Question Need to split 2.4ghz and 5ghz ssid's

Apr 12, 2019
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Spectrum implemented a wi-fi network for our entire apartment complex. Spectrum is using the same SSID for both the 2.4ghz and 5ghz wi-fi networks.

I have a thermostat that can only connect to a 2.4ghz signal.

Spectrum will not broadcast unique SSID's so I need some type of device that will find/connect to the 2.4ghz signal, then rebroadcast this signal with a different SSID. I thought a NETGEAR WiFi Range Extender N300 would do this, but I couldn't seem to get it to work.
 
It should actually just work. Since the device only has a 2.4g radio it does not even know the 5g signal exists. It will request a connection on the 2.4g radio band.

Still I would never connect devices like that to a more or less public wifi system. It means everyone else on the same wifi can see each other equipment. These type of devices have a history of massive security exploits.

If you actually have the range extender I would first see if it has a option to run in client-bridge mode. This would be use to connect to a ethernet based device that does not have a wifi card. Older game consoles and some tv. Check with your pc to see if this works.

The reason extender repeater do not work is for a couple reasons. First the apartment complex must support WDS which is many times not turned on. It makes it easier to control who has access. Next only some repeaters can change the SSID. It gets very complex because of how the encryption keys work.

So the next step for you if you already have a "client-bridge" is to get a router and hook the client bridge to the wan port. You have in effect made your own repeater. In addition since you are using the WAN port of a router all your traffic will appear to come from a single mac and IP address. This solve the need for WDS on the apartment complex. It also makes your equipment much safer from attack from other people in the apartment. Since the apartment wifi network is considered internet from your routers viewpoint nothing can get in because of the NAT.

Now you might consider running the router as a AP if you really want just a repeater but you then get into the multiple mac address issues (ie WDS) and your machines are on the apartment building network.
 
Apr 12, 2019
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Thanks for the thorough response!

The Spectrum implementation does require an extra userid/password to login, so we really can't see other people's devices. There is also an option to enter a devices MAC ID since these devices have no mechanism to enter the extra userid/password.

I understand what you're saying that it should work, but it appears that many of these "smart" devices see the SSID, then they can't connect because it is the wrong frequency. I've spoken to others in the complex and they are also unable to connect their devices that are 2.4ghz only.

The extender/repeater I tried was able to change the SSID, but it may not have worked due to the WDS issue you mentioned above. I have no idea about that. I may try the client/bridge suggestion that you provided above.

Thanks for your help.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
It's probably not an issues with the 2.4 vs 5ghz networks but the fact that you said you need to enter a username and password to connect. Are those devices capable of seeing the logon page to the network?

If the device only has a 2.4gz antenna and hardware, there is no way that having a 5ghz network using the same SSID is an issue. The device won't even know there is a 5ghz network in existence. It just won't see it to be confused by it since it can't even interface with it.
 

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