Roaming issue in a large residence

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Will the zone director help with roaming issues? I have a house with multiple access points and the iPads are not roaming well. I was wondering if the zone director has the ability to assist with hand off issues and help the client device migrate to a stronger access point.

If not does anyone have any ideas about a better way to setup the network.
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William Zidek

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Posted 3 years ago

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Keith - Pack Leader

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Yes, that's one of the primary reasons to have a controller. What type of application are you concerned about - VOIP? In that case tunneling to the controller might be a good idea.

The only other improvement (sans controller) I can think of is to use a single DHCP server - then at least in that case only the STA association has to be made rather than also getting a new IP address.
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William Zidek

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What's happening is that the iPad will stick to a distant access point and not move to one closer in proximity. The result will be poor wifi performance even though they are close to a stronger one.

How does the zone director take a sticky iPad and assist it moving to another access point. To the best of my knowledge you can not set thresholds on the iPad to detach from an access point and look for a stronger signal.

Can you please explain some of the details.
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Keith - Pack Leader

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Ah..that's something of a well-known problem w IOS and the ZD will help with that with our new 9.8 release (should GA in a couple of weeks) via Smart Roam.

This KB can help you with improving roaming when using standalone AP's

https://support.ruckuswireless.com/an...
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William Zidek

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I would like to learn more about the Smart Roam capability. So just so I am clear today with the current zone director it is mainly a centralized deployment interface for large access point deployments and can not do anything to help manage this hand off issue I am experiencing. Can you confirm I am understanding accurately

Thanks for all your help.
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Keith - Pack Leader

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I wouldn't quite characterize it like that. Controllers of some kind are necessary for "real" roaming. Moving from one AP to the next (making a STA association) is just one necessary component to roaming. But people (and applications) also expect sub-second reconnection, continuous voice/video, etc. You simply can't do that with standalone APs

Clients make their own decisions about what to connect to, and there are no standards for moderating their behavior. So all vendors have to play tricks to (try to) get them to behave. SmartRoam is a set of techniques designed to encourage a client to connect to the best AP for that point in time by real-time monitoring of it's status and then applying the controllers centralized "knowledge" of the radio environment to direct it to a better AP. In pre-9.8 it's a fairly blunt instrument and didn't always work as desired. In 9.8 we expect to see greatly improved client behavior.
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William Zidek

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Thanks Keith. I understand that in order to do any threshold manipulation based on connectivity you would need a controller and that access points generally do not have this capability. Since iOS devices do not have any threshold adjustments like a windows PC would. Based on what I have read it looks like the Smart Roam will allow you to set the aggressiveness of where it will disconnect the client.

When you say roaming I just want to understand and clarify that there is no way the zone director knows which access point is closer to my client device because the AP radio is not mapping it in the home. We are simply managing threshold correct?
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Michael Brado, Official Rep

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The decision when to roam is entirely up to the client radio driver and supplicant, and internal algorithms that analyze RSSI, interference and other factors. Ruckus smart-roam will not disconnect a client, but will withhold probe responses when we have determined that it's below reasonable RSSI and another AP sees it better. If
there is no better signal AP, the client will not be "encouraged" to leave. This is only
available on ZD managed APs however, as smart-roam is configured on the WLAN.

Apple updates are frequently resolving problems like iOS device stickiness, so *do*
update your devices when updates are made available.
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Michael Brado, Official Rep

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But to add to Keith's comments, a ZD will facilitate "seamless" roaming between
APs, due to the ability to cache client credentials, whereas roaming between
standalone APs involves entire re-authentication with each roam.