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How to connect to stongest wireless signal

Posted on 2008-10-07
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Last Modified: 2013-11-12
I have set up 6 WAPs in my workplace, using WPA Entrerprise. Each is on a differant channel.  Problem I have is getting the XP clients to automatically connect to the one with the strongest signal. It seems the last connection takes precidence, then the next one down the list that has any signal, regardless of how weak.  This means a laptop seeing 3 APs, one in the same room, one a few rooms away, and a very weak & intermittent signal at the other end of the factory might connect to any of the 3 bases.

Any idea if it is possible to tell XP to connect to the strongest?  Not connect to anything with less than say 2 bars?
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Question by:Mal Osborne
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by:igor-1965
ID: 22658652
Interesting question! I am not aware of any Windows tool able to do what you requested. Would like to hear opinion from other experts.

Have you considered to reconfigure all these AP to use WDS? Let's say the only one will be configured as AP, other will be working like repeaters?
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by:speshalyst
ID: 22658962
there are tools which search for and connect automatically to unsecured networks... hmmm but this is an interesting twist to it ..  Im not sure if the "Wifi-radar" will help you ..
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by:Darr247
ID: 22661665
The windows wireless zero configuration service does NOT allow you to specify what channel to connect to, what criteria to use to tell when to switch APs (or 'roam'), nor a way to specify an explicit AP to connect to other than by SSID.

Most 3rd-party connection managers DO offer all those options, however.
e.g. see attached

The option circled controls it's roaming agressiveness; there's also a channel selection field (set to 'Auto' in the screen grab), and under the Preferred APs button is a screen that allows specifying up to 4 MAC addresses in case there's one AP in 4 different areas with multiples using the same SSID that you want to lock onto using the MAC address (in case each area's preferred AP uses a different channel).

That said, though... if this is an 802.11g/b array I believe you'll see remarkable improvement setting them all to use only channels 1, 6 and 11 rather than using six different channels. If it's 802.11a, 6 different channels is fine since there's no channel overlap in the 5GHz UNII band. For a clearer picture of how the channels that are less than 5 away overlap and can thus interfere with each other in the 2.4GHz ISM band, see the chart at http://www.moonblinkwifi.com/2point4freq.cfm (note Japan also has channel 14, which barely overlaps 11 thanks to its larger offset than other channels have, but I don't believe that's available in oceania).
Roaming-Atheros-Profile-Adv.png
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by:Mal Osborne
ID: 22838409
Looks like I figured this out, solution is to give all APs the same name! Odd, but works.
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by:Darr247
ID: 22855754
> Looks like I figured this out, solution is to give all APs the same name! Odd, but works.

You never said you were NOT using the same SSID on all of them, so we assumed you already were since that's standard practice on the same network.
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