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Wireless Networks Thread, Wireless - Standalone to Managed in Technical; I've got a school that currently only has 1 simple mobile AP and I want to move them on a ...
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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Wireless - Standalone to Managed

    I've got a school that currently only has 1 simple mobile AP and I want to move them on a bit to help the teachers out (over the heads perception of the need for this BTW).

    Now I could suggest my past plan of 1 50 AP/class (total 250) but I can anticipate next year that we could end up with a lot of laptops and then if they ended up with a bank of 30-40, 1 AP/class wouldn't cut it anymore and I'd be looking to redo the whole place again with a managed solution. (or adding another one/class )

    So what I'm thinking is suggesting buying a single ZoneFlex AP with leftovers of this years money that could probably handle the whole of the junior area with the current 15 laptops (inc using the old AP as well).

    (And then I'd get more and a controller if/when they buy a load of laptops)

    But - do they operate OK as standalone APs? Anyone tried one out in the mode?

    regards

    Simon

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    This is something I've yet to experiment with but I'm hearing increasingly good things about certain "semi managed wireless" solutions that sound ideal for smaller sites or people looked to start small and grow in the future.

    The one I've been made aware of is the ZyXEL NWA-3160 - similar to your standard type AP however has a wireless controller, giving you all the function of a managed system in a single AP - add more as you go along and the system can handle itself, load balancing, QoS etc.

    I'm not a networking guy by trade so I don't know how well they'll stack up against a proper centralised managed system in performance/price, but it'll be worth throwing your antenna out a bit and getting some more thoughts on it.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Got this off their site
    In controller mode the NWA-3160 is capable of managing up to 24 access points while also functioning as a wireless access point. This provides a scalable solution capable of supporting up to 200 users.
    Which seems to imply <10 users/AP

    Of course that should ensure a good through put so maybe their just being very honest and upfront in how we should use APs

    Netgear so a good value managed setup as well but others have reported here in the past that the APs would struggle to cope with 30 clients and I'm thinking I'm going to need systems to handle 40 in one class with 10/20 others in simultaneous use around the rest of the school.

    regards

    Simon

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    glennda's Avatar
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    There is a school near me that use the Xirrus systems, from what i have heard it is very good kit, and you could do (depending on size of school) whole building on maybe one/two access points which have multiple inputs to increase the link from switching to ap ( i think they are either 4 or 8) so up to 8gb connection.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    that doesn't seem quite right to me, SimpleSi - I'd hope that's either badly worded or those would best be avoided even the cheapo D-Link AP7100's in use in many places will run 16-20 clients without batting an eyelid :/

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    chrbb's Avatar
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    Have I misread the bit about one AP per class? If I have ignore my comments! If you have a bank of 30 laptops and one class is using them, won't the laptops connect using the other APs in the vicinity? Unless of course you are having 30 laptops for each class.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Have I misread the bit about one AP per class?
    Which bit where?

    If you have a bank of 30 laptops and one class is using them, won't the laptops connect using the other APs in the vicinity? Unless of course you are having 30 laptops for each class.
    I'm looking ahead to days ahead (hopefully next year) when a most schools have a bank of 30-40 laptops in one class at a time (with another 10 or so scattered around the school - teacher/SEN ones ).

    With unmanaged 1 AP/class you've no control (apart from kludgy MAC address controlled access/2 SSIDs schemes that would be even more unmanaged ) as to which laptops connect to which AP - they could all try and connect to the strongest one that's in the class even if the one next door's got no users on it (and then collapse in a heap )

    Thats how I see things happening anyway - I've only got a max of 16 in my 1 AP/class schools and they work OK but others usually say they won't handle 30 clients.

    regards

    Simon

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Damn. There was me hoping that laptops would be a thing of the past, and everyone would move to desktop computers.

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    chrbb's Avatar
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    Now I could suggest my past plan of 1 50 AP/class (total 250) but I can anticipate next year that we could end up with a lot of laptops and then if they ended up with a bank of 30-40, 1 AP/class wouldn't cut it anymore and I'd be looking to redo the whole place again with a managed solution. (or adding another one/class )
    Yep misread it

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    We're just behind the curve in primaries - don't worry - we'll be following your back

    Actually in 2 of my schools, we are on the 2nd/3rd wave - had laptops - failed (batteries was main issue - 11b wireless was 2nd) built a suite and now we've re-equipped with Linux eeePCs/XP netbooks where battery life issues have been eliminated (until they get old that is ).

    The school I'm talking about in this thread has a bunch of tatty old laptops and an old suite and they are looking at bank/banks of netbooks (but not actually coming up with the money to do it yet )

    regards

    Simon

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