How to prioritize networks on Android


If you’d like to prioritize the wireless networks your Android devices connect to, Jack Wallen has found just the app you need.

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Image: Jack Wallen

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I have three different networks in my home–one for work, one for home, and one as a backup. The thing is, Android isn’t always smart enough to know which wireless network I prioritize. One would think a feature like this would be baked into the Android platform. It’s not.

In order to make that work to my liking, I use an app called WiFi Prioritizer. With this free application, I can set the exact priority I need for my home network and even temporarily disable networks that I don’t want the phone to use.  

So if you’re looking for the ability to prioritize your networks in Android, this app might be just what you need.

Let’s install it and see how it works.

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What you’ll need

The only thing you’ll need is a device running Android–a phone or a tablet.

How to install WiFi Prioritizer

The installation of WiFi Prioritizer is quite simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for WiFi Prioritizer.
  3. Tap the entry by Robert Botha.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

With the app installed, locate the launcher in your App Drawer and tap it to open WiFi Prioritizer.

How to use WiFi Prioritizer

When WiFi Prioritizer opens, you should see all of the wireless networks your device has connected to (Figure A).

Figure A

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WiFi Prioritizer lists out all the networks I use.

You can disable a specific network from being prioritized by tapping its associated checkbox, so make sure to do that in order to prevent those networks from being considered.

To prioritize a network, tap and hold the drag button (the small square of dots) and locate it to where you want it in the hierarchy. For example, if you have NetworkA and it’s your top priority, drag it to the top of the list. Place all of the other networks in the order you want them used.

Make sure Enable Scheduled Job (at the top of the window) is Enabled, which allows the app to run a scheduled job to periodically scan for new networks and prioritize accordingly. 

How to configure the single strength tipping point

Within the Settings, there’s an option that allows you to set the signal strength that will trip a disconnect from a network. What this does is set a low-bar percentage that will cause the app to automatically switch to a higher priority network that has a higher signal strength. In effect, you can prioritize your networks and then set a signal strength tipping point that will make sure that your device is always connected to the network in your list that not only prioritized, but has the highest signal strength.

This feature is great when you work or live in a larger building and signal strength is an issue. 

To set the signal strength, tap the menu button in the upper-right corner of the main window and tap Settings. In the resulting window, tap Signal Strength To Connect (Figure B). 

Figure B

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Setting a Signal Strength To Connect.

Drag the handle to the percentage you want to set. By default it’s 30%, but you might want to raise that, if you want to ensure you always have a connection that has a higher signal strength. For instance, say you don’t want to be using a signal that’s less than 50%. For that, drag the handle to 50% and click OK (Figure C).

Figure C

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Setting the percentage for your Signal Strength To Connect.

That’s pretty much the gist of using WiFi Prioritizer to prioritize the wireless networks your Android device connects to. This feature should be a part of the basic Android platform–maybe someday it will be. Until then, give this app a try and see if it doesn’t help you always connect to the right wireless network.

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