Probably a stupid additional SSID question

  • I'm a bit confused as to the value of adding additional SSIDs. I have a Gamer's edition, with around 45 devices connected. Streaming TVs, gaming consoles, laptops, iPads, iPhones, and a growing number of IP based smart home devices. Everything with the exception of the smart home devices typically connect at 5ghz. Wireless is OK but seems more inconsistent / slower as I've added more smart home devices. I currently do not have any additional SSIDs turned on and have very little wifi interference from my neighbors and have the channels set to avoid what little there is.

    My question is "what's the real value in adding additional SSIDs?" Aside from giving some better info for troubleshooting and organizing devices? If I set up separate 5ghz and 2.4ghz SSIDs, and put the smart home devices to the 2.4ghz SSID, will I see any performance or stability improvement? The benefit just isn't clear to me.

  • Hi @Joe-Keslar - it's primarily for compatibility as some client devices do not work well with mesh technology, especially if they are 2.4 GHz only and your mesh is using Band Steering trying to convince them to connect at 5 GHz

    You are also able to create unique Additional SSID's per mesh point, so if you have fixed clients that do not roam (i.e. TV, WiFi speaker, light bulb, etc) you can create a dedicated SSID for those devices on a specific mesh point of your choosing and band to connect to...and if they only know that SSID, they won't be trying to connect to the primary SSID or a mesh point at some other location

  • Thanks Derek. I do use band steering, but not router steering. So in theory, if I peg those non-roaming smart home clients to a specific access point at the right frequency, that should reduce some unnecessary network traffic? A 2.4ghz light switch on the "kids" side of the house pegged to the "kids" meshpoint at 2.4ghz won't try to roam, won't try to band steer and thus cut down on network chatter? That makes sense.

  • Hi @Joe-Keslar - that's the idea, but you won't know if it makes a true difference until you test it out

    It's more for the scenario, "my kid's 2.4 GHz light switch keeps disconnecting and attaching to the main router on the other side of the house instead of the the mesh point right next to his room!"... so one solution is to create an Additional 2.4 GHz SSID on that mesh point and connect to it instead of the primary SSID

  • I have tried many other mesh systems where you can not create separate SSID’s. Their selling point for common SSID’s is it create a wider range Wi-Fi network as the devices can smartly and automatically choose the better signal band to connect to. Problem with that is roaming devices (iPhone/laptops) will choose 2.4 ghz if has better signal strength but on 2.4, speed is really compromised. You will still get much better speed on 5 ghz even if it has a lower signal strength than 2.4 at any location in a house. And a well placed mesh system should be able to blanket your home with the 5 ghz band. Also, with a common SSID, I could be sitting on top of an mesh access point and a device would still connect to the main router or different mesh point across the house on a different floor level. So, having separate SSID for the 2.4 and 5ghz band allow me to force my devices to stay on the 5 ghz band regardless of signal strength. Having separate SSID for each access point allow me to force all stationary devices to stay on the nearest access point and on the optimal band. Having the additional Wi-Fi 5 ghz band allow me to separate my Wi-Fi 4/5 devices (tv, Amps, Apple TV , etc) from the Wi-Fi 6 band to optimize Wi-Fi 6 devices performance. It allow me to spread out my devices and avoid congesting any particular band. And I did have one device ( pioneer amp) that did not play nice on the Wi-Fi 6 5 ghz band. It has been solid since I placed it on the Wi-Fi 5 5ghz band. And lastly, my Ring doorbell works much better on a separate guest network. So, this flexibility of different SSID’s creates a much better functioning mesh system for me. I had concerns that all these SSID’s/beacons would diminish my network performance but amplify support reassured me that it wouldn’t and my numerous Speedtesting confirms it. Hope this helps.

  • @tonytrung - "I had concerns that all these SSID’s/beacons would diminish my network performance..."

    That was my concern as well, but sounds like it's a non-issue. Looks like I have nothing to lose other than time spent to re-configure, so I'll give this a go and see what happens.

    Thanks for the reply!

  • Late to the thread here, but just found this in searching for solutions to some of my issues. Like OP, I have several devices of varying wifi connection capabilities, most in fixed locations and a handful of roaming mobile devices. I have Alien router and 1 mesh point backhauled and one SSID with everything set to automatic, including channels and band steering. My two issues have been with my collection of Belkin Wemo switches and outlets randomly disconnecting from the network, and my Sonos app on mobile devices loosing connection to the Sonos system randomly on some devices but not the others (Sonos system will keep playing even though the app cannot find it). PCs/Macs/printers/Apple devices, LG TVs and appliances are generally rock solid 24/7. Clarifying question - What should troubleshooting steps look like and in what order? Start first with channel selection on 2.4 band to get off high-traffic channels? Turn off band steering next? Or go directly to nuclear option of multiple SSIDs and networks for the router (in basement on one end of the house) and mesh point (on second floor on opposite end of the house)? If the latter, do I need to then set up each device all over again one-by-one on a selected SSID/mesh point?

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  • @Basementman

    I should have come back long ago and added what actually worked for me. After messing around with all of the configurations and trying to troubleshoot with a single SSID, I ended up doing the 'nuclear option' and set up an additional 2ghz only SSID on my routers and my meshpoints. I have 2 Amplifi HD routers (one in bridge mode) and 2 meshpoints. When I set up the additional 2Ghz only SSID, I added "-2G" in the name so I could then pin my 2Ghz devices to that SSID. I then changed each of my IOT and 2Ghz only devices to connect to the 2Ghz only SSID. That process did take some time, but in the end, it seems to have helped with overall performance, and certainly helped with the stability of the 2Ghz devices.

    In terms of other configurations, I have band steering on and router steering off. I have one area in the house that gets really poor coverage so leave the band steering on. I could add another wired backhaul router to solve that and then could probably turn the band steering off, but just haven't done it yet.

    Hope that helps...

  • Thanks, yes, that makes sense. Did you leave the new 2Ghz "-2G" SSID in automatic channel mode or did you pick a specific channel to broadcast on?

  • @Basementman

    I use a Wi-Fi analyzer tool (free from Amped Wireless) on a laptop where I can walk around the house and check signal strength and check on channel overlap with my neighbors. I manually set my channels for quite a while, but for the last year, have just been using the automatic setting, and it's been fine for me. One thing that I found was causing me problems was my Phillips Hue hub. The channel of that Hue hub was overlapping with my Wi-Fi, and to correct that I manually set the channel on the Hue Hub to reduce that overlap. If you happen to use Hue and/or use any other Zigbee hub, you may want to take a look and adjust accordingly. If you do a Google search on "Zigbee Wi-Fi overlap", you can find info about which channels have some overlap.

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