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Unique WiFi problem w/ 5ghz

post #1 of 8
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Here's a weird one.

I have a 5ghz capable NIC (ARB5BWB222) , it can see 5ghz networks in apps like InSSIDer and Xirrius.
The problem is, if a 2.4 and 5ghz share the same SSID, windows does not differentiate between them, and sadly, defaults to the 2.4ghz network.
The college I'm at decides to use the same SSID for 2.4 and 5ghz networks. (So no , i cant change the SSID at the AP)
The drivers for this card do not allow any preference between 2.4/5ghz and must default to 2.4ghz
The company offers no modern Wifi manager to support their Wifi Adapters.

So, the problem is, I know there are wonderful empty fast 5ghz networks out there, and i can't get to them. I'm stuck on the crowded effed up 2.4 range.

Does anyone know of custom drivers that would enable "5ghz preference" or some kind of registry hack to do that? Yes i have googled.

Another option would be some compatible software that manages wifi connections instead of windows. I've tried a few but can't find any that not only see the 5ghz networks, and allow to connect to them from the app. Most just Detect/display them but offer no connecting, OR just list them like windows does with no differentiating 2.4 from 5ghz.

It is sad that windows doesn't differentiate between 2.4/5ghz if they share the same SSID.
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post #2 of 8
make your 5ghz signal hidden.
works for me.
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post #3 of 8
Ok, you got me interested, so I did a bunch more googleing, and came up with squat. I will tell you this though; its not only Windows that has the problem, Android and Apple also have quarks in the 2.4 vs 5 on same SSID battle. My understanding of it is that Windows and Android select the most powerful signal, Apple prefers 5Ghz. For Windows and Android that means that you end up almost always on a 2.4Ghz radio.

After all of that, I had a thought... Go into "Network and Sharing Center" click "change adapter settings" and right click on the adapter, select "configure." Once there select the advanced tab. I don't have a wireless adapter to test it with, but you can change speed and duplex in that page so logically if the band was available anywhere to configure it would be there.

There are 2 ways that it could be configured if it is there. It could be done either as 2.4 and 5 as options or 1-14 and 100+. The 100+ bands are the 5Ghz ones. So you would just need to disable 2.4Ghz bands.
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlsr View Post

Ok, you got me interested, so I did a bunch more googleing, and came up with squat. I will tell you this though; its not only Windows that has the problem, Android and Apple also have quarks in the 2.4 vs 5 on same SSID battle. My understanding of it is that Windows and Android select the most powerful signal, Apple prefers 5Ghz. For Windows and Android that means that you end up almost always on a 2.4Ghz radio.

After all of that, I had a thought... Go into "Network and Sharing Center" click "change adapter settings" and right click on the adapter, select "configure." Once there select the advanced tab. I don't have a wireless adapter to test it with, but you can change speed and duplex in that page so logically if the band was available anywhere to configure it would be there.

There are 2 ways that it could be configured if it is there. It could be done either as 2.4 and 5 as options or 1-14 and 100+. The 100+ bands are the 5Ghz ones. So you would just need to disable 2.4Ghz bands.

My Vizio ultrabook has the exact same WiFi chip and issue that the OP does.

I am a Network Administrator at my college, and so I have reckoned with this issue for over a year now. We use Aerohive APs at our campus. The Aerohives have an option that we employ whereby they can ignore probe requests for 2.4ghz for a certain period of time. Ours are set to ignore the first 4 seconds of 2.4ghz probe requests but respond immediately to 5ghz requests.

This is called band-steering. Most AP manufacturers include such an option. Do you know the network team at your college or which APs you guys use? Perhaps consider suggesting to them that they should activate band steering, if so available.

5ghz really is the future. I ran a spectrographic analysis of two of our major residence halls on the 2.4ghz band yesterday. The results made me itchy... SO MUCH interference on the 2.4 that the FFT Duty cycle was approaching 90% in some cases. frown.gif

Apple devices are the absolute worst. They require an insanely high RSSI before they're willing to connect, they hammer APs with thousands of probe requests per second, they do NOT handle a multi-AP environment well, and are an insane pain in the rear to work with on 802.11. They also insist on 2.4ghz most of the time even if they support 5ghz.

I will continue to research this issue. I'm curious for my own personal purposes as well. smile.gif
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post #5 of 8
Had to think back to the last time I installed a wireless card to get any more ideas.

The cards have multiple leads for the antennas, if these are for separate frequencies then you could disconnect the 2.4 connection. If you ever need to us 2.4Ghz again it will be a bit of a task to connect, but in theory without an antenna for 2.4Ghz then it should have nearly 0 power ever thereby forcing 5Ghz usage. All that goes down the drain if the card uses both sides for both frequencies which if it uses MIMO is pretty likely.
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Cool, people who actually understand what i'm going through! haha

Here's what the 'advanced' adapter configuration looks like for this nic, its pretty useless:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109366880/atheros%20driver%20options.JPG

These are updated drivers, newest for my adapter. And the old ones weren't any better.

Funny enough i'm taking a networking course at the college, and even my networking teachers understand the issue , and alll the other issues on our network, and yet they're not allowed to touch anything on the college network, and have a hard time getting the college to do anything about the issues. I guess it still wouldn't hurt to put in a ticket for it.

tlsr: that hard solution is the same concept i'm thinking about, except wouldn't disabling the 2.4ghz antenna be possible somewhere through a driver (hack) or registry (hack) ?

I'm starting to think i might need to bug atheros/windows support but i doubt i'd get anywhere...i have a feeling windows would direct me to atheros, and atheros wouldn't respond lol...

Anyway i do appreciate your guys' thoughts on this. I know there's gotta be some solution out there.
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post #7 of 8
As I am looking here it almost seems that Windows isn't (or doesn't care to be) band aware. I did see an option to change the band for ad-hoc which makes me think that it has some idea wth it needs to do. It just hides it from everything else so that most users don't see it, when that is the case it is most likely in the registry, but don't ask me where to look.

Now you may be able to copy the profile to a flash drive and edit the profile while its on the flash drive then upload it again, and that may just work. I am at work atm so when I get home I might give this idea a go.
Edited by tlsr - 9/19/13 at 6:49pm
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post #8 of 8
Ok so I checked a few wireless adapters and it looks like it is 100% the wireless adapter's job to decide which band, speed, and almost everything else. Basically if you want to specify a band either; beg, plead, and harass the atheros support team until they feel it necessary to add the feature, or find a different adapter. For some reason the Linksys AE2500 has tons of options, so if your don't mind spending $40 and having a dongle its a good option.
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