Managing Multiple Access Points
We are currently looking at purchasing a few wireless access points for each of our science labs and would like a bit of advice on how to configure and manage multiple points, intsead of having a seperate configuration for each access point. Anybody got any advice?
Also what access points does everybody use?
Carnforth High School
Re: Managing Multiple Access Pints
Well you've got several different options here. Firstly you've got "fat" APs with all of the management option on firmware. The more expensive ones can cluster resources so they are setup as one point. Another solution is having a management switch and "thin" APs the APs cannot function without the switch but this means you apply changes in one place and the switch is capable of authenticating many more users simultaneously.
Companies with the first option are common something like the Allied Telesyn WA7500.
As for the Managed solution several options present themselves Aruba, Colubris, Extreme, HOP, Dlink, Extricomm there are several more solutions and these guys on edugeek will know of several more.
Re: Managing Multiple Access Points
Whilst wesleyw's 2nd solution is by far the best one, but you may find it’s too expensive (like thousands, rather than a few hundred):
You can get management software from the manufacturer that will allow you to copy and paste configurations from one to the other - well, at least you can with D-Link (although I wouldn't particularly recommend them and their management tool doesn't work that well either!)
Are you asking how the APs should be configured or the most efficient way of actually doing the configuration? (We have both been answering for the latter).
bit of advice on how to configure and manage multiple points, instead of having a separate configuration for each access point.
If it's the former: (i.e. you worried about having multiple wireless networks?)
Set-up all the APs so they have identical SSID (network name), encryption key and other settings. Only the channel should be different and you should set them one 1, 6, and 11, if you can, so they don't interfere. Alternatively, some will automatically set themselves to the channel with least interference. The PCs will only have to have one configuration and will automatically connect to the AP with the strongest signal to them. When you move the laptop, depending on the driver settings, it will stay hooked onto the original AP for a while then change to the new ‘loudest’ AP.
This is with cheap APs. With the expensive managed ones, you can roam better and the APs will let clients connect to one further away, if it is less busy (to get better throughput).
Re: Managing Multiple Access Points
Depending on what you are looking to do having back end management is usually the best way to go if possible.
It will allow you to automate who connects to which AP, so balance the load when using multiple APs. It will also allow alot of the management to be handled automatically, such as channels, signal strength etc that can be a real pain without management.
In Cisco world the ideal way to go is a Wireless LAN Controller, which controls lightweight (or thin) access points. However this can be expansive.
A nice middle ground is a Wireless LAN Solution Engine, which is a mangement system for regular (or fat) access points. You don't get some of the really cleaver stuff (the Wireless LAN controller, for example, will reshape all the signal strenghts if one AP goes down, bosting the sounding APs to fill the signal gap) but will provide central management to control things like signal strenght and channels. The express model will do 50 or 100 APs, normally enough for most school rollouts
Really only go for individual APs if you are looking to cover one or two areas for a limited number of people - such as a staff room
Manage Access Points on a small network
Can you suggest a piece of software to manage a few Wireless Access Points on a LAN?
All I want to do is to be able to change the encryption keys on all the points centrally?
We have all Linksys points. I contacted Linksys and they don't offer any management software.