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Wireless Networks Thread, Can someone advise on a quality classroom based wireless router for a decent price? in Technical; Hi All So I have two classes (about 40 laptops) running windows 7 in a domain environment (windows server 2008 ...
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    Can someone advise on a quality classroom based wireless router for a decent price?

    Hi All

    So I have two classes (about 40 laptops) running windows 7 in a domain environment (windows server 2008 r2) which require wireless access in order log on and do work, currently they are connecting to the server via two basic (home use) type wireless routers both running wrt software, but users are finding log on times to be unbearably slow as well as other related issues,

    Can anyone advise on a specialized router that can easily handle this amount of users but wont cost me through the roof?

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated,

    Thanks

    Ben

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    *Moved to correct forum*
    Hi, and welcome to EduGeek.
    I think you need to have a bit of a culture change here when it comes to wireless networking. There is now a very big difference between home and 'industry' grade wireless networking, and given the speed, reliability and throughput you now require you are firmly in the 'industry' camp when it comes to your requirements I think.
    That said, I think it best left to our members to recommend a solution to you (them being at the sharp end and that), but I know that there are solutions that won't cost as much as you think.
    If you could let us know a little background information first about your network such as do you have any servers the laptops logon to? What speed is your LAN? Do you have lots of network points in your classrooms etc. it would be helpful.

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    mac_shinobi (22nd October 2013)

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    UniFi - http://www.ubnt.com/unifi

    Ruckus - Which @Net-Ctrl or @CPLTD can assist with pricing

    Also @neilmac can assist with WiFi before choosing a vendor as a WiFi survey etc may need to be carried out whether you can do this yourself using specific utilities to save money or paying a professional to do this etc

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    Net-Ctrl (22nd October 2013)

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    Thanks for the replies guys

    The laptops logon to a server which is dedicated to student use, this same server also provides logon access to 30desktop pc's in a computer lab all of whom are hard wired into the network these are a whole lot quicker than the laptops when loggin on.

    The server is an ibm server, intel Xeon 1.86 cpu with 4 gig ram.

    The network is Cat 5 speed and is wired directely into the two classrooms from the network sockets in the classroom I have connected a linskys router loaded with wrt and in the other classroom is a D-Link router (dir-300) also with wrt providing additional wifi access,

    There are several more network points for more access points if required.

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    free780's Avatar
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    In the first instance you want access points not routers. You really need a managed solution suck as ruckus. Are the laptops using g or n?

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    I can't imagine that a full managed system would be a worthy bet with 2 classrooms. Unifi will probably be a better starting point, cost per point isn't much more than consumer grade access points (or indeed routers). You can get a 3 pack with a good deal, which would seem like a good idea - one for each classroom, one inbetween perhaps (depending on physical location obviously) to help take up slack.
    Fully managed systems are wonderful but can't envisage anyone spending a few thousand to hook up 2 classes!

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    mac_shinobi (22nd October 2013)

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    Based on your requirements a 'proof of concept' for two locations only your best bet (and it is a gamble) would be a couple an Airport Extreme properly configured for 802.1x THis is not a scalable solution, but should prove wireless is a viable technology for your. site

    However slow logons are ususally caused by roaming profiles, and if you don't have those tightly managed no wireless network can cope. If you are roaming, my quick tips are to exclude the largest of the subfolders of AppData, don't roam Cookies, don't redirect AppData, do redirect (not roam) all the other user folders. Also try to avoid running applications from network shares/drives.

    I would recommend that you spend some quality time with xperf and procmon to thoroughly analyse what is going on in windows at logon/boot, and work to minimise the network traffic.

    When you want to start to scale out, you will (depending on the size of your site) want to engage with a wireless specialist to plan things out properly. For a very small site a few more Airport Extremes should be sufficient.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    I can't imagine that a full managed system would be a worthy bet with 2 classrooms. Unifi will probably be a better starting point, cost per point isn't much more than consumer grade access points (or indeed routers). You can get a 3 pack with a good deal, which would seem like a good idea - one for each classroom, one inbetween perhaps (depending on physical location obviously) to help take up slack.
    Fully managed systems are wonderful but can't envisage anyone spending a few thousand to hook up 2 classes!
    I was thinking that but was wondering if they could do a zone director with 2 AP's but like you say ref unifi for cost etc

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    Net-Ctrl's Avatar
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    If you are only looking to cover two classrooms and wanted to go down a Ruckus route you would be able to buy two standalone Ruckus units. If you were also thinking about site wide wireless for your school in the UK we currently have some special priced bundles for education. For example you can get an 1112 ZoneDirector which supports up to 12 access points with 6 x 7372 access points, which are some of the latest to hit the market from Ruckus and 5 years support all for 2,694.

    However, i'm not 100% sure if that offer is available in Oz. If it's not i apologise for dangling a carrot

    If it was something you were interested in I will speak to Ruckus to find out if it is available to you and also for some supplier contacts in your area that would be able to help.

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    mac_shinobi (22nd October 2013)

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    The current setup uses wireless G only,

    Mind my ignorance but why would airport extreme(I actually have never used it before) do a better job than any home wireless router,

    Someone mentioned I need AP's not routers but my wireless routers are acting as AP's or is this part of the problem?

    I'm having a good look at Unify, so am I correct to assume that an AP from unifi is designed to handle far more wireless traffic than a basic wireless router?

    I will definitely do some diagnostics to acertain as to where the slow logon is taking place,

    Thanks again for the great tips!

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    First of all, you should learn a bit about wifi and how it works. In your classroom, only one device can talk at any one time, so it's not about how many simultaneous users you have. Access points can allow many devives to associate, that's not the problem. The issue is throughput vs capacity vs what's available.

    You have to get a dual-band solution in place and get as many devices as possible using the highest data rates possible.

    For a quick solution, go for the latest ruckus AP's - you can get 2 which will work as standalone, you don't need a controller. (we can debate the different vendor choices, but that's my first thought based on your description of needs). An immediate swap out will provide benefits.

    By using 802.11n, you will get a lot of benefits even if your stations are G only, however you must look to upgrade the stations to n as soon as possible and dual band (5 GHZ capable).

    What you have now is exactly as you describe, a cheap solution that was never intended for what you are using it for, so you should not be surprised it doesn't work. Secondly, you have to get out of this mindset that you can solve this for no money. Decent Wi-Fi equipment is an essential spend, you should not be expected to fight for a solution that works when you are trying to provide education.

    NM

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    mac_shinobi (22nd October 2013)

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    thanks again guys

    Neilmac, so which Ruckus AP model did you have in mind? and you are correct I do need to increase my knowledge surrounding wireless so I will be thoroughly examining wireless before making any decision,

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    mac_shinobi (22nd October 2013)

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    It doesn't take a lot to learn the basics of WiFi, and there are courses out there that are designed for people in your position (ie CWNP - CWNP | Certifications - look for CWTS, Certified Wireless Technology Specialist). You should understand WiFi enough to be making the kind of decisions you have to make.

    For access points, check out Indoor Dual or Single-band 2x2:2 802.11n AP (ZoneFlex 7372 & 7352) | Ruckus Wireless, but do also look at other suggestions from other members here.

    NM

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    Just out of interest, but I assume you have your "WiFi routers" uplinked into a 100mbit port? if so ALL your Wifi clients are getting each is a proportional share of that (e.g. 10 clients would only get 10mbit each) Your WiFi router or Access Point) will need a gigabit connection at least to be able to cope with this many clients.

    I actually have 55 x HP MSM422 dual band AP's that are going spare (and a controller but that needs a 5400 Procurve chassis) you can have a couple for the postage...Oh, and you'll also need POE (Power over Ethernet) switch or a Midspan power injector as these work with POE (I have no mains adapters)

    Steve

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    It wouldn't matter as the total bandwidth available via the WiFi is only 54 Mbps, so 10 devices would end up with about 2 Mbps each on the wifi side, assuming all can modulate at 54 Mbps. The reality will be less.

    The ethernet wouldn't be a bottleneck in the current set up, (though 802.11n AP's do require a gigabit port)

    The free HP access points is a generous offer, but I think in this case the OP needs to get something more modern.

    NM
    Last edited by neilmac; 22nd October 2013 at 01:22 PM.

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