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Questions about Smart Connect, shared SSIDs, etc.

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Patrick9876

Regular Contributor
For years I've used separate SSIDs for my 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi connections (and therefore didn't use Smart Connect) but I'm questioning those decisions. I've seen pro and con discussions about Smart Connect but have seen almost nobody recommend different SSIDs on the 2.54 and 5 GHz bands. I would like to know if I should change.

The problem: I have 3 laptops and a tablet (among other devices) using my wireless network. The have network profile definitions for both the 2,4 and 5 GHz SSID's and prioritise the 5 over 2.4. Very occasionally one will pick 2.4. (I've never determined why.) Each of these computers takes backups to a NAS on the LAN. The backup software is quite sensitive to network outages and will kill (and not restart) a backup if I tell the computer (running Windows) to switch to a different wireless profile, plug in an Ethernet cable, etc. I don't know enough about Smart Connect to know what happens if it steers a connection to a different band but I assume that switch would also kill a backup. I think that means I should avoid Smart Connect, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.

Regarding using the same SSID for both bands, I'm not sure how I would detect and handle situation where the computers have needlessly selected wrong band. Right now it's easy for me to see which band is used by looking at the connection SSID, and it's easy to tell Windows to switch to another SSID (if I'm willing to deal with a brief outage). It would be more difficult to identify use of the wrong band, and there would be no way to influence selection of the 5GHz band.

How does an ASUS router, running Merlin, pick which band to use when both bands use the same SSID and Smart Connect is not enabled? does is pick 5 over 2.4 if the connecting device supports it?
 
Really? Just the opposite - most people around will recommend separate SSIDs on Asus routers.
Good. Maybe it was just the recommendations I saw in specific searches. And none of those recommendation were in 2023 (but many were from the SNB Fourums).
 
Really? Just the opposite - most people around will recommend separate SSIDs on Asus routers.
Not entirely true. Many of us do use and recommend Dual Band SmartConnect. And for the most part use the Asus WIFI defaults. Separate SSID's is old school and newer hardware knows how to work with dual and tripple band. Routers today are generally smarter than the average consumer and are designed to work with minimal owner involvement. Those who think they are smarter and fiddle with the settings usually have connection problems.

I do use the router and nodes with default WIFI settings except for enabling DFS channels. I have no issues with my older "N" clients, AC clients or AX clients.
 
... Separate SSID's is old school and newer hardware knows how to work with dual and tripple band. Routers today are generally smarter than the average consumer and are designed to work with minimal owner involvement. Those who think they are smarter and fiddle with the settings usually have connection problems.
I, too, am "old school" and don't see "new" as better unless it provides me value.

What does the client's wireless adapter see when the router decides to switch channels? Will the client's operating system be aware that anything has changed? Assume a Qualcomm QCA9377 and an Intel Wireless-AC 9560 160MHz adapters. (I doubt they are considered "newer hardware".)
 
Users who feel Smart Connect and Auto is smarter then them - go ahead. No problem.
 
I, too, am "old school" and don't see "new" as better unless it provides me value.

It's not a contest... try with and without Smart Connect band steering and use what suits your client devices and their users. If you have difficult clients and/or you want to segregate client traffic, then use different SSIDs and restrict them to the preferred band/connection.

If Smart Connect doesn't work for you, then don't use it.

What does the client's wireless adapter see when the router decides to switch channels?

When the router changes channels to avoid radio interference or for DFS, the clients go along for the ride. Use a fixed control channel for each band to minimize this disruption, if you can decide on one.

OE
 
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I, too, am "old school" and don't see "new" as better unless it provides me value.

What does the client's wireless adapter see when the router decides to switch channels? Will the client's operating system be aware that anything has changed? Assume a Qualcomm QCA9377 and an Intel Wireless-AC 9560 160MHz adapters. (I doubt they are considered "newer hardware".)
As for that Intel AC9560, it works very well here and does connect at 160 MHz. Follows the router channels if they change, which they seldom do change.

My guess is fewer than 1% of router consumers care or know enough about. Wifi to set separate SSID's. They work on the plug and pray principle. Thus, manufacturers make routers to just work out of the box. Asus is pretty good at that!
 
My guess is fewer than 1% of router consumers care or know enough about.

This doesn't mean they have better Wi-Fi. The settings are for people who know what they are doing, obviously. I don't know if you upgraded your ISP line or not, but with the 100Mbps one it simply doesn't matter for your devices what radio they connect to. The user may not see a difference in Internet experience anyway. This is Some Connect approach with Smart Connect and settings on Default and Auto. People who come here asking questions perhaps need something better than that. At least to make an attempt to make it better.

Asus is pretty good at that!

Asus doesn't write any wireless drivers for the 3rd party chips they use in their products. They come from MediaTek, Broadcom, Qualcomm, etc. From experience, if you want something better working (Wi-Fi and Mesh) - go for Qualcomm based product.
 
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When the router changes channels to avoid radio interference or for DFS, the clients go along for the ride. Use a fixed control channel for each band to minimize this disruption, if you can decide on one.
I didn't ask my question very well, but I think you answered it anyway. I wanted to know if the client OS sees anything when there's a channel switch. Your comment on how to "minimize this disruption" tells me that this is a disruptive process.

As for that Intel AC9560, it works very well here and does connect at 160 MHz. Follows the router channels if they change, which they seldom do change.
Hmm. I had to disable the card's 160 MHz support because it repeatedly caused a network disruption that would abort backups. That's what prompted this thread; I wanted to know if Smart Connect would cause the same disruption.

The AC9560 problem with 160 mHz always puzzled me since my router is RT-AC86U. I thought it didn't support 160 mHz. (Perhaps the card tried using it even though the router didn't support it, maybe?)

Sometime in the next 2 weeks I'm getting an RT-AX86U (which is why I started asking these questions). I will have 160 mHz support so maybe I'll re-enable that on the laptop.
 
since my router is RT-AC86U. I thought it didn't support 160 mHz

It doesn't. Supported by the hardware, but disabled in firmware. The RGB version ROG GT-AC2900 had 160MHz support enabled.

I will have 160 mHz support

You may run into even bigger issues with 160MHz wide channels. They require clear DFS range. Not guaranteed. Also reduced by 3dBm range.
 

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