Occasional Contributor II

Roaming between AP's

Hi Guys,

We are just setting up our new wireless environment and have everything in place and working. (Aruba 3400 controllers master/local config with AP-125 access points).

We just got the access points all set up in the roofs and wired in last night. I'm just a bit curious about how the hand off between AP's si supposed to work.

My test was done starting at one AP. Signal strength excellent, and what i did was start a continuous ping and walk around the floor, moving between AP's. I lose may 2/3 pings all the way until i get back to my desk where i started. When i get there, pings timeout, and stay that way for about 10 minutes or so, or if i disable my wireless NIC and enable it all seems to work again.

When i get back to my desk, i notice the NIC is only connected at 6Mbps, whereas when i start from my desk signal is high (same as when i wait 10 or so mins or disable/enable my wireless NIC). Can this be that my laptop is staying connected to the last AP i was authenticated with and not handing over once i get to the new one?

Any advice on this would be much appreciated!

Aruba Employee

Roaming between AP's

Sounds like a sticky client. Check the driver version of your NIC and
make sure it is above what is listed on our website.

Occasional Contributor II

Re: Roaming between AP's

Like Gary said, this is probably what we call a sticky client. It's something you're going to run into often. Cards with older drivers (very common) can often exhibit poor roaming due to outdated heuristics - this is why an update often fixes the problem.

In the 802.11 world, association and roaming decisions are made entirely by the client, specifically by the client's wireless chipset driver. The exact logic behind roaming varies from vendor to vendor, and driver version to driver version.

Intel chipsets (and possibly others) can actually have their "Roaming Aggressiveness" tweaked via a 5-position slider in the card settings. We often find that the second-to-highest position works best in our environment.

Aruba's got a feature called "handoff assist" that tries to force roaming, but it can cause client instability and shouldn't be engaged unless TAC advises it. Chances are a driver update will fix all of your issues.
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