How To Fix Wi-Fi Roaming

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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
It has not been added yet. In general, routers don't support 11k,v,r because they are designed to be used alone.
 

abetancort

New Around Here
Integration of the same support that cell networks have for roaming could be the best way because: it is a proven solution, already highly developed and tested, highly reliable, supports handling multiple overlapping signals, seamless handoffs and secure handshakes, etc..

But the problem is that the technology is patented and licensing it won’t come cheap to WIFI controller manufacturers, and that it needs to be supported by both WIFI Access Points and Clients; like it’s supported by the Telco cell tower network, cell handsets, data adaptors, and other mobile equipment that connects to a cell network;

Backward compatibility could be a big problem because trying to support legacy equipment would go against the goal of fast, seamless secure handoffs and the new mode will most probably would require of new chipsets with new capabilities and not just of firmware updates.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Integration of the same support that cell networks have for roaming could be the best way because: it is a proven solution, already highly developed and tested, highly reliable, supports handling multiple overlapping signals, seamless handoffs and secure handshakes, etc..

One of the reasons why Wireless WAN networks like LTE, WiMAX, W-CDMA, cdmaOne, and GSM can do handovers well is because they are centrally managed, and there's a fair amount of RF planning, and parameter setting to ensure it's done right...

But the problem is that the technology is patented and licensing it won’t come cheap to WIFI controller manufacturers, and that it needs to be supported by both WIFI Access Points and Clients; like it’s supported by the Telco cell tower network, cell handsets, data adaptors, and other mobile equipment that connects to a cell network;

We're doing a lot of things with WiFi these days that are well beyond the scope of 802.11 in the early days - patents not withstanding, there are standards based methods, and then there are proprietary means - and 802.11 allows this... seamless mobility within a Wireless LAN has been around for some time - this is nothing new... Cisco has implemented 802.11 handovers years back, and Juniper is pretty good about it - then you've got the oddball stuff like Xirrus and the like - but one thing in common is that all the AP's in that WLAN are managed by a WLC implementation, as the WLC knows about all the AP's.

So even with we look at things like 11k, 11r, 11v - on a standalone Consumer oriented Router/AP (aka BHR), support for those specs aren't really relevant, as it is generally not needed...

Remember - WiFi Alliance is a marketing forum at the end of the day - they can reach loose consensus across the vendors, but they really cannot enforce things - they can test, which they do, but failing the WiFi Alliance Stamp of Approval does not gate a vendor from offering a product for sale in the US (or anywhere else in the world).
 

headcase

Occasional Visitor
I would say one thing is for certain (and this coming from an ex-Cisco employee testing enterprise APs and wireless controllers at home as well as numerous other enterprise and consumer brands): irrespective of the underlying technology in use, I think its fair to say the broader industry hasn't "solved" seamless roaming on wireless LANs yet. There's just too many variables in play (much of which has been outlined on this thread) for consistent results, and hence still feels more like an art than a science.
 

dfarning

Occasional Visitor
There are some fascinating videos provided by WirelessLAN Professionals at
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIzBSS46vcqhwmBZ7ZpY-yg

They have the videos arranged by conference and year. It was very interesting to pick a topic such as roaming and then watch a video from each year from 2014-2017. It provides a good overview of issues wireless practitioners have faced and how industry has evolved to resolve them.
 

Sineira

Occasional Visitor
It has not been added yet. In general, routers don't support 11k,v,r because they are designed to be used alone.

While certainly not every router does there are a fair amount that do. And ASUS recently implemented a proprietary system AiMesh. Most of their newer routers support it.
https://www.asus.com/us/support/FAQ/1035136/

In my mind the WiFi back-haul solution in-between the WiFi mesh units is just a lousy compromise I don't want.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
While certainly not every router does there are a fair amount that do.
Could you please share a list of those that do?

And ASUS recently implemented a proprietary system AiMesh. Most of their newer routers support it.
https://www.asus.com/us/support/FAQ/1035136/

In my mind the WiFi back-haul solution in-between the WiFi mesh units is just a lousy compromise I don't want.
So you're saying you don't like AiMesh, but you like its proprietary roaming and band-steering features?
 
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Sineira

Occasional Visitor
Could you please share a list of those that do?

It's difficult to find out exactly without going through forum posts, which is why it would help all if it was validated.
Here are some:
Netgear WAC720/WAC730/WAC510
Netgear EX7500 and EX8000 support at least 802.11 k.
Linksys EA7500, EA9500, RE7000

In my mind the WiFi back-haul solution in-between the WiFi mesh units is just a lousy compromise I don't want.
So you're saying you don't like AiMesh, but you like its proprietary roaming and band-steering features?
Well at least it supposedly works even if it's not standard.[/QUOTE]
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Well at least it supposedly works even if it's not standard.
At best, it will work as well as other RSSI-based roam assist methods. Which means it will work with some devices and not with others.

There is NO MAGIC in roaming assistance. The client decides.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I think the problem with roaming clients is you need to setup your multiple WAPs based on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Pick one and stick to it. When setup for 5GHz your WAPs will be too close for 2.4GHz. When your WAPs are setup for 2.4GHz your 5GHz is spaced too far apart. I picked 5 GHz since it is faster with more bandwidth. It took a couple of months to figure out how to place the WAPs for roaming and the way we wanted our wireless coverage. I turn off 2.4 GHz because it would break my system. I could set it up with 2.4 GHz and let 5 GHz work if you are close enough. This is not desirable for me as my clients would then need to not only switch between WAPs but would be compounded as they need to switch speeds as well between 2.4 and 5.

How does a client decide roaming based on a low 5GHz signal and a stronger 2.4GHz signal? This really probably confuses the clients. Are you going to get clients bouncing back and forth for WAPs?

My test is to use a Face time call and allow it to switch WAPs without dropping calls.
 
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st3v3n

Very Senior Member
Coxhaus, this is what we did with our 2.4-5GHz tests last year, using iPad and Skype; we turn on 2.4 only when an older unit comes visiting, and turn it off afterwards. Cheers.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I seem to be setting up my upgrade to the Cisco WAP371 units with 2.4GHz off. I may play with turning 2.4GHz on some time. I think using Cisco's single point setup I have to turn on all the cluster's radios when I turn on one 2.4GHz radio. I would prefer to be able to vary which radios run 2.4GHz rather than all of them in the cluster.
 

st3v3n

Very Senior Member
Can you limit the area where 2.4 devices are used, and dedicate only one unit to that, or have I missed part of the equation? Cheers.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Can you limit the area where 2.4 devices are used, and dedicate only one unit to that, or have I missed part of the equation? Cheers.

One 2.4GHz unit will not cover my house. If I am going to support 2.4GHz I need it house wide. If I could turn on every other 2.4GHz radio in my cluster it would come close to working. But clustered APs are all configured the same so since I spaced them for 5GHz my 2.4GHz radios are too close.

If I go multi-cluster I am not sure whether roaming will work across clusters. Probably not.
 

joegreat

Very Senior Member
One 2.4GHz unit will not cover my house. If I am going to support 2.4GHz I need it house wide. If I could turn on every other 2.4GHz radio in my cluster it would come close to working. But clustered APs are all configured the same so since I spaced them for 5GHz my 2.4GHz radios are too close.

If I go multi-cluster I am not sure whether roaming will work across clusters. Probably not.
Well, had the same issue with my Router/AP setup (see below): Only with a firmware which allows me to go up/down with the transmission power I could make roaming work smoothly: the 2.4 GHz needs to transmit with less power to ensure roaming and the 5 GHz needs more transmission power to avoid reception holes between the router/AP. :cool:

But with the recent lock down in the power change area, I need to live with a 5 GHz hole in the middle (still roaming works after I come near enough to the router or AP) and non-roaming on 2.4 GHz (solved with different SSIDs). ;)
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
It sure would be nice to run my back wireless AP in the window with 2.4GHz at full power so it covers my whole back yard. 5GHz works with my picnic area but not back where the garden is.
 

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