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Mobile devices connect to neighbor ssid(open system) than company ssid

User owned smartphones and tablets in my organization are quite frequently connected to neighbor SSID which is being serviced by other company and its authentication method is open system.

 

To explain detail:

- user set their device to connect to company SSID(‘SNS’, WPA2-Enterprise/AES) and then it works fine while they are using it

- later on when they want to use again, which wakes up from power saving mode, they see their device connects to other SSID(‘OllehWiFi’, Open System) not company SSID

- so user needs to make their device connected to company SSID again, but this makes user unhappy because they don’t want to do this all the time whenever it happens

- however laptop users never experience this, this only happens to BYOD

 

How come this is happening? Feels like mobile devices prefer to connect to ‘Open System’ rather than connecting ‘recent connected SSID’ when it make association waking up from power saving mode(Both SSID signal strength are almost at the same level, from -50 to -60 RSSI) Is there any way to avoid this from happening?

 

Any assistance will be much appreciated.

Contributor I

Re: Mobile devices connect to neighbor SSID(open system) than company SSID

There is this commonly held belief that devices will automatically connect to any open network without user interaction.  This is just not the case.  At some point, your users have connected to the foreign network and it has been stored in their preferred network list.  As a result, the device is going to seek out networks that it knows about that are on that list.  When the device wakes up, and decides that it is time to connect to WiFi, it is seeing the two networks at a similar signal strength and it chooses the one that it thinks is the best (even though it may not be...especially in this case).  So, believing that the open network is the better choice of the two, it associates there instead of to your corporate SSID.

 

So, the simple answer is to have your users remove the open network from their preferred network list.  This is quite simple on Android devices but a bit more challenging on Apple iOS devices.  The Android devices will show the preferred networks on the list even if the networks are not available.  The Apple iOS devices, however, will only show networks that are within range.  So, on Apple devices, to remove a network from the list, they first must be in range of it and then click the arrow next to the SSID and then select forget this network.

 

There are other options but that is probably the easiest.  Hopefully that helps :)

--
Jeremy R. Wirtz
WLAN Systems Engineer

Re: Mobile devices connect to neighbor SSID(open system) than company SSID

If you have the RFProtect licences you could enable 'protect valid stations'.  Any device that has connected to your network and considered valid will be prevented from connecting to other ssids if one of your APs or AMs can hear them doing so.

 

ids unauthorized-device-profile
protect-valid-sta

 


If my post is helpful please give kudos, or mark as solved if it answers your post.

ACCP, ACMP, ACMX #294
mclarke@arubanetworks.com
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