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Wireless Networks Thread, Half of class can't connect to wireless in Technical; I provide support to a Primary school who are having problems with their wireless. When a class is logging on ...
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    Half of class can't connect to wireless

    I provide support to a Primary school who are having problems with their wireless. When a class is logging on (appox 20-30 laptops) around 5-10 are having issues with the network.

    This tends to be mainly not having shares/redirected folders etc.

    After a quick look yesterday i noticed the AP's were only accepting 8 clients each. So the class using the laptops at the time had 8 clients on 2x AP's and 5 on another with the rest dropping out.

    I dont know if it's a case of simply re-configuring the AP's or something? They are set to AP mode but there is also repeater mode, multi-point mode etc etc. also, not sure if it may be channel setup too?

    any help would be great

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    What make / model are the APs? It is most likely that the APs only support a max of 8 clients each. Are all the APs in the same location?

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    To be honest if you want to be able to use that number of laptop reliably in a small space you will need a managed wireless system. And you will probably need 3 aps.

    Look at Aruba and Ruckus.

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    thanks but im pretty sure the school wouldnt go for the cost of them. is there any way i could use the existing AP's?

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Well nowhere in any of the docs does it say how many concurrent connections the AP supports so hard to tell if this is the issue.

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    We have an unmanaged system here, we can only use 10 -12 laptops before its unusable. Only way around it is to have different SSID's on the AP's and have the laptops connect to specific AP's rather than for them to find the strongest signal, it will evenly spread them then. As for the max number of clients check that there isn't any "load balancing" on the AP as some unmanaged ones just use this as a limit to how many clients they can have and don't "do" load balancing at all.

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    if 2 AP's were next to each other with the same channel but different SSID would that be ok or still conflict?

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Still conflict, you could create a lot of cross talk. Would suggest spreading out the APs around the room and having channels 1 6 and 11 in use on the 3 APs. This gives the greatest chance of success with unmanaged APs.

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    looks like im pretty much resigned to a managed network. what is it that makes the key difference between managed and unmanaged in terms of capability and clients connecting?

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    BatchFile's Avatar
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    tbh I'd expect them to interfere like mad - like dropping two stones into a pond and expecting twice as many perfect rings.... one on each side of the room on different channels but the same ssid may work better as the laptops will go blindly for the strongest signal

    EDIT: D'oh someone beat me to it

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    BatchFile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davis1021 View Post
    looks like im pretty much resigned to a managed network. what is it that makes the key difference between managed and unmanaged in terms of capability and clients connecting?
    Well, our Ruckus APs can take, well, I don't know how many connections each, we've been up to 60 on one AP and it was still happy
    They also talk intelligently to each other so the laptops can roam efficiently between them.

    Rather than having just one arial they have loads of bits of areial that they combine to form "beams" by carefully manipulating interference patterns - and fire the signal straight at where it's needed!

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    There's more info here.

    IEEE 802.11 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    1, 6 and 11 are the three non overlapping channels make sure your APs are set to one of these channels and that you assign the channels in such a way that APs using the same channel are out of range of each other.

    You will need 3 aps to support that many laptops. Bare in mind that the 56mb/s bandwidth for wireless is shared between all the laptops on the same AP. So if you managed to get 15 laptops on an AP they'd only have about 4mb/s bandwidth.

    There are many users on here who invest thousands in good managed wireless, I doubt they'd do it if they could achive the same result using a couple of 25 APs.

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    BatchFile's Avatar
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    I'm one of them - before we got Ruckus I was pretty impressed with what the unmanaged wireless could do, but it could never cope with more than 10 or so connections at once, though we did occasionally stretch to 15 in a room with an access point or two actually in the room.
    But managed is definately the way to go "sit I can't log on it says the domain's unavailable" has been consigned to history! - and you (almost) get a Harry Potter style "marauder's map" with all the laptops on it to boot!

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    think its gonna have to be a managed network, there's not enough network points in the rooms to go down the multiple AP's per room route

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