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Datto Networking: Datto Access Points: Client Device Roaming

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Topic

This article describes the client device roaming features available for Datto Access Points.

Environment

  • Datto Access Points

Description

Datto Access Points allow client devices to roam seamlessly between your network's access points. The following sections describe settings you can configure to customize the roaming experience:

Enabling 802.11k

802.11k is an IEEE standard that provides client devices with a list of neighboring access points and their channels to select from prior to roaming. Client devices will use this list to proactively select the best access point when they perform a roaming operation.

To enable 802.11k, start a device web session for your access point, navigate to Configure ➞ SSID, and toggle 802.11k on, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Enabling 802.11k (click to enlarge)

Enabling 802.11r

802.11r is an IEEE standard that speeds up the initial handshake when the client device connects to a new access point using the same SSID. It may make the transition quicker, but may not make the client device more aggressive at roaming.

To enable 802.11r, start a device web session for your access point, navigate to Configure ➞ SSID, and toggle 802.11r on, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Enabling 802.11r (click to enlarge)

Not all client devices support 802.11r. Some legacy devices may fail to connect to SSIDs with 802.11r enabled. Consult device documentation for more information on comparability.

Configuring Minimum Data Rates

Setting Minimum Data Rates can improve both roaming and overall WiFi network performance. This involves disabling legacy client rates, which reduces overhead. Both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios on access points have minimum data rate configurations.

Disabling 802.11b may prevent older device clients from connecting to your network.

To configure minimum data rates, start a device web session for your access point, navigate to ConfigureRadio, and use the respective dropdowns for 2.4 GHz and 5GHz to configure their Minimum Data Rates, as shown in Figure 3. The following options are available:

Figure 3: Minimum Data Rates (click to enlarge)

2.4GHz

  • Enable lower legacy data rates: This option will allow client devices to use legacy data rates when connected to an access point.
  • Disable lower legacy data rates: This option will prevent client devices from using legacy data rates when connected to an access point.
  • Disable 802.11b rates only: This option will prevent client devices from using legacy 802.11b data rates, while allowing them to use all other legacy data rates.

Legacy 2.4GHz data rates are 1, 2, 5.5, 6, 9, 11, 12, and 18 Mbps. 802.11b data rates are 1, 2, 5.5, and 11 Mbps.

5GHz

  • Enable lower legacy data rates: This option will allow client devices to use legacy data rates when connected to an access point.
  • Disable lower legacy data rates: This option will prevent client devices from using legacy data rates when connected to an access point.

Legacy 5GHz data rates are 6, 9, 12, and 18 Mbps. 802.11b is unsupported on 5GHz networks.

Roaming VLANs

Unbridged SSIDs use roaming VLANs 991-994 to help route traffic back to the originating access point the client roamed from. If you bridge an SSID, then client traffic will bridged directly onto the local network, and not use the roaming VLAN. For more information, read our article on How to Configure Switches for Seamless Roaming.

How client devices handle roaming

Each device chooses a new access point for roaming based on the manufacturer's configuration, and the received signal strength indication (RSSI) of its current connection. For example, if a client device has a signal strength of -70db, and it detects an access point broadcasting a stronger signal of -55 dB, it will likely roam. Consult your device's documentation for more information on how it handles roaming.


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