . . . * * * A A A A *
    CA (-A ,-ABN ): . A . A . A . A A A A A * * * * * . . . * * * A A A A *
    CL (-S ,-A ): . A . A . A . A A A A A . . . . . . . . . . . A A A A *
    BR (-T ,-AN ): . . . . . . . . A A A * * * * * * * * * * * * A A A A *
    MX (-N ,-N ): . A . A . A . A A A A A . . . . . . . . . . . A A A A *
    Auto-RF : . C . C . C . C C C C C x x x x x x x x x x x C C C C x

    (Cisco Controller) >show country supported tx-power

    KEY: ## = Tx Power in dBm.
    ##*= Channel supports radar detection.
    . = Channel is not legal in this country.
    (-) = Regulatory Domains allowed by this country.
    (-,-) = (indoor, outdoor) regulatory Domains allowed by this country.
    —————–:+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–
    802.11BG :
    Channels : 1 1 1 1 1
    : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
    —————–:+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–

    (-A ,-AR ) BR : 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 . . .
    (-A ,-ABN ) CA : 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 . . .
    (-A ,-ABN ) CA2: 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 . . .
    (-AE ,-AR ) CL : 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
    (-A ,-NA ) MX : 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 . . .
    (-A ,-AB ) US : 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 . . .

    —————–:+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–
    802.11A : 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
    Channels : 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 6 6 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6
    : 4 6 8 0 2 4 6 8 2 6 0 4 0 4 8 2 6 0 4 8 2 6 0 9 3 7 1 5
    —————–:+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–

    (-T ,-AN ) BR : . . . . . . . . . 17*17*17*27*27*27*27*27*27*27*27*27*27*27*30 30 30 30 30
    (-A ,-ABN ) CA : . 23 . 23 . 23 . 23 23*23*23*23*23*23*23*23*23* . . . 23*23*23*30 30 30 30 30
    (-A ,-ABN ) CA2: . 23 . 23 . 23 . 23 23*23*23*23*23*23*23*23*23* . . . 23*23*23*30 30 30 30 30
    (-S ,-A ) CL : . 20 . 20 . 20 . 20 19*19*19*19* . . . . . . . . . . . 21 21 21 21 21
    (-N ,-N ) MX : . 23 . 23 . 23 . 23 23*23*23*23* . . . . . . . . . . . 30 30 30 30 30
    (-A ,-AB ) US : . 23 . 23 . 23 . 23 23*23*23*23*23*23*23*23*23* . . . 23*23*23*30 30 30 30 30

    —————:+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–+–

    (Cisco Controller) >

    For example, will only allow 5GHz channel 56 to operate at 17 dBm (because it fits critera 1 and is available across all configured countries, and criteria #2 is 17dBm is the lowest available power level)

    Even the US AP’s won’t scale above 17dBm on channel 56.

  2. plasma
    February 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm — Reply

    Yeah – this is great when someone orders a large number of the wrong access point for a building, and we find out after everything is hung in the ceiling.

    In our case, we have -A AP’s in a a non FCC regulatory domain.

    I would still proceed with Caution even though Cisco states the use the least common denominator.

  3. Tom
    July 3, 2013 at 5:32 am — Reply

    I read the following in the Configuration Guide for verison 7.3:

    When multiple countries are configured and the RRM auto-RF feature is enabled, the RRM assigns the channels that are derived by performing a union of the allowed channels per the AP country code. The APs are assigned channels by the RRM based on their PID country code. APs are only allowed to use legal frequencies that match their PID country code.

    This would mean – given your above example – that all 14 channels would be available but depending on the country code set for the AP, either only 11 or all 14 will be available for the AP.

    Or am I missing something?

    • July 9, 2013 at 10:07 am — Reply

      So that sounds correct, if the AP is -J, -P, -U, it could use channels 1-14. If the AP is -A, -N, -E, it can only use channels 1-11.

      It looks like there may have been some changes to how multiple country codes work WRT to 7.3 and beyond, where the RRM algorithm is concerned.

      That being said, you should always make sure that you have the correct AP for your particular regulatory domain

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