I live in a duplex apartment where the floor slab between the two floors is very thick, such that, if I am upstairs, for instance, my laptop and phone can "see" the downstairs access point, but the upstairs access point gives much better access. Nonetheless, if my device is connected to the downstairs AP, going upstairs doesn't disconnect it and reconnect to the stronger AP, instead it just gives much poorer access via the downstairs AP. The same is true in reverse, of course. The router lives downstairs and the APs are hardwired to the router (in other words, they are APs not repeaters).

My only solution is to manually disconnect and reconnect when I move between floors. Is there a better solution? Would a mesh network work any differently? The intelligence (it seems to me) needs to reside on the client side, not the AP/network/router side.

(Edit: there was a prompt, automated I think, asking if this was a duplicate of another question, one about increasing wifi range. My question is not about increasing the range of existing wifi access points, but about raising the level of intelligence around which AP is chosen by a device and whether, and how, a device can switch from an AP with a weak signal to one with a strong signal.)

  • The term is probably "roaming aggressiveness". Basically, some wireless cards have a configurable setting for how quickly they'll jump to a different AP when the signal strength disparity changes. You'll need to provide the specific wireless card your computer has for us to point you in the right direction. – music2myear Feb 26 '18 at 20:00
  • You can configure most OS to select better network, but this used to happen when no active connection to any website/server. Many softwares and websites keep connection alive (like facebook), and also not lucky if wifi changes connection while you download large file from a website (and you need to start download again). That's why OS not change the AP quicky, by avoid data/connection loss, also the poor connection still stable, not dropped. Once its dropped, OS connects to better AP. – uDev Feb 26 '18 at 20:02
  • @music2myear the two devices that move around the most are a 12-inch Retina MacBook vintage 2015 (so, not a separate wireless adapter, I think they're built into the motherboard) and a Pixel 2 phone. I don't see a "roaming aggressiveness" setting on either but may not be looking in all the right places! – Tom Hughes Feb 26 '18 at 22:04
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    When you have two wireless networks configured on a computer and it can see both of them and is connected to NetworkA, it will not jump to NetworkB just because NetworkB is 1% stronger signal than NetworkA. Instead, it waits until configured strength difference is reached: usually 10% or more, this is to prevent the computer from jumping between networks too frequently and when it isn't necessary to do so, such as when a person walks through the wireless path, causing a short dip. – music2myear Feb 26 '18 at 22:09
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    But no OS I'm aware of checks for opened sockets before jumping wireless networks. I have already described the mechanisms by which allowed networks are jumped between. Please provide evidence supporting your assertion. – music2myear Feb 26 '18 at 22:27

Set both access points to the same network name (SSID).

Make sure both have the same network security settings, non-mixed, AES only, Same network keys, but on non-overlapping channels.

Set the fist router lan address to the lowest available address in the subnet. Example: /24 Set DHCP accordingly.

Set the second router address to the highest in the subnet Example: /24 And turn off DHCP on this router. Make sure the second router is connected to one of the LAN ports of the first.

On some model routers it will help to give the wireless client device a static IP address outside of the DHCP range.

If you can find roaming settings in your devices set them to high/aggressive.

That should be it. The wireless devices should automatically switch to the highest strength AP.

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