Wi-Fi infrastructure features

The Android Wi-Fi framework helps users connect to a good Wi-Fi network when networks are available and needed. Android does that in two ways:

  • Turn on Wi-Fi automatically: Re-enabling Wi-Fi when the user is near a previously saved network
  • Notify for public networks: Informing users about available good open Wi-Fi networks

The features described are implemented by AOSP code and you don't have to explicitly enable or configure them.

Turn on Wi-Fi automatically

Users may disable Wi-Fi for a variety of reasons (e.g. a connection to a bad network) and can then forget to re-enable it when arriving back home, resulting in a bad experience (e.g. not being able to control home automation devices). The Turn on Wi-Fi automatically feature, introduced in Android 9, solves this issue by automatically re-enabling Wi-Fi whenever the device is near a Wi-Fi network that is both a saved network (i.e. one which the user explicitly connected to in the past) and has a sufficiently high RSSI.

The feature can be enabled or disabled by the user using the Settings app at:

Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi preferences > Turn on Wi-Fi automatically

Turn on Wi-Fi automatically feature

Figure 1. Turn on Wi-Fi automatically feature.

Wi-Fi Scanning (for Location) must be enabled for this feature to function. If Wi-Fi Scanning is not enabled the user is prompted for permission to enable it. Wi-Fi Scanning is required because scan results are used to determine whether the device is in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi network that meets the criteria to re-enable Wi-Fi connectivity.

The feature avoids re-enabling Wi-Fi immediately after a user disables it, even if the device observes a saved Wi-Fi network of sufficient quality. For example, if the user is in the office and is connected to the office Wi-Fi (a saved network) and then disables Wi-Fi, the feature won't re-enable Wi-Fi until the user arrives at a different environment with a different saved network that meets the re-enabling criteria.

Notify for public networks

The Open network notification feature raises a notification to the user whenever:

  • Wi-Fi is enabled
  • The device is not connected to a Wi-Fi network
  • A Wi-Fi network that is both open and has a sufficiently high RSSI (the same RSSI threshold as used by the internal Wi-Fi selection algorithm) is available

The feature can be enabled or disabled by the user using the Settings app at:

Settings > Network & internet > Internet > Network preferences > Notify for public networks

Notify for public networks feature

Figure 2. Notify for public networks feature.