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Seamless handoff support is an essential issue to ensure continuous communications in wireless mesh networks (WMNs). Due to the existence of multi-hop wireless links, traditional handoff schemes designed for single-hop wireless access networks can hardly guarantee the low handoff latency requirement in WMNs. Existing solutions on reducing the handoff delay in WMNs ignore one important factor for the long handoff delay: the channel access delay of handoff signaling packets over the multi-hop wireless mesh backbone network. Various WMN channel assignment algorithms are designed to optimize the performance of data packets, but they do not address how to resolve the contentions between data packets and handoff signaling packets. In this paper, we propose a novel channel assignment algorithm in WMNs to reduce the channel access delay of handoff signaling packets over multihop wireless links. In addition, handoff solutions under the new channel assignment scheme are proposed. OPNET simulation results show that handoff performance can be improved by our proposed handoff schemes, as compared to existing solutions.