In some circles, Apple Wi-Fi devices are knows to have problems with lost connections. iPhones and iPads will unexpectedly miss incoming calls, have delays in receiving push notifications and even be forced to reauthenticate. There is a solution to Apple devices' connection problems, and as with most "device problems", the fix resides on the infrastructure. The DTIM setting needs to be increased. (Apple recommends a setting of 3 or higher.) Here's why:
Some Apple Wi-Fi connection problems stem from Apple iOS devices' use of 802.11 power management. To understand what Apple devices are doing with power management, one must first understand how 802.11 power management works.
Let's start with unicast data. The 802.11 standard allows devices' Wi-Fi radios to enter the Doze state in order to conserve battery life. Wi-Fi radios in the Doze state are unable to receive data from the AP, so APs buffer all unicast data that has a destination MAC address of a…
The last Sniff Wi-Fi post; on why Wi-Fi professionals should stop disabling low data rates, was met some resistance. Be it in the comments or on Twitter, several experienced Wi-Fi folks disagreed. All arguments in favor of disabling low rates (the ones that were presented to me, at least) were refuted in the text of the Leave, Leave, Leave My Rates Alone blog post. But text is a less accessible messaging method. "A picture is worth a thousand words", as the old saying goes. If pictures will get the message across better, then pictures are what I'll use. What follows is an illustrated look at why disabling low data rates is a bad idea.
It's gauche to begin an illustrated work with text, but to understand the problem with disabling low Wi-Fi data rates one must first accept some facts about Wi-Fi devices (smartphones, laptops, etc.):
1. Wi-Fi devices -- not APs -- control associations and roaming.
2. Wi-Fi devices roam based on low received signal strength (RSSI) -- …
Editor's note: In the original publication of this article, the relationship between Wi-Fi channel width and SNR was described imprecisely. While the point of the article was correct -- that wider channel widths increase the likelihood of Wi-Fi frame failures for mobile client devices -- the mistakes have been corrected. Thank you to Adrian Granados. Ahh, roaming. Few things capture the spirit of freedom like the ability to Roam wherever you want to go.
Wi-Fi has its own brand of roaming, and there is one aspect of Wi-Fi roaming that often gets overlooked: 40 MHz and 80 MHz wide channels can make Wi-Fi users feel like they've been bounced from the Love Shack.
Much has been written and spoken about the pros and cons of the three Wi-Fi channel widths: 20 MHz, 40 MHz, and 80 MHz.
20 MHz wide channels allow for the highest number of APs to be deployed -- nice for ultra high-density Wi-Fi -- because each AP takes up less of Wi-Fi's scarce frequency space. In North America, up…