BONUS: CAPsMAN HowTo With the Least Number of Steps!
CAPsMAN is MikroTik’s centralized management system for WiFi AP’s. While not as sexy as some other out there, it has some unique features and a fairly robust interface that makes it a good choice for a lot of scenarios. There are a lot of CAPsMAN HowTo articles out there on setting up CAPsMAN but none that I found cover on minor detail that seems to trip people up every time and that is a CAP (An AP in CAPsMAN world) with two WiFi radios.=, now for 2.4 GHz and one for 5 GHz. I hope this tip helps you if your setup is not working.
If you came here looking for a HowTo, skip down and I will show you the simplest Dual BAnd CAPsMAN setup you can do with the least number of steps.
Again, there are many setup guides out there so assuming you came here because you followed one of these step by step HowTo’s and it is not working, here is where you likely fell short.
Failure to Create Separate Configs for 2.4 or 5 GHz Interfaces (yes, it matters!)
Click CAPsMAN and select the configuration Tab.
Most, if not all the guides I found only show one configuration here. If you do that, neither our 2.4 or 5 GHz radio will actually configure and begin broadcasting. In the CAP it will say that the wireless interface is being controlled by CAPsMAN but it will not broadcast or at least mine never did. To make this work with a dual band CAP you need two configurations here, one for 2.4 and one for 5 GHz. It is as simple as that. You tell CAPsMAN which configuration to use based on the wireless hardware supported mode selected, that is 802.11 a,b,g,n,ac etc.
In this example I created two configurations, one for 2.4 and one for 5GHz as follows. Again, I configured the least number of items to make a working setup with the least number of steps.
That is all for the 2.4 GHz config. The CAPsMAN controller will see the CAP capabilities and pick this config for the 2.4 radio. Then for the 5 GHz radio:
That’s it for the COnfiguration tab. Now, you need to tell CAPsMAN which radios to apply these configurations to and that is done by selecting the Wireless Hardware Mode to trigger the proper config. Since there are less properties, I can show these in a single screenshot.
Fill in only what I have show here. That should make your setup work!
BLOG UPDATE 7-7-2020 Poor Performance Fix
Andrew Cox, one of our MikroTik Guru’s and a member of The BrothersWISP submitted another “gotcha” he has seen with CAPMAN default settings that can cause performance issues. Andrew wrote the default is “probably fine for house deployments where you’ve got no neighbors close by.. but in apartment complexes it’s horrible…here’s my template for channel config – keeps to the 3 main 2.4GHz channels and extension channel XX for 5GHz scans and picks the quietest for the primary 20MHz control channel.”
To add this restriction to your channel placement and sizing, in CAPsMAN on the Channel Tab:
Create two channel plans, one for 2.4 and one for 5 GHz. In Andrew’s example, he names them wlan1 (2.4) and wlan2 (5GHz).
Once the channel plans are created, they are applied in the Config tab:
Thanks for that tip Andrew.
CAMsMAN HowTo Step by Step
Assuming you need more than a little trick to make your setup work, here is a step by step process to set up CAPsMAN. My goal here is to configure the least number of items to make a working setup with 2 different SSID’s, one for 3.4 and one for 5GHz. Yes, many of these configuration pieces can be set up as multiple policies and applied in a parent/child hierarchy but I wanted fast and simple and again, the least number of steps. I assume your CAPsMAN controller iw a working MikroTIk router (default configuration is fine) and the CAPs are also defaulted devices.
CAPsMAN Controller (Main Router)
Assuming your Local Area Network is on a bridge named bridge, first create a datapath. This tells CAPsMAN where to add the CAP wireless interfaces.
Next, you will create two configurations, one each for 2.4 and 5 GHz. If you don’t have dual-band CAPs that is fine it will still work. I have numbered the steps to help you keep them straight.
Next you will create two provisioning setups that will apply the proper configuration to the proper WiFi radio.
Finally, make sure CAPsMAN Manager is enabled:
That is it for the controller.
Now to the CAP. In this case I am using a MikroTIk hAP ac Lite. I have the default configuration in place which means both wlan radios and ether2-5 are bridged together. All I need to do is enable the device as a CAP, tell it which interfaces will be controlled and tell it where to find the CAPsMAN controller (Discovery Interface):
Once you click OK, the wireless status on the CAP will change to this:
And, on the CAPsMAN Controller you will see the CAP appear with a state of “Run”:
You will see the two radios from the cap here:
And your laptop should see both SSID’s:
That is it! You should now have a working CAPsMAN setup to which you can add lots more CAPs and control them all.