Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have two Wi-Fi networks in my house, one at one end of the house and one at the other. While signals crossing from one side of the house are usually audible on the other side, they are generally fairly weak and quite nearly unusable - something in the house's construction attenuates signals traveling through certain walls. So, to enable good connectivity while roaming the house, I have to have my Wi-Fi clients configured for both networks.

This works fine on PCs where I can configure both networks and set a priority order, so that the system prefers the network closest to its normal location and should only roam when its usual network gets too weak. However, I cannot find a way to set this priority in iOS. This results in some devices occasionally connecting to the farther AP, despite being in their regular spot where they should prefer the closer one.

How can I customize the roaming preferences for Wi-Fi networks on the iOS devices? I at least want to assign a "preferred" network for each, but would also like to know if there's a way to set a "roaming threshold" - a point at which the device should choose to change APs, versus remaining on the current one.

I'm pretty sure all my iOS devices are running iOS 5, and will be capable of upgrading to 6 when it's out.

share|improve this question

10 Answers 10

I'm pretty sure this is not possible to do on vanilla iOS, perhaps with a jailbreak.

However, your solution of running two separate WiFi networks is generally not what you want. It is much more common to extend one WiFi network (i.e. a single SSID) with multiple routers. Devices should then automatically switch to the access point with the stronger signal.

You can check this question which describes how to setup two APs for the same network (i.e. a single SSID).

share|improve this answer
2  
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll keep that in consideration. –  Iszi Jun 14 '12 at 14:40
    
I couldn't find any JailBreak tweaks that let you do this. –  Andrew Larsson Jun 19 '12 at 16:06

The answer is Apple's iPhone Configuration Utility. According to one of Apple's webpages, the utility:

...lets you easily create, maintain, encrypt, and install configuration profiles, track and install provisioning profiles and authorized applications, and capture device information including console logs.

Configuration profiles are XML files that contain device security policies, VPN configuration information, Wi-Fi settings, APN settings, Exchange account settings, mail settings, and certificates that permit iPhone and iPod touch to work with your enterprise systems.

It's available for both Windows and OS X.

Here's a tutorial of accomplishing setting a WiFi connection priority configuration to an iPhone.

share|improve this answer
    
For the record the current download link for the iPhone Configuration Utility seems to be support.apple.com/kb/DL1465 –  tripleee Sep 28 '13 at 16:34
2  
I tried this, but it was a disappoimtment. It amounts to degrading your less desired network to "don't autoconnect" whereas the behavior I am interested in is to always reconnect to the most preferred network as soon as it's available. –  tripleee Sep 28 '13 at 17:08

Unfortunately, at least the current iOS gives us surprisingly (because how much the phone depends on internet) little control over which wifi it connects to. It isn't possible to set priority lists, but what I have done for a somewhat similar situation is Forget wifi's (Wifi > Tap the arrow next to the wifi to forget > Forget this network). This is not a streamlined solution and really wouldn't work if you had solid passwords on both of your routers because re-entering the passwords would be impractical. This is mainly an option that you are likely aware of, although, for you, I'm sure it wouldn't be practical at all.

I would recommend looking into strengthening a single wifi network. We have used signal boosters that help the signal. Also, just a thought, but I've been really impressed with the signal strength of the Apple Airport. It seems to be really strong.

share|improve this answer
    
Unfortunately, due to my house's design, a single AP just won't do the job. A single Wi-Fi network, spread across multiple APs as @houbysoft suggests, might work though. Still, this also leaves the iOS device weak in handling a situation where multiple "friendly" networks are audible (i.e.: neighbor's house two doors down). –  Iszi Jun 14 '12 at 14:41
    
@houbysoft had a great idea. It is true what you said about multiple networks. It was a neighbor's (relative) network that my phone kept connecting to that I forced it to forget. –  bassplayer7 Jun 14 '12 at 15:13
    
Yeah, that's definitely not an option for my home networks though. The PSK is just too complex for me to want to set up more than once per device. –  Iszi Jun 14 '12 at 15:21
    
That's the way to do it (strong password). I've heard of way too many neighbors (sometimes unknowingly) using their neighbor's wifi. ;-) Hopefully that will be another un-announced feature in iOS 6. Probably not though. –  bassplayer7 Jun 14 '12 at 15:24
    
If both networks are in range, you don't have to forget the one you don't want; just select the one you want (so it gets the check mark). –  tripleee Sep 24 '13 at 17:25

Setting an order of priority for the networks will not help you because the devise will only "switch" networks when the other network becomes completely unavailable and it has to reconnect. There is nothing that will indicate that if the signal drops to a certain threshold, search for a more powerful network. I have a similar situation but slightly different.

I have a portable Wi-Fi in my car that has a pretty good range. I have an in-home network whose signal was not strong enough to cover the entire house so I installed a network booster. It creates a different network segment with a different name (the one I have puts "AMPED" in front of the orriginal network name). So sitting in my home, my device can see 3 networks (the mobile network in my car, the regular home wi-fi, and the "AMPED" home wi-fi). The AMPED signal is almost always the strongest, which is what I would expect.

When I get into the car with my iPhone and iPad and leave the vicinity of my house, both devices automatically loose their connection to the home network and switch to the mobile network. When I get home in the evening and walk into the house though, neither device will automatically switch from the mobile Wi-Fi to the home network, because the mobile device remains available.

I either have to: 1) Remember to turn off the mobile network when I get home. If I do that, the devices pick the "strongest" network signal they have available to them (not from a priority based list). 2) Switch the network connection manually.

share|improve this answer

Your phone would require to be jailbroken to get "Vestigo", a tweak available through Cydia. It does 90% of what you're asking for. I say 90% because you'll need to have a Cydia app called "wifitoggle" (at least I think it was called like that) and yet another app called "Activator." Activator is simply an app that allows you to set custom gestures, i.e. two-finger swipe up, or double tap status bar.

I was in the same boat as you, having my phone as a hotspot for my iPad while on the go, and when I get to either work or home I wanted my ipad to switch over to my house network.

share|improve this answer

If there both on the same LANs give them the same SSID (Name) and your device will connect to the strongest.

If you can look at altering he multiplex settings and (if I remember multiplexing correctly) set it to high.

For iPhome priority, I think, if your using iCloud Keychain, you can change the preference in your mac, and it should sync over.. Failing this the guy up is right (last used)

share|improve this answer

The biggest annoyance with running 2 wifi networks with the same SSID is that a device will connect to the stronger signal, which is not always the "best" or fastest signal. I find this to be the case with 2.4ghz and 5ghz, where devices prefer the slower 2.4ghz band even when through-put is significantly better on the 5ghz channel.

share|improve this answer

I believe it connects to the most recently seen network, Always.

share|improve this answer

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

All you need to do is touch the arrow to the right of the network you don't want to automatically connect to and touch "Forget This Network". It won't remove the network from your wifi list, it will just stop automatically connecting to it.

share|improve this answer
    
This doesn't solve my problem. I want the device to still be able to automatically connect to all the networks on my list, but I also want it to prioritize them according to the order I prefer. –  Iszi Aug 6 '13 at 21:49

first of all having 2 wifi switches or router on each end of the house? This create an signal overlap, to change this you have to put both switches/routers on the middle of the house but, create an aluminum shim barrier on the wall between both units, this will reflect or rebound the signal of the router to each side on the house, maybe the overlap gap will be small enough so you will not notice the interaction of the signal mixing. Once you pass the division of the house the blocked signal of the half you're leaving will be a small signature, then the device will connect to the new stronger signal of the other half of the house.

Now: Router-interference zone-router. Interference zone, by signal overlap.

New: Router- aluminum shim wall -Router. No interference, because aluminum shim wall create 2 different wifi zones,

share|improve this answer
1  
I think I get what you're trying to say, but I don't think it's quite clear as it is written now. The routers are configured to operate on separate, non-overlapping channels. So there is no interference between the two. This post still does not address the actual question of how I can set a priority choice. –  Iszi May 22 at 17:46

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.