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Learning Network Manager Thread, Netbook are close to being chucked out the window in Technical; Right, another wireless one....i just need confirmation! We have got a trolley of 20 netbooks which are lovely little machines, ...
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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Angry Netbook are close to being chucked out the window

    Right, another wireless one....i just need confirmation!

    We have got a trolley of 20 netbooks which are lovely little machines, but just have all sort of problems trying to connect wirelessly. The most ive had on at once is 15. Today there is a classroom with 9 out what keep jumping on and off the network. Ive had enough cus i warned them that our wireless cant handle them but i didnt get listened too!

    So, am i right to be blaming the wireless?! or is it something that i havent taken into consideration? I've stuck some cheap as chips dlink AP in but i dont think its made the slightest bit of difference...a lie, most will connect. Will Ruckus end my problems? I dont want to start asking the head for more money if its not going to make a difference...

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little-Miss View Post
    Right, another wireless one....i just need confirmation!

    We have got a trolley of 20 netbooks which are lovely little machines, but just have all sort of problems trying to connect wirelessly. The most ive had on at once is 15. Today there is a classroom with 9 out what keep jumping on and off the network. Ive had enough cus i warned them that our wireless cant handle them but i didnt get listened too!

    So, am i right to be blaming the wireless?! or is it something that i havent taken into consideration? I've stuck some cheap as chips dlink AP in but i dont think its made the slightest bit of difference...a lie, most will connect. Will Ruckus end my problems? I dont want to start asking the head for more money if its not going to make a difference...
    are these Acer netbooks by anychance little-miss ?

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    nah, they're Toshiba N200's....

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little-Miss View Post
    nah, they're Toshiba N200's....
    how about getting a Ruckus Eval unit out to you and then you can show the powers at be the solution working,

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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    Wireless networking with loads of laptops is notoriously troublesome, I know quite a few schools that have issues. We currently have about 12 operating on a Ruckus unit and they seem ok.

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    Are you confident with your current wireless set up?
    Do you know for sure that neigbouring access points are not interfering with eachother (i.e. APs must be configured using channels 1, 6 and 11 - allowing those channels to overlap eachother, but no others etc?)

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    Most wireless ap only allow 10 profiles/laptops on at once,try another ap and devide the allocation of the laptops to each one by spreading the load,use mac filtering to stop other laptops using the network

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    There are lots of issues with wireless. When you connect many to a single AP, you effectively get 54Mbps/Number of laptops - overhead.

    So, 10 laptops would result in them each getting less than 5.4Mbps connectivity - most likely around half that due to overhead and wireless access collisions. You are bound to get issues.

    The best solution is a managed wireless system which can manage those connections more efficiently - handling off connections to further away, lower strength signal providing, wireless access points. Overall, this will increase connection speed dramatically.

    I'd say get a demo kit in and see it in action.

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    plexer's Avatar
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  10. 2 Thanks to plexer:

    accura2000 (5th July 2010), diggory (13th January 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    There are lots of issues with wireless. When you connect many to a single AP, you effectively get 54Mbps/Number of laptops - overhead.

    So, 10 laptops would result in them each getting less than 5.4Mbps connectivity - most likely around half that due to overhead and wireless access collisions. You are bound to get issues.

    The best solution is a managed wireless system which can manage those connections more efficiently - handling off connections to further away, lower strength signal providing, wireless access points. Overall, this will increase connection speed dramatically.

    I'd say get a demo kit in and see it in action.
    I'd agree with that.
    I switched to using Meru wireless points to get more wireless points installed.

    Adding extra wireless point may help - you might need to manually load balance the laptops if they are used only in one place (ie. setup different SIDs and configure half to access one SID etc etc..)
    If you need to roam, then it might be more tricky without a managed wireless sytem.

    Managed wireless systems work well, but even they have there limits when comes to many laptops in on room. We got ok results until about 24 laptops in one room. Then again if we had better WLAN cards we might do better.

    Also some wireless cards in the laptops themselves don't do any favours. We have Intel 2200's and they don't allow adjustments like reducing the fragmentation threshold - which can reduce the number of wireless collisions by using small wireless packets.

    Another trick you can try is if you have laptops that do 802.11a - you can have half your laptops using that and half using 802.11g.

    About 12 laptops seems to be when you get severe bottlenecks on one AP.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diggory View Post
    Managed wireless systems work well, but even they have there limits when comes to many laptops in on room. We got ok results until about 24 laptops in one room. Then again if we had better WLAN cards we might do better.
    If you're using Meru, the solution to that is to add more AP's isn't it? As it uses a channel blanket system. So if the load on the system as it is set now is too high, more AP's will solve that.

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    its also worth checking the settings on the wireless cards that they cant talk to adhoc networks ie each other

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    Am based in a secondary and started getting ludicrous requests for laptops, so much so that called a halt and rejigged the network adding that into the overall bill. Now no longer running the network, but I had need of class numbers (28-30) on an AP. Only way we could reliably do this was by introducing a/b/g radios in teaching areas, (colubris (might have spelt wrong) ) and buying laptops that had good a radios in them.

    Laptops are not perfect but dont seem to drop off so much once logged on. Other kit, like staff laptops can use b/g without any problems too.

    Just seen a few Ruckus devices around which I guess the current NM is using in places that I didn't have installed. Had difficult conversations about the laptops not working on the old APs (cheap- domestic..) "why dont they just work...".

    Had to explain that APs do not like having so many devices on them. Most departments here have a bank of laptops and are zoned so try not to have them roving the school. It cost a lot to do all this, and some places have reverted to having banks of flexible use computers - less time lost in a lesson.

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    We have a pretty awesome system that allows 25/32 laptops on at a time.

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    We are in the process of buying 20 netbooks to be used from a storage/charging trolley. Could anyone tell me roughly how much a ruckus system for the trolley and 20 netbooks would cost. We are going to try a couple/three of bog standard AP's with MAC filtering and adhoc disabled at first but I need a fallback plan if they don't work efficiently.
    Last edited by jsnetman; 2nd July 2010 at 07:26 AM.



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