How to force connection to particular Wifi router / strongest signal?

Discussion in 'macOS Mojave (10.14)' started by laz232, May 20, 2019.

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  1. laz232 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    One of the offsite places I work at regularly has two open wifi routers (same name).
    macOS 10.14.5 keeps selecting the weakest signal (both on 2.4GHz, one on Ch1, other on Ch8)

    How do I force connection to a certain BSSID, airport prefs JoinMode=Strongest has no effect.
    airport -BSSID etc has been depreciated.

    Note I cannot make any changes to the wireless routers, so please no suggestions that I contact a sysadmin / IT person.

    Have googled but since the airport utility has been gimped by Apple, I can no longer use most of the suggestions from StackExchange.
     
  2. laz232 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
  3. chabig macrumors 603

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    #4
    I didn't notice that you said that. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything you can do to force connection to one or the other. Maybe someone else can help.
     
  4. metalsiren macrumors 6502

    metalsiren

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    #5
    where do you live? for 2.4 the normal USA channels are 1,6,11... now technically 8 is a channel but its overlapping so it should not be used. wireless cards on devices such as laptops etc dont just choose the strongest signal, they take other things into account like channel load etc. I know you dont want to hear this but for the other unit they should choose 6 or 11.... if its your wireless then change the other channel (or get the owner to) . you should never use any channel but 1,6,11 any deployment thats using something like 8 is wrong.

    your wireless card might be making the better choice, it might be choosing the one with the cleaner channel but worse signal.

    NOTE: I do wireless for a living for a major network company.
     
  5. laz232 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Thank you for your input, am in ITU Region 1.
    (channels 1-11 available)

    As mentioned I have zero control over the administration of the wireless setup.

    It's in a congested environment, but AFAIK due to the spectral shaping of modulated the wifi signals means that the PSD (power spectral density) at the band edges is reduced, so I'm not necessarily sure that channel 8 is a bad choice (note: again I have no control over this).

    Nevertheless the original question remains: how do I tell my Macbook to log into the BSSID that I tell it to. If nothing else I would imagine it's a potential security risk that a user/admin cannot explicitly force a certain BSSID (rather than a generic SSID name).
     
  6. Tech198 macrumors G5

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    #7
    So using the preferred network list doesn't help if the SSID is the same ? Perhaps just "-" remove one of them, or better just slighly change the SSID name "Fred(" instead of "Fred"
     
  7. laz232 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Please see original post:
    The SSIDs are identical
    I have NO control over the the routers
     
  8. 960design macrumors 68030

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    #9
    You are at the mercy of the router/AP owners.

    Just to be clear, your Mac is selecting the weakest, slowest transmission, highest noise connection? I've attempted to duplicate your scenario in my office with my MBP15, iMac27 and MacMini running 10.14.5 and have noticed that each time it connects to the fastest TX, best RSSI and noise regardless of 2, 3, 4 or 5 bars showing. I currently do not have time to run throughput audits, but will put something together if I read that this becomes more common.
     
  9. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #10
    Seconded.

    1 I know of no way to force it.
    2 It’s a bit more complex than signal strength aloneness.
     
  10. mpainesyd macrumors 6502a

    mpainesyd

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    #11
    I don't have a solution but if you hold down the Option key then click on the wifi fan in the menu bar it will give you more info about the wifi connection. In particular I understand that BSSID uniquely identifies the network and TX can indicate the quality of the connection. This can help speed up the process of selecting the better network if they have the same SSID.
    I also use Wifi Explorer app to check network performance. It highlights the current connection and makes it easy to see if it is the best signal.
     
  11. laz232 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    the point is that it doesn't permit picking the BSSID if there are two networks that have the same SSID.
    --- Post Merged, May 23, 2019 ---
    1. Ok, looks like it is no longer possible with macOS from the past few years

    For anyone else that reads this thread and wants some info on what still works with Mojave:

    Gives details list of networks that are visible (SSID, and BSSID)
    /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/A/Resources/airport -s


    Current prefs:
    /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/A/Resources/airport prefs

    Set join mode (but does not seem to do anything):
    sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/A/Resources/airport prefs JoinMode=Strongest


    This selection of BSSID no longer works:
    sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/A/Resources/airport -A=Dromedar -BSSID=ab:cd:8c:4d:16:66


    2. I know ;)

    If I ever have the time I will try to connect my Tektronix Real-Time Spectrum analyzer (RSA306B 9kHz-6.2GHz, https://www.tek.com/spectrum-analyzer/rsa306) get an the 802.11 eval license and actually measure the signal situation in situ - but alas, too much work to do.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    OP wrote:
    "As mentioned I have zero control over the administration of the wireless setup."

    If you have "zero control", then... how do you expect to change anything ...?
     
  13. laz232 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    "zero control over the wireless setup" was in reference to the routers (I am admin on my machine). That post was in reply to the people who had not carefully read the OP and were suggesting that I change SSIDs.

    I have since also provided some sudo commands of what is possible, just have not been able to select specific BSSID, which is what I wanted.

    In any case I think that this topic can now be closed, unless someone can chime in with a terminal command.
     

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13 May 20, 2019