802.11k, 802.11r, and 802.11v

The 802.11 Working Group standards 802.11k, 802.11r, and 802.11v let clients roam more seamlessly from access point (AP) to AP within the same network.


The 802.11k standard helps devices search quickly for nearby APs that are available as roaming targets by creating an optimized list of channels. When the signal strength of the current AP weakens, your device will scan for target APs from this list.


When your device roams from one AP to another on the same network, 802.11r uses a feature called Fast Basic Service Set Transition (FT) to authenticate more quickly. FT works with both preshared key (PSK) and 802.1X authentication methods.


802.11v is a large amendment, which consists of several features, most of which were never implemented in the real world.

  • Basic Service Set (BSS) transition management - BSS transition management with Disassociation Imminent allows the network’s control layer to influence client roaming behavior by providing it the load information of nearby access points. The device takes this information into account when deciding among the possible roam targets.
  • Directed Multicast Service (DMS) - DMS optimizes multicast traffic transmission on wireless networks. The device uses this information to enhance multicast communication and preserve device battery life.
  • BSS Max Idle Service - The BSS Max Idle Service helps clients and access points efficiently decide how long to remain associated when no traffic is being transmitted. The device uses this information to preserve device battery life.
  • Disassociation Imminent - The Disassociation Imminent option sets a flag in 11v request telling the client that it needs to roam, or it will be disassociated after a certain amount of time.

When you combine 802.11k and 802.11v’s ability to speed up the search for the best target AP with FT's faster AP association, apps can perform faster and you get a better Wi-Fi experience.

802.11v BSS Transition Management Request is a suggestion (or advice) given to a client, which the client can choose to follow or ignore. To force the task of disassociating a client, turn on the disassociation-imminent function. This disassociates the client after a period if the client is not reassociated to another AP.

Most Wi-Fi network hardware vendors support 802.11k, 802.11v, and 802.11r (FT). You need to enable and configure these features on your Wi-Fi router before your network can use them. Setup varies, so check your Wi-Fi router's manual for details.