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I have two Cisco Aironet 1141 access points covering an office; the access points are configured identically (each of them with two SIDs) and are fully working; they are standalone access points, not centrally managed ones.

When a client devices moves between them, there is no automatic handover of the connection. It needs to be re-established again.

How can I achieve client roaming between the two access points?
Can this be achieved without a central management server/controller?

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Are your APs on different subnets? – hwilbanks Jun 14 '12 at 21:00
They use VLANs for client access, but their management IP addresses are on the same VLAN and subnet. – Massimo Jun 14 '12 at 21:14
If the clients are changing subnets when they change APs that could be an issue. I seem to recall that Cisco has a solution for that, but I haven't had a chance to try it myself. – hwilbanks Jun 14 '12 at 22:53
They are not changing subnet. I was meaning there are two SSIDs configured on each AP, and each SSID is mapped to a different VLAN. But when a client connects to the same SSID on a different AP, the subnet is the same. – Massimo Jun 15 '12 at 6:03

Client roaming should work just fine... in theory. Just double-check and make sure the SSIDs, passwords, and authentication types are identical on each AP. Is the issue occuring on all clients, or have you only tested one so far? Perhaps that client needs updated network drivers.

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Everything is fine, the configuration of the two APs is a cut&paste with changed IP addresses and hostnames only. When the connection drops and the device gets in range of the second access points, it doesn't get re-established. If it is re-established manually, it connects finely (with the same authentication it was using before). Tested with notebooks and iPhones. – Massimo Jun 14 '12 at 20:37
Does their range overlap partially? You need to have a bit of overlap in order for roaming to be successful. – Bigbio2002 Jun 14 '12 at 21:31
It should (they are not far away). How can I check? – Massimo Jun 14 '12 at 21:42
Get a tool such as inSSIDer that will tell you all nearby detected access points. You should see entries and info for each SSID on each access point, and you can use that to determine whether they overlap. – Bigbio2002 Jun 14 '12 at 21:51

You've asked "without using a controller" so you know the easiest solution is to get a controller which caches keys and migrates clients seamlessly between AP's. Without a controller, look into deploying a CCKM capable client and WDS on your AP's to enable fast roaming.

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