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Wireless Networks Thread, Meru APs maximum number of clients per AP? in Technical; Hi all, We have just got a new Meru wireless system across school and we were told that we'd be ...
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    rpycroft's Avatar
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    Meru APs maximum number of clients per AP?

    Hi all,

    We have just got a new Meru wireless system across school and we were told that we'd be able to get over 100 devices per AP connected no problem. We have so far managed to get it to about 20 per AP without too much trouble but any more than that seems to really struggle. The APs are the 332i model. We are working with Meru on trying to improve this but my very quick question is has anyone else got Meru gear and have you got anything like the over 100 devices per AP connected?

    Cheers all
    Richard

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    White_Fi's Avatar
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    Is this 100 on a single Radio or mixed bands across the 2.4 and 5 GHz radio?

    100 clients is quiet a lot but no impossible (though most vendors do struggle). The RF environment the APs and clients are in will have a big impact on client performance and therefore the amount of clients able to connect.
    The 5GHz is going to be pretty clean (in most cost cases) where as the 2.4GHz is likely to suffer from various 802.11 and non 802.11 interference.

    If the APs are too close then you are going to (especially with MERU) co-channel interference. When you have interference you will have corrupt packets. When the packet is corrupt or doesn't reach the client or AP there is no ACK (WiFi is CDMA/CA .. there is always an ACK)... when there is no ACK the AP and clients drop there data rate as the lower the data rate the more "reliable" the transmission will become... then end of it all is the lower the data rate the slow the wifi and longer clients needs to wait around for their AirTime... Managing the and planning for proper RF deployment is key to a well performing Wireless network especially when you want 100 clients per AP (regardless of mixed band)

    Are you using the Single Cell feature on the MERU system? Or are all the APs on different channels to one another (with some overlap)?

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    Richard
    Please contact me on mhowell@merunetworks.com or 07919057244
    The information just supplied to you is incorrect. We will help you directly
    Many thanks
    Mark

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    White_Fi's Avatar
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    I'm not sure which part is "incorrect" Mark?

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    If I were to take a punt I would say the "100 clients on one AP possible" is the closest to a generally factually incorrect statement in almost all cases for all vendors (specifically I have never ever seen anyone claim that sort of density other than xirrus with their 4+ radio APs and directional microwave horns). However as with all things the devil is in the detail, and the specifics of the local environment/use cases can change whether a broad sweeping generalisation is correct or incorrect for a given case. I think Mark might be alluding to someone overselling the product.

    However if a Meru customer is having problems with more than 20 clients per radio, from personal experience I would suggest that they have a relatively easy to solve configuration issue. For it to be AP's interfering with each other, they'd have to be very close (<10m with no walls between them and not configured for channel layering), which is far more unlikely than a straight-up configuration mistake.

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    White_Fi's Avatar
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    I'm not vendor dropping here however I have seen a little over 100 clients connected to a 7982 Ruckus Access point (On a number of sites, large school campus / events etc). Mixed clients around 45 on the 2.4GHz and 60 on the 5GHz.
    When you have an advantage over the noise and manage the RF better than others you can get pretty dense on single APs.

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    White_Fi's Avatar
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    <10m with no walls??

    Because your android device with inSSider can't see then doesn't mean the RF propagation has stopped... AP radios are a lot more sensitive

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    Pft. Channalyser Pro.

    I know that AP line of sight distance "should be" 80', and if you need to do channel layering then you should have a cluster/pair of APs about 8m apart whatever the vendor (but this requires specific configuration, again whatever the vendor). Many of my APs are substantially closer that 80', however I know(*) what all my ap's can see and how loud they are in relation to each other.

    I doubt ruckus would be happy if resellers went about promising that 100 clients on one AP in a school sized environment would work without some very broad caveats. Which I think is really the point here.


    (*)This is a fib. I have once checked as part of a previous troubleshooting exercise, and I could find out again if I needed to.

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    When we had our system installed we were told that 30 is a good "usable" maximum. Though it should cope with 50.

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    White_Fi's Avatar
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    Nice tool!

    I'm not promising 100 clients per AP (though ruckus docs do "big up" up to 500 clients per AP on the new 3x3:3 APs --- SILLY NUMBERS), I'm merely saying that 100 clients per AP is possible... I've done it many times.

    Not always going to be neat, infact most cases it will actually be quite nasty and I would never "recommend" it in an educational environment. However.. It can be done.

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    Fair enough.

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    rpycroft's Avatar
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    Hi all, thanks a lot for all your replies. I have emailed Mark Howell as he has asked here so I will get back to you when I hear a response.

    The APs are 332i model - with 3x3 antennas in. Here is the spec sheet for it. But I'm afraid there is a lot in it that I don't know how to tell whether it's going to be good enough for us to run 100 devices from 1 AP.

    Anyway. I'll try and make sure I post back here when we get further in case this helps in the future.

    Cheers
    Richard

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    rpycroft's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    Apologies for the delay on updating this thread - I just wanted to be able to get everything sorted and give everyone a full update on what has been done to resolve our issue with the 332i APs.

    OK, basically Meru have been great and have fixed all of our issues that we have been having since our new wireless system went in over the summer.

    I started by logging a call with their normal help desk and their engineer spent a good amount of time logging on remotely to our system to check everything over. However after a while it was determined that they needed to come on site to check out what was going on. 2 engineers were sent out (who were fantastic) - these guys really knew what they were doing and were willing to spend time with us gathering samples in the air to see what the issue was. They then sent these results off to the programmers who then worked out what the issue was and updated the firmware for us with a very quick custom firmware and by the next day the same engineers came back in and updated our firmware to the new version. After a couple of stumbling blocks over the last week or 2 mostly with regards to faulty or old patch cables plugging the APs in we now have a really reliable wireless system across school that I can't fault.

    We will no doubt still have issues with regards to individual laptops not performing as they should but I feel that Meru did a great job of getting us up and running reliably.

    One more thing I would definitely encourage anyone who is having trouble with Meru gear to contact them directly and be persistent. They do seem to really want to help schools out getting to the bottom of their issues but you will have to work with them to sort stuff.

    Hope this helps someone.
    Cheers
    Richard

    (PS: I in no way have any affiliation with Meru whatsoever I just think in this case, credit where credit's due! Cheers!)

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    dhoward_westexetc's Avatar
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    We have a Meru Network with AP1020i APs. We have found that each of these APs can handle 30 clients perfectly successfully with little speed loss. We have roughly 1 AP per two rooms so, at most, 30 laptops will be connected per AP anyway. We are using Single Cell mode.

    We had ours installed over October Half Term, and are delighted with how it is working. I think we had the latest firmware installed on the APs which fixed some capacity issues, so I gather.

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    Hi dhoward.
    Would you mind sending me your full contact details.
    One of the team are in your area shortly and I'd like them to pop in
    Many thanks
    Mark Howell
    Area director
    Meru networks
    mhowell@merunetworks.com
    07919057244

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