Skip to Main Content
WiFi clients must associate to a specific Access Point (AP) to communicate over the Internet. Current association methods are based on maximum Received Signal Strength Index (RSSI) implying that a client associates to the strongest AP around it. This is a simple scheme that has performed well in purely distributed settings. Modern wireless networks, however, are increasingly being connected by a wired backbone. The backbone allows for out-of-band communication among APs, opening up opportunities for improved protocol design. This paper takes advantage of this opportunity through a coordinated client association scheme where APs consider a global view of the network, and decide on the optimal client-AP association. We show that such an association outperforms RSSI based schemes in several scenarios, while remaining practical and scalable for wide-scale deployment. We also show that optimal association is a NP-Hard problem and our max-flow based heuristic is a promising solution.