Single SSID with WDS network or other choices ?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Drake Coldwinter, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Drake Coldwinter

    Drake Coldwinter New Member Member


    I have in my house 3 routers Linksys (E1200, E2500 and E3200) in 3 different floors. All 3 are wired to a Linksys switch and the switch is wired to a Router/DSL modem. Hence currently I have 4 different SSID. I would like to have a single SSID for the house (I will disable the SSID from my ISP router/DSL and install tomato on the 3 linksys).

    I have installed tomato shibby on the E2500 and it seems to work well. What configuration should I have to get a single SSID ? WDS ? Access point + WDS ? Should I have 2 SSID ?(one for 5Ghz and the other for 2.4 Ghz??) In the original Lynksys firmware I didn't have different SSID for 2.4ghz and 5Ghz, but in tomato it seems to separate 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz SSID.

    My objective is that if I check my phone it will simply see a single SSID and that even if I move around the house my signal will remain strong (without changing SSID). It's this possible ?
    Combat619 likes this.
  2. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    Determining when to change APs is NOT a function of the router. It's a function of the client. Sometimes it's adjustable, sometimes not. For example, if using Windows, under Device Manager, there are often sensitivity settings in this regard for the relevant wireless network adapter.

    Unfortunately you typically won't have such options when the device is designed to keep such low level details obscured (e.g., iPhone).

    By default, most wireless adapters will hold onto the signal until the connection is completely lost. And yes, that means having to manually disconnect/reconnect when you suspect there's a better AP signal available.
  3. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    P.S. I know there are mesh products out there now that purport to support something closer to what you want, but I'm not an expert in that area. For all practical purposes, you'd probably have to buy into an OEM mesh product line to get things working more to your expectations.
  4. Drake Coldwinter

    Drake Coldwinter New Member Member

    So with tomato shibby I should configure as acces point and simply define different SSID for each router, tomato WDS function will not do what I seek to do. (Have a single SSID)
  5. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    Regardless of WDS, AP, or repeater, you can always choose to use the same SSID. That gives you a form of "pseudo" roaming. The user only sees one SSID, even though there are multiple APs supporting that same SSID. This is managed entirely by the client. The client is purposely hiding the fact there are multiple APs w/ the same SSID because it's assuming they are logically part of the same network. Not always true, but that's the assumption.

    As your client roams, it will transparently switch to others APs w/ the same SSID and key. But *only* when the current AP signal has been completely lost. And that's why I call it "pseudo" roaming. It not the kind of roaming you see over the cellular network. That kind of sophisticated roaming actually has cell towers managing individual calls by actively keeping users connected, long before the current signal has been lost and a jump to the next cell tower is required. The router is NOTHING like this. It's stupid. A jump from AP to AP only occurs because the client has lost the connection to the current AP. And just like anytime a connection is lost, the client will automatically try to reconnect to the next available SSID/AP, provided it's been previously configured.

    The point is, you can use the same SSID and support roaming. But I don't want to leave the impression that is the kind of roaming you might be expecting or necessarily desire. It's really not much more than a convenience. You could get the exact same behavior by using multiple SSIDs and configuring every client w/ the settings of each SSID. And as you roamed, if that client was connected to AP "Sam", and lost that signal, but found that AP "Bill" was available, and it has the key to connect to it, it would! All that using the same SSID does is simplify configuration on the client by only having to configure a single SSID, that is actually supported on multiple APs. Nothing more.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  6. Drake Coldwinter

    Drake Coldwinter New Member Member

    I see, thank you very much for the information, it's very detailed :)
  7. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Dumb roaming does work pretty well if you're willing to remember that when you move to a different part of the building to turn wifi off and then back on with the client. The client always latches onto the strongest WiFi source when its powered on but then maintains a death grip on that source until it's far since become worthless. Flipping WiFi off/on forces the client to do a fresh search.

    ASUS has a neat little roaming assistant feature in asuswrt which basically tells the router to disassociate clients whose signals are weak. I suspect something similar could be done in Tomato but I never got it working quite as slick. Of course the problem then is that when you're off in a direction w/o wifi then you get booted off faster.
  8. Drake Coldwinter

    Drake Coldwinter New Member Member

    My house it's not so big, the trouble is that it's an old house that has been expanded, hence the old exterior wall has becomed an interior wall and it makes a pretty good wifi barrier, I crossed wires and connected a router on that side, so to have a good coverage I use 3 routers. I will like to know if there is a way to cut a weak connection, it would suit my needs perfectly.

    Also I'm trying to install tomato on the E1200v1 and I'm having troubles (install failed). Currently I only have the E2500 on tomato and it works well. I will try to use a tftp app (the mac osx terminal tftp needs the router to have a blank password, yet cisco doesn't allow the password to be blank)
  9. gschnasl

    gschnasl Addicted to LI Member

    I found a way to disconnect clients with a weak Signal:
    wl down
    sleep 4
    wl rateset 11b 12b 18 24 36 48 54
    sleep 1
    wl up

    With these commands the WLAN AP does not use Low Transfer Rates (< 11 Mbit). Therefore the clients disconnects the connection to the AP and try to use another AP (hopefully a AP with a better signal).
    I'am entering these commands after power on of the WLAN AP.
    In my house with 2 AP (with same SSID) the roaming is now working fine.

    Gesendet von meinem BTV-W09 mit Tapatalk
  10. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    Gesendet von meinem BTV-W09 mit Tapatalk[/QUOTE]
    Clever idea!
  11. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    How does that work with 802.11n or 802.11ac clients? They can transfer more given the same signal strength (assuming the radio in the router is n or ac). Or does it translate their settings into the 802.11g equivalents?

    That's basically what I saw before for 802.11g routers but it didn't seem to have the same effect on an RT-N12D1, at which point I ran out of time and shelved the idea.

    That idea is basically how the ASUS feature works though, clients with low signal strength get disassociated by the router.
  12. Jose C

    Jose C Serious Server Member

    I know it’s pretty clear that roaming is not as good as everybody expects due to phones sticking to ap until connection is lost but I most say that in my particular case “roaming” with tomato routers works pretty well for me.
    I have a 300 square meters house, all concrete walls, second floor is concrete too and I’m able to successfully able to roam between my three r7000 running latest kille72 distributed in far end, central position and second floor, I never have to turn off and in wi fi my phones/ipads/pc to connect to the strongest AP signal.

    All I did was to use he same ssid and key and make sure I did not have channel overlapping

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yim Sonny likes this.
  13. Sortec

    Sortec Reformed Router Member

    One thing that might help is to reduce the output power level. Since you are using 3 routers for enhanced coverage, they dont need to put out full blast. This might help with the client roaming aspect.

    FWIW, I run 2 routers in my house. One on first floor, one on second floor.
    With only one, users on the opposite side of the house always had issues.
    So I did basically the same thing you are thinking about.
    The main router is upstairs in my offiice, then wired down to the other (operating as an AP) in the living room (which also offers hard wire support for the PS4 and the ROKU).
    Same SSID, same password. Now no more complaining from users about crappy wifi!
  14. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    Another interesting thing to consider here.

    As I said, all this connect/disconnect is solely a function of the client. And that's because the APs in your home have no ability to work together to maintain context as you jump from AP to AP (the cellular network does). So, for example, if you are actively downloading a large file, and you jump to another AP, you risk failing the download if the context suddenly changes. That's why your typical client clings to the existing AP w/ a vice-grip until it's completely lost.

    Now it may be that when more sophisticated clients (e.g., iPhone, Android) see the *same* SSID and key, they might be more willing to jump sooner assuming its the *same* local IP network. In most cases, that's much safer; an active download should continue normally provided the jump is done quickly (sort of like when you unplug an ethernet cable and quickly change LAN ports on the switch). But when the SSIDs are different, it's far more likely to be a completely different local IP network, and that's risky.

    So yeah, I can imagine using the same SSID *might* work better operationally, beyond just the convenience factor of only managing one SSID+key. But it's still a function of the client.
  15. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    When the SSIDs are different the client won't roam, it'll maintain a deathgrip on the router until either the router kicks them off or until the client moves so far out of range that it can't maintain a connection at any speed to the router. When the SSIDs are the same it's... about the same thing, really. Clients really aren't good about roaming, which is why centralized controllers came about to forcibly disassociate clients from particular APs.

    Downloads are a little more resilient when you're roaming with the SSIDs the same, since your local IP and public IP and NAT session and all that doesn't change on a network level it's just like you unplugged a network cable and plugged it back in... momentary pause but it should pick up where it left off once your OS figures out that nothing important changed.

    In my experience Android and iOS clients are no more or less good about roaming. Phones certified for Google Fi *might* be better but that's a big might.
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