Home > Wireless LAN > WiFi Basics and Best Practices > Client roaming and connectivity decisions explained

Client roaming and connectivity decisions explained

Table of contents
No headers

Roaming is a client side decision in 802.11 WiFi. Client devices listen for beacon frames or send probe requests to discover APs advertising the preferred SSID. The clients driver uses the received signal strength of beacons or probe responses to make decisions on whether to change APs or remain connected to the current AP. In terms of roaming, there are several points to keep in mind:

 

 

  • Wireless clients may not roam until received signal dips below a specified proprietary threshold on the wireless NIC. In this instance, client 1 associated to AP 1 will not roam to AP 2 despite AP 2's probe response reflecting a higher RSSI value.
  • Attenuation due to free space path loss in an open environment is typically easier to predict.  However, indoors RF scattering and reflection can create sources of multipath interference.  While physical proximity between client and AP has a large impact on RSSI, it is not the only factor.
  • If a client device is having trouble roaming (e.g., hanging on to an AP too long), it may be desireable to toggle the device's roaming aggressiveness to a higher setting. The screen shot below shows where this parameter can be set on a Windows 7 laptop.

    Note: Figure 1 is only an example of where the roaming aggressiveness settings are on a client machine, the settings may be somewhere else or managed in a different fashion based on the NIC in use.
    Note: Apple products do not have roaming aggressiveness settings.

 

Figure 1: Roaming aggressiveness settings for a Windows 7 laptop using an Intel Centrino wireless card.  Navigate to the device manager under the control panel settings

 

7dbcd209-7284-4826-8c1f-deef12e792d3

You must to post a comment.
Last modified
17:36, 31 May 2016

Tags

Classifications

This page has no classifications.

Explore Meraki

You can find out more about Cisco Meraki on our main site, including information on products, contacting sales and finding a vendor.

Explore Meraki

Contact Support

Most questions can be answered by reviewing our documentation, but if you need more help, Cisco Meraki Support is ready to work with you.

Open a Case

Ask the Community

In the Meraki Community, you can keep track of the latest announcements, find answers provided by fellow Meraki users and ask questions of your own.

Visit the Community