We are implementing wireless 802.11g in a large medical office setting with many closed-in exam rooms (more than...
50 per floor). I have installed APs using a "rule of thumb" of 1 AP per 3000 sq ft. Our clients are using Windows XP, and would like to be able to "roam" seamlessly between APs. We notice disconnection and reconnection when the clients switch APs, with complaints from users. Any suggestions?
802.11 stations automatically try to associate with the "best" AP with a given SSID. "Best" can be based on many factors, including signal strength, error rate, and link speed. When a station associated with one AP decides that another AP might be better, it disassociates from the old AP and associates to the new AP. This roaming process of course takes time.
If your APs are in the same subnet with no security enabled, roaming may be barely noticeable. If your APs require WPA or WPA2-Personal, PreShared Key authentication will add many milliseconds of latency. If your APs require WPA or WPA2-Enterprise, the full-blown 802.1X authentication can add seconds of latency, which users perceive as broken connections. If your APs are in different subnets, every TCP and UDP session must be restarted: the user's worst case scenario.
Related Q&A from Lisa Phifer
The enterprise mobility management market for wearable devices is in its infancy, but IT can still use existing EMM tools to manage wearables.continue reading
Wireless expert Lisa A. Phifer explains to what extent WEP cracking remains a worrisome issue. It all depends on your company's WLAN security policy.continue reading
Wireless expert Lisa A. Phifer explains why you shouldn't stop using 802.1X authentication methods for enterprise WLAN access control.continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.