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I have one laptop and multiple wireless access points around me. Is it possible to connect to multiple points at the same time?

I don't see a way to do it in the connection panel in my Windows 7 OS.

Moreover, if one of the connections goes down, it is possible to connect to other(s) automatically?

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Please explain the whole process of wireless connections thoroughly. That would be quite a long answer (dozens of pages) and quite beyond the scope of this site. –  Hennes Aug 2 '12 at 20:16
    
A simple search of Superuser brings many links. Should this be closed and appended to other answer(s)? –  Xavierjazz Aug 2 '12 at 20:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

At one point a few years ago, I had heard that Microsoft developed some wifi virtualization driver that was capable of connecting to multiple devices. At the raw/basement level it must have been connecting/disconnecting to each access point many times per second. I don't claim to understand how that would work (let alone well) since there is overhead in connecting to a new access point that would seem to me to seriously degrade bandwidth and performance in general.

Trying to remember the name of the technology, I'll edit it in if I can.

At any rate, Microsoft would only have been capable of this because of their industry credentials that allow them to see device firmware source. It's doubtful that you'd ever see the like in the open source world.

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Microsoft Virtual WiFi –  zeflex Feb 25 at 1:45

An answer to the first part - Yes, But you need two separate pieces of hardware. A single PCI card or USB dongle can only connect to one network. But if your laptop has an internal Wifi antenna you can buy a Wifi USB dongle. This will allow you to connect to separate networks simultaneously. Once you have two pieces of hardware hooked up you will see them show up in Wireless networks as two separate devices that may pick up all the same APs but depending on the hardware one may pick up more or less.

As for the Second part - I'm not sure but my guess would be that it would automatically switch as if you have a WiFi on and plug a cat5 cable in it takes precedence. I'm not sure if it's because wired is a higher priority but it could apply to this situation. Also Windows tries to auto connect when it can, if I turn off the 5 GHz band of my router it will automatically reconnect to the 2.4 GHz. I have checked off the option to "automatically connect" in the network options. While it is the same router they have different BSSIDs (so to the computer separate entities). So if your problem is that you just want to keep connection if other APs go down you shouldn't need a separate piece of hardware.

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As Nick says, if you have ever connected to a WiFi network so that the connection is remembered, you should switch automatically to another network if the first disappears for some reason. However, this does not always occur reliably and there is likely to be a gap in service. Even better is if the WiFi routers are all set to the same SSID (WiFi name), that way you should be able to roam seamlessly between them. –  Julian Knight Aug 2 '12 at 20:40

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