Looking into updating our wireless system. it's 7 years old and running on 3com.
If we couldn't afford to replace it all at once, would it work to run 2 systems using the same SSID. Not 2 lots of aps in the same places, we'd gradually replace old APs with new ones. I'm theorizing the laptops wouldn't care which system they were connected to.
It occurs to me this is a bit like that BT openzone which is created by the same ssid running on various different devices.
so would it work the same?
I run several different versions of APs at home (big stone walls in an converted farm/barn, it's needed) and it all works great across them. I use the same SSID and security settings and, as you theorised, the devices couldn't give a monkeys.
In fact, before I got around to updating some of the access points at school, I was running a mixed bag of things using RADIUS to provide the security, and it all functioned swimmingly.
So, it should be the same for you. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be.
Would have to run the same security key on both...although what happens of one system is wep and the other wpa2...?
The issue you get then is that they (or you) would have to input the code for both. It would then default to the strongest signal from the access points. You should have the option to be able to 'downgrade' the security on the newer devices to match in with the older ones. I tend to run a WPA/WPA2 setup so that they can take their pick depending on the support from the connecting device, but WEP and WPA are different types of authentication methods from my understanding, so I doubt it would work as smoothly.
Have you looked at implementing a RADIUS system at the school? As that way you could have several sets of security information, but as they would be authenticated using username/password for the school domain, it seems to work a little better. There is sometimes the requirement to manually pick an SSID from a list to get it to connect, but generally, it works quite nicely.