Transparent wireless

Let's be honest, wireless connectivity is awesome. It's fairly easy to set up, and it basically means you can roam all over the place while on the Internet.

I have a secure wireless LAN set up at home, another one at work and even another one accessible to me at uni. In case that isn't enough, my mobile phone has a wireless broadband plan and I have a Vodafone USB modem from work for mobile broadband as well. Occasionally, if I'm sitting at my desk at work, I'll plug my laptop in just to get that little bit more speed.

It's convenient that I have so many wireless connections available to me, but it's not as convenient as it could be. And that's what technology is all about, right?

My laptop can connect to one of three WiFi networks, and they usually connect pretty transparently if they're available. I turn the computer on, it finds a known wireless network and connects. The uni connection is the only exception and that's just due to the security they've got in place. If need be, my laptop can also connect to one of two mobile broadband connections - one through my mobile phone via Bluetooth, and one via the USB modem. In these cases, I have to tell it to connect and provide the credentials every time.

Wouldn't it be good if I could just set up all of these connections once and let my laptop decide what connection it wanted to use? I'd happily provide credentials to use for each connection and I'll even order them in terms of preference.

I'm no network engineer, but I'm sure it can't be too difficult to write some software to handle all of this for me? Identify which connections are available, use the one with the highest preference, and fail-over relatively silently to an alternative if it becomes unavailable. If it becomes available again, then reconnect and start using it.

Has anyone encountered a system that can do this nicely?


Damian Brady

I'm an Australian developer, speaker, and author specialising in DevOps, MLOps, developer process, and software architecture. I love Azure DevOps, GitHub Actions, and reducing process waste.