Android clients disconnecting from bridged WiFi



  • Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I wasn't sure if this fit in the wireless category since this wasn't tied specifically to pfSense WiFI.

    So I setup my pfSense box (custom built, not Netgear hardware) as the main router in my house. I have Portal WiFi routers to act as my wireless network in my house (one plugged into a OPT port on my pfSense box, and one acting as a mesh network). The topology is:
    cable modem -> pfSense -> Portal

    My wife and I both have Pixel XL devices, and they both experience periodic disconnects from the WiFi after switching to pfSense. These are the only devices I notice it on regularly, though it MIGHT be occurring on other devices. I have a friend with a Nexus 5 that was seeing it when he was at my house as well.

    My initial thought was that it might be something with the Portal routers not liking being in bridged mode or something, so I worked with the Portal support staff. They reported the following:

    Here is what we observed in the log, and I am afraid to say that we can't fix the issue on Portal side.

    • Signal strength of these devices looks OK.

    • Previously, I guessed that phone might be switching between two Portals. But this does not occurs according to logs.

    • Phones suddenly send disconnection packet to Portal and disconnected. So, Portal side does not trigger disconnection but phone side triggers disconnection.

    I unplugged the Portal routers for now and am trying out the network with my old RT-AC68U. My wife said she was still hitting the disconnect on her phone.

    Is there anything that could be happening on the pfSense side to make the phones disconnect?



  • Hmm… Dunno. I've had an Asus RT-N66U running as an AP with pfSense as the router for years. No problems with Android, or any device.

    I would be less likely to blame pfSense since there isn't much routing being done in your problematic situation. Most traffic is layer 2, so I'd suspect your WiFi devices first.

    Do you have access to any low-level 802.11 logs? Are you sure the clients are initiating the disconnect?



  • @Nullity:

    Hmm… Dunno. I've had an Asus RT-N66U running as an AP with pfSense as the router for years. No problems with Android, or any device.

    I would be less likely to blame pfSense since there isn't much routing being done in your problematic situation. Most traffic is layer 2, so I'd suspect your WiFi devices first.

    Do you have access to any low-level 802.11 logs? Are you sure the clients are initiating the disconnect?

    That is what the support people on the Portal side said. I definitely want to agree with you, it doesn't make a ton of sense that the connection would work and then disconnect on the WiFi side.

    I asked the Portal folks to send me the logs that indicated the client was performing the disconnect. I figured I'd get the ball rolling here in the hopes someone else had seen the issue.

    I am also going to do some more thorough testing this week with the WiFi to see if i have problems, I just had to setup the Portal network again so my wife could work today (the second router acts as both a mesh node and as a bridge for her desktop at home). I will probably do something like use another port on my pfSense box for a second WiFi network and connect just my phone to it.