Pick access point by MAC address

bpd

Standard Member
Hi

This router has a very useful feature for caravan sites; to select a specific access point by MAC address EVEN IF THEY HAVE THE SAME SSID. Useful if the site has a badly configured wifi network that keeps bouncing you between AP.... 🤨

KUMA Wifi Hotspot Booster Kit - Wi-Fi Signal Extender with Router Antenna for Caravan Motorhome Car Boat Home Garden Office Summer House - Portable Wi Fi Wireless Mobile Phone Internet Repeater Boost Amazon product
Problem is it’s well expensive!

Does anyone know of a router that has the same feature :

1) connect on wan side to an access point (picking by MAC address) and allow you to enter security details of the hotspot
2) serve the connection on to devices on the lan side

Before everyone tells me all repeaters/boosters do this I don’t think they do... 😁

thanks
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Hi

This router has a very useful feature for caravan sites; to select a specific access point by MAC address EVEN IF THEY HAVE THE SAME SSID. Useful if the site has a badly configured wifi network that keeps bouncing you between AP.... 🤨

In Wi-Fi networking, it is the client devices not "the system" that decides which Access Point (AP) to connect to and if/when to roam (as we call it) between them. Some systems, typically enterprise systems and nowadays some of the SOHO so-called "mesh" systems have features that can try and steer clients to a particular AP, but clients are not required to comply. If you have clients bouncing around between AP's, it is much more likely you have poor signalling conditions and/or a poorly designed client device than a poorly configured "system."

It's half right that "all Repeaters can do this" - for a camp site type scenarios I'd want a Repeater that could establish backhaul link to the site SSID and advertise a different SSID "inside" my van/tent so my devices would localise to it (and not the site SSID) and it would be passphrase protected to me. Though, depending on how the site has done it's security, that probably wouldn't be a "private" network. Thusly, it could be advantageous that such a device had it's own routing/NAT/Firewall boundary to protect you from everyone else on site.

There are certainly "Repeaters" that can advertise a different SSID to the one they backhaul to (I'm using one right now) but they don't usually have the routing/NAT/firewall boundary to keep you "private" from everything upstream of them.

So essentially this device is a "router" just like the one you have at home, but it's got the ability for what would be the "WAN" link in your ISP router to be established over Wi-Fi to another Wi-Fi system, ie it's Mi-Fi - this sort of thing (albeit integrated into a single device) is often sold to people who stay in hotels and want to hook up to the hotel Wi-Fi but facilitate a little private network of your own in their room. (And/or avoid paying multiple connection charges for multiple devices.)

I suspect what you are "paying for" with this solution is that you have a separately mountable hi-gain external antenna, ruggedised against the elements, for the backhaul connection. Motor homes are essentially metal boxes which form great Faraday Cages (reject radio energy) so getting your backhaul antenna outside of it, especially if you are far from the next hop up the chain, would be a "good thing."

If you want something cheaper that does the same job then a "Mi-Fi" is probably the thing to look for or a SOHO type "router" with a Wi-Fi "WAN" link. (Some of the after market firmwares such as DD-WRT, Tomato, etc. might offer this also - though I've not looked.) Trouble is, if you deploy a single device inside a metal box at distance from the base AP, then the already weak transmissions to/from the van are being massively curtailed by the metal structure of the vehicle, so you ideally want to get the backhaul antenna outside of it.

"Under the covers" in Wi-Fi networking, each AP advertised each SSID with a unique MAC address. If you go to a site with multiple AP's advertising the same SSID and run up a sniffer such as Acrylic or InSSIDer you'll see all the MAC addresses listed for each AP and they will all be different even where the SSID's are the same. (And in AP's capable of offering multiple SSID's each SSID again has a unique MAC Address.) In reality, this MAC Address is the key to what the clients bind to (called Associate in Wi-Fi speak) and what they use to determine which AP they are talking to. For a "Mi-FI" type scenario, it could be advantageous to have the Mi-Fi "fix" which AP (or MAC Address) they Associate with and not roam automatically like a client device would.
 
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