wireless handoff capable access point?

tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
Greetings all, I realize this is more of a networking question than electrical, but some of you on here seem to have extensive networking experience/understanding.
I have been asked to update a WIFI network that has say 3-5 wireless access points (AP) that are all wired back to a single router /gateway.
Presently there are 5 AP's like ABC_CO1, ABC_CO2 etc.. with 5 different passwords.
They are wanting the AP's to all have the same SSID, ideally the router gateway would be a single point of WIFI password management.
This way the users WIFI devices would log onto 'ABC_CO' wifi and wherever they are on site their device will work with the least loaded/optimal reception AP.
My understanding this is called "wireless handoff".
They are not in need of a "mesh' network as there is cat6 run to each of the AP locations from a central router DHCP server.
I am aware Ubiquiti makes some products that might do this.
Any recommendations on economical and simple solutions for this?
Thanks in advance.
 

rnatalie

Senior Member
Location
Catawba, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer
I've got 4 Ubiquiti Access Point Pros and two of their outside units all running back through one of their EdgeSwitches to my EdgeRouter. It all just kind of boogies just fine. The EdgeSwitch provides the POE to the various access points.
 

texie

Senior Member
Location
Fort Collins, Colorado
Occupation
Electrician, Contractor, Inspector
Ubiquiti is one of the better "prosumer" vendors. But unless you a fairly familiar with networking there is going to be a pretty steep learning curve. I would not suggest that you do this for a commercial customer if not well versed in LANs,WiFi, etc.
 

tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
Thanks all for the replies. Ubiquiti it is.
But unless you a fairly familiar with networking there is going to be a pretty steep learning curve.
Agreed, however I have been a major nerd my entire life,
it would be far easier for me to discuss DHCP, TCP/IP or Linux distros than NFL teams.
🤣
 

mikeames

Senior Member
Location
Germantown MD
Occupation
Teacher - Master Electrician - 2017 NEC
I agree with all of the above I run all Ubiquiti in my house. 5 APs, The Dream machine pro, and the NVR " protect" for the cameras. They are by no means perfect, but the cost and performance cant be beat. By far the best solution for small office "pro-sumer". I have three SSIDs in my house. My general SSID, the kids SSID for their online school Chromebook, and a guest SSID where i have the password posted in my house.

Setting up the basis wireless and LAN network is straight fwd. VLANS get a bit tricky especially if you need to bridge something across them.
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
I’d recommend you also look at Luxul AP’s with their controller to facilitate hand offs.


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Jolted

Member
Location
Wisconsin
Ubiquity is my go to for smaller networks. Very easy to setup and decent performance. I would install the cloud key, makes it easy for future maintenance and you can do setup on your phone.
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
Another vote for Ubiquiti. I have installed alot of it, I have systems that have been running for years without being touched or rebooted. The APs are 'dumb' in the sense that they have no configuration page. They get configured through the controller which is called cloud key. This can be software installed on a PC or a dedicated hardware device. I have done both. The software on PC doesn't have to be running all the time you only need it to make changes. I usually use the edgerouter-X and a whatever PoE switch for the smaller installs.

Setup for a system with 5 access points would literally take 10 minutes once the hardware is installed. In the controller, you define a network and set up the SSIDs in there then assign the APs to that network.
 

texie

Senior Member
Location
Fort Collins, Colorado
Occupation
Electrician, Contractor, Inspector
Yep, Ubiquity is hard to beat for the value for a home or SMB environment. I switched all of my home network hardware and WiFi to Ubiquity about 2 years ago and it has been rock solid. 1 Gig fiber internet just became available to me. Now running my USG Pro 4 router with the 1 gig fiber as WAN 1 and a 1/2 gig cable connection on WAN 2 as a fail over.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer
As long as the SSIDs are identical and the encryption/authentication methods are identical, the handoff should occur transparently under the control of the client device, based on signal strength.
There are protocols for authenticating the WiFi connection itself based on a known shared secret (password) known to all clients, and there can be network level access control (userID and password) anywhere upstream from that link.
A cell-tower type handoff where the client is directed to a specific AP (with a unique BSSID even though the SSIDs are identical) based on knowledge held by the central system is not as simple, and may not even be supported.
Edit: There are protocols for improving roaming within a managed network, but they have to be supported by both client and all APs involved.
This is the simplest explanation of the topic I have found.
 
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