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Wireless Networks Thread, Wireless kit in Technical; i use mimo linksys access points - reliable, sturdy, very fast throughput, easy configuration, elegant management web-based console...i tried belkin ...
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    Re: Wireless kit

    i use mimo linksys access points - reliable, sturdy, very fast throughput, easy configuration, elegant management web-based console...i tried belkin at one of my previous schools: they certainly do work 'straight out of the box', but at least three (3) of the access points 'died' within a couple of months, so i question their longevity. having said that, belkin offer lifetime warranty and shipped me out three new no quibbles, and i do know of schools who have absolutely no probs with them at all...but overall i still prefer the linksys...

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    Re: Wireless kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    Of course, I would recommend buying decent APs and wiring them in but my head was generous enough to give me a shed load of cash to buy bluesocket gear
    How have you gone about this? Are you using PEAP with Microsoft IAS for example? Are you running Windows/Linux/Netware/somethingelse at the server end? I'm interested in doing whole-site wireless at some point (and the pressure from staff will undoubtedly build over time), but I'm not willing to do it with weak (read: WEP) or no :!: security as I know a lot of schools have.

    The current wireless gear we use (only 2 consumer-level APs) is set to use WPA-PSK, but it took quite a while to iron out the wrinkles and it doesn't scale up very well because of the manual entry of passphrases.

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    Re: Wireless kit

    Whatever you do dont buy Cheap AP's. Could you be a little more specific on what you wish to achieve?

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    Re: Wireless kit

    Quote Originally Posted by sahmeepee
    The current wireless gear we use (only 2 consumer-level APs) is set to use WPA-PSK, but it took quite a while to iron out the wrinkles and it doesn't scale up very well because of the manual entry of passphrases.
    Windows XP has quite a nice utility (in Control Pannel) that copies a program onto a memory stick/disk and it will automatically setup the WPA-PSK pass phrase on the computer. I have hacked this to make it completely automatic (let me know if you want it/to know how) and included it on our automatic build CD. Or you could put it on the network so it is installed first by plugging in (although you may want to keep control over it so you can varify users have virus scan and auto updates).
    Because it 100% automated I can have a random 64 character pass phrase, which minimises risk of brute-force/dictionary attacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by tarquel
    We've [I've] mentioned it before i think, but is there any recommendations on the Wireless Access Point that can "daisychain" with other wireless access points to form a sort of wifi mesh that will enable me to use laptops wirelessly here?
    Although I've never done this, I've heard it can be bad news. Assuming the APs don't crash, every time you daisy chain you are halving your bandwidth. You may get away with it for web access but I'd forget it for ANYthing else.
    By the time you have paid an electrician to put sockets in high locations, you've probably covered the cost of a Cat-5 cable and power-over-ethernet - far neater.

    Oh, and avoid D-Link.

  5. #20

    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Wireless kit

    @sahmeepee: The best way IMHO is to use a solution with an 'access controller' which automagically configures your APs and handles the authentication by talking to AD using LDAP.

    Several options are available - Cisco, 3COM (uses Ariba technology IIRC), Ariba, Bluesocket (which I went for), HP (which is a little limited and the APs aren't much cop)...

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    Re: Wireless kit

    If you want better range/coverage you should look into the 802.11a (5.8GHz) access points. I believe Solwise sell them, but they are expensive.

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    Re: Wireless kit

    I've been looking at Cisco gear- and especially the Aironet stuff. Seems most have an outdoor range of 600-700m. That's good enough for my PE people who want to use PDA lesson monitor registration. Anyone have an idea how good they are at this kind of range? Other than that we have three new (el cheepo) D-Link APs coming in to replace ailing older D-Link APs. I don't like D-Link. They turn me off my breakfast....

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    Re: Wireless kit

    My Bluesocket APs are dual channel (A/B/G) so that should be good for a few years

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    Re: Wireless kit

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    If you want better range/coverage you should look into the 802.11a (5.8GHz) access points.
    The higher frequency means 802.11a signals have more difficulty penetrating walls and other obstructions so the range is less. There is potentially less interference. Because the frequency is different you can have a and g APs together and they wont interfere.

    The top end APs may load balance users between the two frequencies, allowing faster simultanious connections - I don't know.

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    Re: Wireless kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Solwise
    Radio waves travel in straight lines and at 2.4GHz do not penetrate obstacles very well. Some surfaces reflect the signals quite well whilst others tend to absorb them ... 5GHz wireless suffers from similar problems BUT, with better penetration and scatter, it offers considerably improved non-line-of-site (NLOS) capabilities over 2.4GHz devices.

    802.11a/5GHz radio, although costing a little more than 2.4GHz products, has much better penetration and scatter making it considerably better for indoors operation where it needs to reach remote rooms. In our opinion, 5Ghz is the future for wireless networking in buildings.
    http://solwise.co.uk/networkingwireless.htm

    5GHz In The UK [PDF]

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    Re: Wireless kit

    Webman, that's interesting - I've never heard that before. I'm no expert but I can say from my own experience that 802.11a drops out significantly sooner than b/g.
    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/802.11 :
    Since the 2.4 GHz band is heavily used, using the 5 GHz band gives 802.11a the advantage of less interference. However, this high carrier frequency also brings disadvantages. It restricts the use of 802.11a to almost line of sight, necessitating the use of more access points; it also means that 802.11a cannot penetrate as far as 802.11b since it is absorbed more readily, other things (such as power) being equal.
    and, related:
    The maximum range of 802.11g devices is slightly greater then that of 802.11b devices, but the range in which a client can achieve full (54 Mbit/s) data rate speed is much shorter than that of 802.11b.
    These sources tell the same story:
    http://compnetworking.about.com/cs/w...11standard.htm
    http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials...le.php/1009431

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    Re: Wireless kit

    I'd tend to agree with most of that eean.

    Apparently I'm not allowed to copy text from that 5GHz PDF (), but the first paragraph about scatter on page 3 explains how 11a uses scatter of that frequency to its own advantage. Of course, it all varies from building to building and it's juse the best tool for the job

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    Re: Wireless kit

    The nice thing about 11a is that it gives you more non-overlapping channels so it is possible to have a denser mesh of APs that will not interfere with each other. 11b/g only gives you 3 non overlapping channels so if you are going for blanket coverage it can be difficult to come up with a design with no dead spots and no interference. I tend to agree with Ric that the way to go is to have an access controller which manages the APs and also provides authentication services/policy management.

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    Re: Wireless kit

    My advice on wireless is to hold back a bit and wait for the 802.11n standard as this will provide better coverage and security. Of course this is easy said than done when's there manangement pressure etc.

    At our place we practically advised not to go for wireless as we already have a good wired infrastructure in place, but the management wanted it anyway, but we kepy trying to pursusade them against it.

    Even with the G standard the speed is still not that good and needs reliability. Hopefully the 802.11n standardised kit will be out by the end of this year or early next year. Most modern laptops have the mini-pci cards installed on them and i'm sure people like intel will develop the N standard wireless cards that fit into the existing laptops so there will be little cost involved but it should be worthwhile in the long run.

    Ashok.

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    Re: Wireless kit

    The Bluesocket equipemtn I have has a/b/g APs so I get the best of both worlds (although I currently have no 802.11a clients).

    Bluesocket has also released a pre-n AP with MIMO.

    All these APs are 'thin' devices and as the technology moves forwards there will be a simple upgrade path.

    @ashok: I think that you are being a little optomistic about 802.11n being ratified this year... there seems to have been a lot of set backs to date.

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