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Seameless roaming question

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sonus.faber

New Around Here
Hello
I have a quite big house and just one router\AP provided by the TelCo (Vodafone, the so called Vodafone Station revolution).
The WiFi signal is available all over the house, but the speed is not enough everywhere for video straming

I got from older setup 2 other WiFi ruters and I setup up them just as AP, so now I have 3 AP from 3 different vendor (ADB, Netgear, Sercomm), with same SSID, same security and different channels

here below the behaviour of 3 different devices:
- Androids: I can move all over the house without any issue, even with heavy video straming or WiFi calls
- Windows: Windows 10 PCs can roam very very fast, but every time the Windows PC disconnetc from one AP and associates to a stronger one, then Windows renew the DHCP request and this takes some seconds, so the video straming stops and/or the WiFi calls drop. This issue is solved by assigning static IP address to Windows
- iOS: it is a nghtmare... the iOS device never roam until the AP is visible. This is the worst case.

Since this setup is very very cheap, at first I replaced the AP with WiFi range extender of the same brand, wired to the ethernet. I tried Netgear and TP-Link.
This was a very bad idea... no way to roam regardless the devices
I returned the range extenders to Amazon...

I then read tons of articles describing 801.11 r/k/v... and compared specs of AP from different vendors:
Netgear WAC5xx serie supports .11k and .11v, but you need a Insight subscription for .11r
UniFi APs support .11r and .11k and .11v
My old routers used as APc do not support any roaming standard

question 1
Can 802.11r improve the roaming if WPA enterprise security is not running? I am just using WPA personal, I do not have Radius at home...

question 2
I will move to Netgear APs or UniFi or other brand just if my home setup will imrpove and, since I read about so many problems with roaming and enterprise grade WiFi, I can consider myself very lucky since I have a working roaming with very old unused ruters working as pure AP.
 
question 1
Can 802.11r improve the roaming if WPA enterprise security is not running? I am just using WPA personal, I do not have Radius at home...
Yes, if the PSK form of it is supported.

question 2
I will move to Netgear APs or UniFi or other brand just if my home setup will imrpove and, since I read about so many problems with roaming and enterprise grade WiFi, I can consider myself very lucky since I have a working roaming with very old unused ruters working as pure AP.
Roaming performance is determined by the client device. It decides when to roam and where. APs/router can attempt to influence device roaming behavior. But, in the end, it is the device that decides.

Did you read the Wi-Fi Roaming Secrets Revealed series?
 
Yes I read that article you mentioned, thanks.

I try to rework my question, to be sure that I am asking the correct question.

In a home\office environment (like mine) where I use WPA2 security (no Radius, etc.) is the 802.11R helping in the roaming process or not?
I am asking this question because I read that local authentication requires just 4 steps while a server authentication require many more steps and so much more time and at the end of the story if you are roaming during a WiFi VoIP call then the call most probably will drop.
802.11R will let tha WiFi infrastructure to cache credentials (in some way) and so the handoff process during roaming will be managed without involving each time the server\Radius and it will be just as a local authentication.
If the above is true, then this is the reason of my question: not using server\Radius authetication, but only local\WPA2, deoes 802.11R help the roaming\handoff ?
 
In a home\office environment (like mine) where I use WPA2 security (no Radius, etc.) is the 802.11R helping in the roaming process or not?
It could help, if the router and device support 11r with PSK.

But I think it is unlikely you will see any help from 11r, which is focused on enabling sub 1 second roams. This is not the problem most home users have. Most users just want their devices to move to the strongest node and not stay stuck on the first one they associate with.
 
My house is quite big and I do need 3 AP. Moreover half of the house is dedicated to office and I work a lot with SKype for Business audio conference and I really need to keep the call alive even when moving around.
My Windows (Intel 8265) devices support 802.11R and AP such as UniFi or Netgear WAC5xx also support 802.11R
 
I can tell you I have pretty good roaming in my large long house. I use 3 Cisco wireless WAP371 APs. I only use local authentication no Radius. What was key for me to get good roaming was to turn off 2.4Ghz and only use 5GHz. Otherwise the clients were switching to many times using both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.

This describes my roaming in my house. An iPad doing FaceTime will not drop a call all over my house roaming across 3 Cisco small business APs. Using a voice call there is only a spilt second delay of a few missed words when the voice call roams. My Windows 10 PC roams with no noticeable change doing web pages.
 
This describes my roaming in my house. An iPad doing FaceTime will not drop a call all over my house roaming across 3 Cisco small business APs. Using a voice call there is only a spilt second delay of a few missed words when the voice call roams. My Windows 10 PC roams with no noticeable change doing web pages.
Pretty much my experience at my house as well. I have three Unifi APs across my house and I walk around talking on WebEx, Hangouts, Meet, Zoom, etc all day long and rarely get more than a blip as I jump from AP to AP.
 
Per @thiggins , the client will ultimately decide the roaming request and hand-off event, but short of that, there is a lot you can do to create the best possible environment for that to happen, and it has to do with the underling quality of your whole access layer, including the wireless system itself.

First, you need to ensure that your backhaul is as low latency and low packet loss as possible; ie. wire everything via Cat5e or better if you can. If you have to run some MoCa 2.0 or 2.5 over coax, so be it. Avoid powerline (too flaky). If you can do all APs by wire, then many wire-first/wire-only systems may work, depending on the quality of their 802.11k/r/v and other core protocol standards adherence and implementation quality.

If you have to deploy some purely wireless nodes, then you want a true mesh-capable product, with real-time shared intelligence for optimal client and data handling; not just vanilla repeating, not just WDS, not just clustering. This is what separates most consumer products, even most small business and some enterprise products, from the real deal. And yes, short of the latter, I'm sure there's a lot of gear you could use and get away with; where the roaming experience will be almost as packet loss and latency free. But if you want to ensure complete seamlessness, you likely need to step up to a higher-end system; there's just no two ways about it, at least not right now. Good example of that would be Eero Pro in the consumer space, UniFi Mesh in SMB, or Cisco Aironet, Ruckus or Aruba for enterprise.

For a bit of further insight into roaming quality between different types of products, here's a CCNA's comment, in this case using regular UniFi as a base reference and Ruckus as the upper-end contrast (and yes, I'm well aware the latter tends to be about 2 to 8x the cost):
Unifi hardware-- off the shelf wifi chipset and SoC, take the reference design, strip it of any components possible to drive down build costs. Linux firmware phones home to the "controller" which is really a management server that collects log data and pushes configuration. Ruckus connects back to the controller with a GRE tunnel, and the controller handles control and data flow in realtime for all AP's on the network to extensively coordinate and manage the user experience. Packets don't just vaporize in transit when a client roams from AP to AP, and you get consistent low latency hand off.

Pop open two similarly specced units side by side. Inside the ruckus you find a 6 axis CNC machined antenna of proprietary design. Shielding. Capacitors and resistors to isolate circuits. Little touches to add a dB of sensitivity and selectivity here and there. In the unifi you find that the antenna is a cheap piece of sheetmetal origami. In place of isolation recommended in the SoC reference design, you find bare circuit traces that were "engineered out" via trial and error rather than analysis. "Good enough" sensitivity and selectivity rules the day.

The experience is night and day when it comes to applications intolerant of packet loss and intermittent connectivity. Aka anything enterprise oriented. VoIP. Legacy applications. High user density.
Granted, the above reads like an IT Nerd's opening prosecution statement, lol :rolleyes:. It's especially harsh considering the cost discrepancy, but still, worth observing if you truly want to create the best experience possible. I'm only using Ruckus as an example here; I'm sure other products, even consumer whole-house ones, share a lot in common, at least on a software level. And as soon as Ruckus's patents run out, I'm sure their radio/BeamFlex/etc. tech will be copied and commoditized by everyone as well.

Bottom line, with so much of the gear that does roaming properly available via different channels (consumer retail, corporate refurb, eBay, etc.) you can have yourself as fine a roaming experience as possible for about what it would cost to buy yet another AIO consumer box. Granted, I know certain kinds of gear (like refurb enterprise) aren't for everyone, but there are lots of options out there, and most aren't as hard to setup and get running as people think. Certainly not the whole-house consumer stuff, and not even the controller-less enterprise stuff like Ruckus Unleashed or Aruba Instant. 15-30 minutes and you're done, for most anyone with at least a modicum of networking skills, or better. All it takes is the cash, and no, it's not going to be cheap. But the results are worth it, IMHO, especially if you run a business out of your house.
 
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Windows 10 supports 802.11K,R,V but R only with EAP and not with PSK.
iOS support R even with PSK.

Is there someone that can explain to me the advantages coming from using 802.11R with WPA2-PSK ?
 
I can tell you many years ago when I first started with APs. I used Cisco WAP321 wireless APs with a powerline adapter without any problems. It was a way to test in different rooms without stringing CAT5e cable. FaceTime roaming worked fine. This was before Wi-Fi calling. But if it is important I can try using my old powerline adapter with my current system and test it.

The Cisco small business WAP321 are EOL now and I use WAP371 APs which I plan to replace soon. The Cisco small business wireless is a much less expensive product than the Cisco PRO gear. So it is affordable for home use.

PS
My old home has 1960 wiring, probably mid 60s, with SquareD breakers and my powerline adapters worked fine.
 
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Is there someone that can explain to me the advantages coming from using 802.11R with WPA2-PSK ?

There is none...

802.11r is for enterprise - where keying is important across different AP's and the radius server.
 
iOS: it is a nghtmare... the iOS device never roam until the AP is visible. This is the worst case.

Understand the thresholds on where IOS decides to jump from one AP to another...

Sounds like the AP's too close together - not enough difference on the RSSI from one to another - so IOS may camp rather than Ping-Pong between two AP's...

The client WiFi is somewhat intelligent - but that depends on the person that is placing the AP's to be somewhat aware as well.
 
I now have no roaming issues using my new Cisco WAP581 wireless APs. Wi-Fi roaming was my issue using iPhone7 and 7+ as that is the only iPhones we have right now. I had 1 second drop with my old Cisco WAP371 wireless APs and all the other roaming worked fine.
 
@coxhaus - Per the other roaming thread where you mentioned turning off band steering and enabling WMF, can you detail anything further as to why it may be working now versus before? Perhaps better underlying code on the 581's for implementation of PSK-based 802.11r?
 
@coxhaus - Per the other roaming thread where you mentioned turning off band steering and enabling WMF, can you detail anything further as to why it may be working now versus before? Perhaps better underlying code on the 581's for implementation of PSK-based 802.11r?

Not sure as I have been changing stuff around for a couple of days. I know I dropped wireless support for a/b/g also.
 

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