Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have ranked my networks from top to bottom in the Preferred Networks list in Network Preferences, but when my Mac boots it picks the wrong (lower-ranked) network. How can I make sure one network is preferred over others? Incidentally, the SSID of the network I want starts with "s" while the SSID of the network that I want second starts with "w," so the alpha order is right too.

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

Make sure the network you want is not a hidden (a.k.a. "closed", "non-broadcast SSID") network. Hiding the SSID from scans doesn't actually add security, it mostly just causes your own wireless clients to have extra hassles trying to find your network, because they can't find it with a broadcast scan; they have to go back and scan each channel with the SSID specified in the Probe Requests, which takes extra time.

If it's a 5GHz-only network, make sure it's not on a Radar/DFS channel. Channels 36-48 are usually non-DFS; channels 149-165 are non-DFS in some regions like FCC (US & Canada). Channels 52-140 are usually DFS channels. DFS channels have to be scanned passively, which makes them slower to scan.

My hunch is that your client is trying to get you online as soon as possible, so it's doing a broadcast scan of the active-scan (non-DFS) channels, and when it sees a network on the Preferred Networks list in this scan, it joins that network right away rather than doing the slower rescans to keep looking for a more-preferred network.

One last tip: In 2.4GHz, putting your AP on channel 1, 6, or 11 can make it even a little quicker to be seen in scans, because some clients scan those three channels first, since most professionally-designed networks only use those three channels for their 2.4GHz radios.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.