MacOS – How to get OSX to pick the strongest wifi signal with identical SSIDs


I have a Netgear wireless router in one room, and a TP-Link powerline adaptor with wifi in another room. I'm using a 2014 MacBook Pro with Yosemite 10.10.1

Previously I had separate SSIDs for each of the wireless access points, which meant that I needed to manually change the wifi network when moving around the house.

The advice at How can I get the same SSID for multiple access points? is to set the same SSID on both wifi APs, and the laptop should automatically pick the one with the strongest signal:

Give both APs the same SSID, security type and wireless security
passphrase… A client will scan all channels looking for APs publishing the SSID it wants, and will pick whichever one suits its needs best (usually that means whichever one shows the highest signal strength).

So I set identical SSID, security and password on both wifi APs. Unfortunately, OSX Mavericks isn't automatically switching between the networks when moving around the house.

While located near the TP-Link powerline adaptor, I connect to the network, as shown by the bolded first line in the Wifi Explorer window (this is the expected behaviour as that is the strongest network):

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But when moving closer to the Netgear wifi router, Yosemite doesn't disconnect from the TP-Link access point and connect to the Netgear access point (even though that network is much stronger):

enter image description here

(I left the laptop on overnight and it hadn't changed after 12 hours, so it's not related to timing)

  • Is there anything I need to do in Mavericks to select the strongest network automatically?
  • Do I need to ensure that all properties are identical between the access points? eg Channel, Width and Mode are different – does that matter?

Edit: as per an answer at I changed:

sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/A/Resources/airport prefs joinMode=Strongest

but this has no effect when moving between rooms. I'm not sure whether that suggestion only applies to Airport products (given the name of the command).

Best Answer

  • I know this thread is old, but I'd like to leave here what solved the problem for me. You need to check if you have the same security in both access points. For example, I had one access point secured with WPA/WPA2 and another with WPA2 only. After changing both to the same, everything was fine.

    To check your access points' security, you can do this:

    • While holding the option (alt) key, click the WiFi icon in the menu bar
    • Click "Open Wireless Diagnostics…"
    • Go to "Window" > "Scan" (or press CMD-4)
    • Check if the security is the same for both your access points

    Solution source: