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Roaming between APs without loss of connection

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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August 4, 2011 5:03:22 PM

I have a large residential type structure that probably needs 4 routers (or access points/repeaters/ switches) to cover the entire building. I also have T-Mobile android phones which can place & receive calls via cell tower signal OR WiFi. (There is no useable cell tower signal in the building.)

I need for these phones to be able to roam throughout the building without dropping their connection. Is there any way to make this work?

One possibility: Are there access points such that a set of them could all have the same MAC address and SSID for talking to the phones and a separate mac address/SSID/Channel for communicating with each other so that, based on signal strength, they could decide among themselves which one would handle a packet? If so, a phone would not even know there was more than ap because the phone would send out packets which would be ignored by all but the closest ap, and only the closest ap would send packets to the phone I do not know if any such devices exist.

Thanks VERY much for any help.
August 4, 2011 5:13:41 PM

I would have thought setting them with the same SSID and channel would allow you to roam - not sure about this. You could try it but I would wait for another answer.

In terms of placement of the AP's Netstumbler (XP) or Vistumbler (Vista and Win7) are good tools to see signal strength in certain areas of the building. Walk around with a laptop and you should be able to see if all areas are covered.

Hope this helps.
August 4, 2011 5:33:42 PM

120629,2,949948 said:
I would have thought setting them with the same SSID and channel would allow you to roam - not sure about this. You could try it but I would wait for another answer.

Thanks for your reply! The client (in this case the phone) establishes a connection based on the mac address. It has to disconnect from that one before it can connect to the next. This process takes too long and any call in progress is dropped. Worse, the phone will hang on to a connection as long as possible (until the signal is way too weak) because it cannot look for another ap until after it disconnects from the current one.
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August 4, 2011 8:02:22 PM
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Taken from Cisco's website. Not sure if it would work on a smaller scale?

"Cisco offers a Mobile VPN client for handheld devices to facilitate uninterrupted roaming between Wi-Fi subnets. The software client allows applications to stay active when a user travels between wireless (Wi-Fi or cellular) coverage areas. Police, fire, and emergency responders requiring real-time data or video feeds and transportation system telemetry are all examples of situations in which devices need to maintain mobile connectivity across large geographic distances."



http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/n...


I'm definitely not experienced enough to offer advice just trying to feed some ideas. :D 
August 14, 2011 12:04:20 AM

I very much appreciate everyone who took the time to reply and tried to help. None of the answers, however, helped to resolve the problem. Perhaps there is no good solution.
August 24, 2011 1:15:27 AM

Best answer selected by ev77.
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