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  1. #1
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    Two wireless networks connected to my router: select on signal strength?

    On the second floor in my house, the wireless signal was quite weak. So I decided to buy a NetGear powerline solution. Downstairs, where my router is, I put a (Netgear) powerline device in the electricity net and wire it with an Ethernet cable directly to my router. Upstairs, I plug in the second Netgear device and indeed, when I connect an Ethernet cable there, I get Internet (as expected). The nice thing however is that the device upstairs also acts as wireless transmitter (it's a Netgear XWN5001).
    So now I have a strong wireless signal upstairs :-)

    So now, when I am with a laptop or e.g. Android phone downstairs, I see a strong wireless signal from my router and a weak signal from the Netgear device upstairs. When I'm upstairs, I see a strong signal from the Netgear device and a weak signal from my router downstairs.

    I can connect to both network signals successfully and everything works fine...
    You can guess what I want, right? When I'm downstairs, I want to connect to my router, when I'm upstairs I want to connect to the Netgear device. Logical, isn't it? So in essence I want to connect to the strongest wireless signal (seems quite obvious to me). Now here's my problem... I can find how I can give priority to a specific adapter in Win7, I can even find how to give priority to the fastest adapter (in Windows), but of course I want to automatically connect to the STRONGEST adapter... How do I do this? In Windows7 (and, if anyone knows, on e.g. an Android phone)... Any help would be appreciated.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Erik,

    Check out this thread. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
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    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Hi ErikJan, have you tried :-

    Untitled.jpg
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roderunner View Post
    Hi ErikJan, have you tried :-

    Untitled.jpg
    That wouldn't work as I'd have to pre-set which on I'd prefer more... and that depends on where I am (downstairs or upstairs)...

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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Erik,

    Check out this thread. HTH
    Interesting and somewhat in line with what I had learned in the mean time also.
    Now here's the interesting part... I just called Netgear technical support and they were very clear in telling me that this would not work!! They claim that the two wireless networks are different and remain different (even if one gives them the same SSID). He continued to say that this is what repeaters do: they 'copy the wireless network' forward. Mine is a power-line adapter with WiFi (as described above) and is therefore an "Access Point".
    I had 'no defense' against his arguments (he was friendly and seemed knowledgeable, that wasn't the problem) but his view seems to be perpendicular to what others tell me.
    I'll try something out but am still seeking more input if possible...
    Here's an additional thought I had: there is 'scanning software' which 'maps' wireless signals, right? I can't imagine that there would not exist software that can automatically do this between 2 or 3 networks and then break-and-make connections to make sure there's always a connection to the strongest network (this would be a sub-optimal solution as that wouldn't work form my Android phones then).
    Last edited by ErikJan; 2013-03-11 at 05:23. Reason: typos

  6. #6
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    It is an access point because it doesn't amplify or repeat to the wireless coming from the router. Instead it is wired upstairs directly into the router and produces its own wireless signal downstairs.

    It's manual but usually if you are showing a wireless signal in the tray that can be right clicked on and you simply connect to the wireless you wish to use using the built in Windows 7 wireless routines.

    XP would do exactly what you want but for the most part that was not a desired attribute because it would connect to any old wireless signal that was stronger so it connected to all sorts of strange and possibly dangerous signals.

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    Thanks, I know that (except the XP part). Question remains how I can automatically (not manually, I verified that already and that works of course) connect to the strongest network.
    Allow me to make it simpler... I'd be fine if the connection wouldn't change 'live' but only when the laptop is reconnecting (e.g. when started up or resuming when the lid is re-opened)

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    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikJan View Post
    That wouldn't work as I'd have to pre-set which on I'd prefer more... and that depends on where I am (downstairs or upstairs)...
    If you untick the option to connect automatically it might help but you might need to enter your password everytime.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

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    (Agreed. My Router password is not easy however -and for security reasons I do like that. It would be let's say "not very user friendly" to have to type in a 16+ character cryptic code each time).

    Note that I still need to see if the solution from the referenced external thread would work (even if Netgear says it would not); thay suggests to make the SSID and Passcodes identical.

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    Well if the latter is going to work, same manufacturer is on the plus side. Also the same flavor of wireless probably needs to be in use on both, G or N most likely. Also wondering if same channel (11,6,or 1) is important?

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    1. Check out the driver properties for your wireless card - they sometime have a setting for roaming aggressiveness.

    2. I think that you should probably call your access points by different names and put them on different channels.

    Hope this helps.

    P

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    I checked the properties from the wireless card and cannot find anything to 'tune' it in such a way that it would help me.
    Giving my access point a different name is what I have now, that doesn't work unless I can enable a way for a PC (Win7) or an Android phone to automatically switch to the stronger network. My hopes are that if I give the access point the SAME name (and password) as my router but a different channel (so auto channel should be off on both) the systems will automatically 'switch' to the stronger signal. Problem here is that only one of the two should give out IP addresses (or in other words: have the DNS server enabled) but I can't find a way to disable the DNS server on my Access Point... Netgear techsupport told me that it still would not work as the networks remain different (e.g. the MAC addresses)...

    (I still have to try this out a bit more)

  13. #13
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    This works for me:

    ErikJan,
    Quote Originally Posted by ErikJan View Post
    I checked the properties from the wireless card and cannot find anything to 'tune' it in such a way that it would help me.
    Giving my access point a different name is what I have now, that doesn't work unless I can enable a way for a PC (Win7) or an Android phone to automatically switch to the stronger network. My hopes are that if I give the access point the SAME name (and password) as my router but a different channel (so auto channel should be off on both) the systems will automatically 'switch' to the stronger signal. Problem here is that only one of the two should give out IP addresses (or in other words: have the DNS server enabled) but I can't find a way to disable the DNS server on my Access Point... Netgear techsupport told me that it still would not work as the networks remain different (e.g. the MAC addresses)...

    (I still have to try this out a bit more)
    I have a set-up similar to yours: A central ISP-supplied modem/router/wireless access point which is connected through powerline networking to three further wireless access points (I need three to cover all rooms as I live in an old house, which has walls that are not Wi-Fi friendly.) My three wireless access points are integrated into the powerline adaptors just as yours is, but mine are a different brand (dLAN). All four wireless access points have the same SSID and security settings (WPA2 with PSK), including same password. However, they operate on different, hard-coded, non-overlapping channels (1,6,11) except for the two access points furthest apart, which use the same channel. Only the DHCP server in the router is activated. (I don't think you need to worry about the DNS setting in this context). There is geographical overlap between the covered areas of the individual wireless access points, i.e. in some places I can see two or even three of them at the same time, but usually at very different signal levels.

    When I walk through the house with my Android phone connected to Wi-Fi it automatically and seamlessly switches from one wireless access point to another and connects up to the strongest signal without me doing anything - just as I would want it to do. My phone was mid-range when I bought it two years ago, so I don't think it has any sophisticated Wi-Fi features; it runs standard Samsung Gingerbread. I have not tried to move a connected Windows machine through the house in the same way, but I would expect it to work also. My PCs are usually sleeping or powered off when they are moved through the house, but there is no problem with wireless signal strength when they are woken up again in a new place.

    I based my set-up on information that I had gleaned from the internet, but unfortunately I don't have any references to hand for you.

    So, I think you are on the right track - just go ahead and try it; you can easily revert to the old configuration if it does not work for you, and nothing is lost.

    Hope this helps - at least it works for me.
    mo.eu

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    That's great news... One problem... where I wrote DNS in my post, I meant DHCP. So I meant to say: "I can't find a way to disable the DHCP server on my Access Point". So II'm afraid the access point might give out a new IP address... Anyway, this weekend I'll give it a try maybe. Thanks

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    ErikJan,

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikJan View Post
    That's great news... One problem... where I wrote DNS in my post, I meant DHCP. So I meant to say: "I can't find a way to disable the DHCP server on my Access Point". So II'm afraid the access point might give out a new IP address... Anyway, this weekend I'll give it a try maybe. Thanks
    I have just had a quick look at the specs and manual of your XWN5001 and I did not see any mention of it containing a DHCP server anywhere, so there is most probably no problem in this area: If it has not got one then there is nothing to turn off!

    Regards,
    mo.eu

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