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Suppose I am in an area with a lot of Wireless AP's for a particular SSID.

If I run the command

sudo iw dev wlan0 connect <ESSID>

How does iw decide which AP to connect to? It does not seem to be based on signal strength, since the one it connects to is not the one with the best signal strength.

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Do you have Ad-Hoc networks in mind? See: link – user55518 Jan 11 '14 at 1:07
No, just a normal network with multiple access points. – merlin2011 Jan 11 '14 at 2:16
I suspect this is hardware coded. – user55518 Jan 11 '14 at 9:29
up vote 2 down vote accepted

First Responder, but this happens at the hardware/firmware level and is not strictly a function of iw.

There's no standard that I am aware of, just common practice. Most things network default to first responder, So most firmware follows suit. Typical firmware can not be tuned, but I have seen a very few that can be. usually in diagnostic or very high end cards. Most (even high end) just go with the de facto first responder. You can however use the mac or BSSID to connect to a specific AP if that is your goal. Most any card will support that. Keep in mind ESSID is for "entire networks" (groups of BSSIDs) so you should be able to float around APs that make up that ESS w/ out intervention (in theory).

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