+ Post New Thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12
Wireless Networks Thread, Investigating Managed Wireless - any advice? in Technical; We've had a long-term aspiration to get managed wireless and we're at the stage where it may be realistic, pending ...
  1. #1
    dgsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Merseyside, England
    Posts
    1,101
    Thank Post
    118
    Thanked 90 Times in 78 Posts
    Rep Power
    36

    Investigating Managed Wireless - any advice?

    We've had a long-term aspiration to get managed wireless and we're at the stage where it may be realistic, pending securing of funding. Currently we just have standard resistantial-type access points dotted around the place, some close together that cause overlaps (despite our best efforts configuring appropriate channels) and some that drop frequently.

    I imagine we'll have to put a case forward and wondered how others who have previously been in a similar position have gone about this?

    Also when actually setting up the network, have you found you don't need as many APs and/or that reliability has vastly improved?

    We have approx 20 APs at the moment but hope we could reduce that by at least 25%, however our knowledge of how managed wireless works or indeed how many clients each can handle/coverage is fairly limited.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Woking
    Posts
    94
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts
    Rep Power
    12
    In modern networks, wireless is no longer just about coverage. Of course coverage is important but you must also consider capacity. Think about what you need the wireless network to do. How many users does it need to support in each location? what will those users be doing? bandwidth requirements? Do you need site wide seamless coverage and roaming.

    The latest 802.11n access points will provide up to 450Mbps per radio, but will your client population support this? The majority of mobile devices are only capable of 65Mbps.

    Investigate the technology - Cisco, Aruba, Aerohive, Rukus, Juniper, Meru, Unifi - most vendors will be happy to give you some demo kit.

  3. Thanks to paulfinlay from:

    dgsmith (13th November 2012)

  4. #3
    Ergo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Nottingham
    Posts
    111
    Thank Post
    16
    Thanked 26 Times in 25 Posts
    Rep Power
    8
    As with all projects it is important to set your goals at the beginning. Think about what the purpose of the wireless coverage is. Are you looking for blanket coverage for a small number of devices but only for low bandwidth (internet) access? Do you expect to have whole classes of school devices in small areas (one classroom) who will be logging on with network profiles all at the same time? Are you looking to implement BYOD and do you need to look at the security and support of your network?

    There are many varied options for why you may want a wireless network and deciding what they are before you look at specific technologies, brands or testing is important to allow you to fairly evaluate the products against your needs. Remember how you as a school decide to use wireless devices may not be the same as the school down the road.

    Issues to consider with Wireless:
    1. Coverage - just classrooms, corridors (for VoIP?), outside areas?
    2. Density - how many devices in a given area at the same time?
    3. Access - Personal devices, school devices, guests, students?
    4. Security - how will you ensure only the correct users/machines are accessing the appropriate resources?
    5. Support - how will you deal with the potentially increased support requirement (eg. BYOD accessing network & resources)?
    6. Future plans - what may change in 1/2/3/5 years? Will the system develop and grow with you as a school?

    Hope that helps

    Dave

  5. Thanks to Ergo from:

    dgsmith (13th November 2012)

  6. #4
    dgsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Merseyside, England
    Posts
    1,101
    Thank Post
    118
    Thanked 90 Times in 78 Posts
    Rep Power
    36
    Thanks for the advice last month - we've had a survey done which suggests our current unmamaged arrangement coverage is reasonable ok, it is just the configuration of it and throughput that we'd notice improvements in.

    As we haven't yet got a layer 3 switch, we can't do VLANs for guest access though it was suggested we could create a guest SSID which would essentially do the same thing, perhaps just slightly not as secure. Would it definately be worth only considering a guest VLAN if we wanted to go down that route?

  7. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    914
    Thank Post
    98
    Thanked 184 Times in 159 Posts
    Rep Power
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    Thanks for the advice last month - we've had a survey done which suggests our current unmamaged arrangement coverage is reasonable ok, it is just the configuration of it and throughput that we'd notice improvements in.

    As we haven't yet got a layer 3 switch, we can't do VLANs for guest access though it was suggested we could create a guest SSID which would essentially do the same thing, perhaps just slightly not as secure. Would it definately be worth only considering a guest VLAN if we wanted to go down that route?
    At least you dont have the hassle of tagging all the switches with the VLAN information, it'll save you some time / money depending how you would have the install done. A flat network will just be plug and play more or less (once the controller is setup).

    It doesnt hurt to demo stuff, we had some demo kit of Ruckus and we had Meru demo to us (long story why we didnt get their kit in to demo ourselves).

    Ended up with a Ruckus solution and, compared to our old Netgear managed wireless it flies.

  8. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Woking
    Posts
    94
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts
    Rep Power
    12
    You don't necessarily require VLANs. Most enterprise wireless systems will let you tunnel guest traffic securely through the network and dump it out of a port on the controller. This port can then be connected to a separate firewall interface or perhaps an ADSL connection used solely for guest internet.

  9. #7
    dgsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Merseyside, England
    Posts
    1,101
    Thank Post
    118
    Thanked 90 Times in 78 Posts
    Rep Power
    36
    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    Ended up with a Ruckus solution and, compared to our old Netgear managed wireless it flies.
    Out of interest, why do you think the ruckus works much better than netgear? Our belief was that wireless is just that and varying vendors essentially should provide the same type of access point hardware and that it'd mostly just be the controller that varies. As two of those we're shortlisting fall within your comment above it'd be interesting to hear what made you ditch one and go with the other in the first place?

  10. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    914
    Thank Post
    98
    Thanked 184 Times in 159 Posts
    Rep Power
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    Out of interest, why do you think the ruckus works much better than netgear? Our belief was that wireless is just that and varying vendors essentially should provide the same type of access point hardware and that it'd mostly just be the controller that varies. As two of those we're shortlisting fall within your comment above it'd be interesting to hear what made you ditch one and go with the other in the first place?
    We get better throughput and its more reliable.

    Granted, the Ruckus is N the Netgear wasn't which might have had an impact!

    The Ruckus AP's a better quality and I suppose to some extent you get what you pay for (the Ruckus solution was probably 4 times more than our Netgear solution was 3 years ago). We also got a 3000 Ruckus controller and it's a much more powerful box than our old Netgear one.

  11. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Woking
    Posts
    94
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts
    Rep Power
    12
    Most vendors use the same chipsets, but they all run bespoke software on top of this - so performance and features vary considerably.

  12. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Kendal
    Posts
    1,555
    Thank Post
    111
    Thanked 177 Times in 144 Posts
    Rep Power
    71
    We had a Meru system installed by Virtue Technologies in summer and it is fantastic. I can highly recommend the kit and the installer.

  13. #11

    john's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    10,498
    Thank Post
    1,488
    Thanked 1,049 Times in 918 Posts
    Rep Power
    301
    The Ruckus hardware has very clever antennae technology (as well as others such as beam-forming) which is key to the success of the product compared to its competitors

  14. 3 Thanks to john:

    Aggy (16th November 2012), CPLTD (14th November 2012), TheScarfedOne (13th November 2012)

  15. #12

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    39
    Thank Post
    3
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts
    Rep Power
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    The Ruckus hardware has very clever antennae technology (as well as others such as beam-forming) which is key to the success of the product compared to its competitors
    A few years back we replaced our shocking Cisco system with Ruckus and it was fantastic. 100% uptime over the years and 1 Ruckus AP provided the coverage of 3-4 Cisco. The beam forming works a treat and we used to have 40+ clients on one AP without any problems. This was B/G only. We had a new system installed under BSF which so far is a croc.

    Ruckus all the way for me - it just works and is standards based.

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Managed Wireless System Advice and Support
    By stevo1565 in forum Hardware
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 2nd February 2010, 08:29 PM
  2. Wireless Repeaters - any advice
    By flashsnaps in forum Hardware
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17th September 2008, 01:25 PM
  3. Managed Wireless Network
    By RobFuller in forum Wireless Networks
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 1st April 2008, 08:38 AM
  4. wireless printer advice
    By bishopsgarthstockton in forum Wireless Networks
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 1st October 2007, 06:04 AM
  5. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 30th November 2006, 06:57 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •