Previous 1 2 Next 26 Replies Latest reply: Dec 28, 2015 12:34 AM by 1stork
Koelie73 Level 1 (5 points)

I have an iphone 4 with iOS 5.0.1 installed. Because of all the concrete floors in our house, our main wifi router cannot supply a strong signal to the upper floors. Therefore I have installed a range extender on one of the upper floors. When I am downstairs, the ihpone logs on automatically to the main signal, which is the strongest. When I go to one of the higher floors, it doesn't switch automatically to the extender signal, which becomes the stronger signal then. It still maintains its connection to the main router downstairs, which has then turned into a poor connection with only one dot on the wifi icon and endless loading times with frequent errors.


The iphone is setup for both the main router and the extender (both are known networks which it should join automatically), so it should be no problem to automatically switch from one to the other. But instead of choosing the strongest signal, it tends to maintain 'connected' to its original signal as long as possible, even if this means a slow or bad connection.


If there are stronger known networks, this doesn't make sense... Is there any way to work around this? Otherwise an idea for Apple for future updates?


Kind regards,



  • gbrenik Level 3 (525 points)

    it should automatically switch, but not necessarily right away, sometimes it takes some time for it to re-check for stronger networks. you should be able to force it to join the strongest network by turning the wifi off and on again under settings.

  • modular747 Level 6 (18,730 points)

    IPhones do NOT automatically switch to a another known network, even if it has a stronger signal.  Automatic switching happens only if the phone loses signal completely.  I know of no device, including laptops that do this, and for a good reason: the phone has no way of knowing that other networks are actually the same network.


    Your problem, if I understand you correctly, is that your extender is broadcasting on a different network than the primary router.  The extender should be outputting on the same network as the primary router. They may use different channels, but automatic channel switching does occur.

  • gbrenik Level 3 (525 points)

    the question was referring to two access points for the same network, which the iPhone does switch between automatically.

  • Koelie73 Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks for your quick reply.


    The SSID of the range extender is different: It is the same network name, but with _EXT added to it. So for wireless devices, it is considered to be a different network and I had to logon to it separately. It splits broadband width though, so I am not sure why the technique used by this extender is different than what you've described in your reply. Anyway I cannot do anything with the channels in my case.


    I agree that the iphone can not know that both SSID's belong actually to the same network, but does it really matter? They are both known networks with known passphrases, so it would seem logical to use the strongest one within range. I guess it only scans the area when it loses the signal (to save battery life maybe?). It would be nice if it would search for stronger signals already, if reception on the actual network becomes poor. As long as it is for known networks, I don't mind that it switches between them to provide the best connection.

  • modular747 Level 6 (18,730 points)

    gbrenik wrote:


    the question was referring to two access points for the same network, which the iPhone does switch between automatically.

    No it did not.  He actually said:


    "The iphone is setup for both the main router and the extender (both are known networkswhich it should join automatically)"

  • gbrenik Level 3 (525 points)

    it does matter - it is simply the standard behavior for any electronic device to  not switch networks, many times because users use them to access locan content on that specific network. so if they are not the exact same SSID and network, the iphone will not automatically switch.

  • Koelie73 Level 1 (5 points)

    That makes sense. Since I do not use it for local content I never thought about this. I simply use it for internet and email and it annoys me if I don't have a quick connection or connection errors.


    Seems that I have to look for a different router/extender brand or setup then...


    Thanks again!

  • modular747 Level 6 (18,730 points)
    I agree that the iphone can not know that both SSID's belong actually to the same network, but does it really matter?

    Yes, it does - the online connection to whatever server you were connected could break with each switch, slowing throughput considerably. Switching between stronger WiFi signals on different networks could occur several times just walking across a room. 


    The phone does automatically switch networks when going from cell network back and forth to WiFi, but is designed for that transition.


    Again, your problem lies with an improperly extended network.  It would do what you want if set up correctly.


    Since I do not use it for local content I never thought about this.

    If you set up your phone to automaticlly sync with your computer over WiFi, or print using AirPrint, you are using a local network.

  • Koelie73 Level 1 (5 points)

    I already wrote an email to Netgear support how to reconfigure my 3700v2 router and 3000RP extender to work with an identical SSID. If they come up with helpful information for apple users, I will add it to this conversation.

  • Koelie73 Level 1 (5 points)

    Netgear reply has arrived; seems I have bought the wrong device. I didn't know there is a difference between an extender and a repeater, since (going by the words only) the seem to do the same, but based on a different technique...


    I'm affraight there is a misunderstanding about the WN3000RP. This is anExtender and not a Repeater. An Extender puts indeed _EXT behind your networkand you should login to this network manualy. I think that what you want is arepeater, so the pc will autamatically change to your network upstairs withouthaving to reconnect to your network there.
    In this case I would advice you to replace the WN3000RP with a repeater (cheapsollution is a wnr2000v2 router which has repeating function in it)


  • modular747 Level 6 (18,730 points)

    I've never heard of this distinction either and this terminology isn't universal. I currently use an Apple Airport Extreme configured to "extend" a network  (Apple's terminology) created on another Airport using the same SSID. 

  • Koelie73 Level 1 (5 points)

    I did some googling and I get the same results as what you are saying in your reply: There is no real difference. Maybe it is a choice that Netgear made for their products... I'm by the way very satisified with Netgear's products, but this choice of different SSID's doesn't seem a smart one with more and more wireless devices in and around our houses. I will call the guy back and ask him a bit more about their reasoning and possible workarounds.


    Edit: Netgear sells this product as extender as well as repeater and it shows the difference in the user manual: Extender mode results in a new network (with _EXT). The repeater mode repeats the main network. So now the question is how to set it up as repeater of my main network. Strange that the tech-guy didn't mention this. I used WPS to set it up; maybe I need to do the setup manually... I will dig a bit deeper...

  • Koelie73 Level 1 (5 points)

    Ok, I talked to the Netgear guy again: It is an extender after all (according to Netgear's standards). There is no way of repeating the existing network with the same SSID. The part in the user manual, I was reffering to, only applies to A/V components via the ethernet wired connection (and from there it repeats the original signal). But this doesn't work for other wireless devices. Strange design... I told the tech guy it's a bit misleading the way they put the product on the market and he agreed, but the tech department was not able to solve the problem for me. I contacted the online store and they were very helpful and allowed me to return the extender and get a WNR2000 router (with repeater mode) in return... I sent Netgear HQ an email to give them some feedback on their product.

  • uxio Level 1 (0 points)

    I was able to do that, with a WN2000RPT EXTENDER. I changed the original ssid (router) ans added _ext, so both nets are with the same ssid. it works ok.

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