Q: To run multiple wireless access points in my house, what configuration do I need to use to avoid manually switching my device between the wireless APs?

A: I initially had a single wireless access point (AP) in my house; however, as we began using wireless devices in more  locations, the signal in certain areas was terrible.

I tried a wireless repeater, but this proved a failure, so instead, I installed a second wireless AP at an opposite corner. To enable wireless devices to be able to roam between the wireless APs without having to disconnect and reconnect, you need to make sure a few key settings are identical between both wireless APs:

  • Use the same SSID.
  • Use the same security settings such as passcode and authentication/encryption type (WPA/WPA2, etc.).
  • Ensure same network connectivity.

The one setting you might need to change is the channel used by each wireless AP, as it's important they don't clash. Selecting the auto channel select might work on many wireless APs, and it should show the channel chosen, which should be different.

However, I prefer to set each wireless AP to a specific channel (see screen shot below). You should use channels 1,6, and 11 only, so set the first wireless AP to channel 1 and the second to channel 6.

Wireless AP channel

You should now be able to roam between wireless APs with no issues, using the 802.11 roaming capability of your wireless device. If the wireless signal drops below what is considered good, the device will scan again and should see the alternate wireless AP and connect.

Considering that a wireless AP isn't much more expensive than a wireless repeater--and as long as network cable connectivity is available--I prefer the use of a second wireless AP, which offers much better results.

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