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Because the walls of my house are thick and tend to attenuate wireless signals badly, I have two access points in different parts of my house, configured on the same SSID with the same settings. Both work well in general. However, in a similar way to that observed by this user, I find that moving my laptop from one room to another doesn't cause it to switch access points quickly enough; either its rescanning is too infrequent, or the threshold of signal quality is too low, or both. This leads to an irritatingly long period where the network won't respond.

Can I control this at all on Linux? (which is what my laptop runs - more specifically, I have CrunchBang, a Debian variant, if it matters). I'd like to be able to alter that signal threshold and/or rescan period if possible to make it more aggressive at switching.

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As I'll always suggest when I see a crunchbang post, ask in #crunchbang on irc.freenode.net as well. xchat is installed with crunchbang, and #crunchbang automatically connects when you start it. –  Rob Jun 25 '12 at 17:51
Thanks. I doubt somewhat this is specific to CrunchBang which is why I thought I'd ask a wider audience first. But thanks for the tip. –  Andrew Ferrier Jun 25 '12 at 17:54
I usually search around here as well as ask in the chan. Depending on who is in the channel, you'll get an answer pretty quickly. I know that #! uses gnome-network-manager by default, you might have better luck with a different network manager. –  Rob Jun 25 '12 at 17:57

1 Answer 1

It takes a while for the network manager to decide that the connection is not coming back and only then will it try to reconnect. I find wicd to be more "responsive" than NetworkManager - I'd consider switching to that.

You could also run a background script that polls the signal strength and forces a disconnect if the signal falls beyond a certain level. Once disconnected your network manager will normally connect to a network with stronger signal.

Example script using iw(1) from the iw package:

while true; do
        signal=$(iw $IFACE link | grep signal | awk '{print $2}')
        [ $signal ] && [ $signal -lt $LIMIT ] && iw $IFACE disconnect
        echo $signal
        sleep 1
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