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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme Network
I have set my Airport Extreme Dual Band base station to use the same SSID for both 5 GHz (802.11n) and 2.4 GHz (802.11b and 802.11g).

I moved my Mac Mini a little further away from my AEBS and found, through the wireless clients list, that it was now connecting to the 2.4 GHz network. I wanted to find a way to force the computer to always connect to the 5 GHz band, since that's what my MacBook Pro was able to do from the same distance. All the info on the Net said the only way to do it was to set up two different network names, but that would have killed my easy transition to the kitchen, which can only pick up 2.4 GHz, forcing me to manually switch networks often.

The new version of iStumbler for Snow Leopard saved the day.

iStumbler 99 showed that the Mini was seeing the 5 GHz network at 41% signal strength and the 2.4 GHz at 42%. That was apparently enough for the AEBS to automatically connect the Mini to the lower band. I opened up iStumbler on the Mac Mini and double clicked on the 5 GHz version of my network -- the one with the 166 channel number. iStumbler forced the Mini to connect to that particular network.

Now I'm connected the the 5 GHz whether the AEBS likes it or not, which is confirmed in the AEBS wireless client list as well as the extended network info when I option-click the menubar icon.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one, but iStumbler is another of those handy utilities to add to your toolbox.]
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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: sfgecko on Jul 15, '10 08:51:15AM

option A: rename SSID. manually select network.

option B: buy istumbler. open istumbler. manually select network using istumbler.

i don't know why you even bothered. is this an ad for istumbler?



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Uh ... its free?
Authored by: lowbatteries on Jul 15, '10 09:41:43AM

Yes, this is obviously an ad for free, open source software. They'll make millions now!

Edited on Jul 15, '10 09:42:09AM by lowbatteries



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Uh ... its free?
Authored by: frgough on Jul 15, '10 03:36:59PM

Yup. Free with a big panel that says: Donate $20 to me!

I vote advertisement.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Uh ... its free?
Authored by: rxcfc on Jul 15, '10 06:12:57PM

Wow, you guys sure are picky. The fact that they ask for a donation (and nicely to boot) doesn't negate the fact that it's free. As it is, once you download the app you can just forget anyone ever asked for donations.



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: Auricchio on Jul 15, '10 09:12:08AM

"iStumbler 99 showed that the Mini was seeing the 5 GHz network at 41% signal strength and the 2.4 GHz at 42%. That was apparently enough for the AEBS to automatically connect the Mini to the lower band."

I believe the choice of networks is being made by the Airport Extreme in your computer, not by the base station. Just clarifying.

---
EMOJO: mojo no longer workin'



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: asmeurer on Jul 15, '10 10:40:38AM

Woah! I didn't know about the option click advanced view for the Airport menu. Good hint, just for that.



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: marook on Jul 15, '10 03:11:23PM

First:
In wifi, it's Always the Clients responsibility to connect. Some highend systems can ask the client to change basestation, but the AirPort bases are Not in that league! Symbol's systems and highend Cisco comes to my mind.

Second:
Strange if the 5GHz signal from the same base is lower than the 2.4GHz, as 5GHz should have longer reach!

Third:
The needed 'fix' from Apple is a setting missing: Prefer 5GHz connection if SSID support both.

But it's easy to 'fix' if you rename one of the SSID's, and then simply prioritize them in the Network systemprefpane!
No need to 'manually change' the network yourself.. ;-)

---
/Marook
Edited on Jul 15, '10 03:13:27PM by marook



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: marathonman on Jul 15, '10 04:34:33PM
Strange if the 5GHz signal from the same base is lower than the 2.4GHz, as 5GHz should have longer reach!

5GHz will offer better range in an open space and faster transfer speeds. Also, if there are many clients connecting to one network, 5GHz networks have been shown to be more reliable.

On the other hand, 5GHz is affected more by obstacles. This is probably the reason why the 2.4GHz network has a better signal and gets priority.

Unless you're trying to optimize transfer speed on a LAN, or are setting up a network for a large amount of people, 802.11n 2.4GHz is often the best choice. Especially for a small household that mainly just uses wifi for internet use.

But then again, your mileage may vary. Try option-clicking your wifi menu from different spots in your network with both 2.4 and 5GHz, and look at the transmit rate. If you're close to your router, 5GHz might be worth it.



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: Mark2000 on Jul 15, '10 10:53:04PM

Not making 2 SSIDs is the point. When the guy goes to another room the 5ghz doesn't reach and with the same SSID for both networks he doesn't have to manually change the network. But the Mini is stationary and only needs to connect once.



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: mclbruce on Jul 15, '10 03:50:55PM

"Now I'm connected the the 5 GHz whether the AEBS likes it or not..."

...and... what? How does this change the performance of the computer? Are downloads faster? Are online weather reports better?

I suppose that this hint could be useful if you have 2.4 GHz cordless phones.



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: crarko on Jul 16, '10 06:28:51AM

Well, the obvious thing would be to avoid interference from the often very large number of 2.4 GHz access points in the vicinity. I see about thirty in range of me and so skipping to 5 GHz and avoiding them is a good thing.

As 5 GHz becomes more popular this advantage will fade away, alas.



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: MacKeeper-Blase on Jul 17, '10 12:58:41PM

So what? Would it make ecology better? Would it make signal better? Well, maybe the second (if there are a lot of access points around, they can make a lot of noise to each other and your connection may be not very stable), but definitely not the first.

Better reason to switch is a speed. As noted above, 5 GHz are more reliable on big networks. Also, if you need to cover just few rooms, 5 GHz is better because range doesn't matter that much, and 5 GHz would give you bigger transfer rate.



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If you were smart...
Authored by: slb on Jul 15, '10 05:46:08PM

You'd just put your left hand on the side of the Airport Extreme where the 2.4GHz signal comes from, attenuating it and forcing the 5GHz side to take over ;)
Consumer Reports said that this works, unless you put the Airport Extreme bumper on...



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If you were smart...
Authored by: crarko on Jul 16, '10 04:41:28AM

You forgot about the duct tape.



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Force connection at 5GHZ to Airport Extreme
Authored by: averyherman on Jul 20, '10 09:14:02AM

i apologize i am a bit of a novice at this ---- my macbook pro [2.2GHz] is connected to airport extreme on 802.11g band. i see that my airport is capable of 802.11n. so how can i set it to that bandwidth? or can i? i am assuming this translates into faster connections/downloading. i'd appreciate some enlightening about this [and i hope this is not considered veering off the topic[?]. thanx



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