wireless inconsistency with multiple access points

Mark Litin
Mark Litin used Ask the Experts™
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Hi All

I have a continuing perplexing network issue in a large home with multiple wireless access points.  I've installed a router (Dlink DIR 855 in the basement, rear) and using 2 Dlink powerline adapters, an access point (a Netgear 300mbps model in a second floor closet).  The router and access point are set to static channels 8 numbers apart, and share the same sid and passcode.   The house has newer construction, so I believe the wiring is up to snuff.

The issue is that the users have to now disconnect and then reconnect to the network regularly.  My understanding is that different channels and the same sid and passcode was supposed to be seamless.  The users are not passing out of range when this happens.  

Any ideas?

Thanks lots!

Mark
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In order to help, it would be good to know:

What causes them to want to disconnect?

Why are the SSIDs the same?  

How do you know that users aren't passing out of range?  "Range" isn't a fixed thing in many environments.

Commented:
Check the network lease values under DHCP menu on your Dlink and make sure the Range of IP's is high enough to support them(guess 5 users range of 250 will be more than just enough :) ). and also check Lease time is normal
If the DHCP range of addresses going out to both APs is from the same pool and for the same subnet then roaming should be OK.

Check your settings on the client wifi adapters for roaming persistence. Clients tend to stay with the first AP they connect to even if they are right next to a different one with much better signal strength. I think in windows they call it roaming aggressiveness.
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It occurs to me that this behavior can vary considerably with the software you're using on the laptops for wireless connections.  There is a lot of variation in how individual clients work.  You can be using the Windows software or you can be using the manufacturer's software and perhaps even something else (like Dell).  Since there are a lot of manufacturers out there, the possibilities aren't endless but it may seem so.

So, to get advice you may need to stick with Windows .. which usually works fine but may not be the best choice for a *particular* computer.  Surely varies with operating system too then I should think.
Mark LitinOwner

Author

Commented:
Hi fmarshall, all

The SIDDs and passcodes are the same because the client wants a seamless transition between access points.  This is how I understand that is to be accomplished.

The leases are default, and either the IP ranges don;t conflict, or the remote access point is using the router to provide IP.  I forget which I used.

I'll check the client pcs when I'm there...

Thanks for the input, all.

Commented:
I think you might have both the Dlink and Netgear release IPs and that can cause your problem.
Disable the Netgear from releasing any IP's.
I have a client with two access points.  As I recall, we use different SSIDs.  But the expectation is that any client will latch onto one of them without expecting to change.

It appears the suggested approach here is to use:
- the same SSID
- the same type of security
- the same passphrase

Use a single DHCP server for the entire network.  
Simplify things by using the wireless routers "as a switch" as shown in the attached paper.
Wireless-Router-as-a-Simple-Swi.pdf
Mark LitinOwner

Author

Commented:
Hi jmarshall

Thanks for the well thought-out ideas and diagram.

 I've been thinking about this in terms of the initial objective, which was to get an adequate wireless signal to a third-floor tenant when the original network is committed to the basement.  Not a promising scenario.

  So I added an addl access point on the second floor to spread the wireless wealth upward.  The fringe benefit was that the second floor enjoyed a much better signal as well.  

So if there isn't a DHCP conflict between the two access points (already same ssid, passcode, encryption),  I may just boost the basement signal, and if that's OK as far as the second floor, have the 2nd floor access point broadcast a different ssid, and let it serve the original purpose.  

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again.
Mark LitinOwner

Author

Commented:
OK.  So here's what worked...

The client has a tall and long house with the main router (D-link 855) positioned in the basement, at the rear, broadcasting SSID1.  Understandably, the front  of the house and the top floors were weakly serviced.  So I installed, with the aid of the electrical-wiring-based network connector pair, bridging the basement with a mid second floor position, a Netgear WN802T Access point, broadcasting SSID2.  SSID2 now services the living area, including floors 1-3, and from front to rear adequately.  So the access to the computer-centric devices (computers and wireless printers) are taking care of.  The networked entertainment system on the first floor, directly above the router, are now dedicated to SSID1, and happy, as is the client.

Thanks to all who offered their insight and experience.  I remain grateful to those who share.

Mark

Mark LitinOwner

Author

Commented:
Mucho Thanks!

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