how to get iOS to prefer a wifi network?

ghanwani

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Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
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I have two separate SSIDs on my home network, one for 2.4 GHz and the other for 5 GHz. While iOS is programmed for both, I have always manually selected 5 GHz. Still, many times, I find iOS choose to connect to the 2.4 GHz network. Why is this happening and how do I prevent it? I usually notice this has happened because the connection becomes slow.

I do not have this problem with macOS.

Thanks for any help.
 

casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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I have two separate SSIDs on my home network, one for 2.4 GHz and the other for 5 GHz. While iOS is programmed for both, I have always manually selected 5 GHz. Still, many times, I find iOS choose to connect to the 2.4 GHz network. Why is this happening and how do I prevent it? I usually notice this has happened because the connection becomes slow.
Unlike with on the Mac, as far as I know at least, there isn't a way to change the priority list for networks. What you can do however, is tell your phone to forget the 2.4GHz network and then connect to it again afterwards. The priority list is created based on which network is connected to first, but I forget if you have to pick your preferred network first or last.
 

stooovie

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Nov 21, 2010
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No way, sorry. Do file a feature request with Apple, it does make a difference.
 

casperes1996

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No way, sorry. Do file a feature request with Apple, it does make a difference.
Well, there is a way. It just requires getting the device to entirely forget the network and setting it up again, which is a bother. But it is possible. I agree that it would be nice to have the same functionality as available on the Mac, where you can just rearrange the priority list though
 

stooovie

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Nov 21, 2010
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If both networks are the same frequency, you're out of luck. But that's not what the OP asked, granted.
 

Paco II

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Sep 13, 2009
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I am curious why the OP needs their iOS device to connect to the 5Ghz connection? Even streaming video to an iOS device likely does not require the increased bandwidth of the 5Ghz connection.
 

casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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I am curious why the OP needs their iOS device to connect to the 5Ghz connection? Even streaming video to an iOS device likely does not require the increased bandwidth of the 5Ghz connection.
You can feel the difference though. I have both a 2.4 and a 5GHz network set up at my house too, and it is noticeably going from one to the other. Went through the same experience as the OP.
 
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Paco II

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What does that mean, that you can feel the difference? In what way?

You can feel the difference though. I have both a 2.4 and a 5GHz network set up at my house too, and it is noticeably going from one to the other. Went through the same experience as the OP.
 

casperes1996

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What does that mean, that you can feel the difference? In what way?
Opening an app that requires internet access, loading pages in Safari, downloading files - all is faster.
Doing a speed test, the difference in mbps is also double going from 2.4 to 5GHz on my network. Quite significant. Doesn't make a difference for video, because with that you're either fast enough for the stream or not, but the time to, for instance, load up MacRumors is significantly different based on which of the two networks I run on.
 

Paco II

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I believe that that is happening for you, but if both are strong signals, your 2.4Ghz connection will be far faster than your internet connection, unless you have a crazy fast connection. Not sure why it would load pages faster on the 5Ghz connection.


Opening an app that requires internet access, loading pages in Safari, downloading files - all is faster.
Doing a speed test, the difference in mbps is also double going from 2.4 to 5GHz on my network. Quite significant. Doesn't make a difference for video, because with that you're either fast enough for the stream or not, but the time to, for instance, load up MacRumors is significantly different based on which of the two networks I run on.
 

ghanwani

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Dec 8, 2008
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I'm not an expert on wireless stuff, but according to the Comcast tech that installed the device, working on the 5 GHz band is better because it's new and thus less crowded (because most other modems in the area aren't on the 5 GHz band).

I find a HUGE difference, which is how I usually figure out that the iPhone is on the 2.4 GHz band. I have no idea if this is because the modem's implementation of 2.4 is poor.
[doublepost=1488771487][/doublepost]How do I file a feature request with Apple?

How do I get the phone to forget a wireless network?
 

C DM

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Oct 17, 2011
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I have two separate SSIDs on my home network, one for 2.4 GHz and the other for 5 GHz. While iOS is programmed for both, I have always manually selected 5 GHz. Still, many times, I find iOS choose to connect to the 2.4 GHz network. Why is this happening and how do I prevent it? I usually notice this has happened because the connection becomes slow.

I do not have this problem with macOS.

Thanks for any help.
You can do it with the help of macOS: http://www.redmondpie.com/how-to-se...ne-and-ipad-to-get-best-wireless-performance/
 
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IHelpId10t5

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Nov 28, 2014
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I have two separate SSIDs on my home network, one for 2.4 GHz and the other for 5 GHz. While iOS is programmed for both, I have always manually selected 5 GHz. Still, many times, I find iOS choose to connect to the 2.4 GHz network. Why is this happening and how do I prevent it? I usually notice this has happened because the connection becomes slow.

I do not have this problem with macOS.

Thanks for any help.
The reason your iPhone is preferring the 2.4GHz network is likely because the 2.4GHz signal has a much better range through walls and other obstacles. Therefore, when you move to far from the router, the iPhone starts to lose the 5GHz signal rapidly. However, the 2.4 signal penetrates walls well and has a far greater range. This is unfortunate in that the 5GHz signal will does has more bandwidth and deals with neighborhood interference far better.

The only way to deal with this is to "forget" the 2.4GHz network name on your iPhone (while in range). Leaving only the 5GHz network will ensure that this is the one it connects to.
 
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ghanwani

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Dec 8, 2008
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My macOS was already set to prefer the 5 GHz network over the 2.4 GHz network.
[doublepost=1488778313][/doublepost]
The reason your iPhone is preferring the 2.4GHz network is likely because the 2.4GHz signal has a much better range through walls and other obstacles. Therefore, when you move to far from the router, the iPhone starts to lose the 5GHz signal rapidly. However, the 2.4 signal penetrates walls well and has a far greater range. This is unfortunate in that the 5GHz signal will does has more bandwidth and deals with neighborhood interference far better.
Why does my macOS machine always prefer the 5 GHz one? It is also used in all of the same places and moves around the house just like the phone. (But it doesn't leave the house like the phone does.)

The only way to deal with this is to "forget" the 2.4GHz network name on your iPhone (while in range). Leaving only the 5GHz network will ensure that this is the one it connects to.
How do I get the iPhone to forget a network? Also it looks like the network information gets sync'ed over iCloud, which means if my mac has learnt about both, it will eventually push that information to the phone.
 

jetsam

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Jul 28, 2015
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Sometimes changing the channel your router is using on 2.4 GHz will help with interference from neighbors. The most recommended channels are 1, 6, and 11.
 

Paco II

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Sep 13, 2009
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Your Mac and iPhone are different hardware with different antennas. It is very possible for the Mac to 'see' the 5Ghz signal as stronger and use it, while the iPhone in the same place will 'see' the 2.4 as stronger and use it.

In terms of forgetting a network, your 5Ghz and 2.4 would need to use to different SSIDs. There are tradeoffs to this approach though.

Consider using something like iStumbler for Mac to better understand the range of your two frequency networks. Is it a congestion issue? Maybe changing your 2.4 frequency will help. Is it a router issue? Good to know what's going on.


My macOS was already set to prefer the 5 GHz network over the 2.4 GHz network.
[doublepost=1488778313][/doublepost]

Why does my macOS machine always prefer the 5 GHz one? It is also used in all of the same places and moves around the house just like the phone. (But it doesn't leave the house like the phone does.)



How do I get the iPhone to forget a network? Also it looks like the network information gets sync'ed over iCloud, which means if my mac has learnt about both, it will eventually push that information to the phone.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
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Get a better router that does simultaneous dual band. Problem solved.
That is what this router does, but the Comcast tech told me it would connect at 2.4 GHz most of the time and recommended configuring two separate networks.
[doublepost=1488815545][/doublepost]
Your Mac and iPhone are different hardware with different antennas. It is very possible for the Mac to 'see' the 5Ghz signal as stronger and use it, while the iPhone in the same place will 'see' the 2.4 as stronger and use it.

In terms of forgetting a network, your 5Ghz and 2.4 would need to use to different SSIDs. There are tradeoffs to this approach though.

Consider using something like iStumbler for Mac to better understand the range of your two frequency networks. Is it a congestion issue? Maybe changing your 2.4 frequency will help. Is it a router issue? Good to know what's going on.
They are already using different SSIDs. Are you saying that to get my iPhone to forget the 2.4 network, I would have to configure the router with a new SSID for the 2.4?
 

Rhonindk

macrumors 601
I believe that that is happening for you, but if both are strong signals, your 2.4Ghz connection will be far faster than your internet connection, unless you have a crazy fast connection. Not sure why it would load pages faster on the 5Ghz connection.
Running TWC/Spectrum 300mbps with 2.4 and 5.0. That is speeds "up too" ;)
My 2.4 speed range between 50 and 125. My 5.0 runs between 50 and 200. Never have seen a signal >200 in my last couple of years.
There is a noticeable difference in feel when my iPhone / iPad links to the 2.4 vs. the 5.0.
Upload speeds from the two are the same. Just download differs.
 

Paco II

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2009
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While connected to the 2.4, go to wifi settings in iOS, tap the 'i' and choose to forget it.


That is what this router does, but the Comcast tech told me it would connect at 2.4 GHz most of the time and recommended configuring two separate networks.
[doublepost=1488815545][/doublepost]

They are already using different SSIDs. Are you saying that to get my iPhone to forget the 2.4 network, I would have to configure the router with a new SSID for the 2.4?
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
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Horsens, Denmark
That is what this router does, but the Comcast tech told me it would connect at 2.4 GHz most of the time and recommended configuring two separate networks.
[doublepost=1488815545][/doublepost]

They are already using different SSIDs. Are you saying that to get my iPhone to forget the 2.4 network, I would have to configure the router with a new SSID for the 2.4?

My network is set up the same way as yours, though with a Time Capsule as the router. I'm almost always close to the router and there aren't many walls between me and it, so for that reason, the 5GHz band works beter than the 2.4GHz for me. Broader bandwidth range with less latency as long as you're close and with few obstructions.

Click the "i" next to the network to forget, and click "forget network". The order in which you log in to the networks is what determines which the iOS device will prefer. Forget if preferred is the one you log into first or last, so try both until you're successful. (forget it, sign in - see if it works, if not, forget both and sign in in reverse order).
 

TurboPGT!

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Sep 25, 2015
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That is what this router does, but the Comcast tech told me it would connect at 2.4 GHz most of the time and recommended configuring two separate networks.
Well that's a terrible recommendation, and no, Comcast routers do not support simultaneous and automatic dual band. Not any that I'm aware of.
 

Beelzbub

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2012
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I give both my 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks the same SSID & same password and let the devices automatically choose the best frequency. I have logged into my router and I can see what frequency the devices are on and see them switch back and forth between the two frequencys as needed (as a device gets further away it switches to 2.4 GHz as it gets closer it switches back to 5 GHz). Not sure how all routers handle this, but my ASUS router handles this perfectly. My router never gets rebooted. And I have not had any issues at all. All my devices are wireless, a desktop, couple laptops, couple Apple TV's, a kindle, several iPad's and several iPhone's not to mention all my friends and family use it when they come over.
 
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jetsam

macrumors 6502a
Jul 28, 2015
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The difference between an Asus router and the router built in to a Comcast gateway is night and day. Though it might not solve the OP's immediate problem, many people bridge their Comcast gateway so they can use their own router. Asus is one good choice for that.
 
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