1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Dec 7, 2013 4:03 PM by Whyname1980 Branched to a new discussion.
Bobleo Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

Is there a problem with iPad roaming on a wifi network?

It doesn't seem to roam to the next access point, but rather attempts

to keep its weak (or no) signal from the first one.

  • 1. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Philly_Phan Level 6 Level 6 (11,695 points)

    What is a roaming WiFi network?

  • 2. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    rbrylawski Level 6 Level 6 (10,790 points)

    There is no such thing as roaming WiFi.  If you are connected to a WiFi spot, you stay connected until you are out of range for that Spot.  You're thinking of WiFi like 3G service.  3G switches cell towers as you move about.  WiFi does not.  You have to connect to a new WiFi spot everytime you move locations.  And you can only connect to another WiFi location if the WiFi is not password protected or you have the password. 

     

    For example.  If you go to Starbucks, you can access their WiFi for free.  As long as you stay at Starbucks you can stay connected.  If you leave Starbucks and decide to have lunch at Panera, they too offer free WiFi access, but it's not the same and you'll have to access Panera's WiFi.  Starbucks WiFi is provided by AT&T.  I believe Panera offers WiFi from T-Mobile.  If you leave Panera and are at a traffic light, you will need to find another WiFi spot, which is most unlikely as there are virtually no WiFi spots that are unlocked just floating around out there, unless someone has WiFi set up in their home and they didn't set it up to use encryption (which would be a dumb thing to do in the first place). 

     

    I hope this helps you better understand how and where you can use WiFi.

  • 3. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Bobleo Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    Of course there is roaming wifi.  I am a network engineer.  Roaming wifi is where there is more than one access point with the same ssid and security credentials connected to the same network.  Therefore, you can "roam" a whole 50 story office building via wifi and never break your connection. Your wifi device will attach to the next "spot" (as you call it) seamlessly.  How do you think a college campus gets covered?

     

    I hope this helps you better understand how and where you can use a roaming WiFi network.

  • 4. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    rbrylawski Level 6 Level 6 (10,790 points)

    Thank you Bobleo.  I, along with many users who live outside a large office building that is wired, or a college campus, don't have access to anything like this.  For most of us, there is nothing available that roams when it comes to WiFi.  So, since I got your question wrong, I can't really offer anything of value to you......

  • 5. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (10,970 points)

    You already have a couple of logical answers  but there is another scenario that you may be referring to. If for example you are in a large office that has wifi. The area may be too large for a single wifi router to cover so access points are installed (repeaters) so that as you move throughout the office your wifi device should connect automatically to the strongest access point.

     

    I bring this up because you mentioned "access point" rather than wifi network. The other responses assumed you were changing networks. I assumed you were staying connected to the same network but changing access point connection.

     

    Please clarify which scenario applies to your issue.

     

    Edit: I see while I was typing you clarified the issue and it is as I assumed.

  • 6. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Bobleo Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    In a roaming network, all the access points are wired to the backbone switch and act as bridges to the network.  In the "repeater" situation mentioned, the access point "repeats" the signal wirelessly to another access point, a scenario that doesn't work beyond 2 or 3 hops because of signal and therfore speed loss.  That is called an extended network.

    Roaming and extended networks are completely different beasts, but involve more than one access point.

    When you use wifi in a large area like a stadium or train depot, it is roaming.

  • 7. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Asatoran Level 4 Level 4 (2,535 points)

    Bobleo wrote:

     

    Is there a problem with iPad roaming on a wifi network?

    It doesn't seem to roam to the next access point, but rather attempts

    to keep its weak (or no) signal from the first one.

     

    ...Roaming wifi is where there is more than one access point with the same ssid and security credentials connected to the same network...

     

    My experience with this has been very bad...at least with consumer equipment.  (More on this below.)  I've tried this over the past 10 years with various brand of equipment ranging from Motorola access points (when they still made them,) D-Link, Netgear, and Dell & HP laptops.  All of them would stick with the access point and would not jump/roam, unless the signal was really, really, really, truly, completely weak.

    ...Your wifi device will attach to the next "spot" (as you call it) seamlessly.  How do you think a college campus gets covered?...

     

    What kind of equipment do you have?  More specifically, do you have a RADIUS or other server for authentication?  If you're using the built-in authentication of each access point, then that is probably why you can't "roam"?  I think you need a central authentication server so that the network knows to move you around.  Perhaps if your equipment is from the same vendor and has such a feature where all the APs can be "linked" or whatever the vendor calls it, then I suppose it would work without a central authentication server.  But otherwise, for "consumer grade" equipment, what you're experiencing appears to be expected behavior.

     

    So this is perhaps is not a iPad specific issue, but rather a AP configuration issue.  I currently just use different SSIDs and manually switch.  But then I also do not have a need be "in motion" when switching APs.  (i.e.: Skype while walking.)  None of my clients have ever expressed a "true need" to do this, so better AP positioning has been sufficient in all the cases I've dealt with.

  • 8. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Roosevelt Jones Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)

    If you have not done so, you may want to post this question also in the "iPad in the Enterprise" section of these discussion boards.

  • 9. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Roosevelt Jones Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)

    This article has a little discussion about moving between access points -

    Title: iOS: Recommended settings for Wi-Fi routers and access points

    Link: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4199

  • 10. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Asatoran Level 4 Level 4 (2,535 points)

    Roosevelt Jones wrote:

     

    If you have not done so, you may want to post this question also in the "iPad in the Enterprise" section of these discussion boards.

    He's already posted in the Airport forum.  (Not the same question, but it's obviously a continuation of the issue.)

  • 11. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    ORSteve Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I see a misunderstanding that is common among apple users about how networks work, beyond the personal device & a single access point. 

     

    Bobleo,

    I manage a network with 130+ access points carrying various building wide layer 2 networks in a public facility.  I wish I had the answer to your question, as that's what I was searching for.  iPads tend to be even more stubborn with this than Macbooks, and Apple products give a user very little-to-no control to help the problem - i.e. roaming thresholds, media preferences, etc.  Most other machines, or software on them, allow for adjustments to fine tune performance - not to mention, they do a better job of roaming "out of the box."

     

    Good luck finding an answer, if you haven't already.  I'll be monitoring this post, as well as searching for other info, as this is becoming a very common issue.

  • 12. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    Rcblaze Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have been having the same issue with a Cisco wireless infrastructure.

     

    What is frustrating is that my iPhone works just fine.

     

    I have seen this issue on First and Second gen iPads.

     

    The only way that I have found to really reconnect to the wireless is to turn the iPads wireless off then back on.

    This way I don't have to re enter all the informatoin again.

     

    I have tried editing some of the core settings for the main WiFi infrastructure without much luck.

     

    I would hope that iOS 5 takes care of some of these issues.

  • 13. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    kismet2fakey Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the exact same problem with Cisco WLC infrastructure.........

     

    iPhone 4 and iPad 1 wont roam as seamless as laptops. We have two different SSID's, one with EAP/TLS and one open with web authentication.

     

    Did a small test, walking the same path throughout the office and pingning the same address with the same result.

    Both with encrypted or unencrypted connections I got the same amount of packet loss.

     

    Anyone have a brilliant idea of how to get the iOS to roam better on Cisco WIFI?

     

    /K

  • 14. Re: iPad and a roaming wifi network
    sfogel2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just bought a Hawking N-150 WiFi range extender...It's also known as a repeater. New product. I configured it with the same SSID (network name) as the one set up by the router.

     

    As you explained, you are supposed to be able to move about the house and you will connect to whichever device has the higher signal strength, transparently, with no hiccups, like moving your cell phone from one cell antenna to another.

     

    The setup works fine with my Dell laptop, but not with my MacBook Pro or my iPad. When I change "zones", the Network locks up. This is repeatable and consistent. If I reboot in the new zone, all works. When I move to the other zone again, lockup. When it locks up, I can ping the extender but not the router.

     

    The router is a Netgear

     

    Can you suggest a remedy? Or maybe another repeater that you know works? Would be much appreciated.

     

    Thx

     

    Steve

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