Phone keeps disconnecting from wifi

Problem: Phone reconnects to wifi every few minutes. My laptop stays connected to wifi when not connected to eth0 but normally connects using eth0.

Setup: Rpi4 with onboard wlan0 (5ghz on channel 161), external USB wlan1 for extendibility (5ghz on channel 153) and wlan2 for compatibility (2.4ghz on channel 11). All three radios are using the same SSID for simplicity.

I think my phone is switching between radios but I'm not sure how to verify that. It looks like the phone is hopping between 5ghz and 2.4ghz.

How can I optimize the network so devices connect to wlan0 first if within range, connect to wlan1 as a backup when wlan0 is out of range and wlan2 when not compatible with 5ghz? Is there a way to prioritize the radios?


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It's a client decision, but you could perhaps set up 802.11r between the SSIDs.

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All 3 radios are using the same SSID. Will 802.11r give me the ability to prioritize the radios? I'm starting to research it now.

I set 802.11r up by just adding a 4 hex number on each of the radios. But the phone still wants to connect to the 2.4ghz radio over the 5ghz. I ended up disabling the 2.4 radio. I guess I'm not sure which settings I need to set up in order to prioritize the radios.


Like I said, it's the client's choice...

Radios out of the box don‘t have any priorization options.

This is what probably will happen out of the box: The RPI4 has a wimpy segment on the PCB acting as antenna, bayically everyting external with real antenna should have a stronger signal and more range than the PCB segment and be in range of the client first. And the range of 2.4 GHz is usually larger that 5 GHz on the same stick/antenna, so 2.4 in theory would be in range of the client first, when approaching your home.
Clients on a plain AP on its own rarely switch, once connected.

If you want custom (and proactive) band steering, independent of range, signal strength and client-side preference, you need to install and configure „dawn“ or „usteer“.

Yeah, wlan0 is onboard and I don't think it's really designed to transmit but it works for a little while. wlan1 is a USB external 5ghz radio with about 3 ft of wire. I've got it configured to use 161 with 14 dBm and I'm getting about 250 Mbps. so I think that's decent.

wlan2 is a panda06 usb dongle radio only using 2.4 ghz. that only gives me tops of 72 Mbps but that's not an issue because everything I have is 5ghz... that's just for range and compatibility.

I think I'm going to look into getting an Ubiquiti access point. I heard they are pretty good.