We Need Wi-Fikileaks

Device vendor secrecy makes Wi-Fi worse for users.

"Wi-Fi is all about the users."  It's my Pinned Tweet and my professional operating philosophy.  I don't care about AP vendor preference or network management or heatmaps or anything else that doesn't improve the user experience.  I want every device for every user to work everywhere at all times, period.  That's the goal.

It is frustrating to me, therefore, that Wi-Fi device makers are so tight with their information. 

I've gotten a lot of blowback for my writing and Tweeting about what a mistake it is to set the Minimum Basic Rate (MBR) above 6 Mbps.  Most of it is balderdash from BS artists and other people who don't know Wi-Fi.  A not insignificant amount, however, is from people who know Wi-Fi, at least to some degree.  And the common refrain from those people can be summarized thusly: "Wi-Fi devices use more than just RSSI to determine when to roam." 

Maybe things have changed, and now it's true that roaming is about more than RSSI.  But if so, what is the "more"?  What parameters, other than RSSI, are used by Wi-Fi devices to decide when to roam?  I know that missed Beacons is one, but people claim there are others.  What others?  Who knows?  The people who claim to know also say they've been sworn to secrecy.

Which brings me to the need for a Wi-Fi version of Wikileaks, or Wi-Fikileaks.  Device makers are unwilling to share information on how their devices roam.  I get it.  Apple doesn't want to give Samsung a leg up, and vice versa.  So let's get this information to the people who need it -- Wi-Fi engineers, administrators, consultants, et al. -- by leaking it. 

If you are privy to verifiable information on how Wi-Fi devices determine when to roam -- or any other information about device Wi-Fi behavior that might be useful to people who have to support Wi-Fi devices -- email me.  I set up an account -- wifikileaks@gmail.com -- specifically to allow for anonymous leaking of information about Wi-Fi devices.  I even have a PGP Key for it, for those who don't trust Gmail. 

If Wi-Fi devices really are prioritizing other parameters besides RSSI when making roaming decisions, I'd like to know and I think lots of other Wi-Fi folks would like to know.  If you know, share it publicly.  If you can't share it publicly, email Wi-Fikileaks and I'll find a way to share it for you.


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Twitter: @Ben_SniffWiFi

ben at sniffwifi dot com


  1. Roaming decisions can be made by any/all/some of these metrics - some having different weights based on vendor specific algorithms.
    Am I connected to you now (Stickiness)
    White List
    Black List
    Grey List
    How did you treat me last time
    How many times have you DeAuthed me
    Priority of SSID
    Supported Data Rates
    Lowest supported data rate
    Highest supported data rate
    Authentication Method
    Encryption Method
    Response Time for Probe
    Missed Beacons
    Am I above/below RSSI threshold on current AP
    Current supported Modulation
    QoS Support
    WMM Support
    20Mhz vs 40MHz vs 80MHz
    Just to name a few...

    The 'secret sauce' is HOW those metrics are used/or not and their weights in the roaming algorithm.

  2. This is worthless spam, Keith. Give us specifics. How are BSSID's prioritized? What, specifically, causes a BSSID to get on a blacklist? And so on.

  3. Hey Ben,

    I agree 100%. Why do vendors think they are doing something amazing and need to hide their roaming algorithms behind an NDA?

    Just FYI from reading logs Vocera B3000N badges use a weighted percent of SNR, channel utilization, and number of stations to choose it's target.

    Here's an excerpt.

    16:15:18:781 RM: Found 11 APs, Top 5 APs
    [ 0] [BSSID#1] [Channel: 44] [SNR=37(80.43%)] [CU= 5(1.96%)] [STA= 0(0.00%)]
    [ 1] [BSSID#2] [Channel: 60] [SNR=54(100.00%)] [CU= 5(1.96%)] [STA= 2(4.00%)]
    [ 2] [BSSID#3] [Channel:153] [SNR=29(63.04%)] [CU= 91(35.69%)] [STA= 6(12.00%)]
    [ 3] [BSSID#4] [Channel:149] [SNR=25(54.35%)] [CU= 15(5.88%)] [STA= 14(28.00%)]
    [ 4] [BSSID#5] [Channel: 48] [SNR=23(50.00%)] [CU= 0(0.00%)] [STA= 0(0.00%)]

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