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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Wireless Advice

    I am looking at options to upgrade my schools wireless. I already have quotes for RUCKUS so I am now looking at alternatives.

    I have included a map for ref. The red dots are the locations of the current D-Link 3200AP access points.

    These have been fine for the past 5 year but some are starting to fail and will only support 15 clients at best. So for future increases in wireless clients I am looking at something that would support 30 clients in a classroom and wireless n

    Options I have come up with so far are:

    D-Link DAP-2590 access points. These are the same for factor as the current APs and would just drop in. Would give me the same coverage and wireless n but not sure if they will support the 30 clients per classroom I may need in the future.

    Go for something like the Netgear WNAP210 and place one in each classroom – see the green dots on the map. This would give me wireless n and with the extra APs I could create 2 SSIDs and alternate them so that in theory each classroom could see both and then set up 2 trolleys to each SSID so if used at the same time each SSID would only have the 1 trolley connected.

    All advice and suggestions welcome.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    If you have lots of money, look at the BlueSocket solutions. Mine works well and there's none of this messing about with licenses for this, that and the other.

    If you like having a billion licenses, the Cisco offering isn't meant to be too bad.

    The D-Link and Netgear managed solutions have a limit on the number of APs you can use and IIRC need to have their APs wired back to the controller(s).

    The Extricom system also has to have all the APs wired back to the controller(s). Your diagram doesn't show where the comms cab(s) are but I'm guessing you have more than one so you will need more than one controller.

    Other options are Aruba and HP.

    Do you want more choices?

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    SYSMAN_MK (11th February 2010)

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    D-Link DAP-2590 access points. These are the same for factor as the current APs and would just drop in. Would give me the same coverage and wireless n but not sure if they will support the 30 clients per classroom I may need in the future.

    Go for something like the Netgear WNAP210 and place one in each classroom – see the green dots on the map. This would give me wireless n and with the extra APs I could create 2 SSIDs and alternate them so that in theory each classroom could see both and then set up 2 trolleys to each SSID so if used at the same time each SSID would only have the 1 trolley connected.

    All advice and suggestions welcome.
    Sound massy, and with todays managed solutions overly complicated. A decent managed network and receivers will allow 100 connections per access point (with Ruckus anyway, not sure about the limits on the others) and zero config once you have configured the controller.

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    SYSMAN_MK (11th February 2010)

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Nope don't have lots of money hence looking at non managed solutions to save pennies.

    Have demoed Ruckus so know what that can do.

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Apart from the ones Ric's mentioned, another which has come to my attention is Meru networks (which is recommended by our LEA)

    Not sure how good it actually is as I've not seen it in action, but those who have got it seem to think it's pretty good.

    Meru Networks | Home

    There's several partners in the UK who sell it.
    Last edited by maniac; 11th February 2010 at 11:50 AM. Reason: spellings!

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    SYSMAN_MK (11th February 2010)

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    You could go un-managed with ruckus saving 2.5k - 5K on the controller. Madness!!! Also doing the physical install of the AP's and VLAN configuration yourself will save a lot of money.
    Last edited by nicholab; 11th February 2010 at 10:48 AM.

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    I can highly recommend the Netgear Smart switch, I have had site wide wireless for nearly two years now. .

    It cost less than £5000 to purchase the equipment, 3 Smart switches and 35 AP's. Took a few weeks to fit the AP's and a day or two to configure the Switches

    Wireless Smart Switch - WFS709TP

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    What is your budget, if you don't mind me asking? I'd say a Ruckus solution with 10 x zf7962's and a ZD1012 controller would be a good drop in solution, if you want the density. You may even get away with less AP's.

    That'd come to around £7k?

    Remember with the Netgear switch, it is only capable of a/b/g and not N. Also, most unmanaged solutions will not give you the density you require, as the clients aren't clever enough to not connect to the nearest AP every time - so it would be up to you to have extra AP's and multiple wireless networks etc... Not fun.

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    I'd suggest using HP Procurve wireless boxes. We've used the 530WW model and they're rock solid! Can configure a mass amount of WLAN SSIDs (if you wish if you had multiple VLANs) and easily configurable via IP or RS-232. Unfortunately, they don't sell these anymore. I'm sure the replacements are just as good (even though they're less attractive to look at). They're around £300 a piece (MSM310s).

    To reduce costs (power infrastructure and usage), it might be worth installing dedicated PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches (if you have space in the cabinets). We use the HP ProCurve Switch 2600-8-PWR to power these and we can remotely switch on/off the WLAN APs (rarily though!). These are £500 each roughly, so you may need 2 or 3 of these to cover the 15 APs you have. With some clever planning, you may be able to reduce this to one AP per two classrooms. I'm sure one of these boxes can cope with 60 users in one go (and may need some testing!). We have 5 boxes covering a 3 floored boarding house. It quite easily manages to cater all bedrooms and common rooms downstairs.

    You don't want to over-crowd your whole building as too much overlapping will reduce the performance (changing ID channels and setting to a fixed one helps also!).

    In the long-term, you maybe be able to purchase one of HPs managed devices to help you keep on top of the wireless boxes.

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    Cools's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post

    The Netgear managed solutions have a limit on the number of APs you can use and IIRC need to have their APs wired back to the controller(s).



    Do you want more choices?
    I have Netgear and all the APs go back to a GbE POE hub's not the controller..

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