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Switching Between Wifi Range Extender and Main Router

I currently have an AC wifi router but the range is insufficient. During off-peak hours I get a stable signal but when everyone in the neighbourhood has their wifi on, the interference causes pings to go up to 200 or more and speeds to drop drastically.

I previously tried hooking up my old router to serve as a wifi access point to extend the range but I found that my devices often had trouble switching between the main router and the AP.

When the signal from the main router is weak (1 bar signal), my phone/laptop still won't auto switch to the clearly stronger signal of my AP. Is there anyway to force it to auto switch when it finds a stronger signal?

Both AP and router have the same SSID.
3 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    Depends on the device but the short answer is no there is no good way to solve this problem.

    Many wireless nic drivers have a option called roaming aggressiveness that will set the point the software looks for another AP. If you set it too high (which is the default) it will not even look for another connection until it pretty much completely loses the first. If you set it too low it will constantly jump back and forth as it see random signal level changes. Every time it jumps it causes tiny outages as it renegotiates the encryption keys.

    Most phones have no way to even set this option if it even exists....I am told it can be done on rooted phones but i have never tried.

    The other problem you have is the vast majority of the nic cards that have this option only look at signal strength not signal quality. When you have interference from neighbors the signal level being transmitted by your router does not actually change. You still will see a strong signal but because you also see strong signals from neighbors the ability to extract data from that signal in compromised.

    The only way I have seen this done by replacing the device drivers with others than can be controlled by the router/ap..similar to how a cell towers tell your phone to switch to other towers. This is only available on high end commercial systems and even these only work on platforms that you can load the companies special drivers which excludes most phones.
  2. bill001g said:
    Depends on the device but the short answer is no there is no good way to solve this problem.

    Many wireless nic drivers have a option called roaming aggressiveness that will set the point the software looks for another AP. If you set it too high (which is the default) it will not even look for another connection until it pretty much completely loses the first. If you set it too low it will constantly jump back and forth as it see random signal level changes. Every time it jumps it causes tiny outages as it renegotiates the encryption keys.

    Most phones have no way to even set this option if it even exists....I am told it can be done on rooted phones but i have never tried.

    The other problem you have is the vast majority of the nic cards that have this option only look at signal strength not signal quality. When you have interference from neighbors the signal level being transmitted by your router does not actually change. You still will see a strong signal but because you also see strong signals from neighbors the ability to extract data from that signal in compromised.

    The only way I have seen this done by replacing the device drivers with others than can be controlled by the router/ap..similar to how a cell towers tell your phone to switch to other towers. This is only available on high end commercial systems and even these only work on platforms that you can load the companies special drivers which excludes most phones.


    I read elsewhere someone has had luck with iphones and laptops auto roaming when switching between wifi homeplugs and their main router. But not sure if the same will work for AP or range extenders
  3. It purely based on signal levels and ssid. The end devices can not tell the difference between a AP, a router or even a wireless repeater. Some devices do a better job but you would almost have to have a second radio chip in the device who only purpose was to constantly scan for the level of devices. When the radio is put in a scan mode it can not have a active session open since it must change its radio frequencies to scan.

    Pretty much the driver software must at some point decide to give up and scan for something better. Until that point it does not even know if another option exists.
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