WIFI under one name?

i have a network that will have 2.4 Ghz clients, if i use the same SSID for 2.4 and 5 Ghz, will all of the devices default to the 5 Ghz if they can use it??

its quite a bit faster and i do not want to have to leave a 2.4/5 on the back of the SSID if i do not have to.

If both connections have the same SSID, but different frequencies and channels, then most devices will connect to whichever has the best signal strength/connection.

Yes and no. If you associate with the AP and its far enough away that only the 2.4 comes in strong...that device might stay on 2.4 untill it tries to reassociate. AFAIK Once connected to an AP, most devices tend to not switch to another AP unless the first signal drops.

the only devices that should use it would be less then 20' away and most have line of site also.

its the same SSID

It should switch as soon as it sees a weak connection. Either way, it will strengthen the overall network experience automatically, in most cases.

i really hope so, i just dont know my self if thats the case.

the 2.4/5 SSIDs are so ugly

This has not been what I've seen from personal experience, at work and at home. Some devices might be better at it than others but my phone (Nexus 6p) is a prime example. It will hang onto one of the AP's at work until its unusable, then switch.

FWIW I run 3 APs at home. 2 of them having both 2.4 & 5Ghz, 1 2.4Ghz only for my garage. The 2.4Ghz channel is dd-wrt, and the 5Ghz channel on one is dd-wrt2 while the other is dd-wrt3. This way I can be sure I am using a 5Ghz channel. Coverage in my house is great but I must pick which AP I'm going to use per device. On my phone I use swifi which allows me to automatically switch at a certain threshold (for my use -70dBm) or if it detects a much stronger signal (mine is by 10dBm). Stationary devices are a no brainer, mobile ones can be a pain.

Depending on what your devices do and how many you have you might want to explicitly assign them and share the load between both radios.

Here's what my parent's house looked like 2 minutes ago. All but one device is 5GHz-capable. The rest are iPhones, iPads, and a laptop.

Glancing through the logs from the last week shows some roaming between 2.4 & 5, but most of the time they settle on 5GHz.

There are a lot of variables. Generally, 2.4 has much greater range, so as the 5.0 signal weakens, your hosts will willingly hop to the 2.4 radio. Some hosts will aggressively hold onto the AP to which they are connected, however, and not let go until their current connection becomes complete rubbish. Therefore, they may never roam back to 5.0 even though a suitable signal may be found. Unfortunately this host roaming behavior is typically baked into the host's firmware and is not typically accessible/adjustable.

Some upscale AP's have a band steering feature, which allows you to either specify a band preference, e.g. steer all 5.0 capable hosts to the 5.0 radio, or to evenly distribute all hosts evenly across both radios, so that neither is overloaded.


Its for a local coffee shop, so i cant really force the device to 5Ghz, i also wouldnt know what device would even support it

the whole network will have other SSIDs and other subnets for staff/backend stuff but the customer side really only needs to be NAMEOFSHOP

i cant make it complex like hiding the 2.4 as NAMEOFSHOPOLD for legacy devices.

im so conflicted. i think ill keep the networks the same and check the DHCPs to see if the 5Ghz is getting more devices?

this is such a stupid problem to have. chips should default to 5Ghz

This is gonna be long winded so please bear with me. tldr at bottom.

Having the same name makes a simple user experience.

Having multiple different names makes troubleshooting and finding issues easier; I am a big fan of this approach as you gain a lot while sacrificing very little. I shall explain why. I was a phone rep and network technician for a year and had to do trouble shooting and we had sites with homogeneous or unique wifi SSID's.

Consider these two scenarios; customer has issues streaming a youtube video in the shop.

Scenario 1, Homogeneous SSID

If we went with the monolithic wifi name, then we need to answer quite a few variables and ask questions the customer probably doesn't know.

Q: What's your IP address?
This can be difficult to find, as it is obfuscated on mobile devices sometimes. Also, people don't know what the hell you are asking when you ask this 9/10.

S: A possible solution is If you subnet the AP's it will help you figure out which one they are on. Just find their IP address and have a reference sheet to which ap has what subnet. This looses effectiveness and creates more problems though for two reasons.

  1. As you just added a second NAT wall with adds latency and overhead to your main router and AP's. Suppose a client wants to communicate with someone on the network, who is on a different subnet, over a webapp. Now, it has added many more cycles to get the same thing done had it just been on the same subnet. This could lead to a bad user experience.

Q: What's your location in the shop?
If customer was in the center-ish area of the shop, this makes things more difficult that if he was in one of the corners where it would be more obvious which AP he might be on. Folks in the corners will have a better experience than folks in the middle, as there is now a problem of the layout of the AP's relative to each other, and the checking to make sure none of the bands overlap and cause interference. The customer is this situation could have access to several AP's at relative strengths and constantly switch and cause frustration.

Q: what is the amount of customers the shop can handle? Now I know its a small shop so it probably won't exhaust a subnet of /24 (254 nodes), but on large networks (business/coporate), this is a real concern. And when you want a network with more than 254 nodes your need to rely of subnetting even more so, so the previous approach of just separating everything on different subnets fails here because usually we would all devices of type x on subnet y for security reasons, or something of that nature. Prints all go on subnet z and have not WAN access, POS systems on a heavily restricted network, etc.

All the while this is going on, a depth of knowledge is needed to even try to begin how to solve the problem; and we're just getting started.

Scenario 2, Unique SSID

You break up all the access points with different SSID's.

Q: which wifi are you connected to?
A: I am connected to this wifi.

You can immediately begin troubleshooting that AP to see if its a problem, and or their connection. You can get straight to brass tacks from the start.

You can easily implement different security's on different AP's; if you so choose. You could do this with the previous method, but it would get confusing very fast if you did not have a working knowledge of how exactly the network was set up.

If you happen to have to have an issue, on a network, large network (40+ AP's), not familiar with the network, and it all goes by one name, trouble shooting becomes more complicated and lengthier, where as the unique SSID method establishes where the issue is happening in just one question.

Now this method is not perfect, it still has the NAT issue. But in terms of complexity it is quite trivial to just run the default setup page on the AP's and give them different names; its not complicated at all.


One large network appropriate to expected client size. A standard /24 network will suffice most of the time, but sometimes it needs to be bigger.

Have one central main DHCP server, which handles all the NAT, and all the AP's do not run their own DHCP but inherit, adn you break up which AP's get which name; based on physical location, and then split them futher onto different VLANs. This way everything is one one single network, but has different security for each VLAN.

With a core DHCP server managing the network, with location based SSID's for AP's, each on specific VLANS, you can have performance and security in one package, the only trade off is that this can be the most complicated, but you get the most benefits, troubling-shooting ease, and security.